Current Awareness Strategy Blog

How effective business planning in 2024 can help us prepare for the future


In this post, Team Vable offers an updated guide to crafting effective business plans tailored for information professionals. As library and information managers, our ability to plan strategically and adaptively has never been more critical - it is essential to guarantee future success. Reflecting on our original 2018 insights, we remain convinced that business planning is a dynamic process that guides our growth, innovation, and resilience. 

Business plans serve as a roadmap, helping us navigate the complexities of our professional landscape. They compel us to articulate our goals, understand our operational environment, and define the strategies for achieving our objectives. Whether you're a director of knowledge services, a manager of a library and information centre, or launching an information management consultancy, a well-conceived plan is your first step toward success.

Why tech implementations fail and how you can prevent this?

Contents count - what’s in your business plan?

Your firm will have a business plan! The information department needs one too. To gain the trust of management, we must be fully invested in the business and proactively preparing a plan just like they have. You're not alone - there are resources that you can use to benchmark against competitors; use your library and research skills and talk to other people to find out what they are doing.

For internal purposes, you can focus on your clients and services by conducting audits and reviews. In order to think strategically as a service, you need to see where your plan fits within the firm. In essence, your plan should set out what you want to achieve and how you will achieve it. You need to consider these points and include them in your plan:

  • Your Mission or Vision: Start with clarity. What is your ultimate goal? Whether it's to enhance access to information, support research and learning, or provide cutting-edge information services, your mission statement guides every aspect of your planning.
  • Offer and Value Proposition: Define what you do and why it matters. In the context of law firm information services, this could mean expert current awareness services, specialist research support, or involvement with law firm projects. What makes your offering stand out?
  • Audience and Ideal Customer: Who benefits from your services? Internal departments or corporate clients - tailor your services and marketing strategies effectively.
  • Adding Value and Marketing: Understanding how your services create value for your organisation is crucial. Explore potential revenue streams, such as partnerships or fee-based services and consider how new ways of delivering information can amplify your reach and impact.
  • Structure, Suppliers, and Operations: Consider the logistics of delivering your services. What resources do you need? How will your team be organised? For information professionals, this might involve digital infrastructure, access to databases, and collaboration with other institutions.
  • Flexibility and Continuous Improvement: Embrace the principle that your business plan is a living document. The information landscape is constantly changing, and your ability to adapt and innovate is key to long-term success.

Gone are the days of the 30-page business plan. We need a lean approach that focuses on the core elements essential to your success. This streamlined process is not only less daunting, but encourages regular updates and revisions, ensuring your plan remains relevant and responsive to change.

Innovative ways of presenting your document

Keep in mind it's not just the content that is important, it's how you present it. In keeping with the trend towards more engaging and accessible documents, we recommend incorporating visual elements into your business plan. Use charts, graphs, and infographics to convey your strategy and goals. Digital tools and platforms can help create dynamic documents that are easy to update and share. Here are ways to leverage visual elements and grab your readers' attention:

Embrace Visual Storytelling

  • Infographics: Use infographics to summarise key points, data, and statistics. They can effectively convey your market analysis, audience demographics, or financial forecasts at a glance.
  • Data Visualisation: Incorporate charts, graphs, and timelines to present data in a more digestible format. Visual representations of data can highlight trends, comparisons, and projections in a more compelling way.
  • Videos: Short videos can be an engaging way to introduce your business case or highlight testimonials from stakeholders. They add a personal touch and can be shared easily across digital platforms - intranets or shared drives.

Interactive Documents

  • Interactive PDFs: Create interactive PDFs with clickable contents and navigation panels. They allow readers to easily jump to sections of interest, making the document more user-friendly.
  • Digital Brochures: Use platforms like Canva, Venngage or Adobe Spark to design digital brochures that combine text, images, and links. These can be more engaging than traditional text documents and are easily shareable online.
  • Online Platforms: Consider using online platforms like Prezi, Visme, or SlideShare to create dynamic presentations that can be accessed anywhere. These tools offer templates and features to create visually appealing and interactive presentations. Consider privacy

Alternative Presentation Formats

  • One-Pager Summaries: For a quick overview, create a one-page summary of your business case. This should highlight the key points, objectives, and the value proposition succinctly.
  • Project Management Software: Use software like Monday to create a live overview of your business case, including real-time data, KPIs, and progress towards goals.
  • Story Maps: Use story mapping tools to present your business case as a narrative journey. This can be especially effective for projects with a strong geographical or spatial component.

By adopting these visual and structural updates, you can ensure your business planning and case presentations are not only informative but also engaging and persuasive to today's audiences. These innovative methods can help you stand out, convey your message effectively, and drive action among your stakeholders.

A note about business cases

If business plans are about making strategy happen, business cases provide the real detail behind your well-crafted plan’s bullet points. As such, they are probably the hardest document to write because you are directly targeting your organisation’s senior business and finance teams. Demonstrating your serious intent to management is essential and a professional business case can help convince decision-makers that they should back your proposed initiative.

The document we have put together, although aimed at current awareness, takes you through the basic components. This includes a project overview, who is taking responsibility for what, how the project will strategically align with your organisation, as well as a Cost Benefit Analysis. Simply adapt the template to your needs and make it your own.

All of these tips apply to any business proposal, you have to be prepared to adapt and change your writing as required. Remember, the most effective business plan is one that moves from the shelf to the daily operations of your organisation. It's a tool for action, not just a document for compliance. Let's embrace the dynamic nature of our work and plan not just to survive but to thrive in the years ahead.

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