How to Plan a Business Infrastructure
- Small Business
- Business Planning & Strategy
- Business Plans
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A business infrastructure plan creates a road map that is used to start and run a company. This road map consists of a three part plan: daily operations, processes, and employees. Each component of the business infrastructure should be created and analyzed independently of the others. The plan should act as a stand-alone resource for the way the business is to grow and progress well into the future.
The Business Structure
Select a name for the business. Obtain a copyright for the business name if needed.
Decide how your business will be formed. Choose from a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), corporation, S corporation or non-profit. The requirements and business documents necessary to start a business vary from state to state.
Complete incorporation forms and submit forms and fees to the state where the business will be located. The paperwork and fees required to form the business vary by state, depending on how your business is formed and titled.
Apply for a tax identification number or employee identification number with the Internal Revenue Service.
Apply for a Dunn & Bradstreet number, if your company will require funding or a line of credit through a financial institution.
Register with your state's department of taxation, and procure a sales tax license if you will be selling retail goods.
Developing a Business Plan
Research possible competitors in your area. Obtain an overview of the market and demographics in comparison to your business model, as well as a comparison of products and pricing. To get this information, use tools such as your local library, the Internet, and by interviewing like-minded business owners.
Write a mission statement, outlining business goals and growth expectations. Outline what your new business will do, what you might need to start a new enterprise, and what your business will bring to the community.
Define the type of operating environment the business will need during the initial growth phase. Determine whether you will lease office space, purchase existing real estate, or begin construction on a new building.
Budget and Finance
Create a budget for your business. The budget should include start-up costs, salaries, operating costs and marketing costs. Detail the capital needed to survive the first year, progressing through the next five years from startup.
Define what financial assistance is needed to start the enterprise, as well as where the financing will come from.
Calculate labor costs by determining salaries or hourly rates for each position. Decide whether the worker in the position needs to be a full-time or part-time employee, a temporary hire, or a contractor.
Create an organizational chart for the business, detailing the positions needed to start the business, ranging from CEO and management to general staff and hourly employees.
Create a job description for each position. Outline specific duties, as well as who each position may report to. Rank each position based upon need and budget.
Create a projected growth list. Include future employees needed and materials or tools you might need as the company expands. Prioritize these items based upon need and budget.
- Small Business Administration: How to Write a Business Plan
- Small Business Administration: How Do I Incorporate My Business?
- Internal Revenue Service: Apply for an Employee Identification Number Online
- Small Business Administration: Estimating Startup Costs
- Small Business Administration: Starting and Managing a Business
- Entrepreneur: How To: Start Your Business
- Business Know How: Starting a Business
- Entrepreneur Fuel: Start a Business: Feasibility Analysis
- Hiring a business consultant to conduct a feasibility study based upon your business plan might help determine its potential for long-term growth.
- If your business startup will require capital from outside sources such as a bank or through grant funding, a business plan is required to complete the loan application.
Lisa Kling is a marketing analyst, social media strategist, professional blogger and Web editor. She is a featured contributor in business and finance for various websites and blogs at Thriftability.com. She also manages personal finance blogs for companies internationally. Kling studied business, journalism and marketing at Colorado State University. She is a volunteer firefighter who resides in the Colorado mountains.
What is a business plan template, adding a division to a business, how to start an oil- and petrochemical-related business, 6 types of business plans, procedures on starting a company, how to evaluate the feasibility of a business, how to start a woman-owned company, examples of business feasibility reports, how to start a moped business, most popular.
- 1 What Is a Business Plan Template?
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FACT SHEET: One Year into Implementation of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Biden-Harris Administration Celebrates Major Progress in Building a Better America
One year ago, President Biden signed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law – a once-in-a-generation investment in our nation’s infrastructure and competitiveness. While “infrastructure week” was a punchline under his predecessor, President Biden is delivering an “infrastructure decade.” One year into implementation, the Biden-Harris Administration is already following through on its promise to deliver results by rebuilding our roads, bridges, ports, and airports, upgrading public transit and rail systems, replacing lead pipes to provide clean water, cleaning up pollution, providing affordable, high-speed internet to every family in America, delivering cheaper and cleaner energy, and creating good-paying jobs.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law represents historic progress, as the largest and most significant investment in:
- Rebuilding our roads and bridges since President Eisenhower’s Interstate Highway System;
- Public transit in American history and an historic investment to make public transportation accessible ;
- Passenger rail since Amtrak’s inception, 50 years ago;
- Clean water infrastructure ;
- Affordable, high-speed internet ;
- Tackling legacy pollution and advancing environmental justice ;
- Upgrading the power grid to transmit more clean energy and withstand extreme weather;
- Increasing our infrastructure’s resilience against the impacts of climate change, extreme weather events, and cyber-attacks;
- Replacing dirty diesel buses with clean, electric buses across school bus and transit fleets; and,
- A national network of EV chargers in the United States and largest investment in domestic manufacturing of batteries and the critical minerals that power them.
ONE YEAR OF DELIVERING RESULTS To date, the Administration has announced over $185 billion in funding and over 6,900 specific projects, reaching over 4,000 communities across all 50 states, D.C., and the territories. The White House Infrastructure Implementation Team released new state-by-state fact sheets and a new map highlighting projects in all 50 states . The President, Vice President, Cabinet, and senior federal leaders, have taken more than 200 trips to all 50 states, as well as D.C., Puerto Rico, and the territories, to discuss this once-in-a-generation opportunity with community members.
Key highlights include:
- Launched 2,800 bridge repair and replacement projects across the country.
- Awarded funds for over 5,000 new clean transit and school buses .
- Approved state plans for water funding, EV charging networks and high-speed internet deployment.
Upgrading Transportation and Supply Chains
- Roads & Bridges: The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced approximately $120 billion in Federal Highway Apportionments for highways and bridges for fiscal years 2022 and 2023. To date, over 2,800 bridge projects have launched.
- Rail : Today, the Federal Railroad Administration announced its Northeast Corridor Inventory , outlining major backlog projects that will get funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, including the East River Tunnel in New York, the Connecticut River Bridge, and the Susquehanna River Bridge and Frederick Douglas Tunnel in Maryland.
- Local Infrastructure Projects : USDOT made 26 awards totaling $1.5 billion for highway, multimodal freight and rail projects that will make the nation’s transportation systems safer and more resilient, eliminate supply chain bottlenecks, and improve critical freight movements. USDOT also announced $2.2 billion in Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grants for 166 projects that will allow urban and rural communities to move forward on projects that modernize roads, bridges, transit, rail, ports, and intermodal transportation and make our transportation systems safer, more accessible, more affordable, and more sustainable.
- Public Transit : USDOT announced $20.4 billion in Fiscal Year 2022 transit funding and a recommendation of $4.45 billion through the Capital Investment Grants program to advance public transit projects across the nation including in Arizona, California, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Washington. Notably, this includes first-time funding commitments for the Gateway Program and Second Avenue Subway.
- Clean Transportation: USDOT announced over $1.6 billion in awards to help transit agencies, states, and territories across the country purchase low and no emission transit buses and upgrade bus facilities. These awards will help communities across the country purchase more than 1,800 new buses and double the number of clean transit buses on America’s roads. EPA awarded nearly $1 billion in Clean School Bus rebates to nearly 400 school districts spanning 50 states, Washington, DC, and several Tribes and U.S. territories. The grants will help school districts purchase over 2,400 clean school buses that will accelerate the transition to zero emission vehicles and produce cleaner air in and around schools and communities.
- Accessibility: USDOT announced $1.75 billion to improve accessibility at transit stations across the country as part of the Department’s new All Stations Accessibility Program (ASAP) . ASAP will help transit agencies update subway and rail stations that were built before passage of the ADA to make sure people who use wheelchairs or have limited mobility can freely and easily get wherever they need to go. The first $343M to make subway and rail stations more accessible was released in July 2022.
- Airports : The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) at USDOT announced $3 billion for 3,075 airports across the country to upgrade critical infrastructure. FAA also announced a $1 billion in awards to 85 airports across the country to modernize airport terminals of all sizes.
- Ports and Waterways : The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) announced $3.9 billion to strengthen supply chains and improve harbors and waterways for 16 construction projects across 10 states and Puerto Rico using Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds. . The Maritime Administration (MARAD) at USDOT also announced over $700 million to fund 41 port projects in 22 states and one territory to improve our nation’s port infrastructure, strengthen national supply chains, and help lower costs for Americans.
- Land Ports of Entry : The General Services Administration (GSA) awarded $3.4 billion to build and modernize 26 land ports of entry across the northern and southern borders. The investments will improve commerce and trade; enhance border security; create good-paying construction jobs; incorporate new and innovative sustainability features; and provide for improved climate resilience. Work has begun at all 26 locations slated for major modernization, including preliminary site acquisition activities, environmental reviews, design, and community engagement, including outreach to Tribal Nations. GSA has also completed seven port paving projects in Arizona and New York using the agency’s new low-carbon asphalt and concrete specifications. The contracts for these paving projects were awarded to and completed by women-owned, small, or disadvantaged businesses.
- EV Charging Infrastructure : The Administration approved Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Deployment Plans for all 50 States, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico under the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program, meaning all states now have access to all FY22 and FY23 NEVI formula funding, totaling more than $1.5 billion to help build EV chargers covering approximately 75,000 miles of highway across the country, with strong labor, safety and workforce standards. USDOT and DOE also formed a Joint Office of Energy & Transportation focused on building out the national network of EV chargers.
Improving Water, Conservation, and Resilience
- Water Infrastructure: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced over $9 billion in funding in FY 2022 and 2023 for states, tribes, and territories to upgrade America’s aging water infrastructure, sewerage systems, pipes and service lines, and more through their State Revolving Fund (SRF) programs , including targeting resources to disadvantaged communities, making rapid progress on lead-free water for all, and tackling dangerous chemicals such as PFAS. The USACE has announced $200 million in funding for environmental infrastructure projects for 26 states and three tribes, to install backup generators, upgrade aging water and wastewater infrastructure, and construct stormwater improvement projects.
- Tribal Climate Resilience: The Department of the Interior (DOI) announced $45 million – $20 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law – to build climate resilience in Tribal communities. These projects will support Tribes and Tribal organizations in adaptation planning, climate implementation actions, ocean and coastal management planning, capacity building, relocation, managed retreat, and protect-in-place planning for climate risks.
- Fulfilling Tribal Water Settlements : DOI announced $1.7 billion to fulfill Indian Water Rights Settlements, which will break down barriers and help create conditions that improve water resources management by providing certainty as to the rights of all water users who are parties to the disputes. Interior also announced $10 million for tribal water systems and another $10 million for irrigation and power in Indian Country.
- Tribal Water and Sanitation Infrastructure : The Indian Health Service (IHS) announced allocation decisions for $700 million to support crucial sanitation projects that will result in substantial improvements to clean water and sanitation systems in American Indian and Alaska Native communities across the country. IHS will allocate $700 million in each fiscal year from FY 2022 through FY 2026, for a total of $3.5 billion for the IHS Sanitation Facilities Construction Program.
- Drought Resilience : DOI announced $1.4 billion for 129 projects to boost water infrastructure and tackle drought in the West, including funding for rural water systems, dam safety, water recycling and reuse projects and repairs for aging water systems.
- Watershed Infrastructure Projects : The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced nearly $798 million in funding for projects that improve or rehabilitate watersheds, rehabilitate dams, and improve flood prevention through its Natural Resource Conservation Service. The USACE received $64 million to fund credit assistance for safety projects to maintain, upgrade, and repair dams identified in the National Inventory of Dams and owned by non-federal entities.
- Ecosystem Restoration : DOI, USDA, and DOD jointly announced a $1 billion America the Beautiful Challenge that will combine Federal funding with private and philanthropic contributions for conservation and restoration, anchored by an initial commitment of $440 million of Federal resources. Ecosystem Restoration : DOI, USDA, and DOD jointly announced a $1 billion America the Beautiful Challenge that will combine federal funding with private and philanthropic contributions for conservation and restoration, anchored by an initial commitment of $440 million of federal resources. The USACE has announced $1.9 billion in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding to restore vital ecosystems across the nation through 11 projects and programs in 8 states and one territory including Florida, California, New Mexico, Texas, and Puerto Rico.
- Wildfire Mitigation : USDA announced $131 million in wildfire mitigation investments to begin work on the USDA Forest Service 10-year wildfire risk mitigation strategy – Confronting the Wildfire Crisis: A Strategy for Protecting Communities and Improving Resilience in America’s Forests . These initial investment in 10 landscapes in Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Montana, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona will help reduce the risk of extreme wildfire on nearly 208,000 acres of land. Additionally, DOI announced $103 million for wildfire mitigation and resilience efforts in 39 states, to support nearly 2 million acres of fuels management work, as part of the Department’s Five-year Monitoring, Maintenance and Treatment Plan .
- Caring for Our Wildland Firefighters: USDA’s Forest Service and DOI increased firefighter pay by as much as $20,000 a year to help address recruitment and retention challenges, continued converting seasonal firefighters to permanent positions, expanded mental health support and increased rest periods. USDA and DOI also jointly announced the establishment of a defined Wildland Firefighter Occupational Series that will be tailored to our firefighters, will provide a clear path to career advancement and reflect the true nature of the work.
- Flood Resilience : FEMA announced the $60 million Swift Current federal grant initiative that will help four states affected by Hurricane Ida, one of the most intense storms to hit the United States in recent years, become more resilient to flooding. The program will more equitably expedite mitigation grants to disaster survivors with repeatedly flooded homes. The USACE announced $3.7 billion in flood and coastal resilience construction projects that will reduce flood risks for communities through 47 projects in 24 states, the District of Columbia and one territory.
Cleaning Up Legacy Pollution
- Orphaned Oil and Gas Wells : The Department of the Interior launched a new $4.7 billion program to cap and plug “orphaned,” or abandoned, oil and gas wells across the country in order to reduce methane emissions and create jobs over the next decade. The first $1.15 billion in funding is now available to 26 states to create jobs cleaning up orphaned oil and gas wells across the country, and $33 million was allocated to clean up 277 well sites in national parks, national wildlife refuges and on other public lands.
- Abandoned Mine Lands : The Department of the Interior announced the availability of nearly $725 million in Fiscal Year 22 funding for 22 states and the Navajo Nation to help create good-paying union jobs and catalyze economic opportunity by reclaiming abandoned mine lands (AML), eliminating dangerous environmental conditions and pollution caused by past coal mining, and providing opportunities for current and former coal workers. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law reauthorized the existing distributions and provided nearly $11.3 billion to be allocated over the next 15 years.
- Superfund Site Cleanup : EPA announced $1 billion this year to initiate cleanup and clear the backlog of 49 previously unfunded Superfund sites and accelerate cleanup at dozens of other sites across the country.
- Brownfield Cleanup: EPA awarded $254.5 million in brownfield clean up grants to 265 communities. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides a total of $1.5 billion over the next five years to advance environmental justice, spur economic revitalization and create jobs by cleaning up contaminated, polluted, or hazardous brownfield properties.
- Waterways Restoration : EPA announced $1 billion over five years for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative , including $200 million in FY2022, to accelerate progress in the clean-up and restoration of the Great Lakes’ most environmentally degraded sites, securing clean water and a better environment for millions of Americans in the Great Lakes region. EPA announced $238 million over five years to help restore the Chesapeake Bay, including $40 million this year to protect public health, improve water quality, and help restore lands, rivers, and streams in the Chesapeake Bay region. EPA has also begun deploying funds across 10 other geographic programs from coast-to-coast as well as all 28 national estuaries.
Modernizing the Grid and Deploying Clean Energy
- Energy Efficient Homes : DOE released grant applications and began dispersing $3.16 billion in funding for residential energy retrofitting and weatherization. This expanded funding will allow states to retrofit thousands of low-income homes to make them healthier and more energy efficient while lowering utility bills.
- Home Energy Assistance : The Department of Health and Human Services released $200 million to help families pay their outstanding heating and cooling bills, the first two installments of the five-year, $500 million investment in the Low Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP) program provided from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
- Clean Energy and Advanced Batteries : DOE awarded 20 companies in 12 states a total of more than $2.8 billion to boost domestic production of advanced battery components and the processing of critical materials that power them. The Department of the Interior announced over $167 million that will help fund a new facility for the U.S. Geological Survey , which is working on critical energy and mineral programs.
- Upgrading Our Power Grid : DOE announced $2.3 billion in formula funding to States, Tribal nations, and territories to strengthen and modernize America’s power grid. In addition, DOE launched the $10.5 billion Grid Resilience Innovation Programs ( GRIP) to enhance the resilience and reliability of the power grid.
- Clean Hydrogen: DOE launched the historic regional clean hydrogen hubs program (H2Hubs) which will help jump-start America’s clean hydrogen economy. DOE opened applications for $7 billion in funding. These investments will help advance President Biden’s goal of a net-zero carbon economy by 2050, improve energy security, and create good-paying jobs.
- Mapping Critical Minerals. DOI invested over $74 million for the Earth Mapping Resources Initiative (MRI) to map critical minerals that power everything from household appliances and electronics to clean energy technology like batteries and wind turbines.
Expanding High-Speed Internet
- Affordable Connectivity Program: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) launched the Affordable Connectivity Program, which lowers the cost of high-speed Internet service by up to $30 per month for eligible households (up to $75 per month for households on Tribal Lands) and provides up to $100 towards the purchase of a desktop, laptop or tablet computer. To lower costs even further, the President and Vice President also secured commitments from 20 leading internet providers to offer ACP-eligible households fully covered high-speed Internet plans. As a result, millions of Americans can now get high-speed internet for free at GetInternet.gov . To date, more than 14.8 million households have enrolled in affordable, high-speed Internet plans.
- Internet for All : The Department of Commerce launched its “Internet for All” initiative – releasing notices of funding opportunity for three of its major programs, including the $42 billion Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) Program, the Middle-Mile Broadband Infrastructure Program, and the Digital Equity Planning Grant Program. On November 18, the FCC will publish a map and launch the public challenge process so that public input can inform the ultimate map that will determine how BEAD program funding will be allocated. Every state is guaranteed a minimum of $100 million. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced $759 million from the ReConnect rural broadband deployment program for loans and grants to state, local or territory governments, corporations, Tribes and limited liability companies and cooperative organizations to help people in rural areas get access to high-speed internet and the Department expects to make over $1 billion in awards in Spring 2023. NTIA has also made $1.35 billion in funding available through the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program, including funds from the first tranche of $2 billion directed to Tribal governments through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to be used for broadband deployment on Tribal lands, as well as for telehealth, distance learning, broadband affordability, and digital inclusion.
Building A Better America Together To deliver on the promise of this historic legislation, the Biden-Harris Administration has:
- Built an implementation team at the White House, federal agencies, state, local, Tribal, and territorial governments, along with new mechanisms to ensure clearer communication and coordination between all levels of government, including identifying infrastructure coordinators in states and territories. Since the law’s signing, 54 states, D.C., Puerto Rico and territories have appointed an infrastructure coordinator.
- Provided guidance to federal agencies to set a strong foundation for effective, efficient, and equitable implementation of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in accordance with the Justice40 Initiative; and boosted collaboration with Inspectors General and the broader oversight community to prevent fraud, waste, and abuse.
- Released a Permitting Action Plan to strengthen and accelerate federal permitting and environmental reviews by fully leveraging existing permitting authorities, as well as new provisions in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
- Released the Accelerating Infrastructure Action Plan with over 20 commitments from federal agencies pledging to speed progress and deliver on time, on task and on budget.
- Released a multitude of resources for states, territories, Tribes and local governments including a Guidebook at build.gov, a technical assistance resource guide, an “Infrastructure School” webinar series , Rural and Tribal playbooks, and a listing of funding opportunities to be aware of, all available on build.gov.
- Launched the Infrastructure Talent Pipeline Challenge , securing over 350 commitments from organizations such as International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, AT&T, Corning, Communication Workers of America, United Airlines, and ChargePoint to invest in equitable workforce development and train a diverse pipeline of skilled workers to build our nation’s infrastructure. Additionally, where permissible under applicable law, federal agencies are including workforce development as an allowable activity for Bipartisan Infrastructure Law programs and encouraging the use of local and economic hiring preferences to expand the diversity of the talent pool.
- Engaged Federal agencies and state, local, Tribal, and territorial governments to leverage all available resources to quickly deliver the necessary technical assistance and capacity to underserved communities, ranging from the interagency Thriving Communities initiative to the Local Infrastructure Hub established by philanthropy and nongovernmental organizations. The Interagency Working Group on Coal & Power Plant Communities & Economic Revitalization is engaging stakeholders, identifying key policy actions and barriers, and driving significantly more federal resources to hard-hit energy communities, with three Rapid Response Teams focused on coordinating federal resources delivery in Wyoming, the Four Corners region and the Illinois Basin. USDA’s Rural Partners Network has expanded to nine states and Puerto Rico in a whole-of-government effort to partner with rural communities to access resources and funding to create local jobs, build infrastructure, and support long-term economic stability on their own terms.
- Announced new steps to support small disadvantaged businesses compete for contracting opportunities under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. These actions reflect the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to ensuring that federal investments build wealth and opportunity for underserved entrepreneurs and small business owners.
- Leveraged the power of the Build America, Buy America Act provisions in the law and set up the first-ever- Made in America Office to bring back manufacturing jobs, onshore supply chains and make the U.S. economy more competitive. As a result, we are seeing companies invest in America again, build out their manufacturing footprints, and create good-paying jobs.
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How Infrastructure Impacts Business
Investing in America’s infrastructure is critical to staying competitive globally. Here's a guide for businesses to the current state of infrastructure in the U.S.
September 15, 2021
- Both the public and private sector agree that America's infrastructure must be upgraded to support today's needs.
- Passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill provides funding to improve roads, highways, bridges, mass transit, ports, energy and communications.
- Improved infrastructure will help grow the economy, generate revenue for businesses, and create jobs for people.
Infrastructure is a framework of systems and facilities serving a city, state or country. Infrastructure includes roads, bridges, mass transit systems, energy, broadband, airports and seaports. A strong and healthy infrastructure not only makes it possible for Americans to enjoy an excellent quality of life; it’s also critical to the operation of every business.
To be effective, infrastructure requires continual maintenance and new construction. In 2020, the federal government spent $63 billion on infrastructure and granted an additional $83 billion in infrastructure funding to states. Typically half of federal transportation spending goes towards highways, and 22% is allocated to air transportation.
Cities, counties and states are responsible for local road maintenance and construction. They pay for this through gasoline and license taxes, tolls, user fees, and user taxes, as well as occasional funding from the federal government.
This level of investment by the federal government, states and localities has been insufficient to maintain or modernize the system. America’s infrastructure receives a C- grade , according to the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). The ASCE continues to advocate for increased investment in the infrastructure of the U.S., due to the deterioration of infrastructure over the past several decades, a growing population, and the need to put new infrastructure in place to support today’s transportation methods . The ASCE says that, by 2039 , investing in our infrastructure at our current rate will lead to a loss of $10 trillion in our GDP, $2.4 trillion in exports, and more than three million jobs.
Every business in every industry is affected by infrastructure issues. Here are the challenges faced by businesses for different types of infrastructure.
Roads, highways, and bridges
Effective transportation on our roads, highways, and bridges is important to the smooth running of all parts of companies’ supply chains, as well as delivery of goods and services.
Here are some common ways failing infrastructure in this category affects businesses:
- Traffic congestion delays appointments and deliveries. Small, onsite service providers, such as plumbers, schedule fewer service calls , resulting in less revenue. Large businesses, like UPS, have delivery drivers waiting extra time, resulting in an annual cost of $114 million.
- Bridges and roads that are unsafe or closed for repairs require businesses to find workarounds to transport materials, which cost them time and money. This also has an effect on the workforce. Failing infrastructure makes commuting more expensive and time-consuming.
- Roads and bridges that can’t safely bear the weight of vehicles and machines also require businesses to develop alternate transportation routes, which costs them money and time.
Mass transit: buses, subways, and railroads
Inefficient public transit in America leads to longer travel times, as well as a slowdown in workers’ economic output. Given that pre-pandemic U.S. public transportation systems collectively carried 34 million passengers each weekday, such delays have a major negative impact on business revenue.
Airports and seaports
Airport infrastructure has not kept pace with the continuing demand for air travel. Many airports are at or exceeding their capacity, which causes congestion, delayed flights, and longer flight times. All of these issues affect productivity and revenues.
Seaport infrastructure affects all businesses in a supply chain , including suppliers, manufacturers, logistics companies, freight forwarders, and more. Improving port infrastructure leads to more timely deliveries, greater reliability, and less damage, all of which increase revenues and global competitiveness.
Electricity and water
Infrastructure in America provides the framework for generating, transmitting, and distributing electricity and water, as well as other types of energy . These are necessary for the function of all businesses.
When the electricity goes out, work often comes to a standstill. That can cost a business thousands or even millions of dollars based on unplanned downtime. Deteriorating water infrastructure leads to an increase in street flooding, shutdowns, and damage from storms. These increase production costs for businesses.
Broadband Internet is reaching the point of becoming as essential as other types of infrastructure, such as electricity. The private sector has been responsible for creating this infrastructure, but there are parts of the U.S. that still do not have broadband , including rural areas and tribal lands. Providing this infrastructure will not only give all Americans access to the Internet, but it will also provide businesses with a larger audience for Internet-enabled products and services.
Political, financial, and public sentiment regarding infrastructure
The public and business community are in agreement that infrastructure is important and that more funding is needed to support America’s infrastructure needs. The sticking point is always about the money. Where will it come from?
In early January 2021 , over 100 national and local organizations — led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Bipartisan Policy Center — launched the "Build by the Fourth of July" coalition, to advocate for a federal infrastructure bill.
On March 31, 2021, President Biden announced The American Jobs Plan . On June 24, 2021, Biden and a bipartisan group of 21 senators agreed to move forward with a series of infrastructure initiatives totaling $1.2 trillion . The legislation, which passed on November 5, 2021, provides funding to cover improvements to roads, highways, bridges, mass transit, ports, energy and communications.
The plan offers solutions to the issues brought to light by the ACSE, including:
- GDP will increase, as the improvements to infrastructure lead to more revenue and productivity for businesses
- Exports will increase, as infrastructure improvements reduce business costs and make U.S. products and services more competitively priced
- Jobs will be created to support these infrastructure initiatives, especially in these industries: materials (cement, concrete, and construction); construction equipment manufacturers; transportation (to deliver materials and equipment to construction sites); engineering and construction software and project management
Infrastructure is the foundation for the operation of every business in the United States. A strong infrastructure is critical to keeping Americans safe and prosperous.
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The Infrastructure Plan: What’s In and What’s Out
By Aatish Bhatia and Quoctrung Bui Updated August 10, 2021
The Senate’s infrastructure bill is undeniably large: It calls for new federal spending of about $550 billion (as part of a $1 trillion bill that also renews existing transportation spending). The new spending is roughly equivalent to the cost of the Interstate Highway System , after adjusting for inflation.
But the bipartisan deal is less than a quarter the size of the $2.6 trillion plan that President Biden proposed in March , which included $2.2 trillion in spending and around $400 billion in tax credits. It’s also significantly smaller than the counteroffer the White House proposed in May , which scaled back spending by $500 billion, and it leaves out many of the Democrats’ biggest ambitions.
Democrats have also put forward a $3.5 trillion budget proposal that they intend to pass later this year through a process known as budget reconciliation , which requires fewer votes. On Monday, they presented a budget resolution — an initial step that outlines spending limits on the budget that they will vote on in fall.
This budget is expected to contain many of the pieces that were left out of the bipartisan infrastructure agreement — including investments in housing and education; child care and Medicare expansions; research and development; manufacturing; climate research; and clean energy. But moderate and progressive Democrats currently disagree on what will be included, and lawmakers may end up scaling back policies from those initially proposed.
There were six major areas in Mr. Biden’s original infrastructure proposal: transportation , utilities , pollution , innovation , in-home care and buildings . Almost all these areas were scaled back or eliminated in the bipartisan plan, with one exception: pollution cleanup.
What got left out
Three major areas of President Biden’s original proposal were not included in the bipartisan deal: buildings , in-home care and innovation . The bipartisan plan also left out $363 billion in clean energy tax credits .
Some of what the bipartisan plan leaves out:
In-home care: This focused on raising wages for workers who provide health care for older adults and people with disabilities. They are predominantly women of color and are among the lowest-paid workers, the White House said.
Buildings: This included funding public housing — an area that would “disproportionately benefit women, people of color and people with disabilities,” according to the White House . It also included investing in child care centers and community colleges; modernizing public schools; and upgrading federal hospitals and buildings.
Innovation: This included investing in U.S.-based manufacturing; funding research on climate change and energy; and providing research grants to historically Black colleges and universities.
Transportation funding fell by $263 billion compared with the original proposal. The largest change was in the area of electric vehicle adoption, which shrank by $142 billion, or 90 percent.
Another area with a large drop in funding: reconnecting communities that have been separated by or disconnected from major highways and bridges. Funding for reconnecting these communities — typically communities of color — fell to $1 billion from $24 billion.
Utilities funding fell by $466 billion, including a $363 billion cut in clean energy tax credits. The budget for water infrastructure (which includes the president’s plan to replace all of the nation’s lead pipes) was cut in half, to $55 billion from $111 billion.
What got bigger or stayed the same
The new plan adds funding toward pollution remediation and Western water infrastructure. Funding for airports was essentially unchanged, as was funding for climate resiliency, which involves upgrading the nation’s infrastructure to better withstand the effects of climate change such as intensifying wildfires, hurricanes and flooding.
The bipartisan agreement
Overall, the bipartisan plan focuses spending on transportation , utilities and pollution cleanup; pulls back spending on clean energy and electric vehicle adoption; and eliminates spending on innovation , buildings and in-home care .
Proponents of the bipartisan plan say it focuses on “core infrastructure,” while critics point out that it leaves out major components that would address climate change, health care and racial inequity.
From The Upshot: What the Data Says
Analysis that explains politics, policy and everyday life..
Parenting: Surveys of young adults show that most parents are highly involved in their grown children’s lives. Yet in many ways, their relationships seem healthy and fulfilling .
Today’s Teenagers: The current generation of young Americans feels particularly apprehensive, new polling shows — anxious about their lives, disillusioned about the direction of the country and pessimistic about their futures.
Nighttime Deaths: Why are so many American pedestrians dying at night? Nothing resembling this pattern has occurred in other comparably wealthy countries .
N.Y.C. Neighborhoods: We asked New Yorkers to map their neighborhoods and to tell us what they call them . The result, while imperfect, is an extremely detailed map of the city .
Dialect Quiz: What does the way you speak say about where you’re from? Answer these questions to find out .
Here's everything small-business owners need to know about what Biden's infrastructure plan means for them
- On Sunday the Senate released its revised $1 trillion infrastructure bill.
- If approved, the bill will cut $31 billion in pandemic relief aimed at hard-hit small businesses.
- The House must approve the deal before Biden signs it into law.
On Sunday, the Senate released its revised $1 trillion infrastructure bill, which President Joe Biden and a bipartisan group of senators agreed upon last week. One major change from Biden's original proposal deducts $31 billion in pandemic relief funding aimed at hard-hit small businesses.
So far, the small-business provisions in the new $550 billion bill appear remarkably different from Biden's original $2 trillion proposal. For example, there's no mention of the previous plan to include $300 billion for small businesses and manufacturing , with initiatives to bring more manufacturing stateside, along with updated tax incentives and expanded research and development, showed the White House fact sheet released on July 28.
The bill is set to go to the House for approval before Biden would sign it into law.
We'll continue to update this post as we learn more about the bill and how it could address small-business concerns.
$31 billion in funding cut from emergency small business loans and grants
If passed, the revised infrastructure bill would eliminate a $13.5 billion investment in the Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) , a 60-year-old program providing small businesses with low-interest loans during crises such as the current pandemic.
In April, the Small Business Administration (SBA) raised the cap on EIDLs so businesses could get up to $500,000 instead of the previous maximum loan amount of $150,000. As of July, the SBA has approved more than $236 billion in EIDL loans for 3.8 million businesses battling the pandemic, according to data reported by the government agency .
The proposed legislation would also scale back $17.6 billion in funding for the EIDL program's loan advances which issued grants to hard-hit businesses in low-income areas.
For more information on Economic Injury Disaster Loans, read our guide here.
Ending employer tax credits.
The proposed bill would end the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERC) , a provision Congress expanded in last December's pandemic relief bill. The ERC provides up to $14,000 per employee for eligible businesses in 2021, an increase from $5,000 in 2020.
For more information on the employee retention tax credit, read our guide here.
America's $65 billion investment in high-speed internet.
The revised infrastructure plan includes a $65 billion investment in high-speed internet with the goal of increasing access for all Americans. Currently, more than 42 million Americans don't have access to broadband internet, according to a May 2021 report by BroadbandNow Research .
This provision could create opportunity for entrepreneurs as e-commerce is booming as a low-cost entry into entrepreneurship. Cities such as Chattanooga, Tennessee , the first US city to reach gigabit speeds citywide , prove that democratizing quality internet access generates more jobs and business creation.
What's more, the provision could level the playing field for those historically without access to high-speed internet. Seventy-two percent of Black business owners reported that having a business website helped them during COVID-19, according to a survey by GoDaddy Venture Forward.
Marcus Shaw, CEO of a nonprofit startup accelerator in downtown Chattanooga, previously told Insider that high-speed internet is the natural resource of the 21st century, essential for any local community to become a viable place to learn, work, and do business.
For more information on how Biden's $2 trillion infrastructure plan addressed small businesses, read our coverage of his bill, proposed in April, here.
Watch: WATCH: How any business can use live shopping to net thousands of dollars per stream
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Where IT infrastructure and business strategy meet
The scale of corporate IT infrastructure has increased dramatically over the past decade and a half. At many companies, it has moved from basements with a few dozen servers to sophisticated data centers with thousands or tens of thousands of them. Networked storage hardly existed in the early ’90s but today consumes tens of millions of dollars in large IT organizations.
There are good reasons for this expansion. Infrastructure runs the applications that process transactions, handles the customer data that yield market insights, and supports the analytical tools that help executives and managers make and communicate the decisions shaping complex organizations. In fact, infrastructure has made possible much of the corporate growth and rising productivity of recent years.
Yet the very ubiquity of these computing, storage, and networking technologies makes some executives regard IT infrastructure as a commodity. That’s a mistake. Yes, components such as servers and storage—even some support processes, like the monitoring of applications—have been commoditized. Even so, an effective infrastructure operation creates value by making sound choices about which technologies to use and how to integrate them. A technology product purchased from a vendor may be a commodity, but the ability to bring together hardware, software, and support to provide the right combination of cost, resiliency, and features for a new application isn’t.
Especially now, when every expenditure and budget item receives careful scrutiny, infrastructure leaders must engage with business executives and application developers to expose potential sources of value, agree on priorities, and measure not only the cost but also the impact of infrastructure.
Sources of value
There’s ample evidence that the creative use of infrastructure has helped leading companies to make themselves more efficient, redefine their business models, and improve the customer experience.
Real-time data collection. Insurance companies in Britain and the United States use GPS devices and sensors to record the speed of cars and even the damage to them. In manufacturing, radio frequency identification (RFID) tags now provide insights into the way goods move through supply chains and thus reduce inventory levels. In both cases, infrastructure supports and manages the sensors and other devices needed to capture information reliably and inexpensively.
Large-scale analytics. Pharmaceutical companies and manufacturers deploy low-cost computing grids that, respectively, make it possible to develop and test drugs and to develop products that would have been inconceivable even a decade ago.
Speed to market. Across industries, fast reaction times give companies advantages such as the ability to set up sales offices in rapidly growing territories quickly, to give customers strong off-site support for their initiatives, or to meet demand for services when online interactions surge. The best infrastructure units can support all of these goals—and more.
The customer experience. The best retailers and service providers let their customers interact with them via cell phones, call centers, and kiosks, as well as in person. To get the customer experience right, companies must be able to switch and route consumers across different types of networks flexibly. Only a well-tuned infrastructure can provide that kind of flexibility.
Employees’ productivity. Managerial, sales, technical, professional, and clerical personnel do most of their work on the corporate infrastructure, from desktop productivity tools to smartphones. Infrastructure organizations that aspire to create value must make decisions about issues such as how to balance security with ease of use, where to deploy videoconferencing equipment, and which types of personal devices make the most sense.
Developers’ productivity. Too many applications developers spend up to a third of their time as amateur systems engineers: they devote hours to consulting with server and network teams, grappling with incompatibilities, and struggling to choose technologies that bridge the gaps. That time could be better used modeling applications for business processes or writing code. One investment bank created a virtual-development environment, freeing up tens of thousands of developer hours each year.
Engaging with the business
What must you do to make business leaders understand the value of infrastructure—without seeming to be protecting your turf? We’ve found that several approaches work well.
Be credible on the basics. Now more than ever, business leaders demand solid execution on costs and service levels before they will seriously consider moving to the next level. They see value creation and innovation as a complement of efficiency, not a substitute for it.
Understand the pain points. Infrastructure touches every part of a business. Use that central position to figure out which groups struggle with analytics, need to open (and close) sites more quickly and cheaply, or have the greatest need to get more value from their development teams.
Be proactive. Go to business leaders with ideas that they can evaluate and refine— before they ask for them.
Retain funds for R&D. Even in tight times, the ability to offer IT infrastructure innovations regularly, before the business demands them, protects you against being seen as a purveyor of commodities.
Invest in talent. Supplement your team’s depth in technical and operational matters by adding financial and business analysis skills. To do so, you’ll have to invest in working to develop employees who can explain the IT infrastructure’s business value and work with business partners to deliver it.
The IT infrastructure organization can be positioned not just as an efficient taker of orders but also as a partner in determining and executing a company’s business strategy.
Jeffrey Hughes is a principal in McKinsey’s Chicago office, and James Kaplan is a principal in the New York office.
The authors gratefully acknowledge the contributions of Ulrich Freking and Miguel Payan to the development of this article.
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Business Infrastructure – What It Is and Why Every Company Needs It
At Equilibria , we define business infrastructure as the combination of a company’s design and the documented processes and tools that support that design.
Business Infrastructure = Business Design + Business Process
A stable business infrastructure ensures the proper coordination of all human resources, processes and other operational tools necessary to ensure manageable, profitable growth. This is especially important during unexpected growth spurts. Further, business infrastructure provides businesses with:
- a solid foundation,
- a replicable platform,
- a model and a formula that makes each time you do something easier than the time before,
- consistency in your delivery of customer value, and
- economies of scale .
This is definitely a time when size DOES NOT matter!
Every company regardless of size, industry and maturity needs business infrastructure as it answers the following questions:
- What needs to be done?
- Who’s supposed to do it?
- How do we do what needs to be done?
- What is the contingency plan just in case things don’t go accordingly?
- How do we profitably replicate our business model ?
Being able to articulate your business in a way that makes sense assures not only your customers but also your staff that you know what you are doing and that you have an organized and efficient way of doing it. This translates into positive customer experiences resulting in increased sales. And increased sales triggers the need for more employees, larger/additional offices, and/or franchising opportunities.
Although every business’ growth looks different, the necessary elements to ensure sustainable, manageable growth are always the same as illustrated in the downloadable diagram below.
Visit the next seven posts, preferably in the order listed, where you can learn how to implement each of the seven elements necessary to build small business infrastructure:
- Job Task Analysis : defines what needs to be done and who will do it
- Organizational Design : defines the management and reporting structure
- Electronic Records Management : defines how information is stored digitally
- Paper Records Management : defines how information is stored physically
- Work Space Planning : defines how workspace is functionally configured
- Service Delivery Process : defines how your core operations work
- Operations Manual : defines how to perform, measure and improve key processes
Click on the video below for a demonstration of how these 7 elements come together to form small business infrastructure:
How has a defined business infrastructure helped stabilize your business? Leave a comment below.
- Company Profiles & Case Studies (14)
- Case Studies (3)
- Listen & Learn (22)
- Business Process Design & Improvement (54)
- Records Management (18)
- Organizational & Job Design (20)
- Business Infrastructure (44)
- Workspace Logistics (7)
- Technological Process Tools (17)
Why Business Infrastructure is the Key to a Great Customer Experience
Published: October 28, 2021
Customer retention is an undeniably critical component of long-term success.
For instance, it's 5-25X more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to retain an existing customer. So if you don't focus on having high customer retention, you're constantly wasting time and money seeking out new prospects.
Additionally, customer retention can greatly impact business revenue. In fact, a mere 5% increase in customer retention can increase company revenue by 25-95% .
All of which is to say: Customer experience matters .
And chaotic growth, high employee turnover rates, or a poor customer support experience can all contribute to negative customer retention.
Fortunately, there is a way to mitigate these risks and ensure your business grows effectively and sustainably. That solution? Business infrastructure.
In this article, you'll learn what business infrastructure is, how to start building it, and what it looks like. Let's dive in.
What is business infrastructure?
Business infrastructure is an operating system that links an organization's people, processes, and tools or technologies to ensure that growth is sustainable, repeatable, and profitable.
When some people hear "infrastructure", they think of transportation.
Transportation infrastructure connects roads, trains, ships, and airplanes to efficiently move people and goods around.
Similarly, business infrastructure connects the operational components necessary to keep an organization running consistently, with minimal downtime.
It provides a foundation for support during threatening moments by focusing on operations — the unseen back-office and heartbeat of any organization.
How to Build Business Infrastructure
It might surprise you to know that many organizations of all sizes are unable to articulate what they look like on the inside.
Departments or divisions are loosely defined, task duplication runs rampant, and the reporting chain of command is rudimentary at best.
Worst of all, the proverbial left hand does not know what the right hand is doing. These factors alone lead to silos, high employee turnover, and upset customers.
That's why business infrastructure encompasses all areas of an organization by answering four main questions:
Here are some low-tech/analog exercises you and your team can do to answer these questions.
1. What work needs to be done?
Brainstorming all tasks or activities necessary to keep your business operating is key to building your organization's business infrastructure. Think of it as the building blocks upon which all other elements of business infrastructure are based.
2. Brainstorm all tasks or activities performed throughout your entire organization, no matter how mundane or complex.
3. Write those tasks or activities onto individual index cards.
4. Continue brainstorming until you've captured all tasks.
- Gets resident knowledge out of people's heads and onto paper
- Gives visibility into exactly what everyone does
Pro Tip: Jumpstart your brainstorming by taking existing job descriptions your company may have and extract tasks from those. You can also ask people you outsource work to (i.e., your accountant, lawyer, graphic designer) to send you a list of tasks they perform for your company. They may be doing things you're unaware of!
2. How is the work organized?
Now that you and your team have identified all tasks to perform, it's time to organize them into departments.
The illustration below demonstrates a grouping of tasks into six departments: Operations, Legal Compliance, Technology, Accounting, Marketing, and Human Resources.
2. Solicit participation from your team.
3. Group index cards with similar tasks into nine or fewer columns.
4. Place a blank index card, preferably a different color, above each column.
5. Write the name of the department that each column of tasks describes.
- Communicates what your organization looks like on the inside
- Removes ambiguity about the flow of work and information
Pro Tip: In his famous paper, The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two , Harvard cognitive psychologist George A. Miller theorized that the average person can easily recall seven plus or minus two bits of information. By organizing tasks into nine departments or less, you effectively create a structure that is easy to understand and follow.
3. Who will do the work?
At this point, you and your team have identified all tasks to perform and organized them into departments. Now it's time to assign roles to those tasks within each department.
The illustration below demonstrates the reporting structure for an Operations department.
Of the tasks identified, three are assigned to the Technician and two to the Chief Operating Officer (COO). The color-coded circles next to them indicate that the COO role is a filled, full-time employee one and that the Technician role is vacant.
2. Remove all other index cards from the table.
3. Spread the remaining index cards across the table again.
4. Take a stick figure or a different color index card and write the name of the role who should perform each task.
5. Identify each role by type: employee, outsourced/freelancer, intern, volunteer.
6. Identify which role(s) are vacant by writing the title(s) in red font.
7. Repeat steps #1-4 until all roles are identified for all tasks in each department.
8. Document the results.
- Creates clarity on what everyone should be doing
- Establishes clear boundaries around job definition and scope
Pro-Tip: Just because you can, doesn't mean you should! This exercise helps you figure out how and where to delegate. When assigning roles to tasks, write who should be responsible, not who's currently responsible. The results might surprise you!
4. How is the work performed?
Now it's time to group the tasks you and your team brainstormed earlier into processes.
1. Focus on one department at a time and its associated tasks and roles.
4. Sub-group tasks that, when grouped together, form a distinct process.
5. Place a different color index card across each sub-grouping of tasks.
6. Write the name of the process the sub-grouping of tasks describes.
7. Identify all tools (including software, equipment, checklists, and templates) by placing yet another different color index card near each sub-grouping of tasks and writing the names of all tools onto it.
- Gives insights on how to perform the work identified
- Offers a baseline for prioritization and documentation
Pro Tip: Processes are where the "rubber meets the road" — too rigid and people feel imprisoned by them; too flexible and people will develop their own way of doing things. Promoting a bottom-up reporting structure with defined process metrics empowers people to take ownership of their work within certain boundaries.
What Does Business Infrastructure Look Like?
So, what's the value of writing on index cards and continuously moving them and stick figures around?
These outputs serve as your organization's armor and include:
Job Descriptions & Organizational Chart . Including the identified tasks for each role into new or updated job descriptions gives a level of transparency that arms you with the information to hire the right people. The defined departments and associated roles make it easy for you to communicate your organization's reporting structure and path for promotion.
Records Management . Knowing the departments of your organization makes it easy to structure both physical and digital files. Your team can quickly locate information by organizing files and records according to department and assigning appropriate access levels. This can be a game-changer when responding to customers to provide support.
Workspace Layout . Arranging your physical workspace into zones that mirror your organization's departments is invaluable when ensuring efficient work and information flow. This even applies for one-room and home-based offices.
Processes . Documenting processes based on the tasks identified within each department ensures consistency in product and service delivery. Documentation eliminates guesswork and communicates how performance is measured.
The Gateway to Customer Experience
Now that you've completed this exercise, it's understandable how business infrastructure links all operational elements of your organization and why a change in one area can impact others. Gone are the silos and miscommunication. They're replaced with seamless workflows and visibility into all parts of the organization.
That's why it's critical for customer-centric organizations to be backed by a solid business infrastructure. Similar to Revenue Operations , a subset of business infrastructure, it promotes consistent, quality customer experiences coupled with a support framework that lets customers know what to expect and that you care.
(Learn more about RevOps in HubSpot's RevOps & Operations Community .)
Although this article describes some of the initial exercises for building business infrastructure, it's still a summary. For a comprehensive guide, read Behind the Façade: How to Structure Company Operations for Sustainable Success .
As your organization grows, you'll want to remain proactive to ensure your business' foundation is sustainable for the long run. Start building your business infrastructure now and rest easy knowing that you have a foundation to revert to when danger strikes.
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3 Steps to Assemble the Right Infrastructure Building Blocks to Successfully Scale Your Business Make sure your infrastructure roadmap includes everything you need to make your scale adventure an unmitigated success.
By Ross Denny • Nov 24, 2022
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Scaling your business might sound like a dream come true. But without the proper infrastructure in place, it can quickly turn into an absolute nightmare. Trying to grow when you haven't put solid building blocks in place is like throwing up a tent on quicksand. It won't be long before you sink — and at that point, getting out might not be an option.
Many companies, especially newer ones, overlook the importance of infrastructure in business. Unfortunately, their oversight can often lead them to fail when they try to gain steam. A 2022 CB Insights study of failed startups revealed the top dozen reasons that can lead to an organization's demise. Three of those reasons are related to a lack of proper infrastructure: a flawed business model (19%), a poorly hired team (14%) and stakeholder disharmony (7%).
You might want to think of constructing your infrastructure like planning a vacation. Most vacationers don't put their families in the car and take off for the week without prior planning. They create a general road map based on their goals, their budget, the number of people and maybe some very personalized factors such as preferred types of restaurants or lodging. The road map would need to be flexible enough to handle pivots but sturdy enough to provide a definitive guide, perhaps with a few guardrails.
The same is true for business. When you've invested in a framework for scaling up, you reward yourself with a higher likelihood of seeing your business scaling strategy come to fruition. You also make scaling less stressful because everyone is working toward the same objectives rather than moving toward cross-purposes.
A solid infrastructure is a crucial building block to ultimately see growth and scalability in your business. Keep the following suggestions in mind to assemble your ideal infrastructure:
Related: Serve Your Employees With a Better Infrastructure
1. Make sure you have the right internal team in place
It will be challenging for your business to keep getting bigger if you have several skills and knowledge gaps in your team. The same is true if your staff is working at (or beyond) full capacity and you don't plan on bringing in any help. If your employees feel overwhelmed or unprepared as you scale up, you'll see your growth opportunities fall apart at the seams.
It is imperative to make sure you have the right people in place that have digital DNA and ensure your term is cross-functional with a high-level understanding of how to serve across all functions. For example, a technical person who knows how to create proper onsite functionality and work with the proper tracking tools such as pixels and tag manager will create results that are significantly more beneficial to the company.
You can start measuring your team's strength by developing two organizational charts. The first should show your organization as it is today, and the second should show it as it needs to be for your company to scale. Be sure to pick out any places where team members will require training to participate fully. Then figure out how to deliver that training so you can remain competitive throughout the business's rapid growth.
A recent Capterra survey indicates that nearly half of all companies asked said they were putting more funds into upskilling. Doing likewise makes sense because your employees will then be able to exhibit the confidence to master scaling, thanks to their education and the company's reorganization.
Related: 4 Mistakes to Avoid While Scaling Up Your Infrastructure
2. Refine your marketing machine
If your marketing efforts aren't producing impressive returns now, they won't suddenly start working great just because you scale. You could even end up wasting dollars on poorly designed marketing campaigns that don't reach the right audiences or deliver the data you need. As one study found, around one-quarter of all marketing budget funds could end up going down the drain for myriad reasons.
Marketing is a critical component because it sets the stage for you to bring in the leads you need to scale. Without more leads, you can't grow — case closed. So, before you get into growth mode, you need to refine your marketing, from PPC to SEO and all the acronyms in between. Start by determining which marketing tactics are driving the most qualified prospects into the top or middle of your sales funnel. You want to hone those tactics, so start testing ways to make them produce leads on a reliable basis.
Don't be afraid to take on a partner to outsource your marketing. Trying to do everything in-house can be both costly and challenging, particularly as your marketing becomes more complex (hint: It will!). The benefits of a partnership with an agency or provider that understands your business are widespread. You'll have access to expertise, advanced tools and innovative strategies that you don't usually have in-house. Even if you do have in-house marketing, the team might not be familiar with what works best in an ever-changing digital age. In contrast, an agency with multiple clients is more commonly on the cutting edge of innovation.
Plus, with an agency, you won't have to lean so heavily on your capital expenditures and employees to deploy campaigns, track data, create content or generate and interpret reports. Most importantly, a great agency will not only increase your chances to grow successfully but also help you achieve your goals faster with less effort and total investment.
3. Be certain your product works
This might sound like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised how many companies go all out before making sure they've addressed glaring flaws in the items they sell. Even if you're in a service industry, you must ensure all customer-facing experiences, features, assets and the like are ready for prime time.
Trying to gain steam when you're not selling something worth buying makes zero sense and often creates unnecessary friction between buyers and sellers. Nonetheless, companies routinely spend about 20% of their sales income on poor-quality products that haven't been adequately addressed. Not only will your sales and customer support representatives end up fielding unhappy calls all the time, but your brand reputation could take a terrible hit, too. As part of your infrastructure planning, be honest about any design snags in your offerings. Then spend time correcting them.
Don't forget that processes might also deserve some tweaks. Let's say your customers constantly complain about your time to ship. Those complaints aren't going to evaporate when you get larger. Smoothing them out makes a lot of sense, especially during the beginning stages of growth.
Related: Moving Beyond Startup Mode: 5 Tips for Building a Solid Infrastructure
Scaling might be on your mind in the near future. Don't rev the motor just yet, though. Make sure your infrastructure roadmap includes everything you need to make your scale adventure an unmitigated success.
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7 Best Infrastructure Stocks to Buy Now
Investors can use these growing stocks as building blocks for a segment of their portfolio.
Best Infrastructure Stocks
Renewable energy has been the focus for many infrastructure projects, thanks to a boost from federal funding.
Infrastructure in the form of bridges, roads, communications lines, railways and other physical assets form the backbone of the economy.
Increasingly, clean energy infrastructure is taking center stage as the global economy weans itself from reliance on fossil fuels. According to the World Bank, the energy sector had the largest share of private sector participation in infrastructure projects in the first half of 2023 for the first time in recent years, with 99% of new energy projects focused on renewable sources.
The U.S. has embarked on a big infrastructure improvement push, and according to Global X analyst Madeline Ruid, the outlook for infrastructure spending is benefiting from an increase in public and private funding related to the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the Inflation Reduction Act, and the CHIPS and Science Act.
"Policy efforts to accelerate the clean energy transition and bolster the U.S. manufacturing landscape are creating strong tailwinds for U.S. infrastructure development," she says. "Hundreds of billions are likely to be injected into the U.S. infrastructure space over the next several years, creating significant potential opportunities for companies across the infrastructure value chain."
With that in mind, here's a look at seven top infrastructure stocks for investors to consider in 2024:
*PWR stock is up 37.5% in the past 12 months.
Eaton Corp. ( ETN )
This multinational company is the top holding in the Global X U.S. Infrastructure Development ETF ( PAVE ). It sells products and services that help manage electrical, hydraulic and mechanical power.
In an earnings presentation earlier this month, Eaton said that in 2023, mega-project announcements in North America increased by $415 billion from the previous year. The company said that North American mega-project announcements have totaled $933 billion in the past three years.
"Less than 20% of these projects have started construction, meaning that companies like Eaton Corp. still have opportunities to potentially capture growth from these projects," Ruid says.
United Rentals Inc. ( URI )
This industrial and construction equipment rental company sits as the No. 2 holding in the PAVE ETF, and like Eaton, it is considered one of the top infrastructure stocks.
"The top holdings in PAVE reflect the range of products and services that are essential to driving forward U.S. infrastructure activity," Ruid says. "For example, United Rentals is the world's largest rental equipment provider for heavy machinery."
The company had a record-setting fourth quarter, which according to Ruid was "aided by solid year-over-year growth from customers developing projects such as battery manufacturing plants, semiconductor-related sites, data centers and power infrastructure, along with other infrastructure."
Martin Marietta Materials Inc. ( MLM )
This building materials supplier sells cement, concrete and asphalt as well as aggregates consisting of crushed stone, sand and gravel, making it a prime candidate for any infrastructure stocks list.
That includes a list of infrastructure stocks provided by Todd Shaffer, senior manager of research at VectorVest, a stock analysis and education firm. "For bullish candidates, we want to favor companies that are in rising price trends, are profitable, and forecast to grow those earnings faster than the combined rates of inflation and interest rates," Shaffer says.
That's true for Martin Marietta and the next three stocks, as well as Eaton and United Rentals, Shaffer says. "Each of these candidates has positive sales growth and pays dividends ," he says.
But no stock comes without risk.
"These candidates will struggle if commodity prices and interest rates rise, putting a squeeze on profit margins," he says.
Based on numbers from mid-January, Shaffer says Martin Marietta had a 12-month earnings forecast to grow 20% on sales growth of 10%.
Parker-Hannifin Corp. ( PH )
This diversified industrial conglomerate sells motion-control technologies for applications including hydraulics and pneumatics, and fluid and gas handling and sealing.
"Parker says about 85% of the revenue from these technologies has intellectual property protection, which we believe helps cement its competitive position, given the long product lifecycles and low reinvestment needs of this business," Morningstar analyst Spencer Liberman wrote recently.
According to Shaffer, as of Jan. 18, the company had a 12-month earnings forecast to grow 23% on sales growth of 15%.
Quanta Services Inc. ( PWR )
This company designs, installs, repairs and maintains energy and communications infrastructure for the utility, renewable energy, communications, pipeline and energy industries.
Quanta had a third quarter that set records across multiple metrics on strength in its electric power and renewable infrastructure segments. It said its total backlog rose above $30 billion for the first time, and it raised its full-year 2023 expectations for sales and adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA .
"Utility customers' multiyear capex plans remain strong, driven by grid modernization and security, system hardening initiatives, electric vehicle adoption, load growth and federal and state policy designed to accelerate the energy transition," according to a company presentation.
Quanta says achieving carbon reduction goals and implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act will require substantial, incremental investments in renewable generation, transmission and substation infrastructure.
According to Shaffer, as of Jan. 18, the company had a 12-month earnings forecast to grow 20% on sales growth of 26%.
Caterpillar Inc. ( CAT )
This company makes construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives.
Its construction equipment is sure to play a role in the modernization of the nation's infrastructure.
This month, the company said it had a record $67.1 billion in sales and revenues for 2023 based in part on its ability to receive the prices it set for its products. Caterpillar also attributed the record to higher sales of equipment to end users.
According to Shaffer, as of Jan. 18, the company had a 12-month earnings forecast to grow 22% on sales growth of 12%.
American Tower Corp. ( AMT )
The nation's infrastructure buildout isn't all about roads, bridges and tunnels. It's also about trying to boost communications coverage , especially in rural areas.
This company provides towers where it leases space to wireless communications tenants. It can host multiple tenants on a single tower.
The company has more than 40,000 tower sites in the U.S., with many in suburban and rural areas, giving it a springboard from which to capitalize on the push to deliver broadband service in more remote areas.
The company also has a broad footprint outside North America, so its growth trajectory isn't solely predicated on expansion in the U.S.
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Tags: investing , infrastructure , money , Eaton Corporation , Martin Marietta Materials , Caterpillar , American Tower Corp
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Embracing AI Transformation: How customers and partners are driving pragmatic innovation to achieve business outcomes with the Microsoft Cloud
Jan 29, 2024 | Judson Althoff - Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer
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This past year was one of technology’s most exciting with the emergence of generative AI, as leaders everywhere considered the possibilities it represented for their organizations. Many recognized its value and are eager to continue innovating, while others are inspired by what it has unlocked and are seeking ways to adopt it. At Microsoft, we are focused on developing responsible AI strategies grounded in pragmatic innovation and enabling AI Transformation for our customers. As I talk to customers and partners about the outcomes they are seeing — and rationalize those against Microsoft’s generative AI capabilities — we have identified four areas of opportunity for organizations to empower their AI Transformation: enriching employee experiences, reinventing customer engagement, reshaping business processes and bending the curve on innovation . With these as a foundation, it becomes easier to see how to bring pragmatic AI innovation to life, and I am proud of the impact we have made with customers and partners around the world. From developing customer-focused AI and cloud services for millions across Europe and Africa with Vodafone , to empowering customers and employees with generative AI capabilities with Walmart , I look forward to what we will help you achieve in the year ahead.
Enriching employee experiences and shaping the future of work with copilot technology
Bayer employees are collaborating better on worldwide research projects and saving time on daily tasks with Copilot for Microsoft 365, while Finnish company Elisa is helping knowledge workers across finance, sales and customer service streamline routine tasks. Banreservas is driving employee productivity and enhancing decision-making, and Hong Kong’s largest transportation companies — Cathay and MTR — are streamlining workflows, improving communications, and reducing time-consuming administrative tasks. Across professional services, KPMG has seen a 50% jump in employee productivity, Dentsu is saving hundreds of employees up to 30 minutes per day on creative visualization processes, and EY is making it easier to generate reports and access insights in near real-time with Copilot for Microsoft 365. In Malaysia, financial services organization PNB is saving employees time searching through documents and emails and AmBank employees are enhancing the quality and impact of their work. At Hargreaves Lansdown , financial advisers are using Copilot for Microsoft 365 and Teams to drive productivity and make meetings more inclusive. Avanade is helping sellers save time updating contact records and summarizing email threads with Copilot for Dynamics 365, while HSO Group, Vixxo, and 9altitudes are streamlining work for field and service teams.
Reinventing customer engagement with generative AI to deliver greater value and increased satisfaction
MECOMS is making it possible for utility customers to ask questions and get suggestions about how to reduce power consumption using Microsoft Fabric and copilot on their Power Pages portal. Schneider Electric has built a Resource Advisor copilot to equip customers with enhanced data analysis, visualization, decision support and performance optimization. California State University San Marcos is finding ways to better understand and personalize the student journey while driving engagement with parents and alumni using Dynamics 365 Customer Insights and Copilot for Dynamics 365. With Azure OpenAI Service, Adecco Group is bolstering its services and solutions to enable worker preparedness as generative AI reshapes the workforce, UiPath has already helped one of its insurance customers save over 90,000 hours through more efficient operations, and Providence has developed a solution for clinicians to respond to patient messages up to 35% faster. Organizations are building generative AI assistants to help employees save time, improve customer service and focus on more complex work, including Domino’s , LAQO and OCBC . Within a few weeks of introducing its copilot to personalize customer service, Atento has increased customer satisfaction by 30% while reducing operational errors by nearly 20%, and Turkey-based Setur is personalizing travel planning with a chatbot to customize responses in multiple languages for its 60,000 daily users. In the fashion industry, Coats Digital launched an AI assistant in six weeks to make customer onboarding easier. Greece-based ERGO Insurance partnered with EBO to provide 24/7 personalized assistance with its virtual agent, and H&R Block introduced AI Tax Assist to help individuals and small business owners file and manage their taxes confidently while saving costs.
Reshaping business processes to uncover efficiencies, improve developer creativity and spur AI innovation
Siemens built its own industrial copilot to simplify virtual collaboration of design engineers and front-line workers, accelerate simulation times and reduce tasks from weeks to minutes. With help from Neudesic , Hanover Research designed a custom AI-powered research tool to streamline workflows and identify insights up to 10 times faster. With Microsoft Fabric, organizations like the London Stock Exchange Group and Milliman are reshaping how teams create more value from data insights, while Zeiss is streamlining analytics workflows to help teams make more customer-centric decisions. Volvo Group has saved more than 10,000 manual hours by launching a custom solution built with Azure AI to simplify document processing. By integrating GitHub Copilot, Carlsber g has significantly enhanced productivity across its development team; and Hover , SPH Media , Doctolib and CloudZero have improved their workflows within an agile and secure environment. Mastery Logistics Systems and Novo Nordisk are using GitHub Copilot to automate repetitive coding tasks for developers, while Intertech is pairing it with Azure OpenAI Service to enhance coding accuracy and reduce daily emails by 50%. Swiss AI-driven company Unique AG is helping financial industry clients reduce administrative work, speed up existing processes and improve IT support; and PwC is simplifying its audit process and increasing transparency for clients with Azure OpenAI Service. By leveraging Power Platform, including AI and Copilot features, Epiq has automated employee processes, saving over $500,000 in annual costs and 2,000 hours of work each month, PG&E is addressing up to 40% of help desk demands to save more than $1 million annually, and Nsure is building automations that reduce manual processing times by over 60% and costs by 50%. With security top of mind, WTW is using Microsoft Copilot for Security to accelerate its threat-hunting capabilities by making it possible for cyber teams to ask questions in natural language, while LTIMindtree is planning on using it to reduce training time and strengthen security analyst expertise.
Bending the curve on innovation across industries with differentiated AI offerings
To make disaster response more efficient, nonprofit Team Rubicon is quickly identifying and engaging the right volunteers in the right locations with the help of Copilot for Dynamics 365. Netherlands-based TomTom is bringing the benefits of generative AI to the global automotive industry by developing an advanced AI-powered voice assistant to help drivers with tasks like navigation and temperature control. In Vietnam, VinBrain has developed one of the country’s first comprehensive AI-powered copilots to support medical professionals with enhanced screening and detection processes and encourage more meaningful doctor-patient interactions. Rockwell Automation is delivering industry-first capabilities with Azure OpenAI Service to accelerate time-to-market for customers building industrial automation systems. With a vision to democratize AI and reach millions of users, Perplexity.AI has brought its conversational answer engine to market in six months using Azure AI Studio. India’s biggest online fashion retailer, Myntra , is solving the open-ended search problem facing the industry by using generative AI to help shoppers figure out what they should wear based on occasion. In Japan, Aisin Corp has developed a generative AI app to empower people who are deaf or hard of hearing with tasks like navigation, communication and translation; and Canada-based startup Natural Reader is making education more accessible on-the-go for students with learning differences by improving AI voice quality with Azure AI. To solve one of the most complex engineering challenges — the design process for semiconductors — Synopsys is bringing in the power of generative AI to help engineering teams accelerate time-to-market.
As organizations continue to embrace AI Transformation, it is critical they develop clarity on how best to apply AI to meet their most pressing business needs. Microsoft is committed to helping our customers and partners accelerate pragmatic AI innovation and I am excited by the opportunities before us to enrich employee experiences, reinvent customer engagement, reshape business processes and bend the curve on innovation. As a technology partner of choice — from our differentiated copilot capabilities to our unparalleled partner ecosystem and unique co-innovation efforts with customers — we remain in service to your successful outcomes. We are also dedicated to preserving the trust we have built through our partnership approach, responsible AI solutions and commitments to protecting your data, privacy and IP. We believe this era of AI innovation allows us to live truer to our mission than ever before, and I look forward to continuing on this journey with you to help you achieve more.
Tags: AI , Azure , Azure AI , Azure OpenAI Service , Copilot for Dynamics 365 , Copilot for Microsoft 365 , Innovation , Microsoft AI , Microsoft Cloud , Microsoft Copilot for Security , Microsoft Partners , Microsoft Power Platform
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