Road map to get back to profitability?

中国日报网 2014-05-09 10:47



Road map to get back to profitability?Reader question:

Please explain “road map” in this sentence: We have a road map to get back to profitability.

My comments:

They have a detailed plan, in other words.

A road map here is a metaphor. What they have is not a map of roads, but instead a clear and detailed business plan to get back to profitability.

Suppose the company’s been losing money and are now looking for more money from the bank to keep them afloat. The bank doesn’t want to keep lending to this company, of course, for obvious reasons – the bank runs the risk of losing a lot if this company one day, say, goes bankrupt. In this situation, what the company needs is a road map to profitability in order to convince the bank to lend them more money.

Back to the road map. A road map, as name suggests, is a map that lists all the roads, high ways and streets in a region or country. Now if you are a traveler into a new territory, you’ll need a road map in the literal sense. A road map allows you to know which routes to take to get to where you want to go. Without a road map, as you can imagine, you’ll be just be wandering – without getting anywhere in particular. Without a road map, that is, you may never reach your destination. Without a map, sooner or later, you’ll find yourself in the middle of nowhere.

Without a road map, in short, you’ve got to have GPS.

I’m kidding, of course, as I am not one who puts a lot of store by technology. Even if you do trust GPS, come to think of it, GPS only gives you an idea of where you are and where a certain place is, but you still need a road map telling you which roads to take and where to make the correct turns.

Anyways, a road map is a detailed plan for you to get to where you want to go. By analogy and figuratively speaking, if a company says they have a road map to profitability, then they have a step-by-step plan to get back to making a profit. In our example, they should know exactly what they have to do every step along the way, after, first, securing more money from the bank.

Let’s just hope they really know what they’re talking about. Let’s just hope the banks believes them one more time.

Alright, here are more media examples of people having or not having a “road map”:

1. First Lady Michelle Obama says the country now has a road map to reach her stated goal of curbing childhood obesity within a generation.

“We all know that it’s possible. We know we have the tools, we know we have the resources to make this happen. And now, thanks to the work of the Task Force, we have a road map for implementing our plan across our government and across the country,” Mrs. Obama said.

The First Lady unveiled the Childhood Obesity Task Force’s 90-day review, which the President ordered after the February launch of the Let’s Move! initiative. The review includes more than 70 recommendations encompassing a variety of federal agencies, calling for more access to healthy food, safer routes for kids to walk and bike to school, expanding physical education in school, including more children in the federal school lunch program, even encouraging all primary care physicians to assess BMI during regular checkups by 2012.

“We don’t need new discoveries or new inventions to reverse this trend,” Mrs. Obama said. “All we need is the motivation, the opportunity and the willpower to do what needs to be done.”

With the First Lady leading the charge, the Task Force hopes to reduce the number of overweight and obese children from its current levels of nearly one in three children, down to five-percent of kids by 2030. Cabinet members and Administration officials will also play a big part in addressing the issue. This month alone, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, HUD Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing Sandra Henriquez, DOI National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis, along with USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack will each hold events tailored to reinforce the get fit message.

- First Lady Unveils “Road Map” to Tackle Childhood Obesity,, May 11, 2010.

2. An experiment to offer for-credit, online-only college courses to the public at low cost will take a semester to retool before the classes go back online, say those leading the San Jose State Plus pilot project.

“If you keep teaching, you never have time to stop and reflect,” said San Jose State Provost Ellen Junn, who is reviewing the results from the spring and summer sessions. “We thought that this would be a natural breaking point.”

San Jose State teamed up with Udacity, an online education company, to see if students would do better in remedial and entry-level math courses offered online than in a traditional format.

The results from the pilot project are still being analyzed, but preliminary findings showed that less than half of the group -- which included high school students and college students who had failed math before -- had passed the classes.

The students struggled to pass their final exam, and some said they would have done better if they had more time to prepare for it -- an adjustment that might be made, said Udacity founder Sebastian Thrun.

But Junn and Thrun both said the passing rates should not be compared to typical college courses, as some of the students weren't yet in college, and others had struggled in the subject. Remedial courses at community colleges typically have passing rates of 10 percent or less, Junn said.

On a more promising note, 83 percent of the students completed the courses, which Thrun said was “great news.”

Thrun said it will take time to make the adjustments -- for example, how to offer a final exam at different times.

“I wish everything went right on the first attempt,” Thrun said. “But that’s what pilots are for.”

Junn -- who said she found the preliminary results intriguing -- said those involved in the project are making decisions as they go. “This has never been done before. There’s no road map,” she said.

Research with findings from the study is expected to be released in early August.

- San Jose State suspends online courses,, July 19, 2013.

3. The government’s newest national assessment of climate change declares that increased global warming is affecting every part of the United States.

The report released Tuesday cites wide and severe impacts: more sea-level rise, flooding, storm surges, precipitation and heat waves in the Northeast; frequent water shortages and hurricanes in the Southeast and the Caribbean; and more drought and wildfires in the Southwest.

“For a long time, we have perceived climate change as an issue that’s distant, affecting just polar bears or something that matters to our kids,” said Katharine Hayhoe, a Texas Tech University professor and a co-author of the report. “This shows it’s not just in the future; it matters today. Many people are feeling the effects.”

The federal climate assessment — the third since 2000 — brought together hundreds of experts in academia and government to guide U.S. policy based on the best available climate science.

The authors of the more-than-800-page report said it aims to present “actionable science” and a road map for local leaders and average citizens to mitigate carbon and other gas emissions that warm the planet.

But the report ran immediately afoul of conservative critics who called it a political document, aimed at giving President Obama a leg up on regulating major polluters such as power plants. In their opinion, regulation costs jobs. Obama, who is increasingly focusing on climate change, spent part of the day talking about the report with television meteorologists from across the country.

- U.S. climate report says global warming impact already severe,, May 6, 2014.



About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at:, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.


Social safety net?

Turn the tables?

Spanner in the works?

(作者张欣 中国日报网英语点津 编辑:Helen)


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