Success does not just happen. Behind any successful club there will be a team who have a vision for the future and who have spent time planning how the club will develop. I mentioned in my last post (the importance of member retention) how important it is for clubs to have a medium term plan to identify how they wish to grow. Plans are essential not just for club growth but for a diverse range of projects. As a minimum I suggest a club have a development plan, but the following principles can be adopted for any events in club life.
There are some core business principles that apply to planning. I suggest you use four stages:
In this first of four posts I will look in more depth at the preparation stage.
Firstly you must identify your aim. If this is a club development plan this could equally become your Club Vision. Quite simply what do you want your future to be and what benefits will this give to your members? It may help you to complete a SWOT analysis on your club. For those who are not familiar with this terminology this involves looking at the strengths/ weaknesses/ opportunities/ threats that the club have.
- Strengths – what are you already good at and what can be built on?
- Weaknesses – what are you not doing well?
- Opportunities – what opportunities can you see for the club?
- Threats – what barriers to success may there be (look at external and internal influences)
Another essential element of the preparation phase is to get the right people in place to drive the initial planning phase. This is not necessarily the same team who will implement the plan; until the plan is written you will not know what skills you require. However you will need a group of members representing all sections of the club to work together on preparing the plan.
Your first task as a group should be to hold a brain storming session around each of the SWOT items and write down ALL suggestions. This information then forms the basis upon which you can identify:
- Where you are now
- Where you want to be in the future
- How realistic your future vision is and whether it needs adapting to become achievable
Armed with the current facts you are better equipped to evaluate what steps are required to progress and how far you can progress. Don’t feel pressured to have a high powered plan with lots of elements to it; your plan may simply be based around maintaining membership levels or improving your member retention.
It is important that your aims are not vague. For example you may have as your vision:
We will be the most successful cricket club in Kent
What is success? What does it look like? How long before you want to achieve your success? How will you assess whether you have been successful? You need to break this down into measurable goals, you might now define success as one or a combination of the following:
- Having a junior academy of 150+ children before end 2016
- Having a team in each of the top divisions for Saturday and Sunday cricket by 2016
- Having a second team in each of the 2nd divisions for Saturday and Sunday cricket by 2017
- Having a bank reserve in excess of £10k by 2015
- Having our own clubhouse and training facilities by 2020
- Achieving ClubMark Status by 2017
Making goals measurable means you are in a position to measure your success rather than making sweeping subjective claims about your success.
Upon completion of the preparation phase you should have therefore identified your aims for the plan and broken these down into measurable achievements. You need to have understood your barriers to success, understood what it is you are already doing well and the opportunities you have to develop your current successes and see what threats the club may face. Finally you should have your team in place ready to commence the planning phase.
In my next post I shall take a look in more detail at the planning stage and how clubs can tackle this phase.