Most private clubs do not have a strategic plan that is currently put into effect. Some might have a plan that was written out and placed in a drawer, but this is not the same as having a plan that you really believe in and plan on implementing. You must believe that the strategic plan has worth and you must understand how you will benefit from it.
The Goal of a Strategic Plan
The goal of a strategic plan is to create a road map for the future of the club. You will need to determine the goals of the club and also identify issues and needs that your club has. Achievements do not happen by accident but are instead based on deliberate planning.
Forecasting Future Growth
You will need to create a financial forecast that will realistically predict how many members you will be able to attract and how many you will be able to retain. You can then begin the process of determining weaknesses in your business practices that influence each of these metrics.
While it is important to plan for the future, unexpected developments and new technologies can also radically alter the value of private clubs. Don't simply take current growth and extrapolate it into the future. You must consider demographic trends, changes in the economy, aging populations and resources that are less available to your club. For example, if your club is located in some parts of California, you might have to account for the reduced availability of water that your location brings along with it.
The general manager plays a crucial role in the management of your strategic plan. General managers are often those who are in charge of the plan over a long period because the tenure of a general manager tends to exceed the tenure of a board. For this reason, make sure to work closely with the general manager so he or she can help you receive a better return on your investment.
The Role of Consultants
If you are still struggling to create a strategic plan that you're happy with, you may want to consider hiring a private club consulting service. While only you can determine who and what you are as a club, it can be helpful to also have an outside perspective that has experience in your industry. Consultants have research that they can rely on to help you make better decisions and more effectively utilize your resources.