For years as we traveled, we used a road map to show us how to get from point A to point B. Now we have a GPS in our car that tells us how to get from point A to point B. The road map and GPS are totally different processes of getting directions, but with the same outcome.
As chamber and association leaders, we need a map or GPS to get our organization where we need it to be. We call this map our chamber/association business plan. Without our business plan, we do not have direction for our organization. Without direction, we just go from one project to another without a clear cut purpose. This lack of a road map can land our organization in trouble and, many times, not functioning the way it should. Just like the road map and GPS, there are different ways of creating a business plan. All are similar but vary depending on our community and members.
To be an effective organization, we must have a sound direction, and that is created through the development of a business plan.
I have found the best way to create a business plan is through a board retreat. At the retreat, review everything your organization has done in the past year. Ask the question, “Do our projects add value to our members?” If a project does not add value to the organization, then don’t do it. Focus on what adds value to your members. After this evaluation, look at what could be added to your organization’s activity that would add value in the coming year for your members.
Then put your projects and goals for the year in a business plan that can be shown to your members. A good business plan can be used for both retention and recruitment.
Your business plan is the tool you need that will give you the direction for success! Remember, we all need directions to get where we are going.