Part One: Why Set a Plan
In our introduction to this series, we identified the opportunity to use the next 100 days setting a plan to stabilize fiscal year 2022 revenues. Laying out strategy, expectations, and specific timelines for each external revenue source, a plan points your staff forward along the shared pathway to revenue recovery and growth. Across the nation, the next 100 days will be a period of change, of challenges, and then more quickly than you realize — a memory.
For college athletics, the next 100 days represent a window to convert a vision for brighter days in 2021–22 into an actionable strategy to generate revenue. Developing a strategy with defined goals and a specific course of action throughout the upcoming year prepares your team for success. Just as when a coach diagrams a play, creating a plan helps each member of the team better understand their role and importance in the work that can be done now to prepare for the future.
Call a plan whatever you’d like — a comeback strategy, a roadmap, or a blueprint for rebuilding revenues — the importance is recognizing the urgency to create a system focused on future revenues that can be easily maintained and adjusted to remain the driving force throughout the upcoming year.
Before continuing, two things must be acknowledged:
1. This approach is hyper-focused on financial stability through revenue generation. Recognizing there are many complex challenges facing college athletic departments, the availability of funding positively impacts all facets of your operation.
2. Setting a plan is not easy. Setting a plan takes a willingness to prioritize revenue generation from your department’s senior leadership team. It takes the commitment of staff to hold themselves accountable to execute the plan in addition to day-to-day duties.
A plan sets specific business strategies for athletic departments to navigate the complex revenue impact left in 2020’s wake. A lack of clarity exacerbates problems and allows this week’s issues and small fires that can feel urgent to overwhelm staff, inhibiting the preparation necessary to maximize future revenues.
A plan enables leaders to send a clear message to their staffs, teams and partners: We plan big things for tomorrow in spite of having no knowledge of the future. Stop waiting for certainty and for the influence of others to determine our actions.
The looming spring season would challenge and stretch the capacity of athletic department staff in the best of times. But with most schools having reduced staff and eliminated key positions, this spring is posed to be the most challenging in memory. The certainty of a defined plan permits your team to focus efforts on parallel tracks, allowing attention both to the immediacy of the spring season and the importance of taking specific action to support the long-term vision for the fiscal health of the department.
An actionable, written plan plays a stabilizing role in providing a path forward. With clear revenue strategies and the ability to look ahead, veterans and inexperienced staff alike can find confidence in a defined direction. Despite not knowing when stadiums and arenas can return to full capacity, revenue gains can instead be achieved by focusing on the needs of fans, corporate partners, and donors. The budgets of external partners and new potential revenue sources are not on hold waiting for announcements of a return to play.
Keys to set your plan for successful revenue growth:
· Introduce a shared vision and set markers
· Identify quarterly revenue generation strategies
· Create calendar of key times and seasonal campaign opportunities to connect messages to key audiences
· Identify opportunities, find efficiencies, and develop partnerships that set a foundation for future success.
Setting a plan is the first of three steps to develop your comeback plan. Now that you’re ready to establish a plan, what does that look like? Next, we’ll examine the eight components of a plan for converting a vision for the future into actionable steps for stabilizing 2021–22 revenues.