Part Two: Key Elements of the Plan — What’s it Going to Take?
With your organization preparing a plan for success, it’s vital that you break the academic year down into manageable increments. As in sports where the game is broken into smaller increments of time: innings, halves, or quarters, when it comes to business and revenue generation, we play quarters. The breakdown into quarters allows for goal-planning and revenue projections that are manageable for senior leadership and staff who are executing in the trenches.
Your quarterly breakdown does not need to be complicated or difficult. Lay out plans for the next 12 months with success leading to revenue generation being the goal. Direct, frank conversations with senior leadership and staff to create ambitious but realistic goals to put staff in a position to succeed will lead to positive revenue generation.
Step 5: Quarter-by-Quarter Revenue Planning
(a) Break down larger objectives into manageable increments
(b) Focus on goals. Break annual goals into quarterly goals and monthly goals
- Create a calendar that will illustrate if revenues are ahead or behind at the end of each month. This allows teams to adjust course and make up ground to still reach quarterly goals
- Transparency is key. A calendar keeping an active, up-to-date tracking of goals keeps all team members in the loop and pulling in the same direction,
(c) Set realistic targets. Accuracy is the aim. No one is served by creating out-of-reach goals to push staff beyond reasonable limits
(d) Strive to look two quarters ahead for actions that need to be taken to capture revenue and realize goals, keeping staff from scrambling last-minute
Step 6: Add Innovation and Improvement Initiatives to Each Quarter (Identify three areas for quarterly growth)
(a) Signature events
- Focus on one key event each quarter that can manufacture a revenue spike.
- Plan for events that can pivot with restrictions, don’t depend on in-person attendance, or can be flexed into future quarters
- By identifying just one signature event each quarter, concentrate efforts and don’t exhaust the team.
- Add a hospitality offering to a big game; new branding opportunities; or create a new themed game to tack onto existing efforts.
- Examples include: Midnight Madness rallies, concerts, or spirit events that could be moved to the night before a rivalry game; Industry recruiting events that connect new businesses to students who might not otherwise attend a game; or a “Taste of the Town” game experience where local restaurants can highlight the best of their menu to enhance game day offerings and attract a wider audience of foodies to become future fans.
(b) Sponsorship category focus
- Identify the key category gaps and bring the connections together from coaches, ticket sellers, and university leadership to identify new prospects in key categories
- For example, Q1: focus on Automotive; Q2: Financial Services; Q3: Hotels; Q4: Insurance.
- When the full team is made aware of what sponsorship categories are in the crosshairs, a wider net can be cast and personal connections can help to identify opportunities.
- Coaches, trainers, and sports information directors are in conversations throughout the community. When they’re informed on targets, not only can they help to connect prospects, but will be more engaged in the long-term success of a partnership.
(c) Fan engagement initiatives
- Flash apparel sales for fans, staff, and alumni to buy gear for family and friends to share their passion
- Behind the scenes tours for season ticket holders, sponsors, and donors to see the locker room, run out of the tunnel, and experience gameday from a player’s perspective
When laying out the quarterly plan, ensure that strategies and specific objectives are identified in each quarter while overlaying the revenue innovations. The example below helps identify the objectives and help focus on keeping the main thing the main thing:
Step 7: Apply the Five Stages of Planning
Set the system for seeking and securing new revenue by implementing the five stages of planning for each goal.
Stage One: List out the required tasks to accomplish each goal.
Stage Two: Determine the personnel and resources required to complete the above tasks.
- This process is crucial. As you identify personnel and resources, you may discover that the goal is too ambitions. That’s okay — that’s what the process is for.
- If the resources are too great, adjust or eliminate the goal now — not while you are midstream having already devoted numerous resources, creating a sunk cost.
Stage Three: List the potential obstacles, delays, or further investments necessary to reach the goal
- In addition to potential obstacles, delays and investments, you must also list a plan of action to overcome the obstacles and delays or a plan to acquire the necessary investments.
Stage Four: Identify timelines required to reach the goal
- When will you need to start engaging prospects or purchase ticket-driving giveaway item to deliver on time?
Stage Five: Name names. Identify who is responsible for each goal.
- Creates accountability and it is on the lead for each goal to ask for help
- Transparency is always vital. Let the whole team know who is responsible for what and have clear deadlines for periodic check-ins and updates.
Step 8: Communicate the Plan
There’s a quote by Napolean Hill, “Goals are dreams with a deadline.” When creating a plan for revenue in 2021–22, each goal needs a clear strategy, clear steps for achieving it, and clear deadlines. By creating and communicating a plan with the strategies for success, leaders inspire those around them to know that while the road ahead won’t be smooth, there is a specific plan for how the team will achieve success together.
- When you share timeframes, key steps, and clear markers, only then can a team envision the future in those same increments.
- This is what we talk about in “Part One: Why Set a Plan.” This step is critical to implementation. The message must come from the top that the plan is a priority. If revenues are ahead or behind planned benchmarks, then the plan can be adjusted, but should remain a constant in the 2021–22 strategy.