Before you begin the process of thinking in detail about what you want to develop and how, it’s important to understand what you are hoping to achieve overall and why.
This will be an important part of considering options for the way forward later on and for engaging other stakeholders in the plan.
You can’t build without good foundations, so this is a chance to consider your starting point honestly – what as a business do you do well and what could be a bit better?
There are a number of tools that can help guide your thinking...
Customer, Process, Product and Staff – look at your business in these four areas, who are your customers? What do they think? What processes do you have in place to ensure consistency? Are there processes that need to change? What are the products? What staff do you have? How engaged are they? Are they working to the same vision?
SWOT Analysis – look objectively at your internal strengths and weaknesses and externally to the market opportunities and threats – for the external analysis model c below (STEEP) can help consider the external marketplace.
STEEP Analysis – look externally to the Social, Technological, Environmental, Economic and Political situations that may impact your business – what are the opportunities to capitalise on? What changes are on the horizon?
Destination Check Up – for destination development, there are a number of models that can help review the current situation, a good starting point is the NCTA model which references ETIS and Visit England’s Health Check.
Using the notes from the previous step, take a moment to summarise -
Core competencies – What you’re good at!
What were the two or three key things that make your business or destination special, what is your unique selling point?
Brainstorm ideas – what are the options for growth and barriers to overcome
Jot down any ideas that you want to pursue, as well as some of the barriers you need to overcome to deliver change.
No doubt you have a big list of things you could do, but at this stage try and reduce the list to a handful that would either be most achievable, and / or can really add value to the customer experience and your overall objective.
With the short-list in hand, now is the time to really consider what is needed to make them happen:
How much investment do they require (both time and financial)? What help do you need to make it happen? How long before you see a return on the investment?
This simple table will help you evaluate each idea in more detail* - Download table
Time to be objective and consider what is really right for the business, how many activities can you honestly commit to? Which ones are best for the business?
With decisions made, time to put them into action and make sure you stay on track – writing down the action plan will help keep the project focussed – use the SMART system for each action (break the tasks down to be Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, Time)
As a general rule:
Before starting, it’s important to consider what will success look like? What are any investors expecting? What reports or information do they need? What are the check-points to see how the project or activity is developing so that you can review progress and make sure the project stays on track.
At all stages of the development it’s important to communicate regularly to all involved parties, update them on what is being done? Why? And what support you need?
Remember the golden rule of project management – deal with any problems or conflict as soon as you know about it – it always surfaces and better to address it before it’s too late and the project is compromised.
This simple guide will take you through a step-by-step process to show you how to identify the opportunities for growth and develop an action plan to make it happen!