Writing a management plan
Although each management plan is relevant to a particular facility and its core business, there are a number of key components that must be considered.
- executive summary
- industry and organisation
- market research
- customer services plan
- human resources plan
- asset management plan
- financial plan
- future considerations
A check-list of topics to be included in the management plan is summarised below.
Executive summary and recommendations
The executive summary provides a brief overview of the key components of the management plan and incorporates recommendations. Keep your main points in mind as you write the summary. You do not need to include every point in the summary, but ensure
that the major ideas are covered succinctly. This summary should be able to be read and understood as a separate document from the management plan.
An executive summary is always at the beginning of a management plan.
Industry and organisation
This section of the management plan provides an assessment of influential trends in the sport and recreation industry relating to your facility and background detail on the organisation. This includes:
- Review of the recreation industry The current status and prospects of the sport and recreation industry relevant to your facility, i.e. any new services, developments, trends/ factors which may affect your facility.
- Description of your organisation A short overview of historical milestones and past achievements of the organisation.
- Operational philosophy How the proposed facility (if applicable) is consistent with current operations of the organisation. The financial, social and equity philosophy of your organisation and how these ideals and values impact on the
operation of your facility.
- Mission statement The purpose of the facility, the target market and type of services to be offered (as referred to in Section 3 of this guide).
- Critical success factors and issues facing
Market research is a difficult section to prepare but one of the most important when developing a management plan. Collecting statistics and market research data will help you meet the needs of existing and potential customers and gain a greater
understanding of your industry. Once you have a clearer understanding of market trends you are then able to implement practices to help your business grow.
This component should provide an analysis of your competitors, customers and the marketplace. It should:
- Demonstrate that the facility will have a substantial market in a growing industry.
- Provide data that proves attendance and revenue projections can be achieved despite the competition.
- Identify who your competitors are, their strengths and weaknesses and how they are likely to react to competitive pressure.
- Provide data on your existing customers and usage patterns. Identify your target groups — their size, particular needs, why they use your facility and how much they are willing to pay.
- Analyse the market in which you operate and create a market niche for your facility. Evaluate the services/products being provided by your competitors and look for gaps within the market place. Broaden the boundaries of the market by envisioning
services/products that do not yet exist. Seek out opportunities that will enable your facility to make a difference — the potential to offer something new!
Market research methods
Each market research project varies and involves five basic steps:
Step 1: Define the problem
Write down in simple terms what you need to know and how you will use the information. Based on the problem definition, develop a set of research objectives. Data is collected to satisfy these objectives. A large
survey or research process is not necessary to obtain good, useful information.
Step 2: Work out how to collect the data
There are two types of data, primary and secondary. Secondary data is much quicker and cheaper to collect as it has already been collected and often in a form which can be readily used:
- Internal data collected for other purposes such as financial reports, attendance figures, membership details, player registration cards.
- Government publications such as census data, household expenditure estimates and industry reports.
- Academic journals, newspapers, published market research reports.
- Trade publications such as directories and magazines.
Primary data is obtained by observation, experimentation and survey. Observation is an effective way of collecting information about customers. All that is required is observing what customers do before, during and after participating in a program.
- Observation is the most effective way of collecting information. It involves watching what people do before, during and after participating in a recreation program.
- Surveys, using a questionnaire, can be conducted by telephone, mail, email, personal or group interviews. This is the common method used for collecting information.
- Experimentation is the least used method of collecting data. It could be used to test reaction to two different types of program, by offering a group of customers the chance to participate in both activities and measuring their response.
Step 3: Collecting the data
Secondary data is easy to collect as it is readily available. Collecting primary data can be time consuming and costly. To ensure the results are valid and reliable, it is recommended to obtain expert help to design
the questionnaires, select the sample and determine the size. If any of these tasks are done incorrectly, the whole study may be worthless.
Step 4: Analyse and interpret the data
Statistics must be carefully evaluated. There are many software programs available to allow thorough analysis of the data and cross comparisons. For straightforward questionnaires, a simple spreadsheet
would be adequate.
Step 5: Report the findings
The final step is to document the findings, reach conclusions and make a series of recommendations.
Customer services plan
This section provides a description of how you intend to sell your programs and services to your potential customers. This includes:
- Target markets — describe your targeted customers and your lower priority customer groups.
- Programs and services — describe the features of the programs, pricing strategies and services to be offered to each target group. Include a proposed program timetable and details of any permanent bookings. Consider how future programs
will be developed.
- Marketing strategies — how you plan to promote your services and facilities to your target groups. Include advertising methods, fee schedule and discounting strategies, standards of presentation, methods of quality control and desired
- Other services — information on the range of services to be offered such as kiosk and merchandising, crèche and disabled facilities, locked facilities, security services and equipment hire.
Human resources plan
This section provides an outline of the organisational structure, levels of authority and strategies for maintaining a high standard of management. This includes:
- Organisation Structure — details of staff structure, lines of authority, number of staff and qualifications required, job descriptions, employment contracts, staff rosters, relief staff, external professional support and volunteer involvement.
A flow chart of the organisation’s staffing levels is a good example of this. Also include the structure and role of any committees.
- Training Opportunities — provide information on proposed training and professional development programs; prospects for career development and multi-skilling.
- Administration — describe day-to-day operational procedures, booking and enrolment procedures, hours of operation, safety and emergency procedures.
Asset management plan
An asset management plan is critical to the management of a facility. To protect the high capital investment and ensure the reliable operation of your facility, a preventative maintenance program must be established. In your management plan include
a physical description of your centre and detail strategies for building maintenance. It should include:
- Asset inventory — details with various components/areas within the facility, key design features, rental or leasing arrangements for buildings, plant or equipment.
- Maintenance schedule — provide building maintenance schedules, procedures for rectifying faults and repairs, plant and equipment replacement schedules, purchasing systems, security features, inventory control systems and conditions of
- Energy consumption program — outline specific cost saving technologies, plant and equipment monitoring systems, quality control features.
The Department of Sport and Recreation’s Asset Management Guide January 2004 has the information to assist organisations with developing an asset management plan. This is available through the Department of Sport and Recreation’s website
on www.dsr.wa.gov.au or the nearest office to you.
Past, present and projected financial data must be presented to assess the viability of the facility, including:
- Past and projected financial statements covering the previous 12 months and the next two years. Include cash flow statements, profits and loss statements and balance sheets.
- Show the level of sales required to meet budget expectations.
- Clearly outline all assumptions made.
- Outline risk factors and contingency plans, i.e. shortfalls in attendance levels, increases in interest rates, cost escalation on major expenditure items, loss of key staff or reductions in competitors’ fees.
All facilities face problems and all future projections are based on assumptions. This section outlines any future considerations that impact on your facility including:
- How your management plan links into the strategic or long term vision of your organisation.
- What resources will be required to determine future programs and directions.
- What resources will be required to remain competitive in a technological sense.
- What building extensions, modifications or upgrades to your facility will be required in the future.
Prepare for surprises — identify and assess possible risks and how you will deal with the situation should any of these risks actually occur. Risk is defined as the chance of something happening that will have an impact on objectives. It
is measured in terms of consequence and likelihood.
This section describes how you intend to measure your performance and whether or not you are achieving your objectives. Gather only information that can be used. Information that can be monitored on a regular basis includes:
- Daily attendances and user profile information (age, sex, demographics, time of use).
- Weekly checks of cash flow, operating costs, number and nature of complaints, suggestions and compliments received, number of injuries and accidents that occurred.
- Monthly checks of financial reports, attendance figures, meter readings of services and maintenance checks.
- Quarterly checks of stocks levels, gross profit margins on various product lines, satisfaction ratings of customers obtained via surveys of ratepayers, residences and users.