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The Strategic Plan - benefits & contents

Why plan?  Planning is an essential aspect of good management, enabling an organisation to move, in a structured way, towards achievable objectives.  The plan is then used to measure progress towards those objectives.

In encouraging whole-of-organisation commitment to strategic planning, it may be useful to itemise and communicate the key benefits of planning for the organisation.  The Strategic Plan:

  • clarifies the organisation’s aims
  • communicates artistic and business/operational direction
  • identifies priorities
  • optimises resources, including time
  • gives a sense of direction and purpose
  • clarifies the positioning of the organisation in the minds of its stakeholders, including audiences
  • establishes objectives
  • monitors outcomes, functionality and effectiveness
  • allocates responsibilities
  • steers around avoidable problems

Planning needs and associated processes can also be assessed from a basic list of documents that make up the strategic plan.  All State Arts Departments as well as the Australia Council (the Federal Government’s arts funding and advisory body) have adopted a standard business plan format for use by their clients.  It is called The CMC Harmonised Reporting Business Plan Framework and lists the following core components:

  • Mission statement for the organisation: A concise, inspiring summary of your organisation’s purpose in five lines or less
  • Executive summary: The key messages of the business plan in less than one page.  It is written last and captures the strategic direction of the plan
  • Context: A brief history of the organisation, summarising the strategic issues facing the organisation following assessment of the internal and external environment; current and potential markets for your product; and what competitors your organisation faces in those markets
  • Goals and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): Where you want the organisation to be, clearly articulated and with goals that are measurable.  The KPIs are the critical performance benchmarks used to monitor achievement of your goals
  • Strategies: Major initiatives undertaken to achieve your goals, given an order of priority and attached to the name of a person who is responsible for implementing each one
  • Artistic Plan: The artistic rationale of your program, an overview of the program for each year and ways to measure the artistic vibrancy
  • Marketing Plan: The marketing goals and strategies that will achieve your KPIs, demonstrating an understanding of your target market, responsiveness to target markets and evidence of market research
  • Financial Plan: Further details of how to implement the financial strategies that underpin the artistic vision, including an assessment of current financial situation, financial goals and a vision of the financial situation at the end of the period covered by the business plan
  • Management: Organisational structure, Governance, Succession Plan and Risk Management

The CMC Harmonised Reporting Business Plan Framework provides further detailed guidance under each of these components.  It also includes a Companion Resource: “Core Elements of a Strategic Marketing Plan”.

Download pdf version

To download a copy of the CMC Harmonised Reporting Business Plan Framework, click here.