Posted on July 30, 2012 by Alfred Arzuaga
Strategic Planning generally refers to the systematic process where an organization envisions its future direction by analyzing its current position and then developing a set of goals or objectives and an action plan to achieve them. Strategic Planning models vary greatly depending on the type of organization and the expected results of the planning process. The strength of this process lies in the flexibility of the plan and its ability to act in response to unforeseen factors and new opportunities.
Guidestar has published an article written by Bill Hoffman of Bill Hoffman and Associates, LLC outlining a four-step strategic planning process:
1. Get input from major stakeholders. Try to be as inclusive as possible in order to get a variety of ideas and recommendations. The article recommends using the classic SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) to gather information. Recently, there has been a preference by some groups for using a SOAR analysis (strengths, opportunities, aspirations and results). Again this will depend on the type of organization and the expected outcomes.
2. Uncover themes. There will be some overlap in ideas, so try to blend these into common themes in order to concentrate on the big picture. Competing themes will arise “…and that’s all right. This is not the time to decide which ideas to follow through on; it’s just to clarify the ideas that have been offered.”
3. Agree on priorities. Not every idea can be implemented. Keep the focus “narrow enough to be successful.” Limit the plan to four to six focus areas for the next couple of years.
4. Set measurable goals. This is important as it will allow the organization to track its progress. Keep in mind that the board and staff will have tasks for reaching the goals. Also, be sure to have deadlines for each goal.
This is a simple, yet powerful process that will give an organization’s board, staff and volunteers a sense of ownership and increase their commitment since they have been involved throughout the entire process.
Try it out!
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tagged: best practices, Economic Restructuring, Excellence, strategic planning, workplanning | Leave a Comment »
Posted on July 17, 2012 by Brad Belo - Virginia Main Street
This past spring, DHCD’s Virginia Enterprise Initiative awarded six innovation grants to help develop new and innovative techniques for cultivating and assisting micro-entrepreneurs. Three of the awardees (Bristol, Staunton and Waynesboro) are specifically targeting micro-entrepreneur development in their local Main Street districts.
Staunton Creative Community Fund, in Staunton, will continue to build off of its strong record of innovative entrepreneur development initiatives like Ignite Staunton and “Confessions of an Entrepreneur” by developing a local Hours Exchange Program, a networked community kitchen incubator and an online platform for sharing local Kickstarter projects.
Community Investment Collaborative (CIC) in Charlottesville will offer two 14-week entrepreneur development classes and will begin offering micro-financing to training graduates who want to start or expand their businesses.
United Virginia is expanding its micro-entrepreneur development services to southern Virginia. United Virginia will offer four 10-week entrepreneur development classes and will coordinate micro-financing for new or expanding businesses in southern Virginia.
Total Action Against Poverty (TAP) and its affiliate Business Seed Capital, Inc. (BSCI), working in the Roanoke region, is going to develop Virginia’s first solidarity lending program based on the Grameen Bank model. If successful, TAP and BSCI hope to establish the Virginia Chapter of Grameen America.
Believe in Bristol (BIB), Bristol’s Main Street organization, is going to develop and coordinate a micro-entrepreneur training and technical assistance program to encourage new businesses to fill up empty store fronts in Bristol’s Main Street district. The entrepreneur development program will be housed in BIB’s new offices.
The City of Waynesboro will work with nearby colleges and universities to develop a business competition program for new business graduates interested in starting a business in an empty store front in Waynesboro’s Main Street district. In addition to training and assistance in business start-up and micro-financing, the Waynesboro Downtown Development Inc. will help the three winners of the competition work with downtown landlords to find available rental space for their new businesses.
Filed under: Downtown, Economic Restructuring, Entrepreneurs, Uncategorized | Tagged: Bristol, BSCI, Grameen, Staunton, TAP, VEI, VEI Innovation Grants, Waynesboro | Leave a Comment »
Posted on July 13, 2012 by Brad Belo - Virginia Main Street
Congratulations to Hebah Fisher, program director at Community Investment Collaborative, who was recently recognized in C-Ville Weekly’s “The Power Issue” as one of the movers and shakers in Charlottesville. The 22-year-old Fisher has worked tirelessly and passionately to establish the Community Investment Collaborative, a new micro-enterprise development organization in Charlottesville that is training its first class of local entrepreneurs. Last year, a DHCD Virginia Enterprise Initiative (VEI) planning grant helped Fisher get CIC organized, and this year, a successful application for a $20,000 VEI Innovation Grant will help CIC train two more classes of entrepreneurs over the next year and allow CIC to start offering micro-financing to training graduates who want to start or expand their businesses.
Filed under: Entrepreneurs | Tagged: CIC, Community Investment Collaborative, Hebah Fisher, Innovation Grant, Planning Grant, VEI | Leave a Comment »
Posted on July 10, 2012 by Brad Belo - Virginia Main Street
Virginia Living has just released its “Best of VA” list and many Main Street communities had businesses that made the list. Below are some of the first place winners from Virginia’s Main Street communities. Virginia’s Main Street communities also had numerous second and third place winners that can be viewed here.
FIRST PLACE (Central/Living and Recreation/Best Boutique Hotel)
The Craddock Terry Hotel
FIRST PLACE (Shenandoah/Shopping and Services/Best Shopping Area)
FIRST PLACE (Shenandoah/Arts Culture and Entertainment/Best Art Event)
Fall Foliage Festival
FIRST PLACE (Southwestern/Food and Drink/Best Coffee Shop)
FIRST PLACE (Southwestern/People and City Life/Best Local DJ)
Ken Heath Bow Tie Pro Music
FIRST PLACE (Northern/Food and Drink/Best Diner)
FIRST PLACE (Southwestern/Food and Drink/Best Burger Joint)
Dip Dog Stand
Filed under: Shop Local, VMS | Leave a Comment »