As end of financial year approaches, it's best practice to prepare a plan for the year ahead. Don’t have the time or know where to start? We guide you through the process.
As a business leader preparing for a new financial year, best practice would dictate that you are about to or have recently prepared a business plan for the year ahead, establishing or optimising the key goals for your park business. Don’t have the time for a plan? Don’t know where to start? Our experts have compiled a blueprint to guide you and your team through the process.
Developing and implementing a business plan
A plan's core is the knowledge and experience you already have. Start by writing this down and sharing your vision and mission with relevant members of the park business to ensure they know and understand your grand plan and, in turn can help your work towards your business objectives.
Look at what your competitors are doing and benchmark yourself. How do the best in industry achieve their results and how do you compare to other parks in your town, region, state, country and other countries? At your level of turnover, what is ‘normal’ for wage costs, repairs and maintenance and motor vehicle expenses? By understanding this information and why you may or may not be different, you can then set your goals and plan for improvement.
It's also important to ask other key stakeholders for their input. Do your employees have ideas on how to take the business forward? Have you asked them? There is little to rival the empowerment gained through seeing your boss implement one of your ideas to benefit the business.
Do you know what key information you should be monitoring to give you the best picture of how your business is travelling? What information will help you predict the outcome of budgeted performance for the month before month-end?
The most successful businesses are those that make informed decisions based on drivers of results, not the actual result. Monthly profit and loss and management reporting are useful to understand past performance but shouldn’t take much more focus than that. Focusing on the information you can control for future performance is much more meaningful.
When using Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) like occupancy rates, number of enquiries, website hit rates, booking conversion rates, accommodation break-even points or revenue per site night, you must understand your business drivers and the measurement must be done on an ongoing basis. To realise the outcomes of your business plan, set KPIs that align with your strategic direction. They must be thoughtful, through and relevant. Use your KPIs to ensure you are on track or to identify warning signs and predict problems. But remember, too many KPIs is just a distraction and it always pays to keep it simple.
It’s all about accountability
There must be accountability for plans to be effective. After all, if there is no accountability, how will you drive performance?
To be successful, holiday park leaders need to instil the same values around accountability in the frontline staff as the owners. Your defined business plan should allocate clear action items and outcomes for your team.
Support your staff to achieve their goals but ensure there is accountability. Can your team see a direct correlation between their actions and the business’ overall success? Do you incentivise? Provide feedback, reward and recognition? Likewise, do you review poor performance effectively? Often, we fail to implement decisions to fix non-performance or reward and recognise staff in a timely manner, which can reinforce incorrect behaviours. Will you meet your business goals if you aren’t holding yourself and your team regularly accountable?
Back to the future
Many owners focus too much on past data, without focusing on the future and what they can plan for and control. Review your pricing strategy and advertising or marketing program, connect with your customers and market, and understand what they want to experience through your services and how much they are prepared to pay.
Research what your competitors are doing and offering and why your potential customers stay with them rather than you, and ensure your conversion process is strong. Are you effectively reaching out to your market and getting in front of your potential visitors? Do you have a strong balance sheet to help you overcome any short-term budgetary issues or general slowdown? In the current environment a budget is certainly not a set and forget; forecast, reforecast and reforecast again to keep on top of what cash flow issues you may run into or what surplus you may have and how this can be best utilised.
Time to start planning
Our tourist park experts can help you on your way – benchmarking data, occupancy rates, industry research, customer research and experience in the industry. Is it time to work on your business instead of in it? Contact one of our experts today to discuss what this means for you.