Build a Vision; Make the Right Plans
The development and management of great places starts with a clear, achievable plan that all partners and stakeholders can support and follow. This strategic plan is often the key to solving problems and identifying opportunities in your area.
Having a common shared vision, ideally summed up in a sentence, helps remind people why you formed your local partnership and sets the 'window' your group views projects through. The best way to do this is get out and talk to people; what do they think of your town centre? Where would they improve it? Why not get them to fill in a Town Centre Personality Test?
Once you have a vision in place, there are two plans that will really help your local partnership.
Your business plan should to identify the strategic priorities for your partnership over a 3 to 5 year period (at least), with measures of success attached to these
Your action plan is a 12 month document detailing how you intend to deliver, in that year, against your strategic objectives. This is much more detailed on a practical level and should include budget costs and measures of success
To write a good plan it will be important to review the context, future developments and resources affecting your local area. This might include a review of the partnership or the area in order to identify the priorities for the plan. There are a number of methods and templates available for testing the well-being of your high street detailed elsewhere in this guide. For more information see ATCM Town Centre Health Check.
For those with little experience of writing business plans, it may be wise to read a few plans from other places then follow popular models to help guide the process. There are examples on the ATCM website.
Examples of steps you may want to take prior to writing your business plan include:
A ‘SWOT’ analysis of your town centre's Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats
Identify who the target market is for your location – are you interested in tourists, the local community...both? How are these groups going to be reached, and what do they want?
Try to frame your objectives using the SMART test (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time Orientated) as a starting point
Assign each action to an ‘owner’ who will take the lead and make sure their part of the plan is delivered
Allocate defined resources including funding to key elements of the plan
Define what 'success' looks like for each project. There is a useful free guide here
It's generally good practice to review your business plan at the end of each year. This lets people who are perhaps paying for your local partnership know how you've been getting on, and may even win you some new funding in the future. An annual report can be simple to put together, either on paper or electronically, so you don't have to break the bank.