CRANFIELD TRUST MASTERCLASS - Cash, competitors and the Wild West
“It’s like the Wild West out there. You have strangers riding into town promising the world.” So said one of the delegates at our recent masterclass on business planning for charities, referring to the way price-cutting commercial sector service providers are now competing against voluntary organisations for government contracts.
Dr Stephanie Hussels of Cranfield School of Management, who led the class, counselled against getting into a price war. This would be a high risk and unsustainable strategy for smaller organisations, she said, emphasising that ‘cash is king’. She encouraged charities to find their niches and specialisms, and to be really thorough in costing activities.
Charity managers need to set time aside from working IN their organisations to working ON them, Stephanie advised. And they shouldn’t forget to celebrate the milestones they achieve.
Using her experience of working with over 1,000 owner-managed businesses through the Business Growth Programme at Cranfield, Stephanie showed delegates how to write robust, ‘living’ business plans and then challenged them to put this into practice for six case studies.
By the end of the day, the 25 attendees felt much better equipped. “We can now redraft our business plan. Great tools to help us approach this” and “I can make a start devising a business plan and wouldn’t have said that pre-masterclass” were some of the comments.