Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan

One of the reasons winning CE programs win is because they plan. Most important is a two-five year Strategic Plan and One-Year Business Plan.

LERN has a model for both and over the past six months has been working with a number of continuing education units helping them build one or both plans.

Although having a Strategic Plan is important, it is critical to have an One-Year Business Plan. The initiatives and goals of the Strategic Plan feed into the One-Year Business Plan, so without a functional One-Year Business Plan the impact of the Strategic Plan is reduced.

The following is the LERN One-Year Business Plan Model –

  1. Goals. 3-5 most important goals, such as purchasing a new software system, for the continuing education unit to improve the unit’s overall performance.
  2. Budget/Benchmarks. The continuing education unit’s overall budget (using the LERN Financial Format) and the benchmarks tracked at the unit level, such as staff productivity.
  3. Division Budget, Totals, Benchmarks, Market Segments, and Strategies. The continuing education unit is supported by divisions, Business programming for example, and each division has an “operating margin” budget, the number of classes/events to offer and/or contracts to sell totals, benchmarks specific to the division, market segments served by the division, and strategies for increasing revenue/participation.
  4. Divisions by Term/Quarter. The revenue/participation totals in 3 above broken down by term or quarter.
  5. Promotions. A listing of the various promotions, such as printed catalog, the continuing education unit will be using to promote their offerings/services.
  6. Promotion Timeline. A timeline for the promotion campaigns the continuing education unit will be rolling out during the year.
  7. Staff Responsibilities. A 3-5 point bullet listing of who on staff does what either by functional area, such as Operations, or by person.

The One-Year Business Plan should be prepared and approved three months prior to the start of the upcoming fiscal year, but if your fiscal year starts on July 1 and you do not have a One-Year Business Plan, you still have time to get your plan completed.