On my travels over the past year or so to many different types, sizes and locations of dive centres I have come across many different types of plans in these dives centres. Although there are many dive centres that have plans and strategies in place there are very many that do not. Of this group of dive centres I think that the types of planning I see can be broadly grouped into two main categories. The first and most common one I see is the “Make it up as we go” strategy. The second type is the dive centre that has a year plan proudly displayed in the office but mid way through the year hasn’t implemented any of the well thought out plans they had put together for the year.
Having a plan within your business becomes critical to staying ahead of the competition and significant to the future success of your business. Failure to acknowledge the power of planning can be the end to any growth within a business and if you don’t know where your business is going, it’s going nowhere.
Regardless of what method of planning you decide to carry out, there are a few basic questions you should be trying to answer in your planning processes. These questions should include some of the following:
- Where are we now?
- Where do we want to go?
- How are we going to get there?
- Who will do what and by when?
- How are we measuring our success?
This is a pretty simple way to describe planning but if you are focusing on some form of these questions, you can put together a road map for your dive business. The planning process does not have to be complicated. In fact, if your planning process is complicated then you run the risk that nobody will understand it or people will interpret it in a different way to what you had envisioned.
There are two types of plans to implement. The first is your strategic plan. This is developing a strategy for the dive business. The second part is the planning. What steps need to be taken to execute the Dive businesses strategy.
Some of the benefits of Strategic Planning include the following:
- Provides a method for decision making within a business.
- Allow staff to ask and answer important questions within a business.
- Should reveal future opportunities and concerns.
- Sets objectives and goals for the business and staff.
- Provides a measuring stick for performance.
- Develops team and team work that is focused on the business’s future
Having a Business Strategy gives your dive business the ability to better anticipate and prepare for change. You’ll lose valuable momentum being reactive rather than proactive. Customer expectations, competition, and economic changes are all variables that can rock the dive boat and send you to the sea floor if you don’t have strategies in place.
The lack of a strategic plan can also send your employees morale down to the sea floor too. Besides the obvious need for your employees to receive a salary they need a reason to come to work everyday. Without a focused plan, morale falls and employee interaction becomes vague and lifeless. A good plan lets your employees know who is doing what, why they’re doing it, and how they individually contribute to the success of your dive business.
Having a plan allows you to set benchmarks and assists you in assessing your performance. A plan requires you to measure and document performance. Doing so will allow you to benchmark where you’ve been, allowing you to adjust your trajectory of where you are going. Documenting data is a wise business decision to keep your organization moving forward. Do you know how many certifications, launches, charter customers you had in the same period last year and what are you aiming for in the months to come?
Failing to plan is indeed planning to fail.