Always ask your client if they have a business plan. Many don’t have one complete enough or clear enough to guide them properly. It’s your job to convince them of the need for one and then to help them create one.
Your clients most often have an abundance of compassion and zeal for their work. They are optimists who believe that all will be well if they just keep on concentrating on service delivery alone. They need to embrace better the relationship between using good business practices and their continued capacity to keep delivering that service.
Just as you would advise your small business clients, your nonprofit clients need achievable business plans, well-defined, written and with measurable outcomes.
Some will not have a “Mission Statement,” or if they do, they have strayed far from it or haven’t revisited it for a long time, missing the fact that it no longer describes the work they are doing.
The revenue and expense part of the job is often your client’s least favorite thing and managing that part of their business sometimes creates a level of anxiety disproportionate to its actual nature.
Some of your clients will be reluctant to market their organization because they feel it sounds too much like a business. Your job is to persuade them there are many positive outcomes for their organization that comes from “marketing the product.”
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