Heritage Lottery Fund Business Planning Consultant – top tips

Heritage Lottery Fund Business Planning Consultant – top tips

Heritage ‘businesses’?
In many ways even the term business planning is anomalous for some heritage sites, parks and museums as they do not consider themselves to be businesses. However it is critical that operations have a sound financial footing and that the activity programme and momentum achieved through the initial Heritage Lottery funded phase of up to 5 years can be maintained into the long term. Heritage parks, museums and other attractions need to understand the financial security of the activity and prepare and plan accordingly.

Income generation
Even if not specifically considered a business then there is still a need to understand opportunities for income generation. These could range from direct sales via catering, retail and meetings through to chargeable events, licensed activities and hire of facilities for functions. Other revenue generation could include more ambitious sources such as income from the hire of facilities for filming.

Heritage Lottery Fund Business Planning Consultant

A heritage park in the Metropolitan Borough of Knowsley in Merseyside – looking to balance community facilities with opportunities for income generation

Close liaison with Activity Planner
On Heritage Lottery Fund projects it is vital that the Business Plan and Activity Plan process are managed closely together. Strong market data is needed to determine priority audiences and then to carry out primary research to ascertain likely levels of future use by different market groups. The business plan must align closely with the Activity Plan for HLF purposes. It is important that full use is made of the activity programme during the early period of the project to market test a range of potential income generation uses and activities and lead to a sustainable operational model beyond the HLF grant funding period.

Working effectively with Friends and Volunteers
Volunteers and friends often play a key role in a broad range of heritage sites. It is important that the Friends Group or other volunteer body is fully integrated into the site management structure to ensure clear and smooth organisation and governance. This should also relate to the control of funds to ensure there are no conflicts over competing demands for the same operation. When preparing the business plan, the support in kind needs to be reflected accurately as part of the financial contribution to the project.

Volunteers at the National Brewery Centre

Working with volunteers at the National Brewery Centre

Work in progress, not a fixed document
Finally the business plan should not be seen as a one off document. It must be a tool for the site management which shapes decisions and targets but is also reviewed and updated on a regular basis.

We will be adding further blogs on business planning to include marketing and cashflow forecasting.

Support for Heritage Lottery Fund Business Planning

To discuss business planning requirements at heritage and leisure sites, please contact Kevin Brown or Richard Linington at richard@pslplan.co.uk or on 023 9248 1999.