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I’ve talked here about the finding the right planning partner for your club, relationship-building and even tried to dispel some of the misconceptions I hear about what it means to engage a club planner. To finish up this series on finding and leveraging a great planner, let’s talk about one more aspect of how you should be thinking — and taking advantage of — this relationship. It’s not (just) about blueprints and mood boards. Before even the first thought is given to physical spaces and outcomes, a professional planner is going to be much more interested in getting to understand (and could even help define) the strategic drivers guiding decisions about your club. Chambers starts by taking a pretty holistic view of the whole club, asking some key questions to start:
Your planning partner can’t magically fix all your problems. But it can go a long way toward providing an objective and impartial evaluation of how your club is operating, where improvements in operations need to be made and in deciphering the members’ needs and wants. Before you think about the bricks, mortar and drapery. I’ve always extolled: we’re not competing for our members’ money, we’re competing for a far more precious and non-renewable resource — their discretionary time. If you want them to think of your club first as a place to spend that time, you must maximize the perceived value of their membership. Find a partner you trust — one who’ll strengthen your club strategically as well as physically. That holistic look is a much surer path to long-term success and viability. And to a long, healthy relationship with your members.