Idea for an Association Board Workshop
It is quite common that an association will have an annual retreat with their Board of Director. One of the primary workshop subjects for that retreat is the review and revision of the association’s Strategic Plan. Another might be a review of board governance. Let us consider a third, Business Model Generation.
A association business model describes the rationale of how an organization creates, delivers, and captures value for its members. Business Model Generation is a facilitated session where the group reviews the current situation and projects future possibilities. It provides a forum for visionaries, game changers, and challengers striving to defy outmoded operational models and design tomorrow’s enterprise.
In discussions of a business model, there are nine areas of consideration referred to as building blocks. They are:
- Customer Segments- in the case of an association it is the membership, current and potential. How would you segment them and what needs are generated by each segment?
- Value Propositions- What does the organization do or should do to satisfy those needs? What would it need to do to satisfy the needs of market segments currently not served?
- Channels- What channels, communication and otherwise, does the organization use or could use to deliver the value it provides?
- Customer Relations- in the case of an association, it is membership relations. How are relationships maintained with each member?
- Key Resources- What resources in terms of people, knowledge, and systems, does the organization have or need?
- Key Activities- What meetings, educational programs, etc. does the organization have or should have?
- Revenue Streams- What are the sources of funds and the potential sources of funds?
- Key Partnerships- What activities are outsourced or should be outsourced? Are there other partnerships that are currently in place or should be developed?
- Cost Structure- How do the other business elements impact the cost of operation?
Business Model Generation does not replace a Strategic Plan. The Strategic Plan is basic for operations and board oversight. Much of the Business Model Generation exercise is part of the situational analysis, at a greater level and from a different reference point. It may also provide a basis for future revision to the plan and provides the board members with a detailed understanding of what makes the organization tick.