Feasibility Plans

The current MAPH scholars are here this week for their second on-site session. This is the session at which (among a lot of other things) they present their feasibility plans to the group and get feedback. Their ideas have come a long way from the first tentative ideas that were batted about in July. Any former scholars in our audience can well remember the feeling of free fall that comes that first week when you realize this is a long, sometimes difficult process of brainstorming, fact-finding, going back to the drawing board, and work, work, work. It’s exciting (like an epiphany) and yet terrifying (like a tsunami) (and I promise not to write any more about that word, this week at least!).

In conversations the last couple of days I’ve been asking these scholars – “what do you want to see more of in the book?” – and to a person, they all said, “We need a good example of a feasibility plan!” I have a few answers to that request:

1. Business plan coaches Pamela Santos and Catherine McClain do not want us giving out sample feasibility plans in the fear that you’ll see one of these imperfect plans and model your own after it. Plus, plans are so different that there is no perfect plan that would work across the board. We say that in the book, and it’s true: no one plan will work for everything, so it’s better to work with the parts and make your own plan. And, like your teachers told you in high school: there is value to figuring it out for yourselves.

2. The feasibility seems HUGE to you right this minute because it’s what you’ve been working on to present here this week. But it is a means to an end. After this session you will not go back and revise your feasibility plan: it’ll be time to write your business plan!

3. If you still insist that you need a model, on the member’s site of the MAPH web site (www.maph.unc.edu/members), under “Business Plan Project” there is a link to “Feasibility Plan Details,” where you can get very detailed descriptions of the parts of a feasibility plan with examples from past plans. Not one big plan from start to finish, but a close description of what the parts would consist of. I hope you were pointed in that direction when you began the program, but if not, there it is, better late than never. For those of you who are not in the Management Academy program, I’ll see about getting that link available to you if I hear back from you that you want it.

4. One of the readers of our book in manuscript said the feasibility chapter should have come first, because it is what you do first. We put it where it is because even though you do it first, you do need to know what the parts of the business plan are before you do it. And, again, it’s a means to an end. When you’ve done your business plan you forget about the feasibility plan. However, we can revise that chapter, move it, bulk it up for the new edition (if we’re lucky enough to get to do one) if we hear enough feedback that indicates that would be what you, our audience, wants. So let us know!

OK. I'll write more soon about the plans that were presented this week. And perhaps Monecia will give us an update "From the Director" --

-- Anne Menkens