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Rural Health Information Hub

Business (Tactical) Planning

A network business plan (sometimes called a tactical plan) takes the vision outlined in the strategic plan and identifies goals, activities, and actions in the upcoming 1-2 years to move toward the vision. Engaging network members in developing the business plan will involve them in understanding the scope of work.

In their report The Science and Art of Business Planning for Rural Health Networks, Wellever and Cameron identify six general steps in developing a business plan. Some organizations incorporate all six steps and others pick and choose from this list when developing and writing their business plans; it depends on the needs of the network or coalition.

  • Define the business
  • Analyze the market
  • Project demand, target market share, and develop a marketing strategy
  • Develop organizational and management models
  • Assess financial and mission implications of the business
  • Put it all together into the final business plan

The final business plan can ultimately be used to focus the work, gauge progress the network is making, and seek funding. Business plans should be developed with sustainability being a driving factor. They should, therefore, be considered living documents and revised as needed (at least annually) to gauge and safeguard the sustainability of the network. See Module 6: Sustainability Strategies for Rural Health Networks and Coalitions for more information on sustainability.

Resources to Learn More

Creating a Business Plan
Step-by-step guide targeting community groups that outlines the What? Why? When? And How to develop a business plan.
Author(s): Berkowitz, B.
Organization(s): Community Tool Box

The Science and Art of Business Planning for Rural Health Networks
A thorough exploration of six critical steps rural networks must take while developing their business plan.
Author(s): Wellever, A. & Cameron, R.
Organization(s): AcademyHealth
Date: 11/2000