Review by Lew Hodges, Director of Finance and Planning, Arts & Business
(Directory of Social Change, 2nd Edition 2001 ISBN 1 900360 87 X £12.50 [£15.59 inc. p&p*])
This is a useful book covering a wide range of business planning topics, and it serves both as an introduction for the less experienced manager and as a helpful reminder for the mature but forgetful. The second edition has been updated to include new material on the planning process - sensibly recognised as a key to successful planning - risk management, and monitoring/implementation.

It will not be of great interest to academics, and it has no modern and innovative theories to promote; but it succeeds in distilling much wisdom both from experience and from external sources (standard SWOT analysis through to the Boston Consulting Group matrix and McKinsey?s 7-S Framework). It?s perhaps surprising that it makes no reference to the fashionable ?balanced scorecard?.

Overall, Alan Lawrie finds a good balance between the practical and the theoretical. Although orientated towards ?social? charities, it?s very relevant to small to medium size arts organisations. There are plenty of exercises, and clear frameworks to aid group and individual thinking. The book is strong on planning processes and structures ? the section on establishing external credibility is particularly useful; though it could have said more about the human aspects of planning, performance management, and organisational change. Financial sections are not its strong point either, and the reader may need further guidance before finalising the plan.

But at just 90 pages (including exercises) it?s straightforward and useful, with plenty of ideas to think about. Worth a read, worth having on the shelf, and at £12.50, it?s very good value too.

*SAM?s Books is a specialist supplier of books for arts professionals. For further information and invoicing, contact SAM?s Books, Chaldon Court, Church Lane, Chaldon, Caterham, CR3 5AL t/f: 01883 345011 e: books@sam-arts.demon.co.uk w: http://www.sam-arts.demon.co.uk