A new project is established, staff and volunteers recruited, and work has started. Now comes the task of delivering the services in an efficient manner. This may feel less stimulating and exciting than the early days of fresh inspiration, but long-term success requires slow and steady growth into maturity. Gentle nursing and support are required in order to reach the point of being firmly established. Some matters to be addressed are:
Vision - As progress is made, conflicting ideas will flow from staff, customers, banks, professional friends Interpreting this information, and acting upon it, requires discernment and the ability to make firm decisions.
Sustainability - This is defined as ‘the capacity to endure’. After the first enthusiasm, there may come a point where sales appear to be dropping and there does not appear to be long-term growth developing. At this stage, methods of sustaining the project in the long term need to be investigated. This may mean revising the services, to ensure they are relevant and interesting, or developing a new source of regular income.
Funding - As progress is made, the need for additional finance may begin to emerge. Some investment may be sought, and long-term loans, but the bulk of the income should be generated by the project’s own activities. For the long-term, overheads and running costs must be contained within realisable and sustainable revenue from services delivered.
Success and Failure - Any new project will have its ups and downs - moments of triumph and despair. Strength and courage will be required to keep going, and it is necessary to remember.
If the original vision is truly honoured, then success is assured
Success is not necessarily the fulfilment of the original plan. Not every project is able to continue indefinitely in a sustainable and effective fashion. This may necessitate merging with some other venture, reducing the range of services offered or even closing. This might feel like failure, but it is not.