Map Out your Operational Plan
As you approach the launch of your business you will have more clearly defined business goals and objectives. A good “next step” is to map out an operational plan detailing the daily tasks required to achieve your business goals.
Your operational plan will direct the day-to-day tasks of running your company. It can help you set benchmarks to track your company’s performance, help you create efficiencies in production and workflow and ensure you have the supplies, equipment and resources (human and financial) available when you need them.
Your operational plan will be an important element in your business plan. It should demonstrate that you understand what you are undertaking, describing what you have done so far to get your business going and indicating that you know what else needs to be done.
How do I plan to operate my business?
Take a realistic look at how you will manage your day-to-day operations. This analysis should consider all aspects of your business – people, equipment procurement, production and distribution, IT requirements, control systems and workflow.
Your operational plan can be as simple or as specific as you need it to be according to your goals. Operation requirements for a service company will differ from a manufacturing company. One will focus more investments on labour and training, the other on plants and equipment. As you develop your plan, ask the following questions for each operational task your business requires:
- What needs to be done (for each task)?
- Who will do it (number of people and specialization required)?
- When will it get done (timelines)?
- How much money is required to get it done?
Production plan: If you are producing or manufacturing a product, your plan should explain how you intend to make your product, store it and ship it to your customers. Include projections for all your production needs – people, space, equipment procurement, specialized training requirements, raw material supply, manufacturing process (workflow, quality control, production schedule and distribution).
Management systems: The size of your organization will influence the formality of your system. A small organization can operate well with each employee understanding what has to be done. A larger organization may need a more structured system with procedures recorded so that everyone is clear what has to be done and who has to do it. How will you schedule processing, control inventory, monitor labour costs, manage accounts or track customers? Can you meet your IT requirements using an internal IT system or will you access IT support services externally?
Your operational plan should be reviewed and updated from year to year.