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How To Write the Operations Plan Section of the Business Plan

Susan Ward wrote about small businesses for The Balance for 18 years. She has run an IT consulting firm and designed and presented courses on how to promote small businesses.

operational plan for business proposal

Stage of Development Section

Production process section, the bottom line, frequently asked questions (faqs).

The operations plan is the section of your business plan that gives an overview of your workflow, supply chains, and similar aspects of your business. Any key details of how your business physically produces goods or services will be included in this section.

You need an operations plan to help others understand how you'll deliver on your promise to turn a profit. Keep reading to learn what to include in your operations plan.

Key Takeaways

  • The operations plan section should include general operational details that help investors understand the physical details of your vision.
  • Details in the operations plan include information about any physical plants, equipment, assets, and more.
  • The operations plan can also serve as a checklist for startups; it includes a list of everything that must be done to start turning a profit.

In your business plan , the operations plan section describes the physical necessities of your business's operation, such as your physical location, facilities, and equipment. Depending on what kind of business you'll be operating, it may also include information about inventory requirements, suppliers, and a description of the manufacturing process.

Keeping focused on the bottom line will help you organize this part of the business plan.

Think of the operating plan as an outline of the capital and expense requirements your business will need to operate from day to day.

You need to do two things for the reader of your business plan in the operations section: show what you've done so far to get your business off the ground and demonstrate that you understand the manufacturing or delivery process of producing your product or service.

When you're writing this section of the operations plan, start by explaining what you've done to date to get the business operational, then follow up with an explanation of what still needs to be done. The following should be included:

Production Workflow

A high-level, step-by-step description of how your product or service will be made, identifying the problems that may occur in the production process. Follow this with a subsection titled "Risks," which outlines the potential problems that may interfere with the production process and what you're going to do to negate these risks. If any part of the production process can expose employees to hazards, describe how employees will be trained in dealing with safety issues. If hazardous materials will be used, describe how these will be safely stored, handled, and disposed.

Industry Association Memberships

Show your awareness of your industry's local, regional, or national standards and regulations by telling which industry organizations you are already a member of and which ones you plan to join. This is also an opportunity to outline what steps you've taken to comply with the laws and regulations that apply to your industry. 

Supply Chains

An explanation of who your suppliers are and their prices, terms, and conditions. Describe what alternative arrangements you have made or will make if these suppliers let you down.

Quality Control

An explanation of the quality control measures that you've set up or are going to establish. For example, if you intend to pursue some form of quality control certification such as ISO 9000, describe how you will accomplish this.

While you can think of the stage of the development part of the operations plan as an overview, the production process section lays out the details of your business's day-to-day operations. Remember, your goal for writing this business plan section is to demonstrate your understanding of your product or service's manufacturing or delivery process.

When writing this section, you can use the headings below as subheadings and then provide the details in paragraph format. Leave out any topic that does not apply to your particular business.

Do an outline of your business's day-to-day operations, including your hours of operation and the days the business will be open. If the business is seasonal, be sure to say so.

The Physical Plant

Describe the type, site, and location of premises for your business. If applicable, include drawings of the building, copies of lease agreements, and recent real estate appraisals. You need to show how much the land or buildings required for your business operations are worth and tell why they're important to your proposed business.

The same goes for equipment. Besides describing the equipment necessary and how much of it you need, you also need to include its worth and cost and explain any financing arrangements.

Make a list of your assets , such as land, buildings, inventory, furniture, equipment, and vehicles. Include legal descriptions and the worth of each asset.

Special Requirements

If your business has any special requirements, such as water or power needs, ventilation, drainage, etc., provide the details in your operating plan, as well as what you've done to secure the necessary permissions.

State where you're going to get the materials you need to produce your product or service and explain what terms you've negotiated with suppliers.

Explain how long it takes to produce a unit and when you'll be able to start producing your product or service. Include factors that may affect the time frame of production and describe how you'll deal with potential challenges such as rush orders.

Explain how you'll keep  track of inventory .


Describe any product testing, price testing, or prototype testing that you've done on your product or service.

Give details of product cost estimates.

Once you've worked through this business plan section, you'll not only have a detailed operations plan to show your readers, but you'll also have a convenient list of what needs to be done next to make your business a reality. Writing this document gives you a chance to crystalize your business ideas into a clear checklist that you can reference. As you check items off the list, use it to explain your vision to investors, partners, and others within your organization.

What is an operations plan?

An operations plan is one section of a company's business plan. This section conveys the physical requirements for your business's operations, including supply chains, workflow , and quality control processes.

What is the main difference between the operations plan and the financial plan?

The operations plan and financial plan tackle similar issues, in that they seek to explain how the business will turn a profit. The operations plan approaches this issue from a physical perspective, such as property, routes, and locations. The financial plan explains how revenue and expenses will ultimately lead to the business's success.

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Strategic Planning

How to Write an Operations Plan Section of your Business Plan

An Operations Plan Template

Free Operations Plan Template

Ayush Jalan

  • December 14, 2023

Operations Plan Section

Your business plan is an elaborate set of instructions stating how to run your business to achieve objectives and goals. Each section describes a part of the process of reaching your desired goal. Similarly, the operations plan section of your business plan explains the production and supply of your product.

An operations plan is formed to turn plans into actions. It uses the information you gathered from the analysis of the market , customers, and competitors mentioned in the previous parts of your business plan and allows for the execution of relevant strategies to achieve desired results.

What Is an Operations Plan?

An operations plan is an in-depth description of your daily business activities centered on achieving the goals and objectives described in the previous sections of your business plan. It outlines the processes, activities, responsibilities of various departments and the timeframe of the execution.

The operations section of your business plan explains in detail the role of a team or department in the collective accomplishment of your goals. In other words, it’s a strategic allocation of physical, financial, and human resources toward reaching milestones within a specific timeframe.

A well-defined operational plan section of your business plan should be able to answer the following questions:

  • Who is responsible for a specific task or department?
  • What are the tasks that need to be completed?
  • Where will these operations take place?
  • When should the tasks be completed? What are the deadlines?
  • How will the tasks be performed? Is there a standard procedure?
  • How much is it going to cost to complete these tasks?

An Operations Plan Answers

How to Write an Operations Plan Section?

Creating an operational plan has two major stages, both addressing different aspects of your company. The first stage includes the work that has been done so far, whereas the second stage describes it in detail.

1. Development Phase

Development Phase

In this stage, you mention what you’ve done to get your business operations up and running. Explain what you aim to change and improvise in the processes. These are the elements your development section will contain:

Production workflow

: Explain all the steps involved in creating your product. This should be a highly informative, elaborate description of the steps. Here, you also mention any inefficiencies that exist and talk about the actions that need to be taken to tackle them.

Supply chains

Quality control, 2. manufacturing phase.

Manufacturing Phase

The development stage acquaints the reader with the functioning of your business, while the manufacturing stage describes the day-to-day operation.

This includes the following elements:

Outline of daily activities:

Tools and equipment:, special requirements:, raw materials:, productions:, feasibility:, why do you need an operations plan.

An operations plan is essentially an instruction manual about the workings of your business. It offers insight into your business operations. It helps investors assess your credibility and understand the structure of your operations and predict your financial requirements.

An operations plan reflects the real-time application of a business plan.

Internally, an operations plan works as a guide, which helps your employees and managers to know their responsibilities. It also helps them understand how to execute their tasks in the desired manner—all whilst keeping account of deadlines.

The operations plan helps identify and cut the variances between planned and actual performance and makes necessary changes. It helps you visualize how your operations affect revenue and gives you an idea of how and when you need to implement new strategies to maximize profits.

Advantages of Preparing an Operations Plan:

  • Offers Clarity: Operational planning, among other things, makes sure that everyone in the audience and team are aware of the daily, weekly, and monthly work. It improves concentration and productivity.
  • Contains A Roadmap: Operational planning makes it much easier to reach long-term objectives. When members have a clear strategy to follow: productivity rises, and accountability is maintained.
  • Sets A Benchmark: It sets a clear goal for everyone about what is the destination of the company and how to reach there.

Operations Plan Essentials

Now that you have understood the contents of an operations plan and how it should be written, you can continue drafting one for your business plan. But before doing so, take a look at these key components you need to remember while creating your operational plan.

  • Your operations plan is fundamentally a medium for implementing your strategic plan. Hence, it’s crucial to have a solid strategic plan to write an effective operations plan.
  • Focus on setting SMART goals and prioritizing the most important ones. This helps you create a clear and crisp operations plan. Focusing on multiple goals will make your plan complicated and hard to implement.
  • To measure your goals, use leading indicators instead of lagging indicators. Leading indicators is a metric that helps you track your progress and predict when you will reach a goal. On the other hand, lagging indicators can only confirm a trend by taking the past as input but cannot predict the accomplishment of a goal.
  • It is essential to choose the right Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) . It is a good practice to involve all your teams while you decide your KPIs.
  • An operations plan should effectively communicate your goals, metrics, deadlines, and all the processes.

Now you’re all set to write an operations plan section for your business plan . To give you a headstart, we have created an operations plan example.

Operations Plan Example

Operations plan by a book publishing house

Track and Accomplish Goals With an Operations Plan

Drafting the operations plan section of your business plan can be tricky due to the uncertainties of the business environment and the risks associated with it. Depending on variables like your market analysis, product development, supply chain, etc., the complexity of writing an operations plan will vary.

The core purpose here is to put all the pieces together to create a synergy effect and get the engine of your business running. Create an effective operations plan to convey competence to investors and clarity to employees.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What role does the operations plan play in securing funding for a business.

The operations plan defines the clear goals of your business and what actions will be taken on a daily basis to reach them. So, investors need to know where your business stands, and it will prove the viability of the goals helping you in getting funded.

What are the factors affecting the operations plan?

  • The mission of the company
  • Goals to be achieved
  • Finance and resources your company will need

Can an operations plan be created for both start-up and established businesses?

Yes, both a startup and a small business needs an operations plan to get a better idea of the roadmap they want for their business.

About the Author

operational plan for business proposal

Ayush is a writer with an academic background in business and marketing. Being a tech-enthusiast, he likes to keep a sharp eye on the latest tech gadgets and innovations. When he's not working, you can find him writing poetry, gaming, playing the ukulele, catching up with friends, and indulging in creative philosophies.

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Operational Planning: How to Make an Operations Plan


The operations of your business can be defined as the sum of all the daily activities that you and your team execute to create products or services and engage with your customers, among other critical business functions. While organizing these moving parts might sound difficult, it can be easily done by writing a business operational plan. But before we learn how to make one, let’s first understand what’s the relationship between strategic and operational planning.

Operational Planning vs. Strategic Planning

Operational planning and strategic planning are complementary to each other. This is because strategic plans define the business strategy and the long-term goals for your organization, while operational plans define the steps required to achieve them.

What Is a Strategic Plan?

A strategic plan is a business document that describes the business goals of a company as well as the high-level actions that will be taken to achieve them over a time period of 1-3 years.

What Is an Operational Plan?

Operational plans map the daily, weekly or monthly business operations that’ll be executed by the department to complete the goals you’ve previously defined in your strategic plan. Operational plans go deeper into explaining your business operations as they explain roles and responsibilities, timelines and the scope of work.

Operational plans work best when an entire department buys in, assigning due dates for tasks, measuring goals for success, reporting on issues and collaborating effectively. They work even better when there’s a platform like ProjectManager , which facilitates communication across departments to ensure that the machine is running smoothly as each team reaches its benchmark. Get started with ProjectManager for free today.

Gantt chart with operational plan

What Is Operational Planning?

Operational planning is the process of turning strategic plans into action plans, which simply means breaking down high-level strategic goals and activities into smaller, actionable steps. The main goal of operational planning is to coordinate different departments and layers of management to ensure the whole organization works towards the same objective, which is achieving the goals set forth in the strategic plan .

How to Make an Operational Plan

There’s no single approach to follow when making an operation plan for your business. However, there’s one golden rule in operations management : your strategic and operational plans must be aligned. Based on that principle, here are seven steps to make an operational plan.

  • Map business processes and workflows: What steps need to be taken at the operations level to accomplish long-term strategic goals?
  • Set operational-level goals: Describe what operational-level goals contribute to the achievement of larger strategic goals.
  • Determine the operational timeline: Is there any time frame for the achievement of the operational plan?
  • Define your resource requirements: Estimate what resources are needed for the execution of the operational plan.
  • Estimate the operational budget: Based on your resource requirements, estimate costs and define an operational budget.
  • Set a hiring plan: Are there any skills gaps that need to be filled in your organization?
  • Set key performance indicators: Define metrics and performance tracking procedures to measure your team’s performance.

operational plan for business proposal

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Operational Plan Template

Use this free Operational Plan Template for Word to manage your projects better.

What Should be Included in an Operational Plan?

Your operational plan should describe your business operations as accurately as possible so that internal teams know how the company works and how they can help achieve the larger strategic objectives. Here’s a list of some of the key elements that you’ll need to consider when writing an operational plan.

Executive Summary

An executive summary is a brief document that summarizes the content of larger documents like business plans, strategic plans or operation plans. Their main purpose is to provide a quick overview for busy stakeholders.

Operational Budget

An operational budget is an estimation of the expected operating costs and revenues for a given time period. As with other types of budget, the operational budget defines the amount of money that’s available to acquire raw materials, equipment or anything else that’s needed for business operations.

It’s important to limit your spending to stay below your operational budget, otherwise, your company could run out of resources to execute its normal activities. You can use our free operating budget template for Excel to track your operating costs.

Operational Objectives

It’s essential to align your operational objectives with your strategic objectives. For example, if one of your strategic objectives is to increase sales by 25 percent over the next three years, one possible operational objective would be to hire new sales employees. You should always grab your strategic plan objectives and turn them into one or multiple action items .

Processes & Workflows

Explain the various business processes, workflows and tasks that need to be executed to achieve your operational objectives. Make sure to explain what resources are needed, such as raw materials, equipment or human resources.

Operational Timeline

It’s important to establish a timeline for your operational plan. In most cases, your operational plan will have the same length as your strategic plan, but in some scenarios, you might create multiple operational plans for specific purposes. Not all operational plans are equal, so the length of your operational timeline will depend on the duration of your projects , workflows and processes.

Hiring Plan

Find any skills gap there might be in your team. You might need to hire a couple of individuals or even create new departments in order to execute your business processes .

Quality Assurance and Control

Most companies implement quality assurance and control procedures for a variety of reasons such as customer safety and regulatory compliance. In addition, quality assurance issues can cost your business millions, so establishing quality management protocols is a key step in operational planning.

Key Performance Indicators

It’s important to establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the productivity of your business operations. You can define as many KPIs as needed for all your business processes. For example, you can define KPIs for marketing, sales, product development and other key departments in your company. This can include product launch deadlines, number of manufactured goods, number of customer service cases closed, number of 5-star reviews received, number of customers acquired, revenue increased by a certain percentage and so on.

Risks, Assumptions and Constraints

Note any potential risks, assumptions and time or resource constraints that might affect your business operations.

Free Operational Plan Template

Leverage everything you’ve learned today with our template. This free operational plan template for Word will help you define your budget, timeline, KPIs and more. It’s the perfect first step in organizing and improving your operations. Download it today.

ProjectManager's free operational plan template for Word.

What Are the Benefits of Operational Planning?

Every plan has a massive effect on all team members involved, and those can be to your company’s benefit or to their detriment. If it’s to their detriment, it’s best to find out as soon as possible so you can modify your operational plan and pivot with ease.

But that’s the whole point of operational planning: you get to see the effect of your operations on the business’s bottom line in real time, or at every benchmark, so you know exactly when to pivot. And with a plan that’s as custom to each department as an operational plan, you know exactly where things go wrong and why.

How ProjectManager Can Help with Operational Planning

Creating and implementing a high-quality operational plan is the best way to ensure that your organization starts out a project on the right foot. ProjectManager has award-winning project management tools to help you craft and execute such a plan.

Gantt charts are essential to create and monitor operational plans effectively. ProjectManager helps you access your Gantt chart online so you can add benchmarks for operational performance reviews. You can also create tasks along with dependencies to make the operation a surefire success.

business operations data on a Gantt chart

Whether you’re a team of IT system administrators, marketing experts, or engineers, ProjectManager includes robust planning and reporting tools. Plan in sprints, assign due dates, collaborate with team members and track everything with just the click of a button. Plus, we have numerous ready-made project reports that can be generated instantly, including status reports, variance reports, timesheet reports and more.

business operations reporting

Related Operations Management Content

  • Operational Strategy: A Quick Guide
  • Operations Management: Key Functions, Roles and Skills
  • Operational Efficiency: A Quick Guide
  • Using Operational Excellence to Be More Productive

Operational planning isn’t done in a silo, and it doesn’t work without the full weight of the team backing it up. Ensure that your department is successful at each benchmark. ProjectManager is an award-winning pm software dedicated to helping businesses smooth out their operational plans for a better year ahead. Sign up for our free 30-day trial today.

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  • Grasshopper

Operations Plan

  • Lesson Materials Operations Plan Worksheet
  • Completion time About 40 minutes

The operations section of your business plan is where you explain – in detail – you company's objectives, goals, procedures, and timeline. An operations plan is helpful for investors, but it's also helpful for you and employees because it pushes you to think about tactics and deadlines.

In the previous course, you outlined your company's strategic plan, which answers questions about your business mission. An operational plan outlines the steps you'll take to complete your business mission.

Your operations plan should be able to answer the following:

  • Who – The personnel or departments who are in charge of completing specific tasks.
  • What – A description of what each department is responsible for.
  • Where – The information on where daily operations will be taking place.
  • When –The deadlines for when the tasks and goals are to be completed.
  • How much – The cost amount each department needs to complete their tasks.

In this session, we explain each item to include in your operations plan.

Goals and Objectives

The key to an operations plan is having a clear objective and goal everyone is focused on completing. In this section of your plan, you'll clearly state what your company's operational objective is.

Your operational objective is different than your company's overall objective. In Course One , you fleshed out what your strategic objective was. Your operational objective explains how you intend to complete your strategic objective.

In order to create an efficient operational objective, think SMART:

  • Specific – Be clear on what you want employees to achieve.
  • Measurable – Be able to quantify the goal in order to track progress.
  • Attainable & Realistic – It's great to be ambitious but make sure you aren't setting your team up for failure. Create a goal that everyone is motivated to complete with the resources available.
  • Timely – Provide a deadline so everyone has a date they are working towards.

Operations plan goals and objectives

Different departments will have different operational objectives. However, each department objective should help the company reach the main objective. In addition, operational objectives change; the objectives aren't intended to be permanents or long term. The timeline should be scheduled with your company's long-term goals in mind.

Let's look at the following example for a local pizza business objective:

  • Strategic objective : To deliver pizza all over Eastern Massachusetts.
  • Technology department operational objective : To create a mobile app by January 2017 to offer a better user experience.
  • Marketing department operational objective : To increase website visitors by 50% by January 2017 by advertising on radio, top local food websites, and print ads.
  • Sales department operational objective : To increase delivery sales by 30%, by targeting 3 of Massachusetts's largest counties.

Sales department operational objective: To increase delivery sales by 30%, by targeting 3 of Massachusetts's largest counties.

Production Process

After you create your objectives, you have to think strategically on how you're going to meet them. In order to do this, each department (or team) needs to have all the necessary resources for the production process.

Resources you should think about include the following:

  • Suppliers – do you have a supplier (or more) to help you produce your product?
  • Technology team: app developing software
  • Marketing team: software licenses for website analytical tools
  • Sales team: headsets, phone systems or virtual phone system technology
  • Cost – what is the budget for each department?

In addition to the production process, you'll also need to describe in detail your operating process. This will demonstrate to investors that you know exactly how you want your business to run on a day-to-day basis.

Items to address include:

  • Location – where are employees working? Will you need additional facilities?
  • Work hours – will employees have a set schedule or flexible work schedule?
  • Personnel – who is in charge of making sure department tasks are completed?

Operations plan timeline

Creating a timeline with milestones is important for your new business. It keeps everyone focused and is a good tracking method for efficiency. For instance, if milestones aren’t being met, you'll know that it's time to re-evaluate your production process or consider new hires.

Below are common milestones new businesses should plan for.

When you completed your Management Plan Worksheet in the previous course, you jotted down which key hires you needed right away and which could wait. Make sure you have a good idea on when you would like those key hires to happen; whether it’s after your company hits a certain revenue amount or once a certain project takes off.

Production Milestones

Production milestones keep business on track. These milestones act as "checkpoints" for your overall department objectives. For instance, if you want to create a new app by the end of the year, product milestones you outline might include a beta roll out, testing, and various version releases.

Other product milestones to keep in mind:

  • Design phase
  • Product prototype phase
  • Product launch
  • Version release

Market Milestones

Market milestones are important for tracking efficiency and understanding whether your operations plan is working. For instance, a possible market milestone could be reaching a certain amount of clients or customers after a new product or service is released.

A few other market milestones to consider:

  • Gain a certain amount of users/clients by a certain time
  • Signing partnerships
  • Running a competitive analysis
  • Performing a price change evaluation

Financial Milestones

Financial milestones are important for tracking business performance. It's likely that a board of directors or investors will work with you on creating financial milestones. In addition, in startups, it's common that financial milestones are calculated for 12 months.

Typical financial milestones include:

  • Funding events
  • Revenue and profit goals
  • Transaction goals

In summary, your operations plan gives you the chance to show investors you know how you want your business to run. You know who you want to hire, where you want to work, and when you expect projects to be completed.

Download the attached worksheet and start putting your timelines and milestones together on paper.


Talk about this lesson

operational plan for business proposal

Operational planning: 5 steps to create a better business operational plan

Learn how to conduct operational planning to enhance collaboration, streamline workflows, and unlock peak productivity in all your company’s teams.

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operational plan for business proposal

Operational planning enhances collaboration and streamlines workflows to unlock peak efficiency.

Transforming a strategic vision into business success demands meticulous planning. It requires navigating unexpected obstacles, coordinating team activities with long-term goals, and implementing practical steps to realize organizational objectives.

Organizational planning plays a pivotal role in this context by translating high-level strategies into actionable day-to-day tasks.

But an operational plan is more than a structured to-do list — it’s a comprehensive framework that outlines roles, responsibilities, and timelines. By breaking down grand strategies into executable actions, operational planning ensures cohesive teamwork and transforms ambiguous business strategies into achievable realities.

What’s operational planning?

Operational planning is how companies organize day-to-day tasks to align with broader strategic goals. It’s a road map guiding teams through operational decisions about daily operations, ensuring every task contributes to the company’s long-term and high-level objectives. This typically involves setting short-term objectives, defining key activities, and establishing clear timelines.

In practice, operational planning often blends traditional and innovative methods to maximize efficiency. Conventional strategies like Gantt charts and flowcharts help leaders visualize data , tasks, and timelines to make complex projects more manageable. And digital tools like enterprise project management software introduce automation, real-time collaboration, and data analytics into the mix. These platforms enable agile plan adjustments and offer insights through predictive analytics.

By integrating these mixed methodologies, operational planning helps enterprises build a system that’s efficient and responsive to evolving business needs. It bridges the gap between meticulous organization and the agility needed in a fast-paced business environment.

Benefits of operational planning

Operational planning offers a structured approach to decision-making, but its advantages extend beyond planning. Here’s why it’s a crucial tool for achieving organizational goals.

Clarifies goals

Operational planning turns abstract ideas into concrete objectives. It encourages setting explicit goals with definitive timelines. This clarity benefits leadership and the entire team, ensuring everyone understands what needs doing, who’s doing it, and by when.

Enhances productivity

An operational plan enhances productivity by establishing timelines, outlining objectives, and allocating resources. This structure helps team members prioritize their work and manage their time efficiently because they have clear deadlines to guide them.

By defining precise objectives, the plan ensures every team member understands their specific tasks and expected outcomes, preventing unnecessary work and deviations from the plan. And knowing what resources are available helps team members prepare realistically for their taskwork.

Improves efficiency

A well-crafted operational plan boosts efficiency by optimizing workflows and streamlining organizational processes . By mapping out immediate and long-term objectives, the plan establishes a clear blueprint for task execution. As team members better understand their roles, task sequence, and the rationale behind each, they can execute them more seamlessly. This clarity and structure are also invaluable for onboarding new team members and allow them to integrate and understand the workflow with less friction.

Strategic planning vs. operational planning

Both plan types are distinct yet essential components of an organization’s overall planning process. Let’s break down the primary differences:

  • A strategic plan defines your company’s “what,” outlines your business’s direction, and sets broad, long-term objectives. It’s a high-level overview that articulates your mission statement, establishes key business objectives, and outlines strategies for achieving them. This plan typically spans several years into the future and aligns the company’s efforts with its overarching vision.
  • An operational plan focuses on the “how” by detailing how to execute the strategies and goals laid out in the strategic plan. This is where you get into the specifics — setting milestones, crafting a detailed road map, and establishing short-term, incremental goals that steer your company toward achieving strategic objectives. And at this point, you’ll focus on more immediate factors, like dealing with daily management and task implementation, that are necessary to achieve strategic organizational goals.

Types of operational plans

Departmental goals and needs vary significantly, and tailored operational plans ensure you optimally manage each area. While a sales department might need a plan focused on customer engagement and retention, an IT department might emphasize technology upgrades and cybersecurity . Combining various plan types — like a couple of those that follow — ensures optimal management and effectiveness in each area, aligning departmental activities with broader objectives.

Project operation plans

Project operation plans are indispensable documents for breaking projects into actionable milestones and assigning teams to relevant tasks. A well-developed project plan organizes tasks and anticipates resource requirements such as personnel, infrastructure, and time. By identifying these requirements early on, project operation plans provide planning foresight that helps avoid resource shortages and last-minute scrambles to ensure projects progress smoothly and stay on track.

Say you’re designing a website . Your project operation plan will outline key steps, such as user research , wireframing , user testing , and launch. Each step would have assigned teams, deadlines, and specific objectives, like establishing focus groups by a certain date and finalizing prototypes. The project manager would monitor progress to ensure resource availability and timeline adherence.

Enterprise operation plans

Enterprise operation plans translate broader strategic goals into smaller, manageable milestones. They involve assigning responsibility for these milestones to department directors to ensure accountability for each plan segment.

When creating an enterprise operational plan, it’s vital to identify resource gaps, dependencies, and other potential obstacles to ensure seamless execution. This lets you set realistic, achievable milestones and achieve smooth interdepartmental coordination. Involving directors from the start is also crucial because their insights can reveal critical aspects you might otherwise overlook.

Consider a web design agency planning to expand their service offerings to include mobile app development over the next year. The enterprise operational plan might include milestones such as hiring app developers, training current staff in responsive mobile design , and marketing these new services to potential leads. You might also ask the development head to oversee recruitment and training and involve the marketing director in developing strategies to promote the new services.

IT operation plans

IT departments confront unique challenges due to rapid cybersecurity threats and their critical role in every business sector. Unlike other departments focusing on sales and marketing, IT departments must ensure the organization’s technological structure is robust, secure, and current.

IT operation plans typically outline how the department will adapt to business changes, like scaling up for new hires, migrating from a legacy system to a new one, and safeguarding the organization against evolving cybersecurity threats.

If you’re preparing for a major server infrastructure upgrade, for instance, an IT operation plan will outline steps like evaluating current server and hosting capacities, selecting new hardware and infrastructure, and scheduling website migration to new servers. The plan would include specific timelines — such as completing server evaluations by the end of the first quarter and starting the migration in the second quarter — to ensure minimal downtime and a smooth transition for all hosted websites.

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Key elements of an operational plan

No matter the type you’re creating, most operational plans include the following core traits.

Operational plans should be clear and to the point. While comprehensive coverage is important, elaborating too much risks misinterpretation and becoming bogged down in the details. Focus on concise, direct explanations and allow the details to unfold during project execution.

Team buy-in is essential for success. Instead of leaving the executive team to dictate the plan exclusively, involve team members in its creation. A collaborative approach helps garner buy-in and fosters feelings of ownership and responsibility toward the plan’s objectives. This involvement translates to increased motivation and commitment because team members feel more likely to invest effort in a plan they helped shape.


Consistency in operational plans is crucial for their effectiveness and for establishing organizational trust. It involves applying the same standards and procedures uniformly across all departments and teams. By consistently applying rules and policies, you ensure every organizational element operates under the same guidelines, enhancing fairness and reducing confusion. Consistent execution of your operational plan also streamlines progress and success tracking because the criteria and methods used for each remain uniform.

Specify the processes and methodologies each department should use. If the design team uses an agile, iterative process , for instance, implement similar practices in other departments like IT. This standardization enables smoother collaboration and operational harmony.

Key performance indicators

Every operational plan needs well-defined key performance indicators (KPIs) from the outset. These should include:

  • Leading indicators provide early insights into your strategy’s effectiveness by signaling shifts and trends ahead of their full realization. By monitoring these indicators, you can gauge your strategy’s immediate impact and proactively adjust your approach. Indicator examples include customer satisfaction levels, changes in market share, and fluctuations in sales figures.
  • Lagging indicators reflect the outcomes of your operational efforts by providing historical data on your plan’s efficacy after execution. Key lagging indicators include metrics like the time taken to complete projects, support ticket volumes, and total expenses incurred. Analyzing these metrics also helps identify improvement areas, like optimizing resource allocation, enhancing customer support processes, and streamlining operational workflows.


Acknowledge any assumptions and constraints within your plan, such as technological limitations, tight deadlines, and regulatory requirements. Being upfront about these factors is essential for setting realistic expectations and guiding effective task execution. And it ensures everyone involved understands the framework they’re operating in.

Say you’re building an agency website in the European Union (EU). A critical constraint would be compliance with data protection regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). You must keep this constraint in mind as you develop your operational plan because it affects the technology and processes used for data handling and shapes your website’s design and functionality. For instance, you’ll likely need to integrate clear consent mechanisms for data collection, prominent user data management tools into the website’s layout, and GDPR-compliant technologies for data processing and storage.

The 5 steps of the operational planning process

Enterprises develop operational plans through five strategic steps, each essential for shaping an actionable and effective strategy. Let’s explore what this planning process looks like.

1. Set goals

Establish specific, immediate business goals that align with your strategic plan. This might include launching a redesigned website, increasing online sales by a specific percentage, or reducing digital marketing expenses.

Make these goals ambitious yet adaptable, allowing for flexible responses to unexpected challenges. This step lays the foundation for your operational strategy and aligns every subsequent action toward these well-defined objectives.

2. Allocate resources

After establishing your goals, evaluate your capacity to achieve them. Analyze your current resources and identify what additional expertise, technology, and budget you require. This step isn’t just about highlighting what’s missing — it’s about strategizing how to scale your business to accommodate these needs.

3. Define KPIs

Select KPIs that align closely with your operational goals and ensure they reflect key aspects of your strategy. These KPIs should include leading indicators, like website traffic and user engagement rates for predictive analytics, and lagging indicators, such as satisfaction scores post-launch, to evaluate past performance. Consistently apply these KPIs throughout your project to monitor progress and keep the team focused on core objectives.

Consider using digital analytic platforms like Google Analytics to track KPIs. These tools offer detailed insights into traffic and user behavior. And you can set up dashboards to visually represent these metrics to help spot trends and patterns without combing through data.

Suppose you notice rising bounce rates on a specific webpage — this might indicate user disinterest or navigational issues. In response, you might pivot to revise the page’s copy, restructure its visual hierarchy , or simplify the navigation structure to make it more engaging and user-friendly.

4. Prescribe processes

Develop clear and detailed plans for how your teams should execute tasks. This clarity guides them through each stage, reducing confusion, ensuring consistency, and enhancing productivity.

To communicate these procedures to your team, use tools like flowcharts. They simplify and clarify each operational plan phase and help ensure everyone understands their responsibilities.

For large-scale projects, consider using project management software like Asana, Trello, or Jira. These platforms offer features like task assignment, deadline tracking, and real-time communication, and they provide a centralized platform for monitoring progress and maintaining team alignment.

5. Determine milestones

Create a road map that outlines clear, measurable goals and specific objectives. This map transforms your operational plan into achievable targets, helping teams visualize where they’re headed and the benchmarks they need to hit. Host regular meetings when outlining your milestones — this consistent evaluation ensures everyone moves forward in sync, maintaining the necessary momentum to achieve the plan’s goals.

In a web development project, for example, these evaluations might reveal if certain phases, like design or development, have too few or surplus resources. Identifying these imbalances lets you efficiently reallocate resources to ensure each department has what it needs to meet its milestones effectively and on schedule.

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Operational planning thrives on agility, and Webflow has the tools you need to effectively navigate this dynamic environment. With Webflow, you can build flexible websites that keep pace with your operational goals and integrate with analytics and targeting tools for informed operational decision-making .

Learn how Webflow Enterprise can be a part of your operational strategy, and harness a visual-first design platform that lets you create and adapt web content in real time.

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10+ Operational Planning Examples to Fulfill your Strategic Goals

By Danesh Ramuthi , Oct 25, 2023

Operational Planning Examples

An operational plan is a comprehensive, action-driven document that maps out how daily activities within an organization fuel the journey towards achieving strategic objectives.

Essentially acting as the nexus between high-level strategy and practical execution, this plan ensures that every department, from human resources to specific departments, operates in synchrony, aligning their day-to-day activities with the broader strategic goals.

By streamlining processes, it fosters cohesive efforts amongst diverse cross-functional teams, ensuring that both individual team members and entire departments work together harmoniously towards the company goals.

Ready to sculpt your organization’s future? Start your journey with venngage business plan maker and leverage their expertly crafted operational plan templates . 

Click to jump ahead: 

Why is an operational plan important?

10 operational plan examples, what should an operational plan include, how to write an operational plan.

  • Strategic plan vs operational plan: What is the difference? 

In summary 

An operational plan is crucial because it serves as a bridge between a company’s high-level strategic planning and its day-to-day activities, ensuring that the business operations align with the strategic goals. 

While a strategic plan provides a long-term vision, outlining the company’s objectives and goals to gain competitive advantages in the business environment, the operational plan outlines the specific actions, key elements and resource allocation required to achieve those objectives. 

For example, while the strategic plan might set a goal for revenue growth over the fiscal year, the operational plan provides a detailed roadmap, breaking down major projects, assigning responsibilities to individual team members or specific departments and setting key performance indicators to monitor progress and ensure the entire organization works together effectively.

Operational planning, in essence, transforms the strategic objectives into actionable plans, ensuring that the entire team, from department heads to diverse cross-functional teams, is aligned and works in tandem to support revenue growth, increase productivity, and achieve the desired outcomes. 

Operational plans, through a well-structured operational planning process, also provide a clear understanding of the day-to-day activities, allowing team members to know their roles, leading to better collaboration and synergy. 

Moreover, by having clear operational plan examples or templates, businesses can ensure realistic expectations, manage their operating budget effectively and track progress through key performance metrics, thus ensuring that the company stays on course to realize its long-term vision.

Operational plans play a pivotal role in the business landscape, bridging the gap between strategic vision and tangible actions. They translate the overarching goals of an organization into detailed procedures, ensuring that daily operations are in line with the desired strategic outcomes. 

In the section below, I will explore a few operational plan examples, shedding light on their structure and importance.

Business operational plan example

A business operational plan is a comprehensive document that elucidates the specific day-to-day activities of a company. It presents a detailed overview of the company’s organizational structure, management team, products or services and the underlying marketing and sales strategies. 

For businesses, irrespective of their size, an operational plan can prove invaluable. By laying down the business goals and objectives, it acts as a blueprint, guiding entrepreneurs through the creation and implementation of strategies and action plans. The planning process also incorporates mechanisms to track progress and performance. 

Additionally, for startups or companies looking to scale, a meticulously crafted operational plan can be pivotal in securing funds from potential investors and lenders.

Business Operational Plan Template

Layered on this are details about the company’s organizational structure, its products or services and its marketing and sales strategies. 

The document also delineates the roles and responsibilities of each team member, especially the management and key personnel. Given the dynamic nature of the business environment, it is imperative to revisit and update the operational plan regularly.

Related: 15+ Business Plan Templates for Strategic Planning

Simple operational plan example

A simple operational plan, often used by startups or smaller enterprises, emphasizes the basics, ensuring that the fundamental aspects of the business operations are captured succinctly. While it might not delve into the intricacies of every operation, it provides an overview of day-to-day activities, highlighting the goals and objectives the business aims to achieve in the short term.

Green Sage Simple Clean Yellow Operational Plan

In essence, this plan revolves around core elements like the company’s main objectives for the fiscal year, key responsibilities assigned to individual team members and basic resource allocation. A straightforward market analysis might also be included, offering insights into customer needs and competitive advantages the business hopes to leverage.

Simple Clean Yellow Operational Plan

Though simple, this operational plan example remains pivotal for the organization. It provides a roadmap, guiding team members through their daily responsibilities while ensuring that everyone is working together towards shared goals. It becomes especially essential for diverse cross-functional teams, where clarity of roles can lead to increased productivity.

Colorful Shape Simple Operational Plan

Modern operational plan example

In today’s fast-paced business environment, the emphasis on efficiency and innovative processes is paramount. The modern operational plan example caters precisely to this demand. Ideal for organizations aiming to streamline processes and highlight workflow, this type of operational plan emphasizes a more dynamic approach to planning. 

Modern Clean Orange Operational Plan

It not only reflects the evolving nature of business operations but also provides a modern backdrop for content, ensuring that the presentation resonates with the current trends and technological advancements. The use of modern tools and platforms within this plan enables diverse cross-functional teams to work together seamlessly, ensuring that day-to-day activities are synchronized with the company’s long-term vision.

Clean Modern Shape Operational Plan

Furthermore, such an operational plan helps the entire organization stay agile, adapting rapidly to changes in the business environment and ensuring alignment with strategic goals.

Minimalist operational plan example

The minimalist operational plan example champions simplicity and clarity. By focusing on clear and concise business strategies, it eliminates any potential ambiguity, ensuring that team members and stakeholders have an unclouded understanding of the company’s objectives and goals. 

Simple Minimalist Operational Plan

The minimalist design not only promotes easy comprehension but also aligns with the modern trend of decluttering, ensuring that only the most vital components of the operational planning process are highlighted. 

This approach leaves no room for confusion, streamlining the planning process and making sure that individual team members and departments are aligned with the business’s key objectives. 

White Clean Lines Minimalist Operational Plan

Moreover, the flexibility offered by a minimalist design allows businesses to craft an operational plan template that is not only functional but also accurately reflects their brand image and core values, ensuring cohesion across all aspects of the business strategy.

Blue And Orange Minimalist Modern Operational Plan

Clean operational plan example

The clean operational plan example stands as a testament to this principle. Ideal for businesses that prioritize clarity and directness, this format seeks to convey goals and strategies without overwhelming stakeholders. 

While maintaining a neat and organized layout, it ensures that tasks are managed effectively, helping team members grasp their roles and responsibilities without getting lost in excessive details.

Pink Retro Clean Operational Plan

One of the primary advantages of a clean operational plan is its ability to eliminate distractions and focus solely on the critical aspects of operational planning. 

Such a design aids in making sure that diverse cross-functional teams can work together harmoniously ensuring that day-to-day activities align seamlessly with the company’s long-term vision. 

The simplicity of the clean operational plan not only supports revenue growth by ensuring efficiency but also reinforces the company’s strategic goals, making it an excellent tool in the arsenal of businesses that believe in clear communication and precise execution.  

An effective operational plan acts as a roadmap, directing how resources should be allocated and tasks should be performed to meet the company’s objectives. Here’s what a comprehensive operational plan should encompass:

  • Goals and objectives : Whether short-term or long-term, the operational plan should define clear goals and objectives that align with the company’s strategic plan. This gives direction to the entire organization, ensuring everyone is working towards a common aim.
  • Clear responsibilities for team members : It’s essential that team members understand their roles within the operational plan. By outlining who is responsible for what, the plan ensures that there are no overlaps or gaps in duties and that everyone has clarity on their day-to-day activities.
  • Assigned tasks: Alongside responsibilities, specific tasks need to be allocated to individual team members or specific departments. This granularity in assignment ensures that every aspect of the operational plan is covered.
  • Timeline: This provides a clear schedule for when each task or objective should start and finish. A well-defined timeline assists in monitoring progress and ensures that the plan stays on track.
  • Budget and resources : Every operational plan needs to factor in the budget and resources available. This includes everything from the operating budget to human resources, ensuring that the business has everything it needs to execute the plan effectively.

Read Also: 6 Steps to Create a Strategic HR Plan [With Templates]

As businesses evolve, it’s essential to have a comprehensive and adaptive operational plan in place to navigate the complexities of the business environment. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you craft an effective operational plan:

Step 1: Define your goals and objectives

Begin with a clear understanding of your strategic goals and objectives. This will act as a foundation for your operational plan. Ensure that these goals are in alignment with your company’s strategic plan and provide both short-term and long-term visions for the business.

Step 2: Determine roles and responsibilities

Identify the key stakeholders, department heads and team members who will play pivotal roles in executing the plan. Assign responsibilities to ensure that everyone knows their part in the planning process and day-to-day activities.

Step 3: Develop a timeline and milestones

Establish a clear timeline that breaks down the operational planning process. Include key milestones to track progress and ensure the plan remains on target.

Step 4: Allocate budget and resources

Determine the resources required to achieve your goals and objectives. This includes estimating the operating budget, identifying human resources needs and other resource allocations, ensuring you have everything in place to support revenue growth and other business needs.

Step 5: Outline day-to-day operations

Detail the day activities that are integral to the business operations. This will provide clarity on how different tasks and functions work together, ensuring efficiency across diverse cross-functional teams.

Step 6: Monitor and measure performance

Integrate key performance metrics and indicators to regularly monitor progress. Using both leading and lagging indicators will provide a comprehensive view of how well the operational plan is being executed and where improvements can be made.

Step 7: Review and adjust regularly

The business environment is dynamic and as such, your operational plan should be adaptable. Regularly review the plan, comparing actual outcomes with desired outcomes and adjust as necessary to account for changes in the business environment or company goals.

Step 8: Document and communicate

Create an operational plan document, potentially using operational plan examples or an operational plan template for guidance. Ensure that the entire team, from individual team members to the entire organization, is informed and aligned with the plan.

Related: 7 Best Business Plan Software for 2023

Strategic plan vs operational plan: What is the difference?

When running an organization, both strategic and operational planning play pivotal roles in ensuring success. However, each has a distinct purpose, time horizon and scope. Here’s a breakdown of the differences between these two essential business plans:

  • Strategic plan : This plan sets the course for the organization’s future. It embodies the long-term vision and mission, detailing the objectives necessary to achieve it. The essence is how everyone, from C-suite executives to individual team members, collaborates towards realizing this vision.
  • Operational plan : This is the roadmap for the day-to-day activities of the organization. While the strategic plan looks at the bigger picture, the operational plan hones in on the tactics and execution. It is crafted to support organizational goals with a focus on short-term activities specific to departments or functions.

Time horizon :

  • Strategic plan : Long-term in nature, usually spanning three to five years.
  • Operational plan : Concentrates on the short-term, with plans laid out yearly, quarterly, or even monthly.

Modification and updates :

  • Strategic plan : This evolves over longer intervals, typically three to five years. There might be minor adjustments year over year based on changing business needs and the external business environment.
  • Operational plan : Due to its short-term focus, it requires frequent assessments. Plans might be adjusted yearly, quarterly or even monthly to ensure alignment with the strategic objectives and current business environment.

Created by :

  • Strategic plan : Crafted by the upper echelons of management – think CEO, CFO and other C-suite members.
  • Operational plan : These plans come to life through mid-level management and department heads, ensuring alignment with the broader strategic vision while catering to specific departmental needs.
  • Strategic plan : Broad in its outlook, it takes into account external factors like market trends, competition, customer needs and technological innovations.
  • Operational plan : This narrows down the focus to the internal workings of the organization. It revolves around technology in use, key performance indicators, budgeting, projects, tasks and the allocation of responsibilities among team members.

As we’ve traversed through the importance of operational planning to various operational plan examples, it becomes evident that having a detailed and efficient operational plan is pivotal. 

From the business-centric to the minimalist approach, every operational plan serves as the backbone, guiding team members and ensuring that day-to-day activities align with the long-term vision and strategic goals.

By knowing what should be included in these plans and how to craft them, businesses can navigate the complexities of their operational environment with greater confidence.

For those looking to refine their planning process or start from scratch, the world of digital tools has made it significantly easier. Venngage offers business plan maker and operational plan templates designed to simplify the process. 

Whether you need to create an operational plan or draft a business strategy, their intuitive platform can guide you every step of the way.

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Expertly Writing the Operations Plan Section of Your Business Plan

Written by Dave Lavinsky

Operational Planning

Operational plans are important for any effective business plan . They provide a roadmap for how the company will operate on a day-to-day basis. The operational strategic plan should outline the company’s goals and objectives, as well as the strategies and actions that will be taken to achieve them.

Business Operations Section of a Business Plan

The operational plan or operations section of a business plan is where you describe how your business will function on a day-to-day basis. This includes everything from the resources you’ll need to run your business, to the people who will be responsible for carrying out various tasks, to the processes and procedures you’ll use to get work done.

Purpose of the Operational Plan Section of a Business Plan

An operational plan is essential for any business because it provides a roadmap for how it will function. It ensures that everyone involved in the business is on the same page and knows what their roles and responsibilities are. Having an operational plan also makes it easier to track and accomplish goals, while driving cost reduction and improving overall results. Finally, your operations plan section helps show readers that you can turn your vision and goals into reality.

Benefits of an Operations Plan Include:

  • Identifying the key processes your company must perform to achieve its goals
  • Mapping out short-term and long-term milestones so you have specific goals and a roadmap for achieving them
  • Understanding the human and other resources required to execute your vision

Writing an Operations Section of a Business Plan

When writing the operations section of a business plan, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind. First, be sure to describe the resources that will be required to run your business. This includes everything from office space and equipment to human resources. Next, detail the processes and procedures that will be used to get work done. Be as specific as possible so that there is no confusion about how things should be done. Finally, identify the people who will be responsible for carrying out various tasks. This includes both employees and contractors.

Tracking Key Performance Indicators with Operational Planning

As a business owner, it’s important to track your progress against your company goals. This is where KPIs come in. KPIs are performance indicators and an important part of creating a strategic plan that can help you track your progress and identify areas of improvement. You should document your KPIs in the operation plan of your business plan

There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing KPIs for your business:

  • Make sure that the KPIs you choose are relevant to your company’s goals.
  • Choose KPIs that can be easily measured.
  • Avoid choosing too many KPIs, as this can be overwhelming. Stick to a few key ones that will give you the most insights into your business’s progress.
  • Set realistic targets for each KPI. This will help you track your progress and identify areas of improvement.
  • Review your KPIs on a regular basis to ensure that they are still relevant and accurate, while also being in line with strategic plans.

Some Examples of KPIs that You Could Track with an Operational Plan

When creating an operations plan, it’s important to track key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure your progress against your company goals. Some examples of KPIs that you could track are:

  • Sales growth
  • Delivery times
  • Customer satisfaction ratings
  • Product Quality
  • Production Process
  • Employee retention
  • Operational costs

Creating an operational plan with KPIs will help you track your progress, identify areas of improvement, improve strategic planning and make necessary changes to reach your company’s strategic objective.

Example of an Operations Section of a Business Plan

Here is what an operations plan example might look like:

The XYZ Company will require the following resources to operate:

  • 1,000 square feet of office space
  • $10,000 for office furniture and equipment
  • 3 full-time employees
  • 2 part-time employees
  • 1 contractor

The XYZ Company will use the following processes and procedures to get work done:

  • All new clients will be contacted within 24 hours of the initial inquiry
  • Initial consultations will be scheduled within 48 hours of contact
  • Proposals will be presented within 10 days of the initial consultation
  • Work will begin within 2 weeks of proposal acceptance

The following people will be responsible for carrying out these tasks:

  • John Smith, full-time employee, will contact new clients
  • Jane Doe, full-time employee, will schedule initial consultations
  • John Smith and Jane Doe will conduct initial consultations
  • John Smith and Jane Doe will prepare proposals
  • John Smith and Jane Doe will manage projects
  • Joe Johnson, contractor, will provide support as needed

An operations plan is a critical part of any business planning work. It provides a roadmap for how the business will function on a day-to-day basis. This includes everything from the resources you’ll need to run your business, to the people who will be responsible for carrying out various tasks, to the processes and procedures you’ll use to get work done. Having operational plans in place will ensure that everyone involved in the business is on the same page and knows what their roles and responsibilities are. It will also make it easier to track and accomplish goals.

Key Takeaways

A few key things to remember when writing your operations plan:

  • Describe the resources that will be required to run your business
  • Detail the processes and procedures that will be used to get work done
  • Identify the people who will be responsible for carrying out various tasks

Following these tips will help you create a comprehensive and effective operations plan for your business.

A strategic plan is one of the critical components of any successful company. The operations plan outlines the roadmap for your business, outlining the steps you need to take to achieve your goals. If you’re not sure where to start, we can help. Our team of experts has created a comprehensive business plan template that will guide you through the process of creating an operational plan tailored to your specific business needs. Ready to get started? Download our template today and get access to all the tools and information you need to create a thriving business.

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How to Write the Operations Section of Your Business Plan

Gears and cogs intertwined and running. Represents the operations of your business.

2 min. read

Updated January 3, 2024

The operations plan covers what makes your business run. It explains the day-to-day workflows for your business and how you will deliver the product or service that you offer. As part of your plan, it’s your chance to describe what you’ve set up so far and that you understand what is still left to make your business fully operational.

  • How to write about business operations

Like some of the other sections in your plan, the information you include fully depends on your type of business. If you run a subscription box service you’ll need to cover how you source and fulfill each order. If it’s a service-oriented business (like a mechanic or coffee shop) you’ll need to go into more detail about your location as well as the tools and technology you use.

The important thing is that the information here fully addresses how your business runs.

What to include in your operations plan

The components of your operations plan fully depend on what’s necessary to produce your product or service. For most, you’ll be adding details about your location and facilities, the technology being used, and any equipment or tools.

Location and facilities

The information you include about your business location fully depends on the state, city, and neighborhood you’ve chosen. This will determine the specific taxes, registration, licenses, permits, zoning laws, and other regulations you’ll be subjected to.

Once you’ve legally established your business be sure to reference the relevant paperwork and legal documentation in this section. You may also want to point to mockups of the building, copies of legal agreements, and any other supporting documentation for how valuable the property is and how it helps your business function.

Sourcing and fulfillment

How will you create your product/service and what will it cost? You’ll include detailed breakdowns in your financial plan, but here you’ll talk about what it will take, who you will work with, and any alternatives.

How and when to write about technology

Is your product or service driven by a specific technology or process? Let investors, banks, or other necessary parties know why it’s a valuable part of your business.

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  • Why you need an operational plan

Understanding your business operations makes your processes real. It ensures that you have organized steps in place to produce a product or service.

For investors, this helps prove that you know what you’re doing and can back up the rest of your plan with actual work that makes it happen. For you as a business owner, it’s a starting point for optimization. You have a blueprint for how things work. And as you run your business, can begin to identify opportunities for improvement.

If you don’t cover operations as part of your business plan, then you’re flying blindly. There’s no documented process for how things should work and no connection to the other strategic elements of your business.

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Content Author: Kody Wirth

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operational plan for business proposal

What Is the Operational Plan Section of the Business Plan?

Learning what an operation plan is and learning how to make it is something critical to any business. 3 min read updated on February 01, 2023

An operation plan section of the business plan is an essential part of any business. Learning what an operation plan is and learning how to make it is something critical to any business. Here are the main things you need to know about an operation plan.

Definition of an Operation Plan

An operation plan is a guiding path for the business to follow in order to achieve all of its goals and objectives described in the general business plan.

The operation plan mainly includes details about the people responsible for completing the required actions, and all the costs and KPIs (key performance indicators) for these actions to be accomplished.

In order for any business to be stable in the long run, the operation plan must be updated regularly in order to ensure the stability of the business.

What Is the Operations Plan Section and How to Properly Make It

The section of the operations plan which is included in the business plan mainly specifies all the physical requirements for the operation of the business. These physical requirements mainly include equipment, facilities, and location.

In order to make a complete business plan , three things need to be clarified to the reader:

  • Everything was done for the business from the start to reach its current position
  • Acknowledgment that you know exactly what should be done for any business to get off the ground
  • Full awareness and understanding of the delivering and manufacturing processes of the service or the product you offer.

Operating Section of the Business Plan: Stage of Development Section

While you're developing the stage of development section, you should begin with the previous procedures that have been taken so far, along with mentioning what is best to be done in the future, it should be as follows:

  • Production workflow : In this, you will describe in detail the exact steps of how your service or your product will be made, along with the acknowledgment of any possible problem that could be faced during the process.
  • In addition, you will include details about how to train the employees to solve any upcoming problem and avoid any risks as much as possible. Along with mentioning any dangerous equipment that will be used, and the proper ways of using and storing these pieces of equipment.
  • Supply chains: In this section you clarify the identity of the suppliers, the prices they offer, and their terms and conditions, In addition to providing the possible alternatives in case it doesn't work out with the current suppliers
  • As an example, in case you are willing to have a specific quality control certificate, like the ISO 9000, you should identify and explain the required procedures.

What Are the Key Components to Include in an Operational Plan Regarding the Business Organization?

Here are the main components to be included in the operational plan:

  • Most of the tasks in the operation plan are carried out by the company's managers and the employees under them, so it is essential that to clarify their identity, describe their qualifications, and describe the jobs and tasks which they will be responsible for.
  • Providing an organizational chart to describe the structural hierarchy of the business.
  • The philosophy and tactics of the company, and the role they play in the development and stability of the business.
  • A statistical measurement of the performance of the employees and managers, and the ways of reward and punishment.
  • Explain the methods that you will use to find the right employees, putting into consideration the required qualifications needed, the job description of each one, and the compensation rates that you will offer.
  • In case the business will need any outside consultants it should be noted, along with the specific functions required from any outsider consultant or employee.

In the end, one could conclude that the success or a failure of a business depends heavily on the quality of the business and operation plan put forward.

If you need help with operation plan samples, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.

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  • Service Business Plan
  • Creating a Business Plan
  • Sample of a Good Business Plan
  • LLC Business Plan Template
  • Details of a Business Plan
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  • Parts of Business Plan and Definition
  • Business Plan Management Structure: What You Need to Know
  • Purpose of Business Plan Sample: Everything You Need To Know


Operational Plan: Everything You Need To Know (2024 Guide)

Download our free Operational Strategy Template Download this template

The old way of planning no longer works in complex and unpredictable business environments, and companies are struggling to find their feet on shaky ground. As we’ve seen with many of our customers and strategies in Cascade, organizations can no longer count on executing three or even five-year strategic plans.

The new reality forces companies and their operations teams to adapt their operational plans more frequently and within shorter time frames if they want to reap benefits faster than their competitors. Organizations need to work on their strategic instinct and fast adaptability to enhance their operational efficiency .  

And that requires big changes—including building a flexible operational plan, supported by the right tools and systems that help you achieve real-time centralized observability and empower a strategic response to external disruptions.

Read this article to build a bulletproof operational plan that includes all the key elements necessary to overcome unpredictable business chaos. You’ll also get free templates that will help you rapidly adapt and align your teams.

✨Bonus: We’ve included pro tips from business leaders in our network to help you identify gaps in your strategy execution and build resilient business operations.

Free Template Download our free Operational Strategy Template Download this template

What Is An Operational Plan?

An operational plan is action and detail-oriented; it needs to focus on short-term strategy execution and outline an organization's day-to-day operations. If your operations strategy is a promise, your operational plan is the action plan for how you will deliver on it every day, week, and month.

Put simply, an operational plan helps you bridge the gap between business strategy and on-the-ground execution and ensures that the organization is on track to achieve its long-term goals.

Benefits of operational planning

  • Clear definition of relationships between cross-functional teams in different departments and responsibilities for each to eliminate duplicated efforts.
  • Tighter alignment between corporate or business unit strategic plans and on-the-ground execution, helping the organization meet its business targets.
  • Strong operating system that enables the company to quickly adapt, deliver operations goals, and monitor performance.

Operational planning vs. strategic planning

Operational planning deals with the day-to-day details and short-term goals, while strategic planning focuses on the big picture and long-term direction of an organization.

To put it in simpler terms, operational planning is about the "how" of daily tasks, while strategic planning defines the "what" and "why" for future success.

📚Recommended reading: Strategic vs. Operational Planning

Kickstart Your Operational Planning Process: Lay The Foundation

The quality of your operational plan will depend on your input. A successful operational planning initiative will consider these aspects:

  • Who will be involved? Identify and include employees, customers, and the management team in the planning process to gain valuable insights from the front lines, ensuring better strategy and execution buy-in.
  • What are your internal capabilities? Assess internal capabilities by conducting an internal analysis , including resource requirements, operating budget, and talent skills. Talent management and employee engagement are just a few of the many challenges that COOs will have on their operations agenda.
  • What environment are you operating in? Conduct an external analysis (e.g., PESTLE or Porter’s 5 Forces ) to inform your approach and identify optimization opportunities and risks, keeping you agile in a changing market.
  • Is it aligned with your organization’s strategy? Ensure alignment of your operational plan with your organization’s strategic plan to actively support the company's long-term vision and contribute to key business metrics.
👉🏻 Once you’ve gathered this information, you can develop an operational plan to help you execute business strategies.

Key Elements Of Your Operational Plan

Enough chit-chat; it’s time to put your operational plan together. We've built this based on our proven and tested approach, used by over +45,000 Cascade users.

See how Cascade Strategy Execution Platform enhances operational efficiency by reducing duplication and aligning teams toward common goals. It effectively eliminates waste resulting from misalignment, fostering smoother operations and improved performance.

Here’s a recap of the five key elements your plan must consider:

Choose key metrics aligned with the company goals

Selecting your operational plan's key metrics isn't a mere exercise in tracking numbers; it's about laser-focused alignment with your business needs and objectives. These metrics are the tangible indicators of your organization's efficiency and performance. They serve as the compass, guiding your daily decisions and actions toward achieving concrete results.

By precisely aligning these metrics with your company's core objectives, you ensure that every initiative and action within your operational plan directly contributes to achieving tangible results.

An aligned operational plan makes it easier to:

  • Communicate roles and responsibilities to all employees so they know how their efforts contribute to overall business success.
  • Identify and address operational bottlenecks and inefficiencies that could derail strategy execution.
  • Motivate and engage employees to work toward strategic objectives and deliver on business outcomes.
Remember that the role of operations is to close the gap between your organization's strategic goals and what is being done on a daily basis to make them happen.

👉🏻 How Cascade can help:

With Cascade’s Metrics Library , you can bring your operating and financial business-level goals together with your strategy under one single roof. This makes reporting & governance easy, accurate, and less time-consuming by connecting your business data to your key business initiatives.

cascade metrics library

Through Cascade’s integrations , you can consolidate your metrics in one place, importing your data directly from business systems, data lakes, BI tools, or even spreadsheets.

Define the focus areas of your operational plan

The focus areas of your operational plan are the key areas of the business that the plan will address.

This will depend on your business plan. Think about how the business operates and how it succeeds. Do you need to pursue short-term cost reductions while simultaneously pursuing longer-term growth and transformation initiatives? Your operational plans must be built on these strategic priorities.

For example, you can prioritize your focus areas based on the most relevant business strategies or by specific departments. Some examples of focus areas could be:

  • Administration
  • Human Resources

💡Tips to help define the focus areas of your operational plan:

  • Identify the business's key challenges and opportunities.
  • Consider the business's overall long-term strategy and key metrics and how the operational plan's focus areas can support these objectives.
  • Bring other people on board to help you identify what needs to be addressed by the operations plan.

Create strategic objectives for your operational plan

Strategic objectives are specific goals aligned with the operation’s strategy and focus areas. They represent what you want to achieve in each focus area and will serve as the building blocks of your plan, ensuring that it’s focused and actionable.

Some examples of strategic objectives:

  • Reduce costs by 10% within the next year by implementing more efficient processes and streamlining the supply chain over the next year.
  • Launch three new products in the next fiscal year to expand your product lines and increase revenue.
  • Increase customer satisfaction scores by 5% within the next six months.

💡Tips for defining strategic objectives include:

  • Ensure your objectives are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).
  • Consistently align objectives with your operational plan's focus areas and the company's goals.
  • Don’t be afraid to get input from other people about your objectives.

Identify and prioritize projects

It’s time to identify and prioritize the projects that need to be executed. Remember, projects are action plans to help you achieve your strategic objectives.

Project planning should include thinking about time frames, task assignments, and deliverables (and prioritizing).

Here are some examples of project ideas:

  • Localize sourcing for critical semi-finished materials.
  • Streamline the supply chain to reduce costs and improve efficiency.
  • Find and develop an alternative logistics channel.
  • Implement a new customer service training program to improve customer satisfaction scores.
  • Implement a new technology that will enable end-to-end supply chain visibility.

💡Tips for defining and prioritizing projects:

  • Identify the specific actions and activities needed to achieve each strategic objective.
  • Prioritize the projects based on their importance, feasibility, and potential impact on the business.
  • Involve stakeholders in defining and prioritizing the projects to ensure their needs and concerns are heard.

Identify and track key performance indicators (KPIs)

Finally, you’ll need to know if your operational plan and day-to-day activities result in outcomes.

Set KPIs for key initiatives and strategic objectives to measure success, ensure alignment, and identify performance gaps in your operational plan.

Some examples of operations KPIs are:

  • Inventory costs
  • Costs of goods sold
  • Revenue growth
  • Employee retention rate
  • Customer satisfaction score

💡Tips for defining and tracking KPIs:

  • Align KPIs with your strategic objectives and focus areas so that you can track the plan's progress against these specific goals.
  • Add both lagging and leading indicators .
  • Instead of using multiple disconnected spreadsheets and project management tools, consider live dashboards or reporting systems to track the KPIs and monitor progress over time.

👉🏻 How Cascade can help build your plan:

Cascade’s planner feature enables you to build your operational plan with structure and ease by breaking down the complexity from high-level initiatives to executable outcomes. Define your key elements (focus areas, objectives, projects, and KPIs), and share the plan with your teams. You’ll get full visibility of the plan’s progress in real-time, allowing you to identify gaps, quickly update the plan, and communicate the change with your team with a single click.

cascade planner view example

👉🏻 If you don’t want to start building the plan from scratch, use our free Operational Plan Template pre-filled with examples of focus areas, objectives, projects, and KPIs that you can customize to meet your organization’s needs.

Operational Plan Examples & Templates

Here are five operational plan examples to help you create plans for your teams. You can use one master operational plan or set up an operational plan for each department.

Master Operational Plan Example

operational plan free template

This Operational Plan Template will help you close the gap between business goals and day-to-day operations. You'll be able to set goals and KPIs for your top priorities and work with the operations team to deliver operational excellence and business results.

HR Plan Example

This HR Operational Plan Template can be used to meet staffing requirements, manage human capital and align human resources activities with your strategy. HR managers in any industry can create a clear operational plan that can be constantly monitored, adapted, and improved.

IT Plan Example

If you’re in the IT team, try out this IT Plan Template to get your IT operational planning up and running fast. It comes prefilled with focus areas and KPIs relevant to IT operations; you can easily customize workflows and deliverables to your needs.

Marketing Plan Example

This Marketing Plan Template can help you efficiently understand and plan your digital marketing operations using best practices. Use it to quickly set up priorities and get your social media and marketing teams moving on tasks that will make an impact.

Finance Plan Example

This finance-focused template is ideal if you want to get on top of your finance operations plan. Use it to allocate and distribute financial resources across your organization and get real-time updates through your dashboard and reports—which are great tools to create a visually compelling financial summary that clearly shows your key metrics.

💡Pro Tip: To ensure successful execution, it's crucial to align not just your master operational plan with your overarching strategic plan, but also all the operational department plans.

With the Alignment Maps feature, you’ll be able to visualize how your top-level business strategy breaks down into functional and operational plans. This empowers COOs and CFOs to consolidate their operational plans in one place, creating tighter alignment between the finance and operations teams and improving cross-collaboration to build more resilient operations.

alignment map view in cascade

Want to dig deeper? Use the Relationships feature to see the relationships between connected objectives from your plans and understand how your different department goals contribute to the core business metrics and goals. This view will allow you to clearly map dependencies, blockers, and risks that may lie along your journey.

relationships view in cascade

5 Tips For An Effective Operational Plan And Its Execution

1. don’t underestimate the power of transparent communication.

Regularly communicate the operational plan and progress to all relevant stakeholders to build the necessary buy-in and support. Your employees must know your goals and the roadmap, and team members should understand their role in its execution. This business transparency will help everyone row in the same direction.

“Clarity regarding strategy is one of the key drivers of autonomous execution. If people understand what you’re working toward and have guardrails in place, they can be empowered to make their own decisions and don’t need everything to be ‘run up the chain’ to get approved. This allows you to move fast and at scale.” — Sam Sterling , Chief Strategy Officer, Akqa

2. Keep moving forward and adopt a growth mindset

Keep the momentum going and ensure that the plan is executed effectively. Regular monitoring and reviews can help identify and address any challenges or obstacles that may arise.

Schedule regular reviews and check-ins and provide the necessary support to ensure projects are on track and moving forward.

“I think adopting a growth mindset is super important. This means having the confidence to fail fast, try something new and empower people to do that.” — Ken Miller , General Manager, Azure Intelligent Cloud at Microsoft

With the Team Updates functionality, every team member can post updates on key measures, actions, and objectives. This will give you real-time visibility into performance and help you identify possible risks before it’s too late—without having to schedule extra meetings or nag your team members for updates.

3. Make strategic moves and change fast when you need to

Your operational plan should be flexible, adaptable, and open to adjustments. This means keeping an eye on progress, making corrections if needed, and being willing to adapt the plan to changing circumstances or new opportunities. As McKinsey suggests, you can consider creating a team that will be able to collect data, link analysis with action, and offer quick responses to rapid changes.

“Traditionally, companies would have taken that piece of paper and gone out and said: we're going to execute it, start to finish. Then get into the formulation of the strategy, what we need to hit, and what the end product result will be like. But what we do know is that’s never the case. Along the way, you're going to have bumps, and inevitably, you’ll need to change from that original picture.” — Annie Lucchitti , Marketing Manager, Unilever

4. Empower your operations team and boost efficiency

Effective operational planning requires the engagement and empowerment of your team. Involve stakeholders in the planning process and provide them with the necessary resources. Give them context and an opportunity to set goals and prioritize initiatives. This will help you boost engagement and hold them accountable for progress.

“I think it just works at every single level. Are people allowed to be themselves at work? Personally, are they at peace? Are they happy? Productivity happens when people have the right skills, but also when they are engaged and happy. If one of those fails a bit, productivity will start decreasing.” — Joan Torrents , Global Sourcing Manager, TESCO.

5. If it isn’t measured, it isn’t managed

Don’t underestimate the importance of tracking and measuring progress against the operational plan's goals and objectives. Set milestones, enforce KPIs, and stay on top of progress. Doing this will help you stay on course, empower you to act quickly, and provide valuable insights into what is going wrong.

“Data is a foundational element in the strategy definition phase as well as in the strategy execution phase as it helps create a baseline, identify key priorities, set goals, and measure progress.” — Erica Santoni , Principal, Diversity Equity & Inclusion, Intuit

Use Cascade’s Dashboards to monitor your day-to-day progress on key metrics and critical business and strategic information in real-time.

example of an operations strategy dashboard in cascade

Compile the information in powerful reports and executive summaries in seconds with pre-built templates. Share them with your key stakeholders —internal and external— and invite them to collaborate on your strategy together.

Execute Your Operational Plan With Cascade 🚀

What good is an operational plan if no one executes it? If your organization wants to operate at a higher level, static tools like Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoints, Google Docs, and/or project management tools aren’t the solution.

❌They aren’t designed for adaptive strategy and planning.

❌They often lead to siloing and hinder effective cross-collaboration.

❌They make it challenging to measure progress and slow down decision-making.

With Cascade as your central operating system, you can stop running business operations blindfolded and embrace rapid, coordinated, and data-driven decision-making.

Get your Operational Plan Template to get started with a dynamic plan that will lead to actual outcomes for your business and see faster results from your strategy.

Or take Cascade for a spin! Start today for free or book a 1:1 product tour with Cascade’s in-house strategy expert.

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  • Strategic planning |

Operational plan template

Operational planning is simpler when you have a system. Learn how Asana’s operations team uses standardized processes to streamline strategic planning—no matter how many stakeholders are involved.

Sign up to create your own template.


Recommended apps.

How Asana uses Asana for strategic operations template example image

Operational planning is highly cross-functional. It touches every team and can drive real change—but it also involves lots of coordination. For it to work, you need to bring together almost every team in the company, including executives, finance, product, legal, human resources, and more. 

With so many relationships to manage, templatized workflows are key. Templates give stakeholders a plan for how to work together—so instead of constant back-and-forth conversations, you can make plans and take action quickly. At Asana, we use predefined workflows to streamline our operational planning processes—from annual planning to business planning meetings. 

What is operational planning?

Operational planning is the process of organizing how your company comes together to make strategic decisions. It’s similar to project management, except instead of looking at a single project, you’re charting the course for the entire company. The goal of operational planning is to drive alignment and clarity across all business divisions—so company leaders can work together to make decisions, and the rest of the company can understand and take action on those decisions. 

For example, operational planning involves: 

Organizing monthly and quarterly business reviews

Annual planning

Project management for strategic initiatives

What is an operational plan template? 

An operational plan template is a pre-made workflow for any essential operational planning process—like annual planning or quarterly business reviews. The template lays out each step of the process, so stakeholders know exactly how to collaborate with each other. For example, if you build an annual planning template , you no longer have to start from scratch for each new planning cycle. Instead, you can just copy the template and follow a predefined workflow.

Why use a digital operations plan template?

Since operational planning involves so many stakeholders, it’s common to run into pitfalls like long and confusing email chains, too many meetings, and losing information in the shuffle. There’s a lot to keep track of, and static tools like email and Google Docs often add to the confusion. 

Using a work management platform solves these problems by centralizing your strategic planning process in one place. That way, everyone has a single source of truth where they can communicate, share updates, and make plans in real time. 

Here’s what you can do with a digital operations plan template:

Create a single system of record for operational planning work. 

Centralize conversations with stakeholders in one place, so no information is lost.

Share status reports with stakeholders without scheduling extra meetings.

View project reports and graphs to quickly understand how initiatives are performing. 

Automate operations workflows—so teams can spend less time coordinating work and more time on high-impact initiatives.

Easily update project schedules, tasks, and owners as circumstances change.

Use forms to standardize how teams share information. 

Switch between project views to visualize operations workflows in different ways—including task lists , Gantt charts , calendars , or Kanban boards . 

Types of operational planning templates

When creating operational planning templates, it’s best to focus on a single use case at a time. Below, we’ve outlined two specific use cases we utilize at Asana—plus the key elements of each.

Annual planning template

quotation mark

With everything streamlined and the busywork automated, we can focus on the work of planning, collaborating, and creative problem-solving—instead of the busywork of coordinating planning, and wishing we had more time to collaborate and think creatively.”

Annual planning is a highly cross-functional process. There are top-down company goals and bottom-up team and department plans, all happening at the same time. At Asana, our strategic planning team uses predefined workflows to streamline the planning process, share information across teams, and help everything come together into a coherent, integrated plan. Here’s how. 

Create a single system of record for all annual planning tasks. During annual planning, you need to coordinate tasks across many different teams. Make sure nothing gets lost by centralizing everything in one project, so you can see what each team is responsible for and by when. 

Define each annual planning phase. At Asana, we break the annual planning process into phases, each with a specific goal and time frame. When building your template, create a section at the top to define each annual planning phase—including the goal of that phase and when it occurs. By clearly defining what you want to achieve by when, stakeholders can understand how their individual annual planning tasks fit into the overarching process. 

Create sections for each department or team. Organize each team’s tasks into a single section, so they can easily see what they’re responsible for accomplishing during the annual planning cycle. 

Use custom tags to add additional information. At Asana, we use custom tags to view important details about each task. For example, we use tags to identify which team is responsible, which planning workstream the task falls under, whether it’s a concrete deliverable or a decision to be made, and whether a meeting is required. 

Identify key milestones in your plan. Create milestones to identify important checkpoints throughout the annual planning process. This helps teams understand what they’re working toward and how it fits into the overall planning roadmap. 

Once you’ve created your annual plan, share and track it with Asana’s Goals feature. Goals is an organization-wide tool that can help your entire company set, monitor, and communicate about goals.

Business planning meeting template

Bringing together the leaders of our business org across sales, marketing, biz tech, people ops, customer success, and business strategy is critical to ensure ongoing cross-functional clarity and alignment. But, it can also be extremely costly if it’s not done so effectively and efficiently.”

Business leaders need to stay aligned. One way to keep executives on the same page is by hosting regular business planning meetings—where leaders can share updates, align on action items, and create plans. 

At Asana, we’ve created a standardized workflow to streamline business planning meetings and ensure we’re using meeting time as efficiently as possible. Thanks to this workflow, we no longer have to scramble to pull together and prioritize the right topics. Instead, presenters have plenty of lead time, and meeting attendees can focus on what’s most important for the business—not just what’s top of mind. Here’s how.

Create a single source of truth for meeting planning and follow-up. Centralize planning tasks in one place, so stakeholders can easily see what’s coming up and who’s responsible for each presentation. Create a single task for each agenda item—and then when the meeting is over, add that same task to other projects (like meeting notes or action items) without duplicating work. 

Use sections to organize information. Make tasks easier to find by bucketing them into sections, like upcoming topics, new topic submissions, and meeting agendas. 

Submit new discussion topics with forms. Create a topic request form to standardize how new agenda items are added. Forms ensure you have all the information you need to plan agenda topics—like a brief description of the agenda item, goals for the discussion, the facilitator, and time required.

Create custom tags to see key information at-a-glance. Add custom tags to get a quick view of each task’s category and status. For example, use custom tags to identify whether agenda items are set or still open. 

Recommended features and integrations

As you build out your operational planning templates, customize your team’s workflows with these features and app integrations. 

Integrated features

Custom fields . Custom fields are the best way to tag, sort, and filter work. Create unique custom fields for any information you need to track—from priority and status to email or phone number. Use custom fields to sort and schedule your to-dos so you know what to work on first. Plus, share custom fields across tasks and projects to ensure consistency across your organization. 

Adding tasks to multiple projects . The nature of work is cross-functional. Teams need to be able to work effectively across departments. But if each department has their own filing system, work gets stalled and siloed. Asana makes it easy to track and manage tasks across multiple projects. This doesn't just reduce duplicative work and increase cross-team visibility. It also helps your team see tasks in context, view who’s working on what, and keep your team and tasks connected.

Automation . Automate manual work so your team spends less time on the busy work and more time on the tasks you hired them for. Rules in Asana function on a basis of triggers and actions—essentially “when X happens, do Y.” Use Rules to automatically assign work, adjust due dates, set custom fields, notify stakeholders, and more. From ad hoc automations to entire workflows, Rules gives your team time back for skilled and strategic work.

Forms . When someone fills out a Form, it shows up as a new task within an Asana project. By intaking information via a Form, you can standardize the way work gets kicked off, gather the information you need, and ensure no work falls through the cracks. Instead of treating each request as an ad hoc process, create a standardized system and set of questions that everyone has to answer. Or, use branching logic to tailor questions based on a user’s previous answer. Ultimately, Forms help you reduce the time and effort it takes to manage incoming requests so your team can spend more time on the work that matters.

Zoom . Asana and Zoom are partnering up to help teams have more purposeful and focused meetings. The Zoom + Asana integration makes it easy to prepare for meetings, hold actionable conversations, and access information once the call is over. Meetings begin in Asana, where shared meeting agendas provide visibility and context about what will be discussed. During the meeting, team members can quickly create tasks within Zoom, so details and action items don’t get lost. And once the meeting is over, the Zoom + Asana integration pulls meeting transcripts and recordings into Asana, so all collaborators and stakeholders can review the meeting as needed.

Google Workplace . Attach files directly to tasks in Asana with the Google Workplace file chooser, which is built into the Asana task pane. Easily attach any My Drive file with just a few clicks.

Microsoft Teams . With the Microsoft Teams + Asana integration, you can search for and share the information you need without leaving Teams. Easily connect your Teams conversations to actionable items in Asana. Plus, create, assign, and view tasks during a Teams Meeting without needing to switch to your browser.

Vimeo . Text may get the point across, but written words lack tone, emotion, and expression. With video messaging in Asana, powered by Vimeo, you can give your team all the context they need, without having to schedule another meeting. Record short video messages of yourself, your screen—or both—then embed the videos in tasks, projects, messages, and comments to provide additional clarity and context. A transcript of the recording is automatically created by Asana, making it readable and searchable. Give feedback, ask questions, and assign tasks—all without leaving Asana.

What other operational planning templates can I use to streamline workflows for my business?

With Asana you can create—and customize—templates to fit any business operations use case. Here are some places to start: 

Business plan template

Operations project plan template

All company meeting template

Startup checklist template

Business continuity plan template

Team goals and objectives planning template

Can a project management platform help my business achieve strategic goals faster?

Project management platforms like Asana can significantly improve team efficiency, allowing you to accomplish more with fewer resources. According to an independent report , Asana cuts the time it takes to complete a project by up to 50%—meaning it could help your team get work done in half the time. With less time wasted day-to-day, your team can focus on high-impact work, like driving revenue and achieving strategic goals.

What’s the best way to monitor all operational workflows in one place?

With Asana Portfolios , you can see a high-level view of all operational planning initiatives—including project status, progress, and owners. If an initiative is off track, it’s easy to click in, identify the blocker, and create an action plan to get things back on track. 

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10 Simple Operational Plan Templates in Word & ClickUp

ClickUp Contributor

February 15, 2024

Every business starts with an idea, but it takes disciplined execution to bring it to life. That’s why operational plans are indispensable—they require you to think about the steps and resources you need to make your vision come true. By writing down these processes, you create a roadmap for your organization and empower your teams to work together towards the same goal. 

There are lots of components that make up an operational plan—from your business objectives and market analysis to your operational strategy and budget. You need to add clear details, tasks, and assignments for your plan to be useful.

The good news is you don’t need to start from scratch. Use an operational plan template to outline and manage the day-to-day activities and processes of your business, ensuring that you have the capacity to complete tasks efficiently and on time. With the right tools in hand, like Word or ClickUp templates, businesses of any size can create effective operational plans tailored to their individual needs. 

In this article, we’ll explore 10 customizable and simple operational plan templates.

What is an Operational Plan Template?

What makes a good operational plan template, 1. clickup operational plan template, 2. clickup business plan template, 3. clickup business requirements template, 4. clickup business continuity plan template, 5. clickup business development plan template, 6. clickup business roadmap template, 7. clickup compliance project plan template, 8. clickup contingency plan template, 9. clickup action plan template, 10. microsoft word operational plan template.

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An operational plan template is a document designed to help you turn your business strategy into action. It includes pre-designed pages, lists, and tables that you can fill in with details like:

  • The day-to-day operations that need to be implemented to reach your business objectives
  • What you need in terms of space, human resources, and equipment
  • Roles, responsibilities, and scope of work
  • Operational budget and financial limitations
  • Project timelines
  • Metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) for success

Depending on the size and scope of your organization, operational plans can vary in complexity and length. That’s why you need to find a template that gives you flexibility in making it your own—and we’re here to help you do just that.

A good operational plan template is customizable to fit your specific needs. It offers you several ways to view, sort, and organize your data, and makes it easy for you to track responsibilities and progress. It provides visual cues and clear and concise instructions on how to fill out each section and page. 

The best operational plan templates offer an intuitive, user-friendly experience so that anyone using them for the first time can easily navigate them. Think of how people in your organization will use the plan: Will they want to see your progress at a glance? Do they need to see workload distribution among your team? Choose a template with features that support those needs. 

You also want your operational plan template to be able to scale with your organization as you grow. Choose a template that lets you adjust and update your plans without needing to start from scratch every time.

10 Operational Plan Templates

Whether you’re looking for an annual operational plan template or a simple project tracker , there are plenty of options available. Here we’ve rounded up 10 of the best templates in Word and ClickUp that you can use to create effective operational plans.

ClickUp Operational Plan Template

This simple operation plan template by ClickUp helps you strategically plan your business by outlining processes , clearly defining individual responsibilities, and tracking your progress toward your goals. It’s designed to help you monitor all the moving parts of setting up a business.

With this ClickUp operation plan template, you get a range of view options. Use the List view for maximum flexibility in grouping and sorting tasks, and arranging tasks by priority.

Switch to Board View to examine Plan Phases: planning, implementation, monitoring, and management. Use other views like Gantt, Timeline, and Workload to visualize dependencies, keep track of schedules, and spread out work across your team. 

Do more with this template using custom fields. These fields let you assign responsibilities to a team, add information and resources to a task, and update a project’s progress.

The ClickUp Business Plan Template is an excellent tool to help entrepreneurs move from ideation to launch. Start documenting your business strategy by going through the topics provided in the Topics List View. Add notes, files, and tasks to sections on your company background, market analysis, sales and marketing strategy, operational strategy, and milestones.

Each section has pre-filled tasks with short descriptions to help you flesh out the details of your business plan. For example, under the Company Background section, you have four “tasks” to fill out—The Team, Overview, Mission, and Vision.

Launching a business gets hectic pretty quickly, so use the Board and Timeline views to keep track of tasks and deadlines. And when you’re ready to zoom out and see what you’ve written, head over to the Business Plan Doc view, which presents the outputs of each section and task in one clean, professional document.

3. ClickUp Business Requirements Template

The ClickUp Business Requirements Template outlines the necessary steps and resources for an end solution to fulfill your business needs. For example, if you’re looking for an agency to help you build an app, you’d use a Business Requirements Document (BRD) to explain what you need, why you need it, and how the agency can help you. This helps you get buy-in from your company’s decision-makers, determine the project’s scope, and get all parties aligned on timelines, budgets, goals, and expectations.

This useful business requirements template starts with a list of subpages, and each one comes with brief instructions for filling it out. For example, the Project Objectives subpage comes with a note asking you to include the project’s purpose, current processes, challenges, and reasons for the undertaking.

It recommends using the SMART goals format (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound). Other subpages also come with tables that you can easily fill out.

ClickUp Business Continuity Plan Template

When the unexpected happens, don’t be caught without a plan. The ClickUp Business Continuity Plan Template helps you plan how to manage risks in the event of a disruption to your business operations. This includes mapping out the steps you need to take in the event of a natural disaster, power outage, cyber attack, or other unforeseen (and unfortunate) events.

This template covers the core parts of a business continuity system—priorities, continuity coverage, and guiding principles. Dive into the details of your plan with a Priorities List view, a consolidated List view, and a Board view. Quickly spot tasks across different categories and progress stages with the use of distinct color coding.

With this template’s intuitive and minimalist design, you can focus on the crucial steps and resources to keep your business sailing through a storm (literal or figurative!).

ClickUp Business Development Plan Template

Track your short-term and long-term business goals with this ClickUp Business Development Plan Template for beginners. The template dedicates one subpage each for operations, marketing, finance, and people, as well as an executive summary.

Each subpage gives you a structure to guide you in writing down your plans. For example, the Operations subpage comes with tables for facilities and equipment costs and also shares an example of a process map. The Financial Plan subpage gives you a template for projecting cash flow, forecasting your balance sheet, and running a break-even analysis.

Make this template your own, whether you’re planning for a short-term or long-term business development goal.

Business Roadmap in ClickUp Timeline view

Avoid falling prey to fuzzy strategy syndrome by documenting your business roadmap . Use this ClickUp Business Roadmap Template to record your strategy, focus on your North Star, and say “no” to tactics that don’t align with your vision .

The ClickUp Business Roadmap Template helps you create a high-level strategic document that communicates your goal and how you plan to get there. It sets expectations for every team in your business and maps out project initiatives to strategic goals. Your team can collaborate on projects in List, Gantt, and Timeline views, helping to streamline communication and collaboration. 

When you’re ready to dive into the details of your roadmap, use this template’s custom fields to add long text descriptions and upload files. And whenever you complete a subtask, checklist, or comment, the template automatically updates a progress bar, showing you how close you’re getting to reaching your goal.

ClickUp Compliance Project Plan Template

Complying with legal and industry rules and standards involves keeping track of a lot of documents and tasks. This ClickUp Compliance Project Plan Template ensures nothing slips through the cracks as you work on your compliance project.

The template is organized into sections for regulatory, HR, and data compliance. Start by using forms for collecting information on various compliance requirements. You can use the form’s preset questions and add or delete items as you need. The answers will show up in the List view, where you can group, sort, explain, and assign each requirement. Track priorities, task statuses, point persons, and due dates in Board view as your compliance project progresses.

To provide more context to each requirement, use custom fields to fill in details like performance metrics and consequences of non-compliance. The template also has dropdown fields with pre-filled options—for example, fields for compliance threat category and degree of compliance.

ClickUp Contingency Plan Template

No project goes off exactly as you imagine—even when you follow your plan to the letter. An employee goes on emergency leave, your website crashes and the WiFi stops working. For times like these, you need a plan B. And you can create it using the ClickUp Contingency Plan Template .

The ClickUp Contingency Plan Template offers three views that let you list down events, prioritize them based on risk level, and track progress across planning stages. When you add a task, the template automatically creates custom fields, such as the event’s risk level, likelihood, and potential impact on your organization. There are also fields for you to describe the preparations you’ve made to mitigate risk internally and provide details about your response plan.

Bonus: Contingency planning templates !

ClickUp Action Plan Template

The ClickUp Action Plan Template is a colorful whiteboard template for reviewing an action plan daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly. You can add files from within ClickUp or from your device, or import them from G Suite or Figma. You can also embed YouTube videos and ClickUp tasks, making this template interactive, collaborative, and anything but boring!

This media-rich template gives you the space and flexibility you need for creating action plans that come with lots of contextual information. Zoom out for a bird’s eye view of your progress or zoom in to break down action plans into small steps. You can also use this Action Plan Template to assign tasks, track progress, set deadlines, and add notes. 

Microsoft Business Plan Template Example

Create a professional document with a Microsoft Word Operational Plan Template, such as this business plan template that gives you step-by-step instructions for creating a comprehensive plan. It comes with formatted text and simple layouts so you can focus on the content more than the presentation. 

If you want more creative control, though, this template is completely customizable. Plus, it lets you add animations and transitions, as well as photos, videos, and graphics. Once you’re done, you can share and publish the doc with a few quick clicks.

Streamline Your Operational Planning Process

Boost your chances of reaching your business goals by creating an effective operational plan. With the right tools and templates, you can easily create a tailored document that helps you track your operational planning process and projects. 

We hope our list of 10 simple operational plan templates has helped you find the perfect template for your needs!

Try them out by setting up a free ClickUp Workspace !

Questions? Comments? Visit our Help Center for support.

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Top 10 Business Operational Plan Templates with Samples and Examples

Top 10 Business Operational Plan Templates with Samples and Examples

Aditya Chakraborty


 Are you aspiring for the best outcomes from your business model? Do you want to set the pace of the organization in the right direction?

The right kind of business operational plan will set teams in motion to achieve desired organizational goals. With the assistance of powerful PPT models, businesses are able to direct the process’s blueprint to the employee and all stakeholders. A clearer picture of the state of operations and targets always helps teams be comfortable with what they are doing. They also know what success looks like. 

Running, and even thriving in you business, could be a greater challenge when the marketplace is tough. If your enterprise can be taken as a ship, a business operation plan can be considered as its lighthouse. It (the business operational plan) reminds teams & stakeholders of the way to go and highlights potholes or obstructions the path ahead. 

A well-designed PPT Presentation is the answer to ensure your venture prospers and has answers to most problems that will come your way. Start your business operational plan today with help of suitable presentations that suit your requirements. SlideTeam offers you PPT templates that assist in shaping business operational plans.  Download  slides that assist businesses to tackle operational challenges with flair and effectiveness. 

Why Do You Need Business Operational Plan? 

Companies often tend to spend time and resources in strategic planning for long-term goals. While it is necessary to make strategic plans, most of these miss out on a key strategic element: a business operating plan. 

“The proper outlining of business operational plan for daily needs leads to best outcomes for the organizations. Research has indicated better allocation of resources in organizations with well-laid operating plans.”

The operator should be able to answer these questions:

  • What are the operational strategies in line with the vision of the organization? 
  • How to perform and outshine in changing business environment?
  • What are the tasks to be completed on regular basis?
  • How to prevent risks associated with the implementation of plans? 

Let us look at the list of PPT models to fit business operating models: 

Template 1: Business Operational Plan 

This PPT Template is meant to ensure a pictorial depiction of the company’s sales & marketing goals. Use this presentation deck to highlight the executive summary, company vision, company strategy, changes in the competitive environment, revenue sources, objective for the next 12 months, milestones, financial summary, and others. The deck also contains slides related to acquisition of new customers, customer lifetime Value, and risk mitigation strategies to fit sales requirement.

Business operational plan powerpoint presentation with slides

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Template 2: Business Plan Operational Strategy 

The PPT slide deck is helping businesses overcome fears and tackle challenges. It displays the company mission and objective, KPIs, business problems & solutions, changes in the competitive environment, financial summary, revenue growth, and others. Businesses are able to optimize their performance with information related to gross margin improvement, operating expenses, product roadmap , and more.

Business plan operational strategy powerpoint presentation slides

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Template 3: Business Operational Planning Process 

  The specific kind of PowerPoint Deck is focusing on the condition of the company, key performance indicators, operating highlights, hiring plans, and more to boost the overall outcome. It will help businesses devise top strategies to support product roadmap, operational challenges, risk & mitigation plans, and others. Put forth all details in the respective slides to make the presentation fruitful and result-oriented.

Business operational planning process powerpoint presentation slides

Template 4: Business Operation Planning 

  If you’re planning to set long-term business goals, then this PowerPoint Deck will be a desirable option. It includes slides related to the executive summary, business solutions, details related to key stakeholders, analysis of competitors, budget, source of revenue, and more. Highlight milestones of the company through visuals, establishing operational highlights.

Business operation planning powerpoint presentation slides

Template 5: Business Operational Plan PPT Infographics 

  The business operational plan PPT infographic will help companies establish their goals efficiently. It includes details related to mission & objectives, strategic intent, budget, performance indicators, time, responsibility, and progress. We provide thousands of editable icons on each topic and adjust sizes easily. Companies can use their own icons in the PPT Slides and edit the color of the graphics. Highlight details accurately through infographics and boost the overall output of presentations.

Business operational plan ppt powerpoint presentation infographics infographics

Template 6: Business Operational Plan Pie Charts 

  Graphical presentation of data assists in easier understanding of key business indicators. The business operational plan pie charts are creating huge impact on business meetings through the guided presentation. We provide thousands of editable icons for each category to make business presentations successful. Our pie charts are easy to understand, and comparison in the meeting rooms become easier with this.

Business operational plan pie charts powerpoint presentation

Template 7: Business Operational Plan Timeline Pictures Infographics 

Plan the best moves for the company with a business operational plan timeline PowerPoint Deck. The infographics used in the PPT will help businesses analyze present costs and plan future timeline. Use the editable infographics and pictures to highlight details related to the strategic intent of the company, performance indicators, budget, progression, risks mitigation, and others.

Business operational plan timeline ppt powerpoint presentation pictures infographics

Template 8: Business Operational Readiness Plan with Multiple Tasks 

  Select Business Operational Readiness Plan with Multiple Tasks PPT to describe aspects of operations minutely. It is the best option for businesses looking for pro-presentation solutions to highlight essential details. The slides can be easily edited, as per the preferred size and color to fit the business presentation requirements.

Business operational readiness plan with multiple tasks

Template 9: Essential Elements of Business Operational Readiness Plan 

Businesses need to add backdrops in their presentations to describe subjects minutely. The Essential Elements of Business Operational Readiness Plan PPT deck is designed by our experts to make the teams ready for efficient operations. Edit the slides as per choice and improve the output of business meetings. Download the PPT deck today to ensure the completion of business pro presentations timely. 

Essential elements of business operational readiness plan

Template 10: Business Operational Plan for Organizational Governance Infographic Template 

  The governance of organizations needs to be chalked out accurately for optimal output. Our Business Operational Plan for Organizational Governance Infographics Template provides you detailed-reports on specific subjects. The editable slides suit pro-business presentation requirements and incorporate icons that fit business needs. Download it today to present detailed reports on the company’s progression and govern the organization suitably. 

Business operational plan for organizational governance infographic template

Final Thoughts!

The operational plan templates prove to be the idle option to develop the presentations to be showcased in business conferences. Such plans should be in line with the strategic plans of the company and ensure focus on specific goals. Take the stakeholders & business partners in the loop to focus on the right objective of the business. The templates will work as the top option to solve specific problems in company operations and achieve long-term goals. 

What is an example of an operational plan?

An operational plan focuses on the future of the business and identifies its activities. It helps in better outlining of the purpose of businesses and understand specific activities to achieve desired goals. If you desire to grow your business by 25%, over the next few years, then the creation of an operational plan becomes critical to meeting targets. An example is given below: 

Goal: 25% growth in business by evaluating the revenues. 

Timeline: 2-5 years. 

Tasks: Engaging with customers and advertising brand products to generate leads for business. 

Resources: Specific skills and customer servicing needs. 

Budget: $5,000-$10,000 for each year. 

Output Monitoring: Revenue analysis for the next few years 

How do you write a business operational plan?

Write business plans in templates to ensure a simple understanding of facts that help in getting desirable output at all levels. Plan presentations critically as the checklist for dealing with business problems & solutions. 

A business operational plan includes

  • Defining employee roles and contributing to the business outcomes. 
  • Detailed instructions on daily operations within organizations. 
  • Creation of risk and mitigation plans.  
  • Defining short and long-term business operational goals. 
  • Detailed reporting on financial summary of businesses. 
  • Providing realistic goals to key stakeholders for achievement of goals. 
  • Create transparency to earn the trust and loyalty of employees. 

What are the seven things an operational plan should contain?

A business operational plan helps in decide on a strategy that will deliver the best results. If you want to run projects successfully, then prepare operational plans that help to build revenues. The operational strategy of a company is future-oriented and set the plans that fit the requirements. 

Let us look at the seven things to be included in a business operational plan:

  • Precise objective 
  • Delivery of activities 
  • Quality standards 
  • Best outcomes 
  • Staffing & resourceful needs
  • Milestone tracking 
  • Keep revising and updating monitoring procedures 

What are the three types of business operational plans?          

The business operational plan is acting as the blueprint for business procedures and helps your reach your milestones with both speed and ease. The three types of business operational plans include

Single-use plans: It is meant for a specific purpose in business operations and handle challenges promptly. The development of single-use plans helps deal with problems for top outcomes. 

Multi-use plans: It includes plans for stages of the business operation and implements these accurately. These work at many level with accuracy and efficacy. 

Ongoing plans: It is the best way to solve repetitive, assembly-line like issues in daily operations. Such plans help in business growth and thus eliminate prevailing troubles. 

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Free Operational Plan Templates

By Andy Marker | July 11, 2022

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We’ve rounded up the most useful collection of free organizational plan templates to record and track the goals and resource needs of your business or organization. 

Included on this page, you’ll find a basic operational plan template , a nonprofit operational plan template , a three-year operational plan template , and a five-year operational plan template .

Basic Operational Plan Template

Basic Operational Plan Template

Download Basic Operational Plan Template Microsoft Excel | Microsoft Word  

Use this basic, customizable operational plan template to create a detailed roadmap for your organization. With this template, the path to reaching your goals will be clear to all stakeholders, and team members will know exactly what tasks need to be completed and when. 

Having efficient and clear processes in place is critical for reaching your organizational goals. Learn more in this guide to operational excellence principles .

Nonprofit Operational Plan Template

Nonprofit Operational Plan Template

Download Nonprofit Operational Plan Template Microsoft Excel | Microsoft Word

Nonprofit organizations often have complex, long-term strategic goals. This operational plan template for nonprofits will help you develop a clear set of tasks and accountability measures to keep everyone apprised of next steps. Use this template to identify your goals, establish a clear plan, set and track your budgets, assign stakeholders, and implement reporting protocols. 

This guide to operations strategies will give you an overview of the steps necessary to develop a comprehensive plan for your organization.

Three-Year Operational Plan Template

3-Year Operational Plan Template

Download Three-Year Operational Plan Template — Microsoft Excel  

Your operational plan might include long-term tasks and deliverables. Use this operational plan template to chart your organization’s needs over a three-year period. Enter specific goals, delivery dates, responsibilities, and necessary resources on this customizable template to track progress and ensure that you are on your way to reaching your strategic goals. 

Your business or organization might also benefit from an operational audit, which is a chance to conduct a deep dive into strategic planning and to increase accountability. See this comprehensive guide to operational audits to learn more and gain access to additional resources and templates.

Five-Year Operational Plan Template

5-Year Operational Plan Template

Download Five-Year Operational Plan Template — Microsoft Excel  

Long-term planning is a key element of any organization. This five-year operational plan template gives you a detailed look at the steps and resources needed to reach your goals. Track deliverables, responsible parties, and resources in this customizable template. This template also helps team members visualize long-term needs and stay on top of their responsibilities and timelines. 

See this guide to operations management for more information, tips, tricks, and future trends in managing your organizational resources.

What Is an Operational Plan Template?

An operational plan template is a form that captures key details about a work plan. An operational plan includes specific actions and resources needed to reach certain milestones. It is more detailed and specific than a strategic or business plan.

Operational plans help project managers identify resource needs, maintain accountability, implement a reporting process, and maintain a budget.

Operational plan templates templates vary by type but typically include the following:

  • Delivery Date: Enter target completion dates for each task in your plan.
  • Evidence of Success: Write a short statement explaining how you will know when the goal has been achieved. 
  • Executive Summary: Describe the plan in a short paragraph that specifies how it differs from or relates to other plans in your organization.
  • Goals: Enter specific goals or milestones of your larger strategy or business plan.
  • Responsible Parties: Include the names of the stakeholders who are responsible for each task.
  • Resources Needed: Enter all resources necessary to complete each task, including on-hand resources and those you will need to procure.
  • Risks: Note any risks you may encounter.
  • Title: Enter the plan name or title.

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Operational Planning

Operational planning definition.

What does operational planning mean? Operational planning creates a detailed roadmap based on a strategic plan. The operational plan aligns timelines, action items and key milestones that finance or the business needs to complete to execute on the strategic plan. In this way, an operational plan outlines the organization’s key objectives and goals and clarifies how the organization will achieve them.

During the operational planning process, finance or the business responsibilities are described in detail based on the timeline for the operational plan. The timeframe should depend on typical organizational velocity; creating an annual operational plan is a fluid, changing process, so keeping clarity and collaboration is vital for success.

A well-conceived business operational plan keeps team members collaborating smoothly, ensures everyone knows what needs to be done and what their part in it is, and guides critical decisions about long-term strategy.

Key steps of operational planning

  • Define the goal or vision for the operational plan clearly
  • Analyze and identify key business stakeholders, resources and budgets team members, budgets, and resources
  • Consistently track and inform team members and stakeholders on progress
  • Adapt the operational plan to wider company goals as needed

What Is Operational Planning?

Operational planning faqs.

What is operational planning for finance or the business? Operational planning is the result of a team or department working to execute a strategic plan. It is a future-oriented process that maps out department goals, capabilities, and budgets to promote the success of team-based activities designed to support the strategic plan.

Operational business plans are most effective when there is buy-in from the entire team or department, ensuring issues are reported, goals identified and timelines get delivered,, and business collaboration is more effective. When communication across finance and the business exists, operational plans work even more efficiently to ensure that the entire organization reaches its goals.

An example of operational planning would be a manufacturer creating a plan to increase revenue by 30%. Finance partners with sales, the marketing team, operations and other key business areas to align on the strategies needed to support revenue growth and achieve business goals together. Another operational planning example might be a brand looking to introduce a new product. It would need to leverage and expand existing capabilities, harness new tools, and create a roadmap for doing so.

Other operational planning examples in management include mapping business or production output to meet other new goals, planning for new or expanded solutions, sales and operational planning, providing a roadmap or increased clarity surrounding business goals, or creating a strategy for increased business partnership.

Strategic Planning vs Operational Planning

There is a difference between strategic planning, tactical planning, and operational planning. However, strategic, tactical, and operational planning need to be considered together and build upon one another.

What is a strategic plan?

A strategic plan describes the high-level goals, long-term vision, and organizational mission, usually over the next three to five years. It also details the major projects or initiatives that will happen to meet them, and how the organization will measure the goals, broadly. This is a big picture view of goals, but it can’t really show a team how to achieve those goals step-by-step.

What is an operational plan ?

An operational plan (also known as an operations plan, work plan, or operation plan) is a detailed outline of what a team or department will focus on in the immediate future—typically within the upcoming year. The operational plan answers questions about things like weekly goals and tasks, such as what they are generally, what they will achieve, who will do them, and how often.

What is a tactical plan?

Tactical planning is a step organizations or teams sometimes take after they create strategic and operational plans. The idea is to break the plans into smaller goals and objectives, to define them and determine which steps and actions will be most effective in achieving them. In other words, the operational plan may just have set a goal or task for person A about goal 1, but a tactical plan might set forth the detailed steps person A will need to execute every week.

Tactical planning and operational planning differ in the kinds of questions they ask. Operational plans ask how the team should do something so they can both adhere more broadly to the organizational mission and specific strategic goals. Tactical plans ask specific questions about how to accomplish strategic and operational goals. They are the most microscopic version of planning.

In summary, a strategic plan is a business-level, long-term strategy plan over the next three to five years. It is a visionary plan, the big picture. Its focus is not on implementation. An operational plan is smaller in timeline and both scope, and the goal of operational planning is both to describe a more granular view of how to achieve strategic goals and to focus on implementation in the form of weekly actions, specific Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), etc. A tactical plan is the narrowest view that is focused on implementation only, and things like daily tasks for one person or a small team and smaller goals.

Strategic and operational planning work together; operational planning is an important part of a whole strategy. Tactical planning helps teams achieve their strategic and operational planning goals.

The goal of an operational plan is to give particular tasks to specific departments, not the company as a whole, whereas it is strategic vs operational planning that sets forth long-term goals for the next three to five years.

What is the Operational Planning Process?

Going through the operational planning cycle, keep these best practices and operational planning techniques in mind.

Research and Identify Goals

The goal of an operational plan and its creation process should be to address some foundational questions:

  • Start with the strategic plan: how will it shape the actions we take?
  • What is the budget? How will it compare to previous years?
  • What is the current status, considering budget, resources, and team members? What is the goal status in one, two, three years, etc.?
  • How can the team practically achieve the goal? What operational planning methodology informs the approach? What are the operational planning tools we will use?
  • What benchmarks should be used to assess our progress? They might include 5-star reviews, customer service cases closed, launch deadlines met, number of goods manufactured, new customers acquired, revenue increases, etc.

Ask team members the questions, and prioritize responses based on how difficult they are to execute, and how critical.

Visualize the Operational Plan

Make sure the vision for the plan is clearly articulated. Clearly defined goals, charts and visualizations, and project management software can help offer a high-level view of tasks and progress for all stakeholders. Identify which operational business planning techniques and tools will work best for achieving the organization’s goals.

Assign People and Budget

The budgeting process in operational planning consists of assigning tasks and allocating resources and budget for team members to complete them. Each piece of the budget should map out to a financial goal in the operational plan with corresponding timetables and deliverables.

Tracking and Informing Progress

Build out a reporting process that corresponds to the clear objectives with goals, targets, deliverables, resource allocation, and timetables in the operational plan. This way the stakeholders can report progress as the plan moves forward.

Adjust the Operational Plan as Needed

A well-conceived operational plan should allow you to understand precisely which activities and aspects of the plan failed to perform. This in turn allows the team to pivot, involve new team members as needed, and continue to the next benchmark with a refined operational plan.

Consider the Right Indicators

Use key performance metrics or indicators that are predictive, not just lagging indicators. You need some lagging indicators such as past sales or attendance figures, but leading indicators such as market trends should also contribute to both reporting progress and adjusting the operational plan.

What Should Operational Planning Include?

Approaches to operational planning vary, but each team has as its main objective producing a functional operational plan that reflects a practical approach to the organization’s mission and strategic plan.

What should an operational plan include? This strategic document should plan all of the daily processes and operations that a business and its teams or departments including marketing, recruitment, and finance need to do to achieve company goals.

A well-defined operational plan should ensure that each manager and employee understands what their specific responsibilities are, and how and when to execute them.

The operation plan itself should have several components:

  • A title page. This summarizes the operational plan.
  • An executive summary. This provides a few sentences with a rough idea of the overall plan and its basic sections.
  • Mission and objectives. This section defines the organization’s broader mission and objectives. It also describes goals and milestones for the coming year that relate to the operational plan.
  • KPIs. Evaluate metrics and KPIs that will measure results.
  • Financial summary. This offers an overview and a financial breakdown of all projects included in the operational plan to demonstrate there is sufficient capital to execute the plan.
  • Hiring plan. Determine how many monthly/quarterly team members to hire across different departments.
  • Key assumptions and risks. Provide this risk analysis so mitigation can be performed.
  • Next steps. Suggest next steps, if any.

What are the Steps in Operational Planning?

The purpose of the operational planning process is not to generate new goals or plans, but to create an operational plan in support of existing strategic goals:

Start with a strategic plan

Create the strategic plan first. Before considering immediate tasks and day-to-day details, it’s important to see the long-term vision and goals. As the leadership team creates the strategic plan, they determine the position of the organization and develop its strategy. They should also monitor the strategic plan, and adjust it as needed.

Sharpen the scope

Narrow the scope of the operational plan to a department, team, or focus area to ensure it is detail-oriented and targeted. The size of the organization determines the scope of your operational plan. In other words, you start big with the strategic plan, and then narrow down to the operational plan and the focus area of the team who will execute it—and then create various supporting action plans for execution.

Identify key stakeholders

Identify stakeholders in the operational planning process before creating an operational plan. The team members who create the operational plan should lead and inform others around the operational plan, so you’ll need to know who they are before execution.

Create the operational plan

Your operational plan sets forth the timeframe, the goals to achieve, and explains the actions the team will take to achieve those goals on time. It must include objectives, deliverables, quality standards (if any), desired outcomes, operating budget, staffing and resource requirements, and progress and monitoring information.

For example:

An organization’s strategic plan sets forth the goal of the marketing team increasing brand awareness by at least 10% in the next year. This will mean increased engagement with potential customers and more eyes on new marketing materials.

This will require support from the design team, who will have new goals: update the website and create new promotional materials. To achieve those goals, they will collaborate with the development team on the update and hire social media engagement team members. The team will use software and management tools to report and track their progress.

Share the operational plan

Share the operational plan with key stakeholders so they understand mission critical goals and the daily tasks that support them. Track progress in real-time for best results. This also allows you to update the operational plan and report on progress as needed to team members and stakeholders. Like project planning, operational planning is never a one-and-done task, but remains a continuous process.

Why is Operational Planning Important?

At the organizational level, project success demands a strong operational plan. Chaos and confusion often reign without an operational plan, as budgets rise and team members lose sight of tasks and deadlines.

The importance of operational planning is in the creation of a single source of truth that enables comprehensive understanding of mission, strategic goals, and how to achieve them. An operational plan helps teams identify areas that cause lack of clarity, missed revenue generation opportunities, inefficient strategies, or areas of reduced business partnership.

What are the Benefits of Operational Planning?

The advantages of operational planning can impact organizations of any size. An operational plan helps teams reach strategic goals by connecting teams and their individual tasks to company goals. A detail-oriented operational plan has many benefits.

It clarifies organizational goals. Operational planning helps leadership define responsibilities, daily tasks, and activities in detail. It also sets out how individual team members support overall department and organizational goals and defines outcomes for them to measure daily tasks against.

It also boosts team productivity. Operational planning enhances efficiency, productivity, and profits by ensuring employees in each department and across the company know their daily responsibilities and objectives.

Operational planning disadvantages include creating an operational plan based on human error, or whose success is overly dependent upon effective coordination of diverse cross-functional teams. Singular focus only on coordination and not connecting the business is a primary disadvantage of implementing an operations planning process.

Who is Responsible for Operational Planning?

Create an operational plan at the department or team level to best precisely capture the roles and tasks. At a larger organization, an operational plan might even be specific to a particular initiative—much like a detailed tactical or work plan.

There several considerations that determine who creates operational plans:

  • Scope. For every activity, the operational plan includes the who, what, and when and must be laser-focused on the initiative itself and the team. Watch to ensure scope is not too broad.
  • Timeline. An operational plan should cover a quarter, six months, or a fiscal year, depending on organizational speed and velocity.
  • Stakeholders. To accurately predict what work to include in the plan, ensure operational planning stakeholders stay close to the work. Finance must unit the business from tactical details to strategic execution.

Typically, the operational plan is the realm of middle-management, in contrast to the top-down execution style from the C-suite the strategic plan receives. Its scope is also narrower and as routine tasks are mapped out, which continuously evolves Changes to the strategic plan will be less frequent.

Given the focus on day-to-day activities, allocation of resources, and tasks, middle-managers are often best-suited to map out and implement the operational plan.

Does Planful Help With Operational Planning?

Yes. Planful’s financial performance platform unites the demand for structured planning originating in finance with the business need for dynamic planning. Planful empowers organizations to make smarter decisions more confidently, rapidly, and strategically and ensures the data collection process for operational planning isn’t a time-consuming, manual process.

Use Planful to build collaborative financial plans that align resources with strategic objectives. Adjust and pivot as business conditions change, model hundreds of different scenarios reliably, and turn annual plans into quarterly or monthly rolling forecasts, all based on what the organization needs now.

Find out more about Planful’s Operational Planning solution here.

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