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Writing a Business Plan
While it may be tempting to put off, creating a business plan is an essential part of starting your own business. Plans and proposals should be put in a clear format making it easy for potential investors to understand. Because every company has a different goal and product or service to offer, there are business plan templates readily available to help you get on the right track. Many of these templates can be adapted for any company. In general, a business plan writing guide will recommend that the following sections be incorporated into your plan.
The executive summary is the first section that business plans open with, but is often the last section to actually be written as it’s the most difficult to write. The executive summary is a summary of the overall plan that highlights the key points and gives the reader an idea of what lies ahead in the document. It should include areas such as the business opportunity, target market, marketing and sales strategy, competition, the summary of the financial plan, staff members and a summary of how the plan will be implemented. This section needs to be extremely clear, concise and engaging as you don’t want the reader to push your hard work aside.
The company description follows the executive summary and should cover all the details about the company itself. For example, if you are writing a business plan for an internet café, you would want to include the name of the company, where the café would be located, who the main team members involved are and why, how large the company is, who the target market for the internet cafe is, what type of business structure the café is, such as LLC, sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation, what the internet café business mission and vision statements are, and what the business’s short-term objectives are.
Services and Products
This is the exciting part of the plan where you get to explain what new and improved services or products you are offering. On top of describing the product or service itself, include in the plan what is currently in the market in this area, what problems there are in this area and how your product is the solution. For example, in a business plan for a food truck, perhaps there are numerous other food trucks in the area, but they are all fast –food style and unhealthy so, you want to introduce fast food that serves only organic and fresh ingredients every day. This is where you can also list your price points and future products or services you anticipate.
The market analysis section will take time to write and research as a lot of effort and research need to go into it. Here is where you have the opportunity to describe what trends are showing up, what the growth rate in this sector looks like, what the current size of this industry is and who your target audience is. A cleaning business plan, for example, may include how this sector has been growing by 10% every year due to an increase in large businesses being built in the city.
Organization and Management
Marketing and sales are the part of the business plan where you explain how you will attract and retain clients. How are you reaching your target customers and what incentives do you offer that will keep them coming back? For a dry cleaner business plan, perhaps if they refer customers, they will get 10% off their next visit. In addition, you may want to explain what needs to be done in order for the business to be profitable. This is a great way of showing that you are conscious about what clear steps need to be taken to make a business successful.
Financial Projections & Appendix
The financial business plan section can be a tricky one to write as it is based on projections. Usually what is included is the short-term projection, which is a year broken down by month and should include start-up permits, equipment, and licenses that are required. This is followed by a three-year projection broken down by year and many often write a five-year projection, but this does not need to be included in the business plan.
The appendix is the last section and contains all the supporting documents and/or required material. This often includes resumes of those involved in the company, letters of reference, product pictures and credit histories. Keep in mind that your business plan is always in development and should be adjusted regularly as your business grows and changes.
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- 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.
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.
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?
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 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 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 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.
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How to Write an Operations Plan Section of your Business Plan
Free Operations Plan Template
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.
Operations Plan Template
Need help writing an operations plan? Get our proven plan template.
In this article, you will learn how to create an operations plan, its key elements, and an example to help get started drafting one for your business plan.
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?
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
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:
: 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.
Quality control, 2. 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:, contains a roadmap:, sets a benchmark:, 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.
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
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 Operational Plan
Having a strategic plan is essential to any company, but it's not enough. To ensure that the broader organizational goals are within reach, you need an operational plan for day-to-day work..
In this blog post, we’ll explain what an operational plan is, show you how to create one without feeling overwhelmed, and provide you with an example of an operational plan. We’ll also share our pre-built templates that you can start with to streamline the process.
What is an operational plan?
An operational plan is a document that outlines the key objectives and goals of an organization and how to reach them.
The document includes short-term or long-term goals in a clear way so that team members know their responsibilities and have a clear understanding of what needs to be done.
Crafting an operational plan keeps teams on track while guiding them in making crucial decisions about the company's long-term strategy.
Operational planning vs strategic planning
Though related to each other, these two planning strategies differ in their focus.
Operational planning is the process of the day-to-day work to execute your strategy. It ensures you have all the resources and staff necessary to get work done efficiently.
On the other hand, strategic planning is about looking ahead into the future, identifying the upcoming pipeline, and figuring out how you can prepare for it.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, nearly 7 million Americans are self-employed, with an additional 10 million employed by small businesses.
If you're working at a large corporation, chances are your company will have some form of strategic goals in place. However, if you're one of the millions who work remotely and independently, your success will rely on operational planning instead.
What are the key elements of an operational plan?
The success of operational planning largely depends on setting realistic expectations for all teams.
Here are the key elements of a functional operational plan:
- Clearly define the ultimate vision or objective for the plan
- Review and break down the smaller goals for the operating budget, team, and resources required to put the plan into action
- Assign budgets, team members, key stakeholders, and resources
- Monitor progress with consistent reports
- Refine the operational plan and be ready to pivot if needed
Ensure all teams understand the parameters of success. Doing this shows how their work contributes to wider company goals and ensures better decision-making for the business operation.
How to create an operational planning process
Think of an operational plan as a key component in a team puzzle. It provides employees with a manual on how to operate the company.
It should be created in tandem with other foundational documents like an organizational mission statement, vision document, or business strategy. Daily, it can help answer questions such as:
- Who should be working on what?
- How can we mitigate those risks?
- How will resources be assigned for different tasks?
- Are there any internal and external risks facing the business?
To create a successful operational plan, it's important to define goals clearly. Here are several steps that will help you develop a functional operating plan:
Start with the strategic plan
Before defining an operational goal, make sure your strategic objectives are in place and relevant.
Prioritize the most critical activities first
Once these goals have been decided on, prioritize the most critical activities required to achieve these aims.
Stop diluting team efforts and let them focus on the most important goals first. Doing this means everyone works on a smaller set of tasks, instead of spreading themselves thin in multiple areas. It also helps in optimizing available resources.
Use predictive indicators
For a robust operational plan, consider using key performance metrics or indicators that can help you determine project progress and lend visibility to team activities.
While lagging indicators look backward, leading indicators look to the future. Think of the plan as a car — the rear-view mirror would be a lagging indicator, while the windshield would be the leading indicator.
A leading indicator could be a new product, higher customer satisfaction levels, or new markets. Examples of lagging indicators include the number of people who attended an event or the monthly operating expenses for specific departments.
Instead of lagging indicators, use leading indicators. Lagging metrics will show that your efforts are falling short only after you execute the operations.
Leading KPIs include predictive measures that allow early identification of problems before they become critical and impact business performance negatively.
Get team buy-in
The key to defining appropriate KPIs is involving the whole team in the process. Meet to discuss the business goals and figure out what measurements are right for the team instead of working independently or outsourcing them.
Ensure consistent communication
Communication is key. By understanding your company's metrics and what they mean, you'll be able to work together more effectively with colleagues to reach common goals.
Operational plan example
Let’s say that a company plans to increase production volume by 50% at the end of a fiscal year.
When the company goal is clear, the team will make a strategic plan with three main components: marketing, sales, and operations.
This can be further broken down into an operational plan, which will assign resources, teams, budgets, and timelines for different departments such as manufacturing, sourcing, accounts, finance, and logistics to achieve the increase in production. Such a plan should include a financial summary and financial projections as well.
Operational plan template
Think about the example above. The goals and parties involved are clear as part of the operational plan. At the same time, to remain on track, the plan requires continuous analysis and reviews. An operational plan template can be extremely helpful to achieve that.
An operational template can be a simple document that is reused for different plans by the same organization. However, it is also possible and extremely helpful to make use of project management software tools to create one.
For instance, Gantt charts can serve exactly that purpose. Using a Gantt chart as an operational plan template, it is possible to create and manage plans, track changes and edit project-related activities in real time. The chart allows clear visibility for timelines, tasks, responsibilities, and team members.
Operational planning advantages and disadvantages
Most businesses utilize an operational plan to keep track of their daily tasks.
The plan outlines the day-to-day activities for running the organization — teams, managers, and employees are then able to visualize their contribution, which is crucial for reaching company goals.
But every process has two sides. Let’s review the operational planning advantages and disadvantages in more detail.
Operational planning advantages
Clarifies organizational goals.
An operational plan helps managers and department heads define their daily tasks, responsibilities, and activities in detail.
It also illustrates how individual team members contribute to the overall company or department goals. Without a clearly defined plan, managers and employees have no way to measure their daily tasks against predefined outcomes.
Boosts team productivity
Business owners are always looking for ways to increase productivity, which in turn translates into higher profits. One of the best and easiest ways to boost efficiency is through an operational plan.
Employees are more productive when they know their daily objectives and responsibilities. Conversely, if they're unsure of what is required of them, chances are their productivity will suffer.
An operational plan provides this vital information to employees in each department and across the company as a whole.
Enhance organizational profitability
Having a plan helps in keeping projects and teams on track.
When operations are managed properly, teams are able to consistently increase revenue and develop new products.
Innovation pays off. A BCG survey points out that 60% of companies that are committed to innovation report steadily increasing revenues year after year. With an operational plan in place, teams are able to innovate better and faster.
Improves competitive advantages
Competitive advantages are made up of multiple levels and components.
Coordinating the different parts with an operational plan will make your workflows run more smoothly. This allows you to deliver high-quality deliverables on time, creating an outstanding customer experience and keeping you ahead of the competition.
Operational planning disadvantages
Possibility of human error.
Human error is a common problem in manufacturing that can often occur when transitioning from production to sale.
Operations management teams will need to coordinate effectively with diverse cross-functional teams such as finance, accounting, engineering, and human resources. In doing so, each team will have a clear understanding of the end goals of each department.
Interdependency amongst parts
One of the main disadvantages of implementing an operations planning process is that its success depends on coordination across parts.
Plans end up failing due to one part not working, which can have an adverse impact on the subsequent process. Disruptions in one process can end up affecting the entire process, making the entire operational plan useless.
Using Wrike for operational planning
Boost your organization by ensuring every project starts off on the right foot. Wrike's award-winning project management tools can help you create and execute operational plans with various pre-built templates .
Establish your plan, monitor progress, and be prepared to pivot if necessary. With Wrike, you can share real-time data, making all milestones crystal clear for your team and helping them stay updated and on track.
Choose the most suitable template and start a free two-week trial of Wrike today!
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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.
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.
- 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:
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.
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.
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.
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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Operational Plan: What is it & How to Create it? (Free Template Included)
Want to create an operational plan to ensure smooth implementation of daily activities of your business? No worries, we have got you covered. Read on…
Always plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the Ark. ~ Richard Cushing
Running a business is quite similar to sailing a ship! You have to make sure that every aspect is working in the correct motion for you to stay afloat. Can you sail if you have no clear vision of where you’re headed, your destination, or how you will get there?
To answer these questions, you might need to create an intuitive operational plan for your business which would work as a lighthouse to guide you through the way and highlight any upcoming risks that could arise in the near future.
An operational plan lucidly describes the business vision and mission! This document is coherently chalked out for the day-to-day running of any business and outlines the operations related to finance, recruitment, marketing, and other resources required for a successful company.
However, crafting such documents can be time-consuming! Therefore, we decided to create a free plug-and-play operational plan template for your team! But before we hop onto our awesome template, let us first understand what exactly is an operation plan and what to include in such documents.
What is an Operational Plan? (Definition)
An operational plan is a strategic document that outlines all the planning related to daily operations and processes required for running a successful business. It entails all the activities that different teams or departments like recruitment, marketing, and finance, need to perform to achieve company goals and objectives.
The main objective of a well-defined operational plan ensures each manager and employee knows their specific responsibilities, as well as how they should execute them within a definite timeline.
Why is an Operational Plan Important?
The whole point of operational planning is to see the effect of your operations on the business’s working in real-time, so you know exactly when to execute your major strategies.
An operational plan helps you identify areas that are not generating enough revenue or are causing losses, and then assists you with formulating the necessary changes. This document also plays a crucial role in keeping all key stakeholders, management, and board members on the same page.
Everyone needs to be aligned with the company’s mission, goals, risks, hiring needs, financial projections, key performance indicators (KPIs), etc. An operational plan will help every department focus on their contribution to the larger vision by bringing all leading members together under one roof!
Read more: Operational Efficiency: Definition, Importance & Ways to Improve it!
How to Create an Operational Plan? Follow these Steps!
Step 1. create a title page.
While writing an operational plan, the first thing to do is to create a title page for it. This provides all the information about the topic at a single glance.
Here, you will include the title of your document, the registered name of your company, the designation, and the name of the person who creates the document.
Step 2. Write an Executive Summary
An executive summary refers to a section that deals with what a topic is all about in a brief manner. This is to ensure that your readers have a rough idea of the content and encourage them to read on.
In this section, you emphasize the gist of your overall plan and provide a concise explanation of all the important sections in a few sentences.
Step 3. Define Mission and Objectives
Define your organization’s mission and determine your company’s goals and objectives.
Ask yourself what the company is trying to accomplish over the next year and what the major goals and milestones are that support the need for this operational plan.
Describe the company mission, vision, and the reasons this plan is important. Have there been changes in the competitive landscape? Have you raised a round of capital?
Doing this will help you evaluate and measure your company’s performance against your missions and objectives and see how well you are doing in terms of achieving or meeting your goals.
Step 4. Provide Key Performance Indicators
In this section, you can break down each part of your business by evaluating all the major KPIs and metrics involved in measuring your results.
Provide proof of the importance of the operational plan by sharing key numbers that support the ideas in this document.
Step 5. Include a Financial Summary
The next section to be included in your operational plan is the financial summary. Here, you can give an overview of all the projects that will be included during the operational plan and include its financial breakdown. Make sure that there is enough capital to execute this plan.
Step 6. Create a Hiring Plan
Your company will have different hiring needs for each department, therefore, it is essential that you create a hiring plan to decide how many team members will be hired across different departments on a monthly/quarterly basis.
Step 7. Determine the Key Assumptions & Risks
No plan is ever free from risks and problems, so it’s important that you determine the risks to the business and address how the company could work towards mitigating those risks.
This will help your employees be prepared for any possible and potential risks and problems that may arise over the course of their projects.
Step 8. Include the Next Steps
Now that you have included all the major sections, it becomes crucial that you mention what’s going to happen next. Share the next steps, which could include the approval process, updates and reporting time frames, etc.
Step 9. Proofread
The last and final step is to proofread your document and ensure that all the major points are intact and the message is properly conveyed.
Check for spelling errors, grammatical mistakes, typos, or poorly constructed sentences. Make a colleague or another person go through your proposal to double-check everything.
Read more: Standard Operating Procedures (SOP): What, Types, and How to Write?
Key Benefits of Creating Your Operational Plan Documentation on Bit.ai
To create an effective operational plan, you need a proficient tool that can help you create, share, and collaborate with stakeholders and work efficiently. This is where Bit comes in!
Bit serves as a central hub where collaborators, content, and communications can be accessed in one all-inclusive document. Managers can use Bit to create an operational plan document, collaborate with the team in real-time, and store all product assets in one place for easy and fast access.
Whether your team is creating the operational plan documents, project documentation, status report, release notes , roadmap, project charter , product requirements, API documentation, product launch marketing documents, pitch decks, business plan, SWOT analysis, competitive research, project management plan, etc, they can easily add spreadsheets, Slideshares, Google Slides, YouTube videos, PDFs, maps, charts, graphs, and more to your documents and make them visually stunning.
Organization of information: Organizational information is often scattered in cloud storage apps, emails, Slack channels, and more. Bit brings all your information in one place by allowing you to organize information in Workspaces and folders. Bring all your documents, media files, and other important company data in one place.
Brand consistency: Focus on the content and let Bit help you with the design and formatting. Bit documents are completely responsive and look great on all devices. With amazing templates and themes, Bit docs provide you with the type of brand and design consistency which is unheard of in the documentation industry
Smart search: Bit has very robust search functionality that allows anyone to search and find any files, images, documents, etc quickly and easily across all of their workspaces. Users can search their digital assets using keywords, titles, descriptions, or tags. They can even search for files based on their source. (i.e., YouTube).
Media Integrations: Companies use an average of 34 SaaS apps! No wonder why most of our time is spent hopping from one app to the next, looking for information. This is why Bit.ai integrates with over 100+ popular applications (YouTube, Typeform, LucidChart, Spotify, Google Drive, etc) to help teams weave information in their documents beyond just text and images.
Recommended power links and files you can add to your operational plan template:
- Google Sheets, OneDrive Excel, Airtable
- Social Media posts
- YouTube, Vimeo
- Draw.io, Lucidcharts
- Sketchfab, Figma, Marvel
- PDFs, PowerPoint in Google Drive/OneDrive
Sharing : Bit documents can be shared in a live state meaning that all changes that you make to the document will update in real-time. If you are sharing your documents with clients, they will always get your most up-to-date changes. You can even embed Bit documents on any website or blog.
Tons of other features: Bit has a plethora of amazing features like document tracking, cloud-upload, templates, and themes, document locking, document expiration, and much more, making it a well-rounded documentation tool.
Bit provides a common workplace for project members to collaborate, document, share their knowledge, brainstorm ideas, store digital assets, and innovate together. The best part is that this knowledge is safely secured in your workspaces and can be shared (or kept private) with anyone in your organization or the public!
Here are some of the man benefits of using Bit:
- Collaborate in real-time
- Interlink operational plan documents and other documents
- Create fully responsive documents
- Create private operational plans only visible to yourself or your team
- Track engagement on shared operational plans with consultants, partners, etc.
Read more: Business Development Plan: What Is It And How To Create A Perfect One?
- Operational Plan Template
To make the process of creating your operational plan documentation easier, we have created a ready-made operational plan template for you! Check it out below:
How to Use the Operational Plan Template with Bit
The process of creating an operational plan on Bit is insanely easy! Just follow these four simple steps to create your document quickly:
Step 1: Create a Bit Account
Go the home page of Bit.ai and click on Get Started for Free or Sign Up to get started. Enter your email address to sign up. Once in, you can create your personal profile.
Step 2: Create a Workspace
Workspaces are where the work gets done. Click on the ‘Create Workspace’ button on the right. A popup will show up prompting you to add a name for your new workspace.
You can create a workspace around a team, department, large project, client, partner, etc. Inside each workspace, you can create an unlimited amount of Bit documents and access your content library (storage area for all of your digital assets – web links, files, cloud files, rich embeds, etc.).
Step 3: Add Team Members
Bit allows your team members to collaborate in real-time and get work done. Collaboration starts at the workspace level.
You create private workspaces by default. However, you can invite others to join you inside of a workspace and collaborate together with the knowledge, projects, documents, and content inside of the workspace.
Step 4: Create Your Desired Document
Once you are in the workspace, click on the ‘ Create New’ button. Select ‘From Template’ in the dropdown. A pop up will display allowing you to select a template from the gallery.
In the search box on the top left corner, you can search for an “operational plan template”. Once your desired template pops up, click on it and click on the “Use Template ” button on the bottom right corner.
That’s it! Your document is ready for use!
Few more templates you might be interested in:
- SWOT Analysis Template
- Transition Plan Template
- Scope of Work Template
- Business Plan Template
- Status Report Template
- Competitor Research Template
- Training Manual Template
- Project Proposal Template
- Company Fact Sheet
- Executive Summary Template
- Pitch Deck Template
🎥Watch this video to learn more👇
Over to You!
Operational plans bring accountability into your everyday tasks. They help you analyze the performance of your business, goals, strategies and identify the resources required to achieve those targets. These documents are a great way of managing other performance measures too like team efficacy, staff optimization, or the number of employees achieving beyond their targets.
Bit is a great tool to manage all essential resources associated with creating an operations plan. It brings all stakeholders under one roof for the smooth execution of the plan. If you need any help with the operational plan template or want to know how Bit can help your business, let us know by tweeting us @bit_docs. Cheers!
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The smartest online Google Docs and Word alternative, Bit.ai is used in over 100 countries by professionals everywhere, from IT teams creating internal documentation and knowledge bases, to sales and marketing teams sharing client materials and client portals.
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Create an Operational Plan that Makes an Impact
Companies often confuse strategic, tactical, and operational planning. Strategic planning sets your organization’s long-term vision and goals. Tactical planning is the process of figuring out how to achieve your strategic plan. And operational planning links the two, outlining the procedural steps you’ll take to meet your goals. A sound operational plan is critical for achieving success in your organization.
What Is Operational Planning?
Operational planning is the process of creating actionable steps that your team can take to meet the goals in your strategic plan. An operational plan outlines daily, weekly, and monthly tasks for each department or employee. During operational planning, you’ll also create milestones that help you achieve your strategic plan. For example, if your strategic plan aims to grow your customer base by 20%, your operational plan will include incremental steps to gain new leads and customers.
What Are the Benefits of an Operational Plan?
A well-constructed operational plan makes everyone’s jobs easier. The benefits include:
- Clear guidance: With actionable steps for each department, operational plans help teams understand if they are performing well or need to improve.
- Better workflow : Each team knows what they’ll be working on over the month or quarter, and they can adjust their workflow as needed.
- Improves morale : All employees can see how their day-to-day work connects to the company’s broader goals.
Creating an Effective Operational Plan
Operational plans help you hit strategic goals, so start by reviewing your strategic plan. Your operational plan should be specific to a department or team, so your organization will likely have more than one operational plan. Identify the key stakeholders for a particular team: they’ll be best suited to develop the plan, which should include:
- Departmental objectives
- Key performance indicators
- Staffing and budget needs
- Process for tracking and reporting on progress
Once the plan is complete, you can replicate this process for each department. Plans should be shared department-wide for feedback and questions.
Also referred to as departmental goals or objectives, operational goals are the short-term targets that your organization wants to hit. An operational plan includes operational goals and the steps to achieve them. Typically, organizational goals are:
- Tied to a specific department or team
- Tied to a budget line or item
- Tied to a specific short time frame, such as a month or a quarter
Operational Goals Examples
All operational goals should be measurable and actionable. Actionable means your team can achieve them – so the goal cannot be dependent on an outside factor. For example, your IT team may be tasked with training 10 new employees on security best practices each quarter. But if 10 employees aren’t hired in a particular quarter, that operational goal is not actionable.
To be measurable, there must be a clear way to tell if you met your operational goal or not. For example, one operational goal for an accounting team might be to process invoices more quickly. Their accounting software should be able to collect data on how quickly invoices are processed and paid, so the team can measure their performance over time and see if they are working more efficiently.
Share Your Operational Plan
An operational plan shouldn’t be static – it’s a living document. As time goes on, you may need to adjust your operational goals. That isn’t a sign of failure – it means you’re doing a better job of understanding how each team functions and setting your targets accordingly. You should keep your plan up to date and revisit it regularly, whether once a year or at the end of each fiscal quarter. Include key stakeholders in this process so that the plan works for everyone.
Start Your Operational Plan with Spider Impact
Creating an operational plan might seem challenging at first – but once you get started, it can help all your teams run more smoothly. See how Spider Impact helps you define, measure, manage and report on your operational goals. Click for a free test drive or demo .
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Expertly Writing the Operations Plan Section of Your Business Plan
Written by Dave Lavinsky
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.
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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What an operating plan is and why you absolutely need one.
Most companies spend valuable time and resources to create strategic plans, giving their best to outline a strategy that establishes a solid long-term vision. While having a strategic plan is necessary, a vast number of organizations often lack a critical strategy element: an operating plan.
An operational business plan outlines the details of your daily operations for over one year. It defines who does what, when they do it, and how they do it. When done well, an operation plan defines how you allocate human, physical, and financial resources to reach short-term objectives that support your larger business goals.
What Is An Operational Plan And Why Is It Important?
An operation plan is an extremely detail-oriented plan that clearly defines how a team or department contributes to reaching company goals. It outlines the daily tasks required for running a business. When properly created, an operating plan makes sure each manager and each employee know their specific obligations, as well as how they should execute them within a defined timeline. Mapping out the day-to-day tasks that ensure a clear path to your business and operational goals is essential to success.
On a daily basis, your operations plan should answer these crucial questions:
- What are the strategies and tasks that need to be completed or achieved?
- Who are the individuals responsible for those tasks and strategies?
- When must each strategy be completed?
- How much will it cost?
Your strategic plan is a manual that ensures your company and all its employees execute day-to-day operations in a way that ensures reaching your long-term business goals.
Operational Planning VS Strategic Planning
Very often, a strategic business plan also functions as an operating plan. The confusing of the two can cause problems because both plans are necessary for any company to achieve its goals.
A strategic plan helps your business outline long-term goals and fulfill the big vision. Operating plans define what processes need to be finished to achieve those goals. An operating plan supports the efforts of a strategic plan and makes sure everyone runs their day-to-day tasks as efficiently as possible. Both are action plans, and since the success of the strategic plan heavily depends on the efficiency of the operating plan, you should create it right after outlining your long-term strategy.
A successful company never chooses between an operational plan and a strategic plan. Instead, market leaders make sure they have both. Simply put, a strategic plan outlines your long-term goals for the future, while an operating plan defines how to get there through daily activities and processes.
The goal of an operating plan is to define how all departments join efforts to achieve your vision.
The Steps Of A Successful Operational Business Plan
You can't create a successful operational plan without clearly defining your operational goals. The template below walks you through several important steps to take if you want to develop a functional operating plan:
- Create your strategic plan first. An operating plan is a necessary tool for achieving the goals you've defined in a strategy, so first, you should make sure your strategic plan is in place.
- Focus on essential goals. All successful operating plan examples stick to one rule—focus on goals that matter the most. A complex plan with multiple unclear goals is hard to follow.
- Instead of lagging, use leading indicators. Lagging indicators will show your efforts are falling short only after you already execute the operations. By contrast, leading indicators include predictive measures that will prevent you from making a mistake in the first place.
- Choose the right KPIs. Defining the appropriate KPIs for your business is essential. You shouldn't develop them all by yourself. Instead, involve the whole team in the process.
- Communication is key. Everyone in the company should learn and understand what metrics you use, why they are important, and what everyone's roles are in working toward your goals.
Note, you can always check out our blog for more successful business tips like this!
Want additional insight? Read 4 Step Guide to Strategic Planning now to learn more
Operational Planning Examples
An operational plan template should help you define and improve the day-to-day actions and processes of your business. Any successful operational plan example indicates that the plans include everything your company does daily to deliver your products or services to customers. They may cover any section, department, and operation. You can find numerous examples of successful operational plan implementation, especially among powerful enterprises.
Let's go over the most common ways of utilizing a proper operational plan:
Planning for Processes and Practices
Businesses often create operational plans for specific processes and practices to ensure they’re meeting objectives in what they deem the important areas. These include efficiency, turnaround time, productivity, cost reduction, waste reduction, sustainability, quality, and customer satisfaction. You can find a successful operating plan example in any department.
Planning As a Strategy Component
Take a look at this operational planning example: let's say a company makes strategic efforts to expand volume production by 50% by the end of the year. The strategic plan will include several critical components: marketing, sales, and operations. The operations part of the plan will include manufacturing, financial, and logistic strategies to achieve a boost in production.
An operational plan is the key element of every goal-oriented organization. Contact The Alternative Board today to schedule a meeting with our team of business advisory services specialists. We will help you produce an effective operations plan that will help you fulfill your long-term business goals.
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Operational Plans of a Business
Posted by Kahlee Mace in Jul, 2014
What are operational plans of a business?
An operational business plan is a written document that describes the nature of the business, the sales and the marketing strategy which is optimal for success. It provides the vision, directions and goals for the organisation. An operational business plan is not a means to securing financing; however it is a good step-by-step guide to running your business in order to successfully create a product or service that will make it in the marketplace.
What are Operational plans of a business like?
The operational business plan acts as a blueprint for your business processes which is an important guide to senior managers and other key stakeholders. An operational business plan is like an orienteering map. The map helps you navigate to your destination using the easiest way possible and also guides you through certain obstacles and paths you may face. Without an orienteering map the chances of making it to the final destination are very slim and the process will be nothing but challenging and complex.
What is the purpose of Operational plans of a business?
The purpose of the business plan is to outline, in detail, the business’s operation and future growth projections. It provides a framework that outlines the management approach and also ensures it covers many aspects relating to financial, marketing, staffing and other resources required to run a successful business. There are many reasons why a business should have an operational business plan. It helps the business move from start-up to success. It would be found that without this in place the business wouldn’t be able to stay focused nor operate efficiently. Once your business is up and running and ready to go the operational business plan is the perfect tool to developing and managing your business.
What are different types of Operational plans of a business?
To fully understand how Operational Plans of a Business work and run, the first step is to look at the overall planning process within a business. There are 3 levels of planning which include the strategic plan, tactical plan and operational plan. The below diagram provides information about these levels and what level of detail is required. It shows that the Operational Plan is very specific and detailed.
Type of Plan Created By Scope Includes Level of Detail
- Strategic Plan Top Management Entire organization Mission of the company, future goals and ambitions Very broad and general
- Tactical Plan Mid-level Management Single area of the business as a whole (e.g. a division of the company) Specific actions to support or work towards the Strategic Plan Specific actions and ideas, but not very detailed
- Operational Plan Low-level Management A unit within a single area of the business (e.g. a department within a division) Specific plans for low level and day-to-day activities and processes that will support and enable the Tactical Plan Extremely detailed (who, what, where and when).
The Operational Plan can be subdivided into two basic forms which include the single-use plan and the standing plans. A single-use plan is developed to carry out a course of action that is not likely to be repeated in the future. These plans are used once to achieve unique objectives for the business. An example of this is when a business has a particular one off event coming up, they may have a single-use plan to cover everything in relation to this event. In addition, the standing plan is developed for activities that occur repeatedly over a period of time in order for the business to help solve repetitive problems. An example of this would be a large business that has activities repeating all the and need to be structured in a way so that everyone knows what’s going on all the time.
What’s involved with determining the Operational plan of a business?
The level of detail and formality of the Operational Plan is going to vary depending on the size and complexity of the project, therefore there could be very little or a lot that is implicated with determining what is involved. Risk Assessment, Financial requirements, stakeholder’s priorities, Equity, Socio-cultural issues and gender are all a part of the process. The most important part of determining the Operational Plan of a business is to think about the long term future of the business. Therefore it is important to think about the estimate of the project lifespan, sustainability and exit strategies. There are also many broad things to consider when shaping an Operational plan which include the following:
- Opening and Closing Time Ordering and Purchasing
- Opening and Closing Procedures Security
- Staffing and resource requirements Human resource management
- Incident Management Advertising and Marketing
- Risk Management Clear objectives
- Calendar of events A process for monitoring progress
Without this knowledge behind what is involved with the creation of an Operational business plan then the business itself will not operate efficiently impacting on the profitability.
Where does determining of Operational plans of a business fit into process of business management?
The determining of Operational plans of a business fit into process of business management on a daily basis. It determines the daily procedures and running of the business and protocol which should be practiced and exercised often, if not every day. Business management in structured around the Operational plan therefore without the plans put in place the business isn’t going to succeed. In order to manage a business it requires both single-use plans and standing plans.
How do operational plan of a business impact on different areas of the business?
Operational Plans of a business have a positive influence on different areas of the business. The plan that is put in place help set the goals for the business and achieve particular objectives and targets. It impacts positively on the operational side as well as the physical side in regards to staffing, how the business looks and procedures on a daily basis. Operational Plans are a great way to ensure all areas of the business are being targeted in a constructive way.
What terms are used when determining the Operational plans of a business?
There are many terms that are associated with determining the Operational plans of a business which include the following:
- Clear Objectives Processes
- Activities to be delivered Progress
- Quality standard
- Desired Outcomes
These are all broad terms that are usually associated with determining the Operational plans of a business. All of them focus on the key objectives and goals that the company needs to strive for in order to succeed.
Where can I find more information about an Operational plan of a business?
- 1. Management Fundamental: Concepts, Applications, Skill Development By Robert Lussier http://books.google.com.au/booksid=iekGAAAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false
- 2. Operational Plan Alison Job, December 21, 2012 http://www.entrepreneurmag.co.za/advice/business-leadership/setting-up-systems/operational-plan/
- 3. The difference between Business, Operational and Strategic Planning Kristin Arnold http://www.extraordinaryteam.com/the-difference-between-business-operational-strategic-planning/
Who would most benefit from this knowledge?
The articles that were gathered all target people with no experience in this area as well as existing workers wanting to learn about some missing knowledge gaps in this area. The job level that this knowledge is most needed is primarily for the business staff, team leaders and senior management. It is important for all of them to recognise what is required and how the Operational business plans will be presented. It is important information for them to understand however it is mainly focused towards senior management. Many organisations would find this information relevant to them especially small to medium enterprises, corporations and Non-profit organisations. Everyone running a business, whether it is a large or small company needs to know the fundamentals about having a business plan of some sort. All of them would find this information relevant to them as they all should have a direction they are heading and goals they are wanting to achieve.
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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’ll 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.
What Is Operational Planning?
Operational planning is the process of turning strategic plans into operational 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: 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.
Related: Free Operational Plan Template for Word
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.
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.
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 would run out of resources to execute its normal activities.
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.
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.
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 workflows.
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.
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.
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.
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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