Planning Your Business Operations

How to Plan Your Business Operations

To successfully run your new dream business venture, you need a detailed operations plan. Through the Value Proposition Canvas discussed in How To Jumpstart Your Dream Business Venture,  you already established your idea regarding what kind of business you want to start and what value you will offer to your potential clients. Now it is time to think about your company’s objectives, goals, procedures, and timeline. Setting an operations plan is crucial because it helps you, your employees, and investors to learn the tactics and respect deadlines. 

  • Goals and Objectives
  • Process
  • Timeline

Goals and Objectives

Setting goals and objectives is the key element of running a successful venture. Your business will be as good as the goals you set! Remember this. But you might be wondering, what is the difference between goals and objectives? The difference between the two is this:

  • Goals: general guidelines that explain what you want to achieve.
  • Objectives: specific strategies and means of implementation to achieve the goals.

That is why, it is important to set goals based on the value that you offer to customers and then set specific objectives that will help you achieve these goals. Follow this acronym to set successful business goals and objectives: 

S.M.A.R.T. 

  1. S – Specific
  2. M – Measurable
  3. A – Achievable
  4. R – Relevant
  5. T – Time Bound

Let’s look at an example of how to set S.M.A.R.T. goals and objectives

Goal:
Increase monthly revenues
Objective:Until (date), I will increase monthly revenues by X%  by selling to X amount of customers through channels A, B, C. 

In this example we can see how S.M.A.R.T was used:

Process

After you establish your goals and get a clear picture of what you want to achieve, you need to think logically about how to set up the business operations process in order to help you execute the objectives. Try to answer these questions when writing your operations plan:

  1. What resources do you need?
    1. Supplies & Suppliers
    2. Equipment & Technology
    3. Human Capital
    4. Money
  2. Where will you locate your business operations? 
    1. Geographic location
    2. Cost associated with location
    3. Distribution to and from the location site
  3. How many working hours are required?
    1. Fixed or flexible work schedules
    2. One shift or multiple shifts

Try to answer these questions in detail and use them as a guide for further possible questions related to your specific business. 

Timeline

After you are satisfied with the business operations plan, you need to create a timeline with milestones. These milestones are big deadlines that must be met before moving onto the next stage. Milestones keep you and your team focused and act as a good tracking method for how efficiently you are working. For example, if a milestone is not met, you may need to re-evaluate the business process to identify possible dependencies and/or hinderances. Do not try to skip steps and make sure every milestone is met before continuing to the next one. 

Here is a tool that you can use to create an effective project timeline: GANTT CHART

  1. Source: https://www.teamgantt.com/free-gantt-chart-excel-template 

Takeaway

Having a successful business venture is a lot more than having a brilliant idea. It involves good and extensive planning of business operations and requires big commitment. Developing the operations plan will help you stay focused on what, when, where and how to proceed with building your venture. This will further assist you in finding investors or financial support for your business. For that reason, it is important to set S.M.A.R.T. goals and objectives that will make it easier to plan the operations process. Additionally, when planning the process your goals and objectives will tell you exactly what process to establish and guide your answers to the questions that need to be answered. Finally, try to make use of existing project management tools to help you determine milestones and, most importantly, keep track of them.

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