Create Your Operations Plan [Business Plan Basics #6]


When it comes to the actual day-to-day running of a small business, Operations is where it’s at. That’s because Operations refers to the tangible, physical aspects of selling your goods or your services, on an ongoing basis.

Part 6 of our Business Plan Basics series, we’re covering how to write an Operations Plan for your business proposal. The Operations Plan shows potential investors that you have a real handle on not only how your company is organized but also what it will take in order for you to run your business.

Operations Plan

operations planWhile Operations Plans for big business can be extremely detailed, here’s what you’ll want to include for a simple, streamlined plan:

A breakdown of all the different “components” of your business.

For example: marketing (advertising and promotions), sales (actually getting people to purchase your goods or services), production (what goes into the making of physical objects your selling or what’s involved in delivering the services you offer), and administration (what are the administrative tasks and expenses, such as phone and computer expenses, collecting money, banking, scheduling, and so on). Once you have listed out the different components, flesh out as many details as you can – the more detailed your plan the less likely you’ll be to oversee some major plan or component that’s key in running your business.

A list of the different jobs / personnel required for operating your business.

Whether it’s help with accounting, production, or marketing, or if it’s a paid position of unpaid volunteer / intern. Get clear about what positions and how many people it takes to make your business run smoothly and effectively. If you’ve got paid employees in your plan, figure out how much of you expect to pay these employees.

An estimate of overhead expenses that you’ll have to cover in order to keep operations running smoothly.

Overhead expenses might include things like supplies, shipping, packaging, website fees, and advertising and marketing costs.

A snapshot of the “production” or delivery of services process.

For example, what is the flow of a typical customer interacting with your business? How will they find you, buy goods or services from you, pay you, and receive the goods or services? What kind of follow up and communication is involved? How will transactions be handled?

Take your time with the Operations Plan, as doing so will allow you the space to play out how your company or business will actually “operate” and work. This is the time to figure out what your needs will be, what systems you’ll want to put into place (i.e.: set up a PayPal or bank account?), and what kind of help you might need along the way.

And to help you get started, print out our Operations Plan Worksheet and answer the questions. When you’re finished, use your answers to help shape your Operations Plan.

Next up: Your Management Team!