Each year, thousands of small businesses and major corporations are created. But many of them end up closing their doors after a short period of time because they have stayed in the red for way too long. This usually happens because they used up all of their capitol to get the business up and running, and there wasn’t enough profit coming in to help them recover the start-up costs.
But while this may give potential business owners a dismal outlook, it doesn’t have to be this way. The key is to have a business operational plan.
What Is a Business Operational Plan?
A business operational plan is a detailed plan that addresses all the major aspects of a company. The best place to start when creating one is with the products that will be offered. How they will be created, the materials that will be required to make them, and how everything will be stored should be determined.
Next, the amount of inventory that will be stocked has to be looked at. Of course, a business owner has to know the potential customer demand before they can calculate this though. Having too little or too much inventory can have damaging financial effects.
And lastly, the structure of the business and the staff that will be hired has to be decided upon. Potential salaries, job positions, and job responsibilities should be included. This might take some time to figure out because it isn’t always easy to tell what areas that each person will be able to work on at first.
After this, it will be easier to tell how much money will be needed to fund the business until a profit is turned. Within this part of the business operational plan, there should be a contingency section on what to do if a profit isn’t turned in the expected amount of time though. There has to be a way to come up with extra cash in an emergency situation. This doesn’t necessarily mean a catastrophe. Sometimes, equipment fails, or other large expenses come up. So a separate savings account or revolving line of credit can be especially handy to have.
Why Opt for a Business Operational Plan?
All businesses that are just starting out should create a business operational plan and keep it handy. Nothing should be done until everything looks right on paper though. Businesses who are currently struggling with turning a profit may need to create one too. Then, they can compare their current operational and financial functions with it to see what changes that they may need to make.
Why a Business Operational Plan Can Help Your Business
Having a business operational plan is beneficial to a business for three reasons. First of all, it creates a blueprint to follow for success. One of the main reasons that businesses fail is because they are unorganized, so they have no idea what to when something unexpected comes up. Second of all, it helps a business be able to financially prepare before they ever spend a dime. All of the potential expenses, salaries, and fees are laid out, which reduces the likeliness of coming up short on cash. And lastly, this type of plan forces a business owner to make hard decisions ahead of time that would normally be put off until the last minute. This is beneficial because it gives them a chance to think things through before they decide on what they want to do.
Five Steps for Creating a Successful Business Operational Plan
Since coming up with a business operational plan is a tedious process, which takes many hours of work, the following is a list of some helpful tips to make it easier:
- Don’t leave any aspect of financial planning out, even if the business operational plan seems to be too lengthy. For the sake of expediency, some business owners may be tempted to keep things short and sweet. But brevity is not useful in this case. The more information that is included, the higher the chance of success that the business will have.
- Tailor the plan to the type of industry that the business is in. Each business has separate needs. So it won’t be helpful to try to follow the plan of another company that is in a different marketing sector.
- Add the messy details too. That means, the business operational plan should include what to do if the equipment fails, employees quit, or legal issues arise. This area doesn’t have to be very long, but it is helpful for easing the anxiety of the unknown areas of operating a business.
- Get advice from a business financial planner. Experts like these know what information should be included in this type of plan. And they can answer any questions that come up.
- Keep several copies of your business operational plan in a safe place. It won’t do you any good to create one if you can’t find it when you need it.
In conclusion, a business operational plan is an important tool for getting a new business started on the right track to success. It can also help businesses that are already established, but struggling financially. The plan works by laying out all of the details, such as the structure, number of employees, and funding. But for it to be effective, it also has to include some of the uncomfortable aspects that could arise. So it should also have sections on what to do in possible catastrophe or emergency situations.
Since each type of business has their own unique business operational plan, we encourage our readers to tell us about some of the ways that they did theirs differently. And remember, some potential business owners may not know about this type of plan, so feel free to share this information on your social media pages.
Image from depositphotos.com.