How to Write a Business and Operations Plan
You probably understand the reason why you need to have business and operation plan. Perhaps, you have already gathered the necessary information that will help you in formulating one. If that is the case, then it is time for you to get to work. In this article, we will go through the sections that comprise the plan; executive summary, market strategies, sales projection, operating expenses, market size and others.
But just before we dive into the sections in business and operations plan, lets first understand the definition of the subject:
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Operational planning is the process of planning strategic goals and objectives to tactical goals and objectives. It describes milestones, conditions for success and explains how, or what portion of, a strategic plan will be put into operation during a given operational period, in the case of commercial application, a fiscal year or another given budgetary term. An operational plan is the basis for, and justification of an annual operating budget request. Therefore, a five-year strategic plan would typically require five operational plans funded by five operating budgets.
Operational plans should establish the activities and budgets for each part of the organization for the next 1 – 3 years. They link the strategic plan with the activities the organization will deliver and the resources required to deliver them.
An operational plan draws directly from agency and program strategic plans to describe agency and program missions and goals, program objectives, and program activities. Like a strategic plan, an operational plan addresses four questions:
- Where are we now?
- Where do we want to be?
- How do we get there?
- How do we measure our progress?
The operations plan is both the first and the last step in preparing an operating budget request. As the first step, the operations plan provides a plan for resource allocation; as the last step, the OP may be modified to reflect policy decisions or financial changes made during the budget development process.
Operational plans should be prepared by the people who will be involved in implementation. There is often a need for significant cross-departmental dialogue as plans created by one part of the organization inevitably have implications for other parts.
Operational plans should contain:
- clear objectives
- activities to be delivered
- quality standards
- desired outcomes
- staffing and resource requirements
- implementation timetables
- a process for monitoring progress
The Executive Summary
The first outline on the business plan would be the executive summary. This section will immediately follow the title of the page. This page will essentially tell you the things that you want. You should be clear state the things you are asking in the executive summary. Keep it short but professional. As much as possible cover only half of the page but in the event that the design of the business is more complex, then you can cover the entire page. Briefly describe your business, the product you are offering and the targeted market. Highlight the finance of the business such as sales projection, profit, etc. You should also quickly scan on your finance requirement, your position and other achievements.
In this section, you are compelled to have a profound understanding on the market and have a meticulous analysis. This analysis will help you in establishing the right price, the distribution process, and marketing strategies. The market analysis will start by determining the market size, the sales projection, trend, the possible growth and the structure of the market.
This part will highlight your business strategy and how it will relate to the competition. The main purpose of this section is to analyse the weaknesses and strengths of your rivals in the market and what type of strategies will you execute to gain the upper hand in your industry.
Design and Development
In this segment, you will provide the possible investors with a detailed description of the design of your product, the chart of the development when it comes to its production and marketing, and the budget necessary to achieve the goal of the company. Sometimes they divide these section into three smaller segments; product, market, and organisational development.
Operations and Management
This section will require you to compute your operational expenses which are part of the organisational structure. It focuses on how a business can keep on functioning on a continuous basis. You are also compelled to develop financial table such as cost of goods, capital requirement, and operating expenses.
You will commonly see the financial element at the latter part of the business and operation plan. However, that does not necessarily mean that it is less important. The three financial components that you should include in this section are the balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow.
In the event that you are planning to write a more in-depth business and operation plan, you may also include milestones, Metrics, a long company overview and an appendix at the end of the business plan.
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