A business management operations plan helps to guide an organization’s future. It is the basis for all future decisions that affect everything from budgets to strategic business goals and fulfillment of the company’s core mission. An operational strategy project defines an organization’s purpose and keeps management accountable to the group’s stakeholders, from volunteers and investors to employees and customers.
Set goals for the management team to accomplish. Goals should encompass the company mission and values. Use the project time wisely and create short- and long-term goals while you have the project team assembled. Set one-, five- and 10-year goals. Often, strategic planning for the business operations results in a mission statement that can be used by the group.
Evaluate the current operational structure. Include financial figures such as sales results or the number of clients served. Look at management structure, hiring practices, manager and staff retention figures and job performance reviews. Perform an internal audit of resources, including technology and other equipment. Study the industry standards and compare your business to the operational structures of similar business models. Survey and analyze customer feedback to find out what is working and what isn’t working from their perspectives.
Specify the roles that each department and manager plays in achieving the business operational goals defined in the strategy project. Develop timelines when training is given, for example. Define the goals for employee retention and customer satisfaction ratings, with expectations of dates and numbers spelled out.
Create processes for evaluating and reviewing the progress of the strategic initiatives during the planning phases. Appoint a manager or auditor to check on management compliance with operational requirements. Compare results with the evaluations you collected during the planning process to check for improvements. Build in a process to make changes to the final plan when necessary if it’s deemed that certain plans aren’t working as predicted.
Include front-line managers in the planning process. Strategic planners don’t understand the day-to-day management of the business as well as managers do and often leave managers out of the strategy sessions. The input from managers in the operations strategic planning project can provide invaluable information that leads to more successful implementation of the plans.
Expect problems and build in potential roadblocks and challenges to your final operational strategy so that you also can create solutions during the planning process. While you can’t foresee all market changes that could influence your operational processes, there are obstacles that you may have encountered in the past or have seen other companies go through that could possibly affect your business model. Identify and plan for those potential problems.
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