A business changes based on external factors such as the economy, varying customer needs and emerging competition. Internal factors such as organizational changes can also affect the dynamics of the business. As a result, transitioning roles, projects and directions are common occurrences. Writing a transition plan during times of change can help to ensure smooth operations.
Transition Plan Uses for a Small Business
A transition plan outlines what changes will be forthcoming and how to navigate them successfully. There are many instances where you may need to write a transition plan for your small business:
- Changing the direction of the company
- Shifting roles and responsibilities of staff due to departures and organizational changes
- Pivoting project goals and strategic plans
Whether your business is undergoing a major or minor transformation, writing a transition plan will inform employees on what they need to do to ensure the changes take place effectively without disrupting the everyday output of the business.
Planning the Transition
Creating a transition plan for work requires thorough research, preparation and scheduling. Begin by defining what changes are taking place in your organization that require a plan. For example, is a key staff member leaving, or have you instituted a procedural change in how you run the manufacturing arm of your business?
Identify the logistics of the transition. Answer the who, what, where, when, why and how as related to the changes. For example, who needs to be informed of the transition? Does it affect employees only, or will customers also be impacted by this change? When is the transition taking place, and how long will the process take?
You’ll also need to know what kind of resources your team will require in order to complete the transition. Will your business need outside help, or will your current staff be able to complete the tasks? Factor in the risk of the transition to your business, both financial and logistical. What will happen if the transition is unsuccessful?
Creating a Project Transition Plan
Follow the project transition plan template to ensure you cover all of the information your business needs to take into consideration when writing a transition plan:
- Business activities: In this section, outline what areas of your business are making a transition. Provide background details as to why you require a transition and what you hope to achieve once the transition is complete.
- Operations and logistics: Summarize what needs to be done in order for the transition to take place. You may find it useful to write this section in a chronological, step-by-step format so it’s clear to employees how they can complete the transition.
- Schedule: Provide a detailed timeline of the transition.
- Knowledge transfer: Every business transition requires information from employees to be passed on to others. Often, this knowledge isn’t written down in company guidelines or procedures, so face-to-face meetings are required among the people involved. Set up the knowledge transfer meetings as part of your transition plan.
- Resources: If specific resources are required by your team to complete the transition, list them in your plan. Resources can include special software or machinery. They can also include personnel from other departments or businesses.
- Risk and disruption: Outline what the risks of the transition may be, such as a disruption to customer service. Offer solutions to mitigate the risk where possible, such as notifying customers of the transition so they can be aware of limited service during this period.
- Key contacts: List the names and contact information of everybody involved within the transition so they are easily accessible when needed.
Once your transition at work is complete, be sure to look back at the process and outline any areas for improvement that you can implement during your next transition.
Anam Ahmed is a Toronto-based writer and editor with over a decade of experience helping small businesses and entrepreneurs reach new heights. She has experience ghostwriting and editing business books, especially those in the "For Dummies" series, in addition to writing and editing web content for the brand. Anam works as a marketing strategist and copywriter, collaborating with everyone from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, lifestyle bloggers to professional athletes. As a small business owner herself, she is well-versed in what it takes to run and market a small business. Anam earned an M.A. from the University of Toronto and a B.A.H. from Queen's University. Learn more at www.anamahmed.ca.