A strategy describes a set of overarching goals that you've outlined to focus the efforts of your personnel. To execute the strategy, you must purposefully assign resources -- including employees, technology, money and ideas -- and ensure that they are used as planned to achieve your goals. In this model, your business organization moves incrementally toward its desired destination. Operations management involves the implementation of many strategic goals, and implementation often takes the form of work processes.

What Goes Into a Process

Goal implementation looks different in every small business. Consider a satellite cable company's process for signing up a new account. Many inputs affect the process. Employees help create the steps in the process, such as what information to collect from a new customer, how the customer will pay and where the information will be stored. After the initial process of signing up a new customer is complete, the next process will begin, such as going to the customer's house and installing a satellite dish. Operations management relates to the ideas and methods that contribute to the process.

Work Standardization

Before you have time to sit down and write policies and procedures to standardize the work in your small business, there is a good chance you and your staff will jump in and figure things out as you go. This should only occur in the early stages of a business. Once you know how to provide a product or service, go back and recreate the steps involved to document how it was done. It's better to design a process with logical steps beforehand, but it's never too late to start standardizing your work processes.

Operations Management

You and your management team look at different ways to assign employees to work tasks. The goal should not just be to "cover" all operations but to be strategic in assigning roles. There is no magic way. Use a model that has worked for a similar organization, or try a configuration and then change it according to business conditions. For example, your cable company sets up a grid of neighborhoods and sends out cable installers, each to a different block on the grid. Quickly, you learn some neighborhoods that are far away or that get bogged down with traffic take twice as long per service call to complete. You decide to send installers to those neighborhoods only on certain days of the week.

Continuous Improvement

Your operations management will have a bigger impact on overall organizational performance if you are always asking: "How we can do things better?" Look at internal conditions. Consider whether you have the right people in the right roles. Examine whether additional training will help employees be more efficient. Try other changes, such as reducing the number of products you are selling and focus on those products. Always listen to customer complaints about products and try to pinpoint where those problems are starting. This kind of analysis will help you make your organization more high-performing and more responsive to customers.