Effectively Completing the Operations Plan Section of Your Business Plan
The Operations Plan is a critical component of any business plan as it presents the Company's action plan for executing its vision. The Operations Plan must detail 1) the processes that are performed to serve customers every day (short-term processes) and 2) the overall business milestones that the company must attain to be successful (long-term processes).
Everyday Processes (Short-Term Processes)
Every company has processes to provide its customers with products and services. For instance, Wal Mart has a unique distribution system to effectively move products from its warehouses to its stores, and finally to its customers' homes. Technology products manufacturers have processes to convert raw materials into finished products. And service-oriented businesses have processes to identify new areas of customer interest, to continually update service features, etc.
The processes that a company uses to serve its customers are what transform a business plan from concept to reality. Anyone can have a concept. And more importantly, investors do not invest in concepts -- they invest in reality. Reality is proving that the management team can execute the concept better than anyone else, and the Operations Plan is where the plan proves this by detailing key operational processes.
Business Milestones (Long-Term Processes)
The second piece of the Operations Plan is proving that the team will execute the long-term company vision. This is best presented as a chart. On the left side, there should be a list of the key milestones that the Company must reach, and on the right, the target date for achieving them. Sample milestones include expected dates when:
- New products and services will be introduced to the marketplace
- Revenue milestones will be attained (e.g., date when sales will surpass million dollar mark)
- Key partnerships will be executed
- Key customer contracts will be secured
- Key financial events will occur (future funding rounds, IPO, etc.)
- Key employees will be hired
Additional text should be used, where necessary, to support the projections laid out in the chart.
The milestone projections presented in the Operations Plan must be consistent with the projections in the Financial Plan. In both areas, it is important to be aggressive but credible. Presenting a plan in which the company grows too quickly will show the naiveté of the management team, while presenting too conservative a growth plan will often fail to excite the potential investor who will require a high rate of return over a relatively short time period.
As President of Growthink Business Plans, Dave Lavinsky has helped the company become one of the premier business planning firms. Since its inception, Growthink has developed over 200 business plans. Growthink clients have collectively raised over $750 million in financing, launched numerous new product and service lines and gained competitive advantage and market share.
SBIR vs STTR
SBIR vs. STTR: If you are participating in the SBIR program you may also want to consider participating in the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program. The STTR program is considered SBIR's twin sister, although there are some added hoops one must jump through in order to participate. Like SBIR, the STTR is the US Government's way of providing "seed" money to spawn technology growth. The key difference however is in the structure of the effort, whereas a small business must partner (via a subcontract) to a university or non-profit research institution in order to acquire STTR funding.
Carwash Franchisor Case Study
There are only a handful of car wash franchises in the world. This might offer some insight on how car wash franchises come into existence. This is a crazy story. It is the history of our company and how we ended up in the Carwash Franchise business. One of our franchisees of our mobile car wash business; The Car Wash Guys, was in Idaho, was the son of a wheat farmer, the areas largest farm family land holder in Idaho's banana belt. About a month before he called us I put up this web site called www.detailguys.com and said what the hell, I will put up a form in case someone wants to buy a franchise for only auto detailing and not mobile car washing we can make a sub franchise out of it. Previously I did a couple of trade shows. The Black Expo and a BizOp/franchise show, great results and really I did not need any leads. But what I learned was their were significant people wanting low-priced franchises. So I put up the website and put a form on it and the very next day I get a lead from Phil the farmer in Idaho, looking for a simple business. He wanted to start a business, but stick more with auto detailing on a mobile bases, which was slightly different than that of our mobile care wash franchise. So he wanted a franchise ID. But heck I was in CA and ID seemed like another World at the time. It was. Things went good, because we made it work and Phil then bought a car wash guys mobile truck and later an auto detailing trailer and hired on some more workets.
Small Business Marketing - Clarify Success
When you hear the word "success" does it bring on visions of fame and fortune for your business? Have you clarified and articulated what that success will look like for your business and how you'll know when you've achieved it?
Why is My Restaurant Not Full Every Monday Night?
In a quest for customers and to keep those customers, restaurants are now compelled to develop a marketing plan. Marketing plans are a crucial component for anyone who has the desire to make their restaurant a success.
Retail Customer Opportunities for Pressure Washing Companies
Pressure washing companies must look for customers in the retail industry to make sure they stay busy. Large Box Stores and Grocery Stores are often you best customers in that regard. Cleaning concrete or doing "flat work" makes sense for a number of reasons, 1.) It is not labor intensive like washing trucks; 2.) Routine scheduled customers make the work extremely easy; 3.) Generally you do not have to worry about not getting paid for work completed, as the corporate offices will pay you, even if they are sometimes a little slow to pay.
Success Tips for Small Business Owners
Running a small business requires many skills. However, to do this successfully you need to organize yourself first. Avoid procrastination - read the following and take action.
Four Reasons Why Small Businesses Succeed (or Fail)
The American system of business management has been admired and emulated around the world. This system is characteristic of two traits in the American psyche: (1) enthusiasm for the future and making things better, and (2) an openness and willingness to change in order to achieve that end.
Collection Agency Selection
Frankly, given the legal and regulatory requirements involved in attempting to collect a debt, it makes as much sense to do it yourself as it does to try to remove your own appendix. A collection agency is, on the whole, much cheaper than a doctors - and lawyers. Do yourself a favor and let a professional collection agency handle this complex matter for you.
10 Filler Activities for the Summer Business Slowdown
Summer is a time for the outdoors, for that well-deserved vacation, and with everyone out and about, it's also a time that you may notice a slowdown in demand for your products and services. So what can you do during this summer slowdown? Well, it's a great time to do the work that otherwise never gets done during the busy business year.
Eight Key Steps to Selling Your Business and Cashing In
This year, some 700,000 American businesses will be sold. Most will be small and mid-sized businesses like yours. If you, too, are thinking of selling, consider these practical steps for making the process go smoothly.
Business Development Is Not An Event
Cash flow. To stay in business, you've got to keep a steady stream moving through your company.
Most Franchises Are Small Home Businesses
Many of our nations 400,000 franchisees run their businesses out of their homes and therefore their home addresses and phone numbers are listed in the Unifrom Franchsie Offering Circular's, attachments. Uniform Franchise Circulars, UFOC, are for franchise buyers and they explain the investment involved. It is required by law that they be given out to potential buyers in advance of any sale by 10 business days. How can a franchisor be assured that someone sending an email or filling out a form is a real entity? Most franchise sales people see email addresses all the time that do not match the names they are purporting on the forms. They are suspect.
Top Ten Blunders Business Owners Make
In today's marketplace the words 'job security' have become an oxymoron. So more and more people are venturing on their own. But is it the right thing to do? Are they ready for it?
Making Your Purpose Your Business Step #2- Getting From Point A to Point B
In my previous article, Step 1, your challenge for the month was to research where your passion lies. Based on your research you might have discovered that self investigation can lead us to two places; either we find out our answer or we realize we need to ask more questions to get that answer.
Three Ways to Add Leverage to Your Small Business
Remember those drawings from science class of how a lever works?
Will Adding a Car Wash to Your Fast Lube Add Additional Crime to Your Facilities?
Car Wash Crime in the Hood. Apparently not everyone is with us and certainly not everyone considers this to be a clean business. Latest car wash news. There was a HS Coach killed at a car wash in Aurora, CA Which is unfortunate. Here is the article. Still unknown why but the Police were investigating the shooting death this high school assistant football coach at a car wash near his home.
Doing Business With Friends: Five Tips for Preserving the Friendship... and Your Sanity!
My colleague, Jane, recently lamented to me an all too familiar story about mixing business and friendship. Jane subcontracted copywriting work out her friend, Joan. Jane's copywriting business was blossoming (partly in response to her most recent brilliant article marketing campaign) and giving the work to Joan seemed like a win-win for both of them.
Frodos Journey: What It Can Teach You About Marketing Your Small Business
Just recently, I took a break and caught "The Return of the King" at the movie theater. At the same time, I was pondering a topic for this article. As often happens, the themes and timing converged. Here are 10 things you can learn about marketing your small business from the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Fire the CEO
If you are the boss and you think your job is to run the business, you are dead wrong. Your job, the most important job in any business, is to market the business.
The Game Plan ? The Difference Between Small Business Success And Failure
It is an American dream to own a business. But sadly, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, only 1 in 5 businesses is still in business 5 years after it opens.
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