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Operational Analysis - Explained

What is an Operational Analysis?

operational analysis business plan

Written by Jason Gordon

Updated at August 2nd, 2023

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What is Operational Analysis?

The next part of the feasibility analysis is operational in nature. 

Operational analysis regards the initial analysis of what operational aspects are required to carry on the business. This is essential for determining the feasibility of a business idea. 

An idea may have potential many aspects, but the operational aspects are not feasible. 

An operational plan provides a working outline of the numerous components that make up or affect the intended business operations.Here, you examine the process by which you would exchange value with customers. 

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In reality the operation analysis regards the availability of resources to get started in and carry out the intended business idea. You should identify all of the actual resources (not just the cost of those resources) required to begin operations and those to carry out the business activity. 

In other articles, we discuss preparing detailed financial projections. In these projections you will present your intended growth path and required resources at each stage of business development. Here your preliminary look should give you an idea of whether the resources required to startup and begin operations make the business plan feasible.

  • Example : Many industries have high costs of entry that keep individuals from entering the industry. The resources required to begin and to continue operations are more extensive than the availability of those resources. The best example of this is the airline industry. Purchasing planes has such a high capital cost and the availability of planes for purchase is so limited that it is difficult for new businesses to break into the market during times of airline profitability (e.g., high travel and low fuel costs).
Back to : OPERATIONS, LOGISTICS, & SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT
Back to:  Entrepreneurship

Operational Resources

The primary resources you will want to examine are categorized as follows:

  • Note : Your business idea may require that you have multiple or diverse locations. You may need to secure manufacturing at one location, while concentrating your sales effort at another. Some service industries may require extensive travel or locating personnel in diverse regains. In any event, you will have to examine what locational requirements exist to carry on operation and maintain access to customers. ReferenceForBusiness.com does an excellent job of outlining the Considerations for Location Analysis .
  • Note : People undertake franchises to avoid developing operational plans. For example, a McDonalds franchise will provide a plan for required personnel, the required equipment, cooking procedures, cleaning procedures, advertising material, hours of operation, etc., etc. You should examine up front the extent of resources required to set up operations. It could require professional services (such as legal or accounting help), construction, expert consultants (as industry experts), etc. Quora provides an interesting article concerning What is Required of Individuals Tasked with Setting Up Operations .
  • Note : Assessing the required raw material is greatest in manufacturing businesses, but exists in service businesses as well. Raw material includes anything that is consumed in carrying on the business. This could include anything from office supplies (office) to lumber (construction), depending on the nature of the business. SmartSheet.com does an incredible job of explaining Materials Requirements Planning for Operations , also known as MRP.
  • Note : Equipment is a concern for both service and manufacturing businesses. In the example above, starting an airline requires lots of equipment. Even in traditional service industries (Medicine, Consulting, Law, Accounting) there are lots of equipment costs associated with operations. SWJ Breilman is a company that specializes in operational planning. Take a look at the equipment planning services that they offer as an example of the type of thought and planning required.
  • Note : Within a product-based business you will have to account for shipments of raw materials from suppliers as well as the shipment of goods to customers. Service businesses will have to account for the medium for providing the services. Some businesses require in-person services, while others can provide services through other means (such as the internet). In any event, product and services businesses will have to account for the channels by which it will offer to sell goods or services to its customers. Will this require sales agents, distributors, out-sourced service providers, etc. Investopedia does a good job of identifying the Characteristics and Types of Distribution Channel .

The above sections are just brief overviews of the type of operational analysis you should do in determining the feasibility of your business. You will examine the operational feasibility be comparing the anticipated availability of resources with the resource requirements that you identify in this section.

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Operational Planning: How to Make an Operations Plan

ProjectManager

The operations of your business can be defined as the sum of all the daily activities that you and your team execute to create products or services and engage with your customers, among other critical business functions. While organizing these moving parts might sound difficult, it can be easily done by writing a business operational plan. But before we learn how to make one, let’s first understand what’s the relationship between strategic and operational planning.

Operational Planning vs. Strategic Planning

Operational planning and strategic planning are complementary to each other. This is because strategic plans define the business strategy and the long-term goals for your organization, while operational plans define the steps required to achieve them.

What Is a Strategic Plan?

A strategic plan is a business document that describes the business goals of a company as well as the high-level actions that will be taken to achieve them over a time period of 1-3 years.

What Is an Operational Plan?

Operational plans map the daily, weekly or monthly business operations that’ll be executed by the department to complete the goals you’ve previously defined in your strategic plan. Operational plans go deeper into explaining your business operations as they explain roles and responsibilities, timelines and the scope of work.

Operational plans work best when an entire department buys in, assigning due dates for tasks, measuring goals for success, reporting on issues and collaborating effectively. They work even better when there’s a platform like ProjectManager , which facilitates communication across departments to ensure that the machine is running smoothly as each team reaches its benchmark. Get started with ProjectManager for free today.

Gantt chart with operational plan

What Is Operational Planning?

Operational planning is the process of turning strategic plans into action plans, which simply means breaking down high-level strategic goals and activities into smaller, actionable steps. The main goal of operational planning is to coordinate different departments and layers of management to ensure the whole organization works towards the same objective, which is achieving the goals set forth in the strategic plan .

How to Make an Operational Plan

There’s no single approach to follow when making an operation plan for your business. However, there’s one golden rule in operations management : your strategic and operational plans must be aligned. Based on that principle, here are seven steps to make an operational plan.

  • Map business processes and workflows: What steps need to be taken at the operations level to accomplish long-term strategic goals?
  • Set operational-level goals: Describe what operational-level goals contribute to the achievement of larger strategic goals.
  • Determine the operational timeline: Is there any time frame for the achievement of the operational plan?
  • Define your resource requirements: Estimate what resources are needed for the execution of the operational plan.
  • Estimate the operational budget: Based on your resource requirements, estimate costs and define an operational budget.
  • Set a hiring plan: Are there any skills gaps that need to be filled in your organization?
  • Set key performance indicators: Define metrics and performance tracking procedures to measure your team’s performance.

operational analysis business plan

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Operational Plan Template

Use this free Operational Plan Template for Word to manage your projects better.

What Should be Included in an Operational Plan?

Your operational plan should describe your business operations as accurately as possible so that internal teams know how the company works and how they can help achieve the larger strategic objectives. Here’s a list of some of the key elements that you’ll need to consider when writing an operational plan.

Executive Summary

An executive summary is a brief document that summarizes the content of larger documents like business plans, strategic plans or operation plans. Their main purpose is to provide a quick overview for busy stakeholders.

Operational Budget

An operational budget is an estimation of the expected operating costs and revenues for a given time period. As with other types of budget, the operational budget defines the amount of money that’s available to acquire raw materials, equipment or anything else that’s needed for business operations.

It’s important to limit your spending to stay below your operational budget, otherwise, your company could run out of resources to execute its normal activities. You can use our free operating budget template for Excel to track your operating costs.

Operational Objectives

It’s essential to align your operational objectives with your strategic objectives. For example, if one of your strategic objectives is to increase sales by 25 percent over the next three years, one possible operational objective would be to hire new sales employees. You should always grab your strategic plan objectives and turn them into one or multiple action items .

Processes & Workflows

Explain the various business processes, workflows and tasks that need to be executed to achieve your operational objectives. Make sure to explain what resources are needed, such as raw materials, equipment or human resources.

Operational Timeline

It’s important to establish a timeline for your operational plan. In most cases, your operational plan will have the same length as your strategic plan, but in some scenarios, you might create multiple operational plans for specific purposes. Not all operational plans are equal, so the length of your operational timeline will depend on the duration of your projects , workflows and processes.

Hiring Plan

Find any skills gap there might be in your team. You might need to hire a couple of individuals or even create new departments in order to execute your business processes .

Quality Assurance and Control

Most companies implement quality assurance and control procedures for a variety of reasons such as customer safety and regulatory compliance. In addition, quality assurance issues can cost your business millions, so establishing quality management protocols is a key step in operational planning.

Key Performance Indicators

It’s important to establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the productivity of your business operations. You can define as many KPIs as needed for all your business processes. For example, you can define KPIs for marketing, sales, product development and other key departments in your company. This can include product launch deadlines, number of manufactured goods, number of customer service cases closed, number of 5-star reviews received, number of customers acquired, revenue increased by a certain percentage and so on.

Risks, Assumptions and Constraints

Note any potential risks, assumptions and time or resource constraints that might affect your business operations.

Free Operational Plan Template

Leverage everything you’ve learned today with our template. This free operational plan template for Word will help you define your budget, timeline, KPIs and more. It’s the perfect first step in organizing and improving your operations. Download it today.

ProjectManager's free operational plan template for Word.

What Are the Benefits of Operational Planning?

Every plan has a massive effect on all team members involved, and those can be to your company’s benefit or to their detriment. If it’s to their detriment, it’s best to find out as soon as possible so you can modify your operational plan and pivot with ease.

But that’s the whole point of operational planning: you get to see the effect of your operations on the business’s bottom line in real time, or at every benchmark, so you know exactly when to pivot. And with a plan that’s as custom to each department as an operational plan, you know exactly where things go wrong and why.

How ProjectManager Can Help with Operational Planning

Creating and implementing a high-quality operational plan is the best way to ensure that your organization starts out a project on the right foot. ProjectManager has award-winning project management tools to help you craft and execute such a plan.

Gantt charts are essential to create and monitor operational plans effectively. ProjectManager helps you access your Gantt chart online so you can add benchmarks for operational performance reviews. You can also create tasks along with dependencies to make the operation a surefire success.

A screenshot of a gantt chart in ProjectManager

Whether you’re a team of IT system administrators, marketing experts, or engineers, ProjectManager includes robust planning and reporting tools. Plan in sprints, assign due dates, collaborate with team members and track everything with just the click of a button. Plus, we have numerous ready-made project reports that can be generated instantly, including status reports, variance reports, timesheet reports and more.

project status report builder

Related Operations Management Content

  • Operational Strategy: A Quick Guide
  • Operations Management: Key Functions, Roles and Skills
  • Operational Efficiency: A Quick Guide
  • Using Operational Excellence to Be More Productive

Operational planning isn’t done in a silo, and it doesn’t work without the full weight of the team backing it up. Ensure that your department is successful at each benchmark. ProjectManager is an award-winning pm software dedicated to helping businesses smooth out their operational plans for a better year ahead. Sign up for our free 30-day trial today.

Click here to browse ProjectManager's free templates

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Blog Business

10+ Operational Planning Examples to Fulfill your Strategic Goals

By Danesh Ramuthi , Oct 25, 2023

Operational Planning Examples

An operational plan is a comprehensive, action-driven document that maps out how daily activities within an organization fuel the journey towards achieving strategic objectives.

Essentially acting as the nexus between high-level strategy and practical execution, this plan ensures that every department, from human resources to specific departments, operates in synchrony, aligning their day-to-day activities with the broader strategic goals.

By streamlining processes, it fosters cohesive efforts amongst diverse cross-functional teams, ensuring that both individual team members and entire departments work together harmoniously towards the company goals.

Ready to sculpt your organization’s future? Start your journey with venngage business plan maker and leverage their expertly crafted operational plan templates . 

Click to jump ahead: 

Why is an operational plan important?

10 operational plan examples, what should an operational plan include, how to write an operational plan.

  • Strategic plan vs operational plan: What is the difference? 

In summary 

An operational plan is crucial because it serves as a bridge between a company’s high-level strategic planning and its day-to-day activities, ensuring that the business operations align with the strategic goals. 

While a strategic plan provides a long-term vision, outlining the company’s objectives and goals to gain competitive advantages in the business environment, the operational plan outlines the specific actions, key elements and resource allocation required to achieve those objectives. 

For example, while the strategic plan might set a goal for revenue growth over the fiscal year, the operational plan provides a detailed roadmap, breaking down major projects, assigning responsibilities to individual team members or specific departments and setting key performance indicators to monitor progress and ensure the entire organization works together effectively.

Operational planning, in essence, transforms the strategic objectives into actionable plans, ensuring that the entire team, from department heads to diverse cross-functional teams, is aligned and works in tandem to support revenue growth, increase productivity, and achieve the desired outcomes. 

Operational plans, through a well-structured operational planning process, also provide a clear understanding of the day-to-day activities, allowing team members to know their roles, leading to better collaboration and synergy. 

Moreover, by having clear operational plan examples or templates, businesses can ensure realistic expectations, manage their operating budget effectively and track progress through key performance metrics, thus ensuring that the company stays on course to realize its long-term vision.

Operational plans play a pivotal role in the business landscape, bridging the gap between strategic vision and tangible actions. They translate the overarching goals of an organization into detailed procedures, ensuring that daily operations are in line with the desired strategic outcomes. 

In the section below, I will explore a few operational plan examples, shedding light on their structure and importance.

Business operational plan example

A business operational plan is a comprehensive document that elucidates the specific day-to-day activities of a company. It presents a detailed overview of the company’s organizational structure, management team, products or services and the underlying marketing and sales strategies. 

For businesses, irrespective of their size, an operational plan can prove invaluable. By laying down the business goals and objectives, it acts as a blueprint, guiding entrepreneurs through the creation and implementation of strategies and action plans. The planning process also incorporates mechanisms to track progress and performance. 

Additionally, for startups or companies looking to scale, a meticulously crafted operational plan can be pivotal in securing funds from potential investors and lenders.

Business Operational Plan Template

Layered on this are details about the company’s organizational structure, its products or services and its marketing and sales strategies. 

The document also delineates the roles and responsibilities of each team member, especially the management and key personnel. Given the dynamic nature of the business environment, it is imperative to revisit and update the operational plan regularly.

Related: 15+ Business Plan Templates for Strategic Planning

Simple operational plan example

A simple operational plan, often used by startups or smaller enterprises, emphasizes the basics, ensuring that the fundamental aspects of the business operations are captured succinctly. While it might not delve into the intricacies of every operation, it provides an overview of day-to-day activities, highlighting the goals and objectives the business aims to achieve in the short term.

Green Sage Simple Clean Yellow Operational Plan

In essence, this plan revolves around core elements like the company’s main objectives for the fiscal year, key responsibilities assigned to individual team members and basic resource allocation. A straightforward market analysis might also be included, offering insights into customer needs and competitive advantages the business hopes to leverage.

Simple Clean Yellow Operational Plan

Though simple, this operational plan example remains pivotal for the organization. It provides a roadmap, guiding team members through their daily responsibilities while ensuring that everyone is working together towards shared goals. It becomes especially essential for diverse cross-functional teams, where clarity of roles can lead to increased productivity.

Colorful Shape Simple Operational Plan

Modern operational plan example

In today’s fast-paced business environment, the emphasis on efficiency and innovative processes is paramount. The modern operational plan example caters precisely to this demand. Ideal for organizations aiming to streamline processes and highlight workflow, this type of operational plan emphasizes a more dynamic approach to planning. 

Modern Clean Orange Operational Plan

It not only reflects the evolving nature of business operations but also provides a modern backdrop for content, ensuring that the presentation resonates with the current trends and technological advancements. The use of modern tools and platforms within this plan enables diverse cross-functional teams to work together seamlessly, ensuring that day-to-day activities are synchronized with the company’s long-term vision.

Clean Modern Shape Operational Plan

Furthermore, such an operational plan helps the entire organization stay agile, adapting rapidly to changes in the business environment and ensuring alignment with strategic goals.

Minimalist operational plan example

The minimalist operational plan example champions simplicity and clarity. By focusing on clear and concise business strategies, it eliminates any potential ambiguity, ensuring that team members and stakeholders have an unclouded understanding of the company’s objectives and goals. 

Simple Minimalist Operational Plan

The minimalist design not only promotes easy comprehension but also aligns with the modern trend of decluttering, ensuring that only the most vital components of the operational planning process are highlighted. 

This approach leaves no room for confusion, streamlining the planning process and making sure that individual team members and departments are aligned with the business’s key objectives. 

White Clean Lines Minimalist Operational Plan

Moreover, the flexibility offered by a minimalist design allows businesses to craft an operational plan template that is not only functional but also accurately reflects their brand image and core values, ensuring cohesion across all aspects of the business strategy.

Blue And Orange Minimalist Modern Operational Plan

Clean operational plan example

The clean operational plan example stands as a testament to this principle. Ideal for businesses that prioritize clarity and directness, this format seeks to convey goals and strategies without overwhelming stakeholders. 

While maintaining a neat and organized layout, it ensures that tasks are managed effectively, helping team members grasp their roles and responsibilities without getting lost in excessive details.

Pink Retro Clean Operational Plan

One of the primary advantages of a clean operational plan is its ability to eliminate distractions and focus solely on the critical aspects of operational planning. 

Such a design aids in making sure that diverse cross-functional teams can work together harmoniously ensuring that day-to-day activities align seamlessly with the company’s long-term vision. 

The simplicity of the clean operational plan not only supports revenue growth by ensuring efficiency but also reinforces the company’s strategic goals, making it an excellent tool in the arsenal of businesses that believe in clear communication and precise execution.  

An effective operational plan acts as a roadmap, directing how resources should be allocated and tasks should be performed to meet the company’s objectives. Here’s what a comprehensive operational plan should encompass:

  • Goals and objectives : Whether short-term or long-term, the operational plan should define clear goals and objectives that align with the company’s strategic plan. This gives direction to the entire organization, ensuring everyone is working towards a common aim.
  • Clear responsibilities for team members : It’s essential that team members understand their roles within the operational plan. By outlining who is responsible for what, the plan ensures that there are no overlaps or gaps in duties and that everyone has clarity on their day-to-day activities.
  • Assigned tasks: Alongside responsibilities, specific tasks need to be allocated to individual team members or specific departments. This granularity in assignment ensures that every aspect of the operational plan is covered.
  • Timeline: This provides a clear schedule for when each task or objective should start and finish. A well-defined timeline assists in monitoring progress and ensures that the plan stays on track.
  • Budget and resources : Every operational plan needs to factor in the budget and resources available. This includes everything from the operating budget to human resources, ensuring that the business has everything it needs to execute the plan effectively.

Read Also: 6 Steps to Create a Strategic HR Plan [With Templates]

As businesses evolve, it’s essential to have a comprehensive and adaptive operational plan in place to navigate the complexities of the business environment. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you craft an effective operational plan:

Step 1: Define your goals and objectives

Begin with a clear understanding of your strategic goals and objectives. This will act as a foundation for your operational plan. Ensure that these goals are in alignment with your company’s strategic plan and provide both short-term and long-term visions for the business.

Step 2: Determine roles and responsibilities

Identify the key stakeholders, department heads and team members who will play pivotal roles in executing the plan. Assign responsibilities to ensure that everyone knows their part in the planning process and day-to-day activities.

Step 3: Develop a timeline and milestones

Establish a clear timeline that breaks down the operational planning process. Include key milestones to track progress and ensure the plan remains on target.

Step 4: Allocate budget and resources

Determine the resources required to achieve your goals and objectives. This includes estimating the operating budget, identifying human resources needs and other resource allocations, ensuring you have everything in place to support revenue growth and other business needs.

Step 5: Outline day-to-day operations

Detail the day activities that are integral to the business operations. This will provide clarity on how different tasks and functions work together, ensuring efficiency across diverse cross-functional teams.

Step 6: Monitor and measure performance

Integrate key performance metrics and indicators to regularly monitor progress. Using both leading and lagging indicators will provide a comprehensive view of how well the operational plan is being executed and where improvements can be made.

Step 7: Review and adjust regularly

The business environment is dynamic and as such, your operational plan should be adaptable. Regularly review the plan, comparing actual outcomes with desired outcomes and adjust as necessary to account for changes in the business environment or company goals.

Step 8: Document and communicate

Create an operational plan document, potentially using operational plan examples or an operational plan template for guidance. Ensure that the entire team, from individual team members to the entire organization, is informed and aligned with the plan.

Related: 7 Best Business Plan Software for 2023

Strategic plan vs operational plan: What is the difference?

When running an organization, both strategic and operational planning play pivotal roles in ensuring success. However, each has a distinct purpose, time horizon and scope. Here’s a breakdown of the differences between these two essential business plans:

  • Strategic plan : This plan sets the course for the organization’s future. It embodies the long-term vision and mission, detailing the objectives necessary to achieve it. The essence is how everyone, from C-suite executives to individual team members, collaborates towards realizing this vision.
  • Operational plan : This is the roadmap for the day-to-day activities of the organization. While the strategic plan looks at the bigger picture, the operational plan hones in on the tactics and execution. It is crafted to support organizational goals with a focus on short-term activities specific to departments or functions.

Time horizon :

  • Strategic plan : Long-term in nature, usually spanning three to five years.
  • Operational plan : Concentrates on the short-term, with plans laid out yearly, quarterly, or even monthly.

Modification and updates :

  • Strategic plan : This evolves over longer intervals, typically three to five years. There might be minor adjustments year over year based on changing business needs and the external business environment.
  • Operational plan : Due to its short-term focus, it requires frequent assessments. Plans might be adjusted yearly, quarterly or even monthly to ensure alignment with the strategic objectives and current business environment.

Created by :

  • Strategic plan : Crafted by the upper echelons of management – think CEO, CFO and other C-suite members.
  • Operational plan : These plans come to life through mid-level management and department heads, ensuring alignment with the broader strategic vision while catering to specific departmental needs.
  • Strategic plan : Broad in its outlook, it takes into account external factors like market trends, competition, customer needs and technological innovations.
  • Operational plan : This narrows down the focus to the internal workings of the organization. It revolves around technology in use, key performance indicators, budgeting, projects, tasks and the allocation of responsibilities among team members.

As we’ve traversed through the importance of operational planning to various operational plan examples, it becomes evident that having a detailed and efficient operational plan is pivotal. 

From the business-centric to the minimalist approach, every operational plan serves as the backbone, guiding team members and ensuring that day-to-day activities align with the long-term vision and strategic goals.

By knowing what should be included in these plans and how to craft them, businesses can navigate the complexities of their operational environment with greater confidence.

For those looking to refine their planning process or start from scratch, the world of digital tools has made it significantly easier. Venngage offers business plan maker and operational plan templates designed to simplify the process. 

Whether you need to create an operational plan or draft a business strategy, their intuitive platform can guide you every step of the way.

Grasshopper.com

  • Grasshopper

Operations Plan

  • Lesson Materials Operations Plan Worksheet
  • Completion time About 40 minutes

The operations section of your business plan is where you explain – in detail – you company's objectives, goals, procedures, and timeline. An operations plan is helpful for investors, but it's also helpful for you and employees because it pushes you to think about tactics and deadlines.

In the previous course, you outlined your company's strategic plan, which answers questions about your business mission. An operational plan outlines the steps you'll take to complete your business mission.

Your operations plan should be able to answer the following:

  • Who – The personnel or departments who are in charge of completing specific tasks.
  • What – A description of what each department is responsible for.
  • Where – The information on where daily operations will be taking place.
  • When –The deadlines for when the tasks and goals are to be completed.
  • How much – The cost amount each department needs to complete their tasks.

In this session, we explain each item to include in your operations plan.

Goals and Objectives

The key to an operations plan is having a clear objective and goal everyone is focused on completing. In this section of your plan, you'll clearly state what your company's operational objective is.

Your operational objective is different than your company's overall objective. In Course One , you fleshed out what your strategic objective was. Your operational objective explains how you intend to complete your strategic objective.

In order to create an efficient operational objective, think SMART:

  • Specific – Be clear on what you want employees to achieve.
  • Measurable – Be able to quantify the goal in order to track progress.
  • Attainable & Realistic – It's great to be ambitious but make sure you aren't setting your team up for failure. Create a goal that everyone is motivated to complete with the resources available.
  • Timely – Provide a deadline so everyone has a date they are working towards.

Operations plan goals and objectives

Different departments will have different operational objectives. However, each department objective should help the company reach the main objective. In addition, operational objectives change; the objectives aren't intended to be permanents or long term. The timeline should be scheduled with your company's long-term goals in mind.

Let's look at the following example for a local pizza business objective:

  • Strategic objective : To deliver pizza all over Eastern Massachusetts.
  • Technology department operational objective : To create a mobile app by January 2017 to offer a better user experience.
  • Marketing department operational objective : To increase website visitors by 50% by January 2017 by advertising on radio, top local food websites, and print ads.
  • Sales department operational objective : To increase delivery sales by 30%, by targeting 3 of Massachusetts's largest counties.

Sales department operational objective: To increase delivery sales by 30%, by targeting 3 of Massachusetts's largest counties.

Production Process

After you create your objectives, you have to think strategically on how you're going to meet them. In order to do this, each department (or team) needs to have all the necessary resources for the production process.

Resources you should think about include the following:

  • Suppliers – do you have a supplier (or more) to help you produce your product?
  • Technology team: app developing software
  • Marketing team: software licenses for website analytical tools
  • Sales team: headsets, phone systems or virtual phone system technology
  • Cost – what is the budget for each department?

In addition to the production process, you'll also need to describe in detail your operating process. This will demonstrate to investors that you know exactly how you want your business to run on a day-to-day basis.

Items to address include:

  • Location – where are employees working? Will you need additional facilities?
  • Work hours – will employees have a set schedule or flexible work schedule?
  • Personnel – who is in charge of making sure department tasks are completed?

Operations plan timeline

Creating a timeline with milestones is important for your new business. It keeps everyone focused and is a good tracking method for efficiency. For instance, if milestones aren’t being met, you'll know that it's time to re-evaluate your production process or consider new hires.

Below are common milestones new businesses should plan for.

When you completed your Management Plan Worksheet in the previous course, you jotted down which key hires you needed right away and which could wait. Make sure you have a good idea on when you would like those key hires to happen; whether it’s after your company hits a certain revenue amount or once a certain project takes off.

Production Milestones

Production milestones keep business on track. These milestones act as "checkpoints" for your overall department objectives. For instance, if you want to create a new app by the end of the year, product milestones you outline might include a beta roll out, testing, and various version releases.

Other product milestones to keep in mind:

  • Design phase
  • Product prototype phase
  • Product launch
  • Version release

Market Milestones

Market milestones are important for tracking efficiency and understanding whether your operations plan is working. For instance, a possible market milestone could be reaching a certain amount of clients or customers after a new product or service is released.

A few other market milestones to consider:

  • Gain a certain amount of users/clients by a certain time
  • Signing partnerships
  • Running a competitive analysis
  • Performing a price change evaluation

Financial Milestones

Financial milestones are important for tracking business performance. It's likely that a board of directors or investors will work with you on creating financial milestones. In addition, in startups, it's common that financial milestones are calculated for 12 months.

Typical financial milestones include:

  • Funding events
  • Revenue and profit goals
  • Transaction goals

In summary, your operations plan gives you the chance to show investors you know how you want your business to run. You know who you want to hire, where you want to work, and when you expect projects to be completed.

Download the attached worksheet and start putting your timelines and milestones together on paper.

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Operational Plan: Everything You Need To Know (2024 Guide)

Download our free Operational Strategy Template Download this template

The old way of planning no longer works in complex and unpredictable business environments, and companies are struggling to find their feet on shaky ground. As we’ve seen with many of our customers and strategies in Cascade, organizations can no longer count on executing three or even five-year strategic plans.

The new reality forces companies and their operations teams to adapt their operational plans more frequently and within shorter time frames if they want to reap benefits faster than their competitors. Organizations need to work on their strategic instinct and fast adaptability .  

And that requires big changes—including building a flexible operational plan, supported by the right tools and systems that help you achieve real-time centralized observability and empower a strategic response to external disruptions.

Read this article to build a bulletproof operational plan that includes all the key elements necessary to overcome unpredictable business chaos. You’ll also get free templates that will help you rapidly adapt and align your teams.

✨Bonus: We’ve included pro tips from business leaders in our network to help you identify gaps in your strategy execution and build resilient business operations.

Free Template Download our free Operational Strategy Template Download this template

What Is An Operational Plan?

An operational plan is action and detail-oriented; it needs to focus on short-term strategy execution and outline an organization's day-to-day operations. If your operations strategy is a promise, your operational plan is the action plan for how you will deliver on it every day, week, and month.

Put simply, an operational plan helps you bridge the gap between business strategy and on-the-ground execution and ensures that the organization is on track to achieve its long-term goals.

Benefits of operational planning

  • Clear definition of relationships between cross-functional teams in different departments and responsibilities for each to eliminate duplicated efforts.
  • Tighter alignment between corporate or business unit strategic plans and on-the-ground execution, helping the organization meet its business targets.
  • Strong operating system that enables the company to quickly adapt, deliver operations goals, and monitor performance.

Operational planning vs. strategic planning

Operational planning deals with the day-to-day details and short-term goals, while strategic planning focuses on the big picture and long-term direction of an organization.

To put it in simpler terms, operational planning is about the "how" of daily tasks, while strategic planning defines the "what" and "why" for future success.

📚Recommended reading: Strategic vs. Operational Planning

Kickstart Your Operational Planning Process: Lay The Foundation

The quality of your operational plan will depend on your input. A successful operational planning initiative will consider these aspects:

  • Who will be involved? Identify and include employees, customers, and the management team in the planning process to gain valuable insights from the front lines, ensuring better strategy and execution buy-in.
  • What are your internal capabilities? Assess internal capabilities by conducting an internal analysis , including resource requirements, operating budget, and talent skills. Talent management and employee engagement are just a few of the many challenges that COOs will have on their operations agenda.
  • What environment are you operating in? Conduct an external analysis (e.g., PESTLE or Porter’s 5 Forces ) to inform your approach and identify optimization opportunities and risks, keeping you agile in a changing market.
  • Is it aligned with your organization’s strategy? Ensure alignment of your operational plan with your organization’s strategic plan to actively support the company's long-term vision and contribute to key business metrics.
👉🏻 Once you’ve gathered this information, you can develop an operational plan to help you execute business strategies.

Key Elements Of Your Operational Plan

Enough chit-chat; it’s time to put your operational plan together. We've built this based on our proven and tested approach, used by over +45,000 Cascade users. Here’s a recap of the five key elements your plan must consider:

Choose key metrics aligned with the company goals

Selecting your operational plan's key metrics isn't a mere exercise in tracking numbers; it's about laser-focused alignment with your business needs and objectives. These metrics are the tangible indicators of your organization's efficiency and performance. They serve as the compass, guiding your daily decisions and actions toward achieving concrete results.

By precisely aligning these metrics with your company's core objectives, you ensure that every initiative and action within your operational plan directly contributes to achieving tangible results.

An aligned operational plan makes it easier to:

  • Communicate roles and responsibilities to all employees so they know how their efforts contribute to overall business success.
  • Identify and address operational bottlenecks and inefficiencies that could derail strategy execution.
  • Motivate and engage employees to work toward strategic objectives and deliver on business outcomes.
Remember that the role of operations is to close the gap between your organization's strategic goals and what is being done on a daily basis to make them happen.

👉🏻 How Cascade can help:

With Cascade’s Metrics Library , you can bring your operating and financial business-level goals together with your strategy under one single roof. This makes reporting & governance easy, accurate, and less time-consuming by connecting your business data to your key business initiatives.

cascade metrics library

Through Cascade’s integrations , you can consolidate your metrics in one place, importing your data directly from business systems, data lakes, BI tools, or even spreadsheets.

Define the focus areas of your operational plan

The focus areas of your operational plan are the key areas of the business that the plan will address.

This will depend on your business plan. Think about how the business operates and how it succeeds. Do you need to pursue short-term cost reductions while simultaneously pursuing longer-term growth and transformation initiatives? Your operational plans must be built on these strategic priorities.

For example, you can prioritize your focus areas based on the most relevant business strategies or by specific departments. Some examples of focus areas could be:

  • Administration
  • Human Resources

💡Tips to help define the focus areas of your operational plan:

  • Identify the business's key challenges and opportunities.
  • Consider the business's overall long-term strategy and key metrics and how the operational plan's focus areas can support these objectives.
  • Bring other people on board to help you identify what needs to be addressed by the operations plan.

Create strategic objectives for your operational plan

Strategic objectives are specific goals aligned with the operation’s strategy and focus areas. They represent what you want to achieve in each focus area and will serve as the building blocks of your plan, ensuring that it’s focused and actionable.

Some examples of strategic objectives:

  • Reduce costs by 10% within the next year by implementing more efficient processes and streamlining the supply chain over the next year.
  • Launch three new products in the next fiscal year to expand your product lines and increase revenue.
  • Increase customer satisfaction scores by 5% within the next six months.

💡Tips for defining strategic objectives include:

  • Ensure your objectives are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).
  • Consistently align objectives with your operational plan's focus areas and the company's goals.
  • Don’t be afraid to get input from other people about your objectives.

Identify and prioritize projects

It’s time to identify and prioritize the projects that need to be executed. Remember, projects are action plans to help you achieve your strategic objectives.

Project planning should include thinking about time frames, task assignments, and deliverables (and prioritizing).

Here are some examples of project ideas:

  • Localize sourcing for critical semi-finished materials.
  • Streamline the supply chain to reduce costs and improve efficiency.
  • Find and develop an alternative logistics channel.
  • Implement a new customer service training program to improve customer satisfaction scores.
  • Implement a new technology that will enable end-to-end supply chain visibility.

💡Tips for defining and prioritizing projects:

  • Identify the specific actions and activities needed to achieve each strategic objective.
  • Prioritize the projects based on their importance, feasibility, and potential impact on the business.
  • Involve stakeholders in defining and prioritizing the projects to ensure their needs and concerns are heard.

Identify and track key performance indicators (KPIs)

Finally, you’ll need to know if your operational plan and day-to-day activities result in outcomes.

Set KPIs for key initiatives and strategic objectives to measure success, ensure alignment, and identify performance gaps in your operational plan.

Some examples of operations KPIs are:

  • Inventory costs
  • Costs of goods sold
  • Revenue growth
  • Employee retention rate
  • Customer satisfaction score

💡Tips for defining and tracking KPIs:

  • Align KPIs with your strategic objectives and focus areas so that you can track the plan's progress against these specific goals.
  • Add both lagging and leading indicators .
  • Instead of using multiple disconnected spreadsheets and project management tools, consider live dashboards or reporting systems to track the KPIs and monitor progress over time.

👉🏻 How Cascade can help build your plan:

Cascade’s planner feature enables you to build your operational plan with structure and ease by breaking down the complexity from high-level initiatives to executable outcomes. Define your key elements (focus areas, objectives, projects, and KPIs), and share the plan with your teams. You’ll get full visibility of the plan’s progress in real-time, allowing you to identify gaps, quickly update the plan, and communicate the change with your team with a single click.

cascade planner view example

👉🏻 If you don’t want to start building the plan from scratch, use our free Operational Plan Template pre-filled with examples of focus areas, objectives, projects, and KPIs that you can customize to meet your organization’s needs.

Operational Plan Examples & Templates

Here are five operational plan examples to help you create plans for your teams. You can use one master operational plan or set up an operational plan for each department.

Master Operational Plan Example

operational plan free template

This Operational Plan Template will help you close the gap between business goals and day-to-day operations. You'll be able to set goals and KPIs for your top priorities and work with the operations team to deliver operational excellence and business results.

HR Plan Example

This HR Operational Plan Template can be used to meet staffing requirements, manage human capital and align human resources activities with your strategy. HR managers in any industry can create a clear operational plan that can be constantly monitored, adapted, and improved.

IT Plan Example

If you’re in the IT team, try out this IT Plan Template to get your IT operational planning up and running fast. It comes prefilled with focus areas and KPIs relevant to IT operations; you can easily customize workflows and deliverables to your needs.

Marketing Plan Example

This Marketing Plan Template can help you efficiently understand and plan your digital marketing operations using best practices. Use it to quickly set up priorities and get your social media and marketing teams moving on tasks that will make an impact.

Finance Plan Example

This finance-focused template is ideal if you want to get on top of your finance operations plan. Use it to allocate and distribute financial resources across your organization and get real-time updates through your dashboard and reports—which are great tools to create a visually compelling financial summary that clearly shows your key metrics.

💡Pro Tip: To ensure successful execution, it's crucial to align not just your master operational plan with your overarching strategic plan, but also all the operational department plans.

With the Alignment Maps feature, you’ll be able to visualize how your top-level business strategy breaks down into functional and operational plans. This empowers COOs and CFOs to consolidate their operational plans in one place, creating tighter alignment between the finance and operations teams and improving cross-collaboration to build more resilient operations.

alignment map view in cascade

Want to dig deeper? Use the Relationships feature to see the relationships between connected objectives from your plans and understand how your different department goals contribute to the core business metrics and goals. This view will allow you to clearly map dependencies, blockers, and risks that may lie along your journey.

relationships view in cascade

5 Tips For An Effective Operational Plan And Its Execution

1. don’t underestimate the power of transparent communication.

Regularly communicate the operational plan and progress to all relevant stakeholders to build the necessary buy-in and support. Your employees must know your goals and the roadmap, and team members should understand their role in its execution. This business transparency will help everyone row in the same direction.

“Clarity regarding strategy is one of the key drivers of autonomous execution. If people understand what you’re working toward and have guardrails in place, they can be empowered to make their own decisions and don’t need everything to be ‘run up the chain’ to get approved. This allows you to move fast and at scale.” — Sam Sterling , Chief Strategy Officer, Akqa

2. Keep moving forward and adopt a growth mindset

Keep the momentum going and ensure that the plan is executed effectively. Regular monitoring and reviews can help identify and address any challenges or obstacles that may arise.

Schedule regular reviews and check-ins and provide the necessary support to ensure projects are on track and moving forward.

“I think adopting a growth mindset is super important. This means having the confidence to fail fast, try something new and empower people to do that.” — Ken Miller , General Manager, Azure Intelligent Cloud at Microsoft

With the Team Updates functionality, every team member can post updates on key measures, actions, and objectives. This will give you real-time visibility into performance and help you identify possible risks before it’s too late—without having to schedule extra meetings or nag your team members for updates.

3. Make strategic moves and change fast when you need to

Your operational plan should be flexible, adaptable, and open to adjustments. This means keeping an eye on progress, making corrections if needed, and being willing to adapt the plan to changing circumstances or new opportunities. As McKinsey suggests, you can consider creating a team that will be able to collect data, link analysis with action, and offer quick responses to rapid changes.

“Traditionally, companies would have taken that piece of paper and gone out and said: we're going to execute it, start to finish. Then get into the formulation of the strategy, what we need to hit, and what the end product result will be like. But what we do know is that’s never the case. Along the way, you're going to have bumps, and inevitably, you’ll need to change from that original picture.” — Annie Lucchitti , Marketing Manager, Unilever

4. Empower your operations team and boost efficiency

Effective operational planning requires the engagement and empowerment of your team. Involve stakeholders in the planning process and provide them with the necessary resources. Give them context and an opportunity to set goals and prioritize initiatives. This will help you boost engagement and hold them accountable for progress.

“I think it just works at every single level. Are people allowed to be themselves at work? Personally, are they at peace? Are they happy? Productivity happens when people have the right skills, but also when they are engaged and happy. If one of those fails a bit, productivity will start decreasing.” — Joan Torrents , Global Sourcing Manager, TESCO.

5. If it isn’t measured, it isn’t managed

Don’t underestimate the importance of tracking and measuring progress against the operational plan's goals and objectives. Set milestones, enforce KPIs, and stay on top of progress. Doing this will help you stay on course, empower you to act quickly, and provide valuable insights into what is going wrong.

“Data is a foundational element in the strategy definition phase as well as in the strategy execution phase as it helps create a baseline, identify key priorities, set goals, and measure progress.” — Erica Santoni , Principal, Diversity Equity & Inclusion, Intuit

Use Cascade’s Dashboards to monitor your day-to-day progress on key metrics and critical business and strategic information in real-time.

example of an operations strategy dashboard in cascade

Compile the information in powerful reports and executive summaries in seconds with pre-built templates. Share them with your key stakeholders —internal and external— and invite them to collaborate on your strategy together.

Execute Your Operational Plan With Cascade 🚀

What good is an operational plan if no one executes it? If your organization wants to operate at a higher level, static tools like Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoints, Google Docs, and/or project management tools aren’t the solution.

❌They aren’t designed for adaptive strategy and planning.

❌They often lead to siloing and hinder effective cross-collaboration.

❌They make it challenging to measure progress and slow down decision-making.

With Cascade as your central operating system, you can stop running business operations blindfolded and embrace rapid, coordinated, and data-driven decision-making.

Get your Operational Plan Template to get started with a dynamic plan that will lead to actual outcomes for your business and see faster results from your strategy.

Or take Cascade for a spin! Start today for free or book a 1:1 product tour with Cascade’s in-house strategy expert.

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How to Write an Operations Plan Section of your Business Plan

An Operations Plan Template

Free Operations Plan Template

Ayush Jalan

  • December 14, 2023

Operations Plan Section

Your business plan is an elaborate set of instructions stating how to run your business to achieve objectives and goals. Each section describes a part of the process of reaching your desired goal. Similarly, the operations plan section of your business plan explains the production and supply of your product.

An operations plan is formed to turn plans into actions. It uses the information you gathered from the analysis of the market , customers, and competitors mentioned in the previous parts of your business plan and allows for the execution of relevant strategies to achieve desired results.

Operations Plan Template

Need help writing an operations plan? Get our proven plan template.

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In this article, you will learn how to create an operations plan, its key elements, and an example to help get started drafting one for your business plan.

What Is an Operations Plan?

An operations plan is an in-depth description of your daily business activities centered on achieving the goals and objectives described in the previous sections of your business plan. It outlines the processes, activities, responsibilities of various departments and the timeframe of the execution.

The operations section of your business plan explains in detail the role of a team or department in the collective accomplishment of your goals. In other words, it’s a strategic allocation of physical, financial, and human resources toward reaching milestones within a specific timeframe.

A well-defined operational plan section of your business plan should be able to answer the following questions:

  • Who is responsible for a specific task or department?
  • What are the tasks that need to be completed?
  • Where will these operations take place?
  • When should the tasks be completed? What are the deadlines?
  • How will the tasks be performed? Is there a standard procedure?
  • How much is it going to cost to complete these tasks?

An Operations Plan Answers

How to Write an Operations Plan Section?

Creating an operational plan has two major stages, both addressing different aspects of your company. The first stage includes the work that has been done so far, whereas the second stage describes it in detail.

1. Development Phase

Development Phase

In this stage, you mention what you’ve done to get your business operations up and running. Explain what you aim to change and improvise in the processes. These are the elements your development section will contain:

Production workflow

: Explain all the steps involved in creating your product. This should be a highly informative, elaborate description of the steps. Here, you also mention any inefficiencies that exist and talk about the actions that need to be taken to tackle them.

Supply chains

Quality control, 2. manufacturing phase.

Manufacturing Phase

The development stage acquaints the reader with the functioning of your business, while the manufacturing stage describes the day-to-day operation.

This includes the following elements:

Outline of daily activities:

Tools and equipment:, special requirements:, raw materials:, productions:, feasibility:, why do you need an operations plan.

An operations plan is essentially an instruction manual about the workings of your business. It offers insight into your business operations. It helps investors assess your credibility and understand the structure of your operations and predict your financial requirements.

An operations plan reflects the real-time application of a business plan.

Internally, an operations plan works as a guide, which helps your employees and managers to know their responsibilities. It also helps them understand how to execute their tasks in the desired manner—all whilst keeping account of deadlines.

The operations plan helps identify and cut the variances between planned and actual performance and makes necessary changes. It helps you visualize how your operations affect revenue and gives you an idea of how and when you need to implement new strategies to maximize profits.

Advantages of Preparing an Operations Plan:

Offers clarity:, contains a roadmap:, sets a benchmark:, operations plan essentials.

Now that you have understood the contents of an operations plan and how it should be written, you can continue drafting one for your business plan. But before doing so, take a look at these key components you need to remember while creating your operational plan.

  • Your operations plan is fundamentally a medium for implementing your strategic plan. Hence, it’s crucial to have a solid strategic plan to write an effective operations plan.
  • Focus on setting SMART goals and prioritizing the most important ones. This helps you create a clear and crisp operations plan. Focusing on multiple goals will make your plan complicated and hard to implement.
  • To measure your goals, use leading indicators instead of lagging indicators. Leading indicators is a metric that helps you track your progress and predict when you will reach a goal. On the other hand, lagging indicators can only confirm a trend by taking the past as input but cannot predict the accomplishment of a goal.
  • It is essential to choose the right Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) . It is a good practice to involve all your teams while you decide your KPIs.
  • An operations plan should effectively communicate your goals, metrics, deadlines, and all the processes.

Now you’re all set to write an operations plan section for your business plan . To give you a headstart, we have created an operations plan example.

Operations Plan Example

Operations plan by a book publishing house

Track and Accomplish Goals With an Operations Plan

Drafting the operations plan section of your business plan can be tricky due to the uncertainties of the business environment and the risks associated with it. Depending on variables like your market analysis, product development, supply chain, etc., the complexity of writing an operations plan will vary.

The core purpose here is to put all the pieces together to create a synergy effect and get the engine of your business running. Create an effective operations plan to convey competence to investors and clarity to employees.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What role does the operations plan play in securing funding for a business.

The operations plan defines the clear goals of your business and what actions will be taken on a daily basis to reach them. So, investors need to know where your business stands, and it will prove the viability of the goals helping you in getting funded.

What are the factors affecting the operations plan?

  • The mission of the company
  • Goals to be achieved
  • Finance and resources your company will need

Can an operations plan be created for both start-up and established businesses?

Yes, both a startup and a small business needs an operations plan to get a better idea of the roadmap they want for their business.

About the Author

operational analysis business plan

Ayush is a writer with an academic background in business and marketing. Being a tech-enthusiast, he likes to keep a sharp eye on the latest tech gadgets and innovations. When he's not working, you can find him writing poetry, gaming, playing the ukulele, catching up with friends, and indulging in creative philosophies.

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Operational Planning: How to Make an Operational Plan

June 6, 2022 - 10 min read

Yuvika Iyer

Having a strategic plan is essential to any company, but it's not enough. To ensure that the broader organizational goals are within reach, you need an operational plan for day-to-day work..

In this blog post, we’ll explain what an operational plan is, show you how to create one without feeling overwhelmed, and provide you with an example of an operational plan. We’ll also share our pre-built templates that you can start with to streamline the process.

What is an operational plan?

An operational plan is a document that outlines the key objectives and goals of an organization and how to reach them.

The document includes short-term or long-term goals in a clear way so that team members know their responsibilities and have a clear understanding of what needs to be done.

Crafting an operational plan keeps teams on track while guiding them in making crucial decisions about the company's long-term strategy.

Operational planning vs strategic planning

Though related to each other, these two planning strategies differ in their focus.

Operational planning is the process of the day-to-day work to execute your strategy. It ensures you have all the resources and staff necessary to get work done efficiently.

On the other hand, strategic planning is about looking ahead into the future, identifying the upcoming pipeline, and figuring out how you can prepare for it.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, nearly 7 million Americans are self-employed, with an additional 10 million employed by small businesses. 

If you're working at a large corporation, chances are your company will have some form of strategic goals in place. However, if you're one of the millions who work remotely and independently, your success will rely on operational planning instead.

What are the key elements of an operational plan?

The success of operational planning largely depends on setting realistic expectations for all teams.

Here are the key elements of a functional operational plan:

  • Clearly define the ultimate vision or objective for the plan
  • Review and break down the smaller goals for the operating budget, team, and resources required to put the plan into action
  • Assign budgets, team members, key stakeholders, and resources
  • Monitor progress with consistent reports
  • Refine the operational plan and be ready to pivot if needed

Mobile image promo promo

Ensure all teams understand the parameters of success. Doing this shows how their work contributes to wider company goals and ensures better decision-making for the business operation.

How to create an operational planning process

Think of an operational plan as a key component in a team puzzle. It provides employees with a manual on how to operate the company.

It should be created in tandem with other foundational documents like an organizational mission statement, vision document, or business strategy. Daily, it can help answer questions such as:

  • Who should be working on what?
  • How can we mitigate those risks?
  • How will resources be assigned for different tasks?
  • Are there any internal and external risks facing the business?

To create a successful operational plan, it's important to define goals clearly. Here are several steps that will help you develop a functional operating plan:

Start with the strategic plan

Before defining an operational goal, make sure your strategic objectives are in place and relevant.

Prioritize the most critical activities first

Once these goals have been decided on, prioritize the most critical activities required to achieve these aims.

Stop diluting team efforts and let them focus on the most important goals first. Doing this means everyone works on a smaller set of tasks, instead of spreading themselves thin in multiple areas. It also helps in optimizing available resources.

Use predictive indicators

For a robust operational plan, consider using key performance metrics or indicators that can help you determine project progress and lend visibility to team activities. 

While lagging indicators look backward, leading indicators look to the future. Think of the plan as a car — the rear-view mirror would be a lagging indicator, while the windshield would be the leading indicator.

A leading indicator could be a new product, higher customer satisfaction levels, or new markets. Examples of lagging indicators include the number of people who attended an event or the monthly operating expenses for specific departments. 

Instead of lagging indicators, use leading indicators. Lagging metrics will show that your efforts are falling short only after you execute the operations.

Leading KPIs include predictive measures that allow early identification of problems before they become critical and impact business performance negatively.

Get team buy-in

The key to defining appropriate KPIs is involving the whole team in the process. Meet to discuss the business goals and figure out what measurements are right for the team instead of working independently or outsourcing them.

Ensure consistent communication

Communication is key. By understanding your company's metrics and what they mean, you'll be able to work together more effectively with colleagues to reach common goals.

Operational plan example

Let’s say that a company plans to increase production volume by 50% at the end of a fiscal year.

When the company goal is clear, the team will make a strategic plan with three main components: marketing, sales, and operations.

This can be further broken down into an operational plan, which will assign resources, teams, budgets, and timelines for different departments such as manufacturing, sourcing, accounts, finance, and logistics to achieve the increase in production. Such a plan should include a financial summary and financial projections as well.

Operational plan template

Think about the example above. The goals and parties involved are clear as part of the operational plan. At the same time, to remain on track, the plan requires continuous analysis and reviews. An operational plan template can be extremely helpful to achieve that.

An operational template can be a simple document that is reused for different plans by the same organization. However, it is also possible and extremely helpful to make use of project management software tools to create one.

For instance, Gantt charts can serve exactly that purpose. Using a Gantt chart as an operational plan template, it is possible to create and manage plans, track changes and edit project-related activities in real time. The chart allows clear visibility for timelines, tasks, responsibilities, and team members.

Operational planning advantages and disadvantages

Most businesses utilize an operational plan to keep track of their daily tasks. 

The plan outlines the day-to-day activities for running the organization — teams, managers, and employees are then able to visualize their contribution, which is crucial for reaching company goals.

But every process has two sides. Let’s review the operational planning advantages and disadvantages in more detail.

Operational planning advantages

Clarifies organizational goals.

An operational plan helps managers and department heads define their daily tasks, responsibilities, and activities in detail.

It also illustrates how individual team members contribute to the overall company or department goals. Without a clearly defined plan, managers and employees have no way to measure their daily tasks against predefined outcomes.

Boosts team productivity

Business owners are always looking for ways to increase productivity, which in turn translates into higher profits. One of the best and easiest ways to boost efficiency is through an operational plan.

Employees are more productive when they know their daily objectives and responsibilities. Conversely, if they're unsure of what is required of them, chances are their productivity will suffer. 

An operational plan provides this vital information to employees in each department and across the company as a whole.

Enhance organizational profitability

Having a plan helps in keeping projects and teams on track.

When operations are managed properly, teams are able to consistently increase revenue and develop new products.

Innovation pays off. A BCG survey points out that 60% of companies that are committed to innovation report steadily increasing revenues year after year. With an operational plan in place, teams are able to innovate better and faster.

Improves competitive advantages

Competitive advantages are made up of multiple levels and components.

Coordinating the different parts with an operational plan will make your workflows run more smoothly. This allows you to deliver high-quality deliverables on time, creating an outstanding customer experience and keeping you ahead of the competition.

Operational planning disadvantages

Possibility of human error.

Human error is a common problem in manufacturing that can often occur when transitioning from production to sale.

Operations management teams will need to coordinate effectively with diverse cross-functional teams such as finance, accounting, engineering, and human resources. In doing so, each team will have a clear understanding of the end goals of each department.

Interdependency amongst parts

One of the main disadvantages of implementing an operations planning process is that its success depends on coordination across parts.

Plans end up failing due to one part not working, which can have an adverse impact on the subsequent process. Disruptions in one process can end up affecting the entire process, making the entire operational plan useless.

Using Wrike for operational planning

Boost your organization by ensuring every project starts off on the right foot. Wrike's award-winning project management tools can help you create and execute operational plans with various pre-built templates . 

Establish your plan, monitor progress, and be prepared to pivot if necessary. With Wrike, you can share real-time data, making all milestones crystal clear for your team and helping them stay updated and on track. 

Choose the most suitable template and start a free two-week trial of Wrike today!

Yuvika Iyer

Yuvika Iyer

Yuvika is a freelance writer who specializes in recruitment and résumé writing.

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Work Skills You Need on Your Resume in 2021

Work Skills You Need on Your Resume in 2021

Navigating the highly competitive job market can be brutal. In a recent Jobvite survey, nearly three in four respondents said they believe finding a job has become much harder following the pandemic.  It’s clearer now more than ever how important it is for your resume to stand out. In fact, nearly 24% of hiring managers spend 30 seconds or less reviewing a resume to determine whether a candidate is qualified for a position or not. You quite literally have seconds to catch their attention before your resume ends up in the recycling bin with the rest of the candidates that didn’t make the cut. So, how exactly do you set yourself apart and stand out from the crowd? Highlighting your work skills on your resume is the best place to start. We did some digging and pulled together some work skills examples in various categories to inspire you to revitalize your resume.  Important social work skills for the workplace What are social work skills? Social skills, otherwise known as interpersonal skills, are essential in helping us communicate with one another in the workplace. These skills allow us to build relationships, interact, and communicate with those around us in a meaningful and effective way. This includes verbal and nonverbal cues.  Social work skills are essential in every job. Whether you work on a team, are in a client-facing role, or are an individual contributor reporting to a direct manager, solid social skills will help you succeed in your position.  Let’s take a look at some of the most important social work skills for the workplace:  1. Empathy One of the best ways to interact well with others is to put yourself in their shoes and understand how they feel. Empathetic people can understand how others are feeling and can identify with those feelings in some way.  Having empathy is a vital trait, especially for those who hold leadership positions. Being empathetic isn’t something you can force, and it doesn’t happen overnight if it doesn’t come naturally to you. This skill takes a conscious effort to build and will help you forge and maintain stronger workplace relationships. 2. Active listening Have you ever been in the middle of a conversation with a colleague and felt like they weren’t paying attention to a single word you were saying? Or have you ever been chatting with a coworker and felt like they heard you and gave you their utmost attention? The latter is known as active listening.  Active listening involves giving someone your full, undivided attention and it allows you to build trust and strong relationships with your colleagues and clients. Active listening requires practice, but it is a skill that can be acquired with proper training and effort. 3. Emotional intelligence At a high level, emotional intelligence refers to recognizing and being aware of the emotions of both yourself and other people. Those with high emotional intelligence are known for being self-aware and can practice self-regulation, particularly in stressful and potentially overwhelming situations at work. Emotional intelligence is critical in the workplace because it contributes to strong, long-term relationships and can help you manage and appropriately tailor your reactions.  4. Conflict resolution According to recent research, 65% of workers experienced conflict with another coworker. Conflict is inevitable in the workplace, which means developing a solid set of conflict resolution skills can help you manage and navigate these situations efficiently.  Conflict resolution is the ability to address the root cause of disagreements and devise a solution that works for all parties involved. You can use various techniques to help resolve conflicts, so it’s essential to learn and understand how to address different disputes. 5. Written communication Social skills refer to how we communicate with one another, which means written skills are a must. Some forms of written communication include emails, instant messages, documents, reports, slide decks, and your resume. Using appropriate grammar, proper spelling, and following formatting guidelines will allow you to communicate effectively with others. 6. Nonverbal communication When it comes to communication, it’s easy to think about what we are saying, but we don’t always focus on how we are saying it. Nonverbal skills can dramatically impact the way your message is received.  Your body language, eye contact, facial expressions, and tone can completely change the message you are trying to deliver to your coworkers. It’s important to be aware of these subtle cues so that you can make sure your message isn’t misconstrued or misinterpreted.  Work-related skills for virtual environments You might not be working with your colleagues side-by-side in the same office. In addition to the skills we discussed above, remote work requires some different skills and disciplines.  Below are a few competencies that you’ll definitely want to have when collaborating in virtual work environments:  Self-motivation: There’s a big difference between in-person office environments and virtual workplace settings. At the office, your manager can simply stop by your desk or quickly check in to see how things are going. While your supervisor can technically do the same via email or instant message, you ultimately don’t have anyone looking over your shoulder 24/7 at your home office (unless you have pets, children, or spouses nearby!). That means self-motivation and knowing how to hold yourself accountable to get your work done are vital to helping you thrive in a virtual role. Adaptability: Adaptability is beneficial in any setting, but it’s a particularly beneficial skill in virtual environments. Whether you’re working with a distributed team and constantly trying to navigate time zones or your presentation gets interrupted due to an unreliable internet connection, adaptability is an important skill to help you navigate the unexpected and ever-changing conditions you may find yourself running up against. Digital and technical knowledge: In virtual environments, employees work remotely and generally rely on several tools to collaborate and tackle their to-do lists. Between project management software, instant messaging, video conferencing, document sharing, and email, there are many different technologies to navigate daily. If you’re working in a virtual environment, it’s essential to feel comfortable using these platforms if you want to keep up with the pace of your work. It’s also worth mentioning that, while you still may be able to reach the IT help desk, you may not receive assistance as quickly as you would in an office setting. That means you might have to do some troubleshooting and problem-solving on your own. What teamwork skills are important for 2021? Teamwork makes the dream work, right?  Teamwork skills are a subset of skills that enable us to work well with groups of people (meaning, our teams) to achieve a shared goal or outcome. In 2021 and beyond, as we see a shift toward hybrid work models, honing in on your teamwork skills can help you land your dream gig. Here are the teamwork skills that are important to develop for 2021 and beyond: 1. Reliability Being reliable is arguably the most crucial teamwork skill. Those who are reliable can be depended on and trusted to do their part time and time again. They show a certain level of commitment to their work and colleagues, meet deadlines (or even get work in early), and follow through on any action or task they say they will do.  You want to be a reliable teammate so your colleagues and your employer will have faith in you. And the more trustworthy you are, the more responsibility you will be trusted with over time, which may boost your career growth in the long run. It’s even more important to showcase your reliability in a virtual workplace environment through clear and frequent communication. 2. Accountability Accountability goes hand-in-hand with reliability. But beyond being reliable, accountability is all about taking responsibility for one’s work — even when that includes mistakes or failures.  There’s no room for the blame game or pointing fingers on teams that work well with one another, which means you have to hold yourself accountable and take fault when necessary. Your teammates will likely think more of you if you’re willing to admit you’re wrong, as opposed to constantly shifting blame or pointing fingers when issues arise. 3. Respectfulness A little bit of respect goes a long way, especially at work. According to Indeed, respectfulness in the workplace reduces stress, increases productivity and collaboration, improves employee satisfaction, and creates a fair environment. You need to respect your team members, manager, and clients to do your best work together.  Acts of respect include acknowledging others and calling them by name, encouraging and exchanging opinions and ideas without judgment, giving credit where it’s due, and listening to and understanding your teammates. 4. Collaboration There is no successful teamwork without collaboration. Collaboration is working together with one or more people on a project or toward a shared goal.  When employees can work together and collaborate successfully, they can share ideas and come up with practical solutions to complex problems. Brainstorming, open discussions, workshops, and knowledge sharing sessions are all examples of collaboration that lead to great teamwork.  5. Persuasion Have you ever worked with a teammate who insists on working their way, even if the rest of the team agrees to pursue another route? How do you keep making progress on your project or goal if one team member isn’t on the same page? That’s where your skills of persuasion come in handy.  Sometimes you might have to persuade a team member to see another point of view and change their mind to benefit the rest of the group. But persuasive skills are more than just getting someone to change their mind and see your perspective — it’s about doing so in an empathetic and respectful way in order to maintain a healthy working relationship. 6. Constructive feedback for improvement You should be able to offer your teammate constructive feedback to help them improve and vice versa. Exchanging feedback not only benefits individuals and the team as a whole but also adds value to your organization by creating an opportunity for constant growth.  Giving feedback requires offering suggestions for improvement in a positive way, while receiving feedback requires listening with an open mind and a willingness to change.  Work skills that work on any resume Sure, there are specialized skills for different roles and industries. Engineers add their programming skills to their resume, project managers add project management certifications and relevant skills, and HR professionals add the performance management and HRIS systems they’ve previously used. While there are specialized skills you’ll want to emphasize on your resume based on your industry and role (and trust us, those are important), there are also some work skills that are relevant on any resume. These include:  Creativity: Creativity is an essential component of innovation and complex problem-solving. In its most basic form, creativity requires thinking about a problem or task differently and using your imagination to form and test new ideas. Problem-solving: All employers value problem-solving abilities because they want to hire people who can break down problems and develop effective solutions. To showcase your problem-solving skills, you might possess a range of qualities such as analysis, evaluation, decision-making, and communication. Time management: No employer wants to hire someone who doesn’t make good use of their time and will have a hard time getting their work done. Your future employer wants to know that you’ll be able to meet deadlines, effectively use your workday to get tasks accomplished, and handle your workload without a lot of babysitting. Examples of specific time management responsibilities include goal setting, prioritizing tasks, meeting deadlines, and minimizing or eliminating distractions for optimal focus. Leadership: Showcasing how you’ve demonstrated leadership in your previous roles can demonstrate to your future potential employer what type of employee you are. Being an effective leader can increase your advancement opportunities within your organization. Use specific examples of successful leadership on your resume for the most significant impact.  So how do you showcase these skills on your resume? Now that you know what work skills for resumes employers want to see, you’re bound to have this question: Where do you put them? Keep in mind that the goal of your resume is to prove that you’re a qualified, no-brainer fit for the role you’re applying for. That’s why your smartest move is to tailor your resume to a specific job. Take a fine-tooth comb to the job description and identify words or skills that are repeated or emphasized. Those are traits that you should be incorporating in your own resume (provided you honestly possess them, of course). The most important skills should go as close to the top of your document as possible, because remember, hiring managers are only skimming for a few seconds. As for where you can work these skills in, you have a number of options, including:  Your professional summary at the top of your document A dedicated key skills section where you can bullet out your most relevant abilities Your past positions, where you can demonstrate how you applied your skills in previous jobs Finally, remember that many of your work skills and social work skills — from communication and time management to problem-solving and active listening — will be on display throughout the hiring process and your interviews.  So, it should go without saying, but show up on time, respond to messages promptly and respectfully, and treat everybody respectfully. After all, when it comes to your work skills, employers want you to show — and not just tell.

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What Is Business Operations Analysis?

Malcolm Tatum

Business operations analysis (BOA) is a strategy designed to determine if the general operational structure of a business is in harmony with the business plan adopted and supported by the company. The idea behind this type of analysis is to determine if the operation is actually organized in a manner that complies with terms of the business plan and is helping the company achieve its goals. In order to manage this process, the analysis will look at each layer or level in the company structure, compare the function and organization of those layers with the content of the business plan, and confirm or deny that those functions are actually relevant to the plan. It is not unusual for the analysis to also include suggestions on how to change the operation to more closely comply with the business plan.

Conducting a business operations analysis requires an in-depth look at the way the company is organized and how goods and services are produced. In the broadest possible application, the analysis will address every aspect of the operation, beginning with the ordering of production materials, all the way through the management and supervision functions, and on to the layout and efficiency of the production floor. Even aspects such as order processing, shipment and delivery, and the accounting process on the back end may be open to scrutiny. It is also possible to conduct a limited business operations analysis that focuses on specific areas of the operation, with an eye toward determining how well those particular functions comply with the business plan.

Conducting a business operations analysis requires an in-depth look at the way the company is organized and how goods and services are produced.

There are several benefits to conducting a business operations analysis from time to time. Looking closely as various aspects of the operation can often yield ideas on how to improve the overall structure of the business by eliminating positions that are not necessary, creating new positions when there is a need, and even identifying minor changes in the organization of the production floor in order to increase efficiency and productivity. Since many businesses must adapt to changing market conditions over the years, conducting this type of analysis at least on a yearly basis can often provide food for thought on how to make changes now in anticipation of what is projected to happen in the marketplace in the near future.

Companies can choose to conduct a business operations analysis in-house, hiring a business analyst who monitors and evaluates operations on an ongoing basis and provides a comprehensive analysis on a regular basis. An alternative is to engage the services of an independent analyst, who can approach the task outside the culture of the company. With either option, taking the time to engage in this type of analysis can help keep the company on course and ultimately strengthen the operation, increasing the chances of the company remaining in business over the long term.

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including SmartCapitalMind, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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  • What Is Business Development Analysis?
  • What Are Business Operations?
  • What is Operation Analysis?

Discussion Comments

Nice article on operational analysis. It's a very important concept in today's fiercely competitive business environment. Businesses today need real time information derived from millions of operational transactions happening at any moment to make critical business decisions. I believe every business need the capabilities to analyze the operations in real time.

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Conducting a business operations analysis requires an in-depth look at the way the company is organized and how goods and services are produced.

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How To Write the Operations Plan Section of the Business Plan

Susan Ward wrote about small businesses for The Balance for 18 years. She has run an IT consulting firm and designed and presented courses on how to promote small businesses.

operational analysis business plan

Stage of Development Section

Production process section, the bottom line, frequently asked questions (faqs).

The operations plan is the section of your business plan that gives an overview of your workflow, supply chains, and similar aspects of your business. Any key details of how your business physically produces goods or services will be included in this section.

You need an operations plan to help others understand how you'll deliver on your promise to turn a profit. Keep reading to learn what to include in your operations plan.

Key Takeaways

  • The operations plan section should include general operational details that help investors understand the physical details of your vision.
  • Details in the operations plan include information about any physical plants, equipment, assets, and more.
  • The operations plan can also serve as a checklist for startups; it includes a list of everything that must be done to start turning a profit.

In your business plan , the operations plan section describes the physical necessities of your business's operation, such as your physical location, facilities, and equipment. Depending on what kind of business you'll be operating, it may also include information about inventory requirements, suppliers, and a description of the manufacturing process.

Keeping focused on the bottom line will help you organize this part of the business plan.

Think of the operating plan as an outline of the capital and expense requirements your business will need to operate from day to day.

You need to do two things for the reader of your business plan in the operations section: show what you've done so far to get your business off the ground and demonstrate that you understand the manufacturing or delivery process of producing your product or service.

When you're writing this section of the operations plan, start by explaining what you've done to date to get the business operational, then follow up with an explanation of what still needs to be done. The following should be included:

Production Workflow

A high-level, step-by-step description of how your product or service will be made, identifying the problems that may occur in the production process. Follow this with a subsection titled "Risks," which outlines the potential problems that may interfere with the production process and what you're going to do to negate these risks. If any part of the production process can expose employees to hazards, describe how employees will be trained in dealing with safety issues. If hazardous materials will be used, describe how these will be safely stored, handled, and disposed.

Industry Association Memberships

Show your awareness of your industry's local, regional, or national standards and regulations by telling which industry organizations you are already a member of and which ones you plan to join. This is also an opportunity to outline what steps you've taken to comply with the laws and regulations that apply to your industry. 

Supply Chains

An explanation of who your suppliers are and their prices, terms, and conditions. Describe what alternative arrangements you have made or will make if these suppliers let you down.

Quality Control

An explanation of the quality control measures that you've set up or are going to establish. For example, if you intend to pursue some form of quality control certification such as ISO 9000, describe how you will accomplish this.

While you can think of the stage of the development part of the operations plan as an overview, the production process section lays out the details of your business's day-to-day operations. Remember, your goal for writing this business plan section is to demonstrate your understanding of your product or service's manufacturing or delivery process.

When writing this section, you can use the headings below as subheadings and then provide the details in paragraph format. Leave out any topic that does not apply to your particular business.

Do an outline of your business's day-to-day operations, including your hours of operation and the days the business will be open. If the business is seasonal, be sure to say so.

The Physical Plant

Describe the type, site, and location of premises for your business. If applicable, include drawings of the building, copies of lease agreements, and recent real estate appraisals. You need to show how much the land or buildings required for your business operations are worth and tell why they're important to your proposed business.

The same goes for equipment. Besides describing the equipment necessary and how much of it you need, you also need to include its worth and cost and explain any financing arrangements.

Make a list of your assets , such as land, buildings, inventory, furniture, equipment, and vehicles. Include legal descriptions and the worth of each asset.

Special Requirements

If your business has any special requirements, such as water or power needs, ventilation, drainage, etc., provide the details in your operating plan, as well as what you've done to secure the necessary permissions.

State where you're going to get the materials you need to produce your product or service and explain what terms you've negotiated with suppliers.

Explain how long it takes to produce a unit and when you'll be able to start producing your product or service. Include factors that may affect the time frame of production and describe how you'll deal with potential challenges such as rush orders.

Explain how you'll keep  track of inventory .

Feasibility

Describe any product testing, price testing, or prototype testing that you've done on your product or service.

Give details of product cost estimates.

Once you've worked through this business plan section, you'll not only have a detailed operations plan to show your readers, but you'll also have a convenient list of what needs to be done next to make your business a reality. Writing this document gives you a chance to crystalize your business ideas into a clear checklist that you can reference. As you check items off the list, use it to explain your vision to investors, partners, and others within your organization.

What is an operations plan?

An operations plan is one section of a company's business plan. This section conveys the physical requirements for your business's operations, including supply chains, workflow , and quality control processes.

What is the main difference between the operations plan and the financial plan?

The operations plan and financial plan tackle similar issues, in that they seek to explain how the business will turn a profit. The operations plan approaches this issue from a physical perspective, such as property, routes, and locations. The financial plan explains how revenue and expenses will ultimately lead to the business's success.

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Free Operational Plan Templates

By Andy Marker | July 11, 2022

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We’ve rounded up the most useful collection of free organizational plan templates to record and track the goals and resource needs of your business or organization. 

Included on this page, you’ll find a basic operational plan template , a nonprofit operational plan template , a three-year operational plan template , and a five-year operational plan template .

Basic Operational Plan Template

Basic Operational Plan Template

Download Basic Operational Plan Template Microsoft Excel | Microsoft Word  

Use this basic, customizable operational plan template to create a detailed roadmap for your organization. With this template, the path to reaching your goals will be clear to all stakeholders, and team members will know exactly what tasks need to be completed and when. 

Having efficient and clear processes in place is critical for reaching your organizational goals. Learn more in this guide to operational excellence principles .

Nonprofit Operational Plan Template

Nonprofit Operational Plan Template

Download Nonprofit Operational Plan Template Microsoft Excel | Microsoft Word

Nonprofit organizations often have complex, long-term strategic goals. This operational plan template for nonprofits will help you develop a clear set of tasks and accountability measures to keep everyone apprised of next steps. Use this template to identify your goals, establish a clear plan, set and track your budgets, assign stakeholders, and implement reporting protocols. 

This guide to operations strategies will give you an overview of the steps necessary to develop a comprehensive plan for your organization.

Three-Year Operational Plan Template

3-Year Operational Plan Template

Download Three-Year Operational Plan Template — Microsoft Excel  

Your operational plan might include long-term tasks and deliverables. Use this operational plan template to chart your organization’s needs over a three-year period. Enter specific goals, delivery dates, responsibilities, and necessary resources on this customizable template to track progress and ensure that you are on your way to reaching your strategic goals. 

Your business or organization might also benefit from an operational audit, which is a chance to conduct a deep dive into strategic planning and to increase accountability. See this comprehensive guide to operational audits to learn more and gain access to additional resources and templates.

Five-Year Operational Plan Template

5-Year Operational Plan Template

Download Five-Year Operational Plan Template — Microsoft Excel  

Long-term planning is a key element of any organization. This five-year operational plan template gives you a detailed look at the steps and resources needed to reach your goals. Track deliverables, responsible parties, and resources in this customizable template. This template also helps team members visualize long-term needs and stay on top of their responsibilities and timelines. 

See this guide to operations management for more information, tips, tricks, and future trends in managing your organizational resources.

What Is an Operational Plan Template?

An operational plan template is a form that captures key details about a work plan. An operational plan includes specific actions and resources needed to reach certain milestones. It is more detailed and specific than a strategic or business plan.

Operational plans help project managers identify resource needs, maintain accountability, implement a reporting process, and maintain a budget.

Operational plan templates templates vary by type but typically include the following:

  • Delivery Date: Enter target completion dates for each task in your plan.
  • Evidence of Success: Write a short statement explaining how you will know when the goal has been achieved. 
  • Executive Summary: Describe the plan in a short paragraph that specifies how it differs from or relates to other plans in your organization.
  • Goals: Enter specific goals or milestones of your larger strategy or business plan.
  • Responsible Parties: Include the names of the stakeholders who are responsible for each task.
  • Resources Needed: Enter all resources necessary to complete each task, including on-hand resources and those you will need to procure.
  • Risks: Note any risks you may encounter.
  • Title: Enter the plan name or title.

Stay on Top of Operational Goals and Resource Needs with Smartsheet

Empower your people to go above and beyond with a flexible platform designed to match the needs of your team — and adapt as those needs change. 

The Smartsheet platform makes it easy to plan, capture, manage, and report on work from anywhere, helping your team be more effective and get more done. Report on key metrics and get real-time visibility into work as it happens with roll-up reports, dashboards, and automated workflows built to keep your team connected and informed. 

When teams have clarity into the work getting done, there’s no telling how much more they can accomplish in the same amount of time.  Try Smartsheet for free, today.

Discover why over 90% of Fortune 100 companies trust Smartsheet to get work done.

  • 11.4 The Business Plan
  • Introduction
  • 1.1 Entrepreneurship Today
  • 1.2 Entrepreneurial Vision and Goals
  • 1.3 The Entrepreneurial Mindset
  • Review Questions
  • Discussion Questions
  • Case Questions
  • Suggested Resources
  • 2.1 Overview of the Entrepreneurial Journey
  • 2.2 The Process of Becoming an Entrepreneur
  • 2.3 Entrepreneurial Pathways
  • 2.4 Frameworks to Inform Your Entrepreneurial Path
  • 3.1 Ethical and Legal Issues in Entrepreneurship
  • 3.2 Corporate Social Responsibility and Social Entrepreneurship
  • 3.3 Developing a Workplace Culture of Ethical Excellence and Accountability
  • 4.1 Tools for Creativity and Innovation
  • 4.2 Creativity, Innovation, and Invention: How They Differ
  • 4.3 Developing Ideas, Innovations, and Inventions
  • 5.1 Entrepreneurial Opportunity
  • 5.2 Researching Potential Business Opportunities
  • 5.3 Competitive Analysis
  • 6.1 Problem Solving to Find Entrepreneurial Solutions
  • 6.2 Creative Problem-Solving Process
  • 6.3 Design Thinking
  • 6.4 Lean Processes
  • 7.1 Clarifying Your Vision, Mission, and Goals
  • 7.2 Sharing Your Entrepreneurial Story
  • 7.3 Developing Pitches for Various Audiences and Goals
  • 7.4 Protecting Your Idea and Polishing the Pitch through Feedback
  • 7.5 Reality Check: Contests and Competitions
  • 8.1 Entrepreneurial Marketing and the Marketing Mix
  • 8.2 Market Research, Market Opportunity Recognition, and Target Market
  • 8.3 Marketing Techniques and Tools for Entrepreneurs
  • 8.4 Entrepreneurial Branding
  • 8.5 Marketing Strategy and the Marketing Plan
  • 8.6 Sales and Customer Service
  • 9.1 Overview of Entrepreneurial Finance and Accounting Strategies
  • 9.2 Special Funding Strategies
  • 9.3 Accounting Basics for Entrepreneurs
  • 9.4 Developing Startup Financial Statements and Projections
  • 10.1 Launching the Imperfect Business: Lean Startup
  • 10.2 Why Early Failure Can Lead to Success Later
  • 10.3 The Challenging Truth about Business Ownership
  • 10.4 Managing, Following, and Adjusting the Initial Plan
  • 10.5 Growth: Signs, Pains, and Cautions
  • 11.1 Avoiding the “Field of Dreams” Approach
  • 11.2 Designing the Business Model
  • 11.3 Conducting a Feasibility Analysis
  • 12.1 Building and Connecting to Networks
  • 12.2 Building the Entrepreneurial Dream Team
  • 12.3 Designing a Startup Operational Plan
  • 13.1 Business Structures: Overview of Legal and Tax Considerations
  • 13.2 Corporations
  • 13.3 Partnerships and Joint Ventures
  • 13.4 Limited Liability Companies
  • 13.5 Sole Proprietorships
  • 13.6 Additional Considerations: Capital Acquisition, Business Domicile, and Technology
  • 13.7 Mitigating and Managing Risks
  • 14.1 Types of Resources
  • 14.2 Using the PEST Framework to Assess Resource Needs
  • 14.3 Managing Resources over the Venture Life Cycle
  • 15.1 Launching Your Venture
  • 15.2 Making Difficult Business Decisions in Response to Challenges
  • 15.3 Seeking Help or Support
  • 15.4 Now What? Serving as a Mentor, Consultant, or Champion
  • 15.5 Reflections: Documenting the Journey
  • A | Suggested Resources

Learning Objectives

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Describe the different purposes of a business plan
  • Describe and develop the components of a brief business plan
  • Describe and develop the components of a full business plan

Unlike the brief or lean formats introduced so far, the business plan is a formal document used for the long-range planning of a company’s operation. It typically includes background information, financial information, and a summary of the business. Investors nearly always request a formal business plan because it is an integral part of their evaluation of whether to invest in a company. Although nothing in business is permanent, a business plan typically has components that are more “set in stone” than a business model canvas , which is more commonly used as a first step in the planning process and throughout the early stages of a nascent business. A business plan is likely to describe the business and industry, market strategies, sales potential, and competitive analysis, as well as the company’s long-term goals and objectives. An in-depth formal business plan would follow at later stages after various iterations to business model canvases. The business plan usually projects financial data over a three-year period and is typically required by banks or other investors to secure funding. The business plan is a roadmap for the company to follow over multiple years.

Some entrepreneurs prefer to use the canvas process instead of the business plan, whereas others use a shorter version of the business plan, submitting it to investors after several iterations. There are also entrepreneurs who use the business plan earlier in the entrepreneurial process, either preceding or concurrently with a canvas. For instance, Chris Guillebeau has a one-page business plan template in his book The $100 Startup . 48 His version is basically an extension of a napkin sketch without the detail of a full business plan. As you progress, you can also consider a brief business plan (about two pages)—if you want to support a rapid business launch—and/or a standard business plan.

As with many aspects of entrepreneurship, there are no clear hard and fast rules to achieving entrepreneurial success. You may encounter different people who want different things (canvas, summary, full business plan), and you also have flexibility in following whatever tool works best for you. Like the canvas, the various versions of the business plan are tools that will aid you in your entrepreneurial endeavor.

Business Plan Overview

Most business plans have several distinct sections ( Figure 11.16 ). The business plan can range from a few pages to twenty-five pages or more, depending on the purpose and the intended audience. For our discussion, we’ll describe a brief business plan and a standard business plan. If you are able to successfully design a business model canvas, then you will have the structure for developing a clear business plan that you can submit for financial consideration.

Both types of business plans aim at providing a picture and roadmap to follow from conception to creation. If you opt for the brief business plan, you will focus primarily on articulating a big-picture overview of your business concept.

The full business plan is aimed at executing the vision concept, dealing with the proverbial devil in the details. Developing a full business plan will assist those of you who need a more detailed and structured roadmap, or those of you with little to no background in business. The business planning process includes the business model, a feasibility analysis, and a full business plan, which we will discuss later in this section. Next, we explore how a business plan can meet several different needs.

Purposes of a Business Plan

A business plan can serve many different purposes—some internal, others external. As we discussed previously, you can use a business plan as an internal early planning device, an extension of a napkin sketch, and as a follow-up to one of the canvas tools. A business plan can be an organizational roadmap , that is, an internal planning tool and working plan that you can apply to your business in order to reach your desired goals over the course of several years. The business plan should be written by the owners of the venture, since it forces a firsthand examination of the business operations and allows them to focus on areas that need improvement.

Refer to the business venture throughout the document. Generally speaking, a business plan should not be written in the first person.

A major external purpose for the business plan is as an investment tool that outlines financial projections, becoming a document designed to attract investors. In many instances, a business plan can complement a formal investor’s pitch. In this context, the business plan is a presentation plan, intended for an outside audience that may or may not be familiar with your industry, your business, and your competitors.

You can also use your business plan as a contingency plan by outlining some “what-if” scenarios and exploring how you might respond if these scenarios unfold. Pretty Young Professional launched in November 2010 as an online resource to guide an emerging generation of female leaders. The site focused on recent female college graduates and current students searching for professional roles and those in their first professional roles. It was founded by four friends who were coworkers at the global consultancy firm McKinsey. But after positions and equity were decided among them, fundamental differences of opinion about the direction of the business emerged between two factions, according to the cofounder and former CEO Kathryn Minshew . “I think, naively, we assumed that if we kicked the can down the road on some of those things, we’d be able to sort them out,” Minshew said. Minshew went on to found a different professional site, The Muse , and took much of the editorial team of Pretty Young Professional with her. 49 Whereas greater planning potentially could have prevented the early demise of Pretty Young Professional, a change in planning led to overnight success for Joshua Esnard and The Cut Buddy team. Esnard invented and patented the plastic hair template that he was selling online out of his Fort Lauderdale garage while working a full-time job at Broward College and running a side business. Esnard had hundreds of boxes of Cut Buddies sitting in his home when he changed his marketing plan to enlist companies specializing in making videos go viral. It worked so well that a promotional video for the product garnered 8 million views in hours. The Cut Buddy sold over 4,000 products in a few hours when Esnard only had hundreds remaining. Demand greatly exceeded his supply, so Esnard had to scramble to increase manufacturing and offered customers two-for-one deals to make up for delays. This led to selling 55,000 units, generating $700,000 in sales in 2017. 50 After appearing on Shark Tank and landing a deal with Daymond John that gave the “shark” a 20-percent equity stake in return for $300,000, The Cut Buddy has added new distribution channels to include retail sales along with online commerce. Changing one aspect of a business plan—the marketing plan—yielded success for The Cut Buddy.

Link to Learning

Watch this video of Cut Buddy’s founder, Joshua Esnard, telling his company’s story to learn more.

If you opt for the brief business plan, you will focus primarily on articulating a big-picture overview of your business concept. This version is used to interest potential investors, employees, and other stakeholders, and will include a financial summary “box,” but it must have a disclaimer, and the founder/entrepreneur may need to have the people who receive it sign a nondisclosure agreement (NDA) . The full business plan is aimed at executing the vision concept, providing supporting details, and would be required by financial institutions and others as they formally become stakeholders in the venture. Both are aimed at providing a picture and roadmap to go from conception to creation.

Types of Business Plans

The brief business plan is similar to an extended executive summary from the full business plan. This concise document provides a broad overview of your entrepreneurial concept, your team members, how and why you will execute on your plans, and why you are the ones to do so. You can think of a brief business plan as a scene setter or—since we began this chapter with a film reference—as a trailer to the full movie. The brief business plan is the commercial equivalent to a trailer for Field of Dreams , whereas the full plan is the full-length movie equivalent.

Brief Business Plan or Executive Summary

As the name implies, the brief business plan or executive summary summarizes key elements of the entire business plan, such as the business concept, financial features, and current business position. The executive summary version of the business plan is your opportunity to broadly articulate the overall concept and vision of the company for yourself, for prospective investors, and for current and future employees.

A typical executive summary is generally no longer than a page, but because the brief business plan is essentially an extended executive summary, the executive summary section is vital. This is the “ask” to an investor. You should begin by clearly stating what you are asking for in the summary.

In the business concept phase, you’ll describe the business, its product, and its markets. Describe the customer segment it serves and why your company will hold a competitive advantage. This section may align roughly with the customer segments and value-proposition segments of a canvas.

Next, highlight the important financial features, including sales, profits, cash flows, and return on investment. Like the financial portion of a feasibility analysis, the financial analysis component of a business plan may typically include items like a twelve-month profit and loss projection, a three- or four-year profit and loss projection, a cash-flow projection, a projected balance sheet, and a breakeven calculation. You can explore a feasibility study and financial projections in more depth in the formal business plan. Here, you want to focus on the big picture of your numbers and what they mean.

The current business position section can furnish relevant information about you and your team members and the company at large. This is your opportunity to tell the story of how you formed the company, to describe its legal status (form of operation), and to list the principal players. In one part of the extended executive summary, you can cover your reasons for starting the business: Here is an opportunity to clearly define the needs you think you can meet and perhaps get into the pains and gains of customers. You also can provide a summary of the overall strategic direction in which you intend to take the company. Describe the company’s mission, vision, goals and objectives, overall business model, and value proposition.

Rice University’s Student Business Plan Competition, one of the largest and overall best-regarded graduate school business-plan competitions (see Telling Your Entrepreneurial Story and Pitching the Idea ), requires an executive summary of up to five pages to apply. 51 , 52 Its suggested sections are shown in Table 11.2 .

Are You Ready?

Create a brief business plan.

Fill out a canvas of your choosing for a well-known startup: Uber, Netflix, Dropbox, Etsy, Airbnb, Bird/Lime, Warby Parker, or any of the companies featured throughout this chapter or one of your choice. Then create a brief business plan for that business. See if you can find a version of the company’s actual executive summary, business plan, or canvas. Compare and contrast your vision with what the company has articulated.

  • These companies are well established but is there a component of what you charted that you would advise the company to change to ensure future viability?
  • Map out a contingency plan for a “what-if” scenario if one key aspect of the company or the environment it operates in were drastically is altered?

Full Business Plan

Even full business plans can vary in length, scale, and scope. Rice University sets a ten-page cap on business plans submitted for the full competition. The IndUS Entrepreneurs , one of the largest global networks of entrepreneurs, also holds business plan competitions for students through its Tie Young Entrepreneurs program. In contrast, business plans submitted for that competition can usually be up to twenty-five pages. These are just two examples. Some components may differ slightly; common elements are typically found in a formal business plan outline. The next section will provide sample components of a full business plan for a fictional business.

Executive Summary

The executive summary should provide an overview of your business with key points and issues. Because the summary is intended to summarize the entire document, it is most helpful to write this section last, even though it comes first in sequence. The writing in this section should be especially concise. Readers should be able to understand your needs and capabilities at first glance. The section should tell the reader what you want and your “ask” should be explicitly stated in the summary.

Describe your business, its product or service, and the intended customers. Explain what will be sold, who it will be sold to, and what competitive advantages the business has. Table 11.3 shows a sample executive summary for the fictional company La Vida Lola.

Business Description

This section describes the industry, your product, and the business and success factors. It should provide a current outlook as well as future trends and developments. You also should address your company’s mission, vision, goals, and objectives. Summarize your overall strategic direction, your reasons for starting the business, a description of your products and services, your business model, and your company’s value proposition. Consider including the Standard Industrial Classification/North American Industry Classification System (SIC/NAICS) code to specify the industry and insure correct identification. The industry extends beyond where the business is located and operates, and should include national and global dynamics. Table 11.4 shows a sample business description for La Vida Lola.

Industry Analysis and Market Strategies

Here you should define your market in terms of size, structure, growth prospects, trends, and sales potential. You’ll want to include your TAM and forecast the SAM . (Both these terms are discussed in Conducting a Feasibility Analysis .) This is a place to address market segmentation strategies by geography, customer attributes, or product orientation. Describe your positioning relative to your competitors’ in terms of pricing, distribution, promotion plan, and sales potential. Table 11.5 shows an example industry analysis and market strategy for La Vida Lola.

Competitive Analysis

The competitive analysis is a statement of the business strategy as it relates to the competition. You want to be able to identify who are your major competitors and assess what are their market shares, markets served, strategies employed, and expected response to entry? You likely want to conduct a classic SWOT analysis (Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats) and complete a competitive-strength grid or competitive matrix. Outline your company’s competitive strengths relative to those of the competition in regard to product, distribution, pricing, promotion, and advertising. What are your company’s competitive advantages and their likely impacts on its success? The key is to construct it properly for the relevant features/benefits (by weight, according to customers) and how the startup compares to incumbents. The competitive matrix should show clearly how and why the startup has a clear (if not currently measurable) competitive advantage. Some common features in the example include price, benefits, quality, type of features, locations, and distribution/sales. Sample templates are shown in Figure 11.17 and Figure 11.18 . A competitive analysis helps you create a marketing strategy that will identify assets or skills that your competitors are lacking so you can plan to fill those gaps, giving you a distinct competitive advantage. When creating a competitor analysis, it is important to focus on the key features and elements that matter to customers, rather than focusing too heavily on the entrepreneur’s idea and desires.

Operations and Management Plan

In this section, outline how you will manage your company. Describe its organizational structure. Here you can address the form of ownership and, if warranted, include an organizational chart/structure. Highlight the backgrounds, experiences, qualifications, areas of expertise, and roles of members of the management team. This is also the place to mention any other stakeholders, such as a board of directors or advisory board(s), and their relevant relationship to the founder, experience and value to help make the venture successful, and professional service firms providing management support, such as accounting services and legal counsel.

Table 11.6 shows a sample operations and management plan for La Vida Lola.

Marketing Plan

Here you should outline and describe an effective overall marketing strategy for your venture, providing details regarding pricing, promotion, advertising, distribution, media usage, public relations, and a digital presence. Fully describe your sales management plan and the composition of your sales force, along with a comprehensive and detailed budget for the marketing plan. Table 11.7 shows a sample marketing plan for La Vida Lola.

Financial Plan

A financial plan seeks to forecast revenue and expenses; project a financial narrative; and estimate project costs, valuations, and cash flow projections. This section should present an accurate, realistic, and achievable financial plan for your venture (see Entrepreneurial Finance and Accounting for detailed discussions about conducting these projections). Include sales forecasts and income projections, pro forma financial statements ( Building the Entrepreneurial Dream Team , a breakeven analysis, and a capital budget. Identify your possible sources of financing (discussed in Conducting a Feasibility Analysis ). Figure 11.19 shows a template of cash-flow needs for La Vida Lola.

Entrepreneur In Action

Laughing man coffee.

Hugh Jackman ( Figure 11.20 ) may best be known for portraying a comic-book superhero who used his mutant abilities to protect the world from villains. But the Wolverine actor is also working to make the planet a better place for real, not through adamantium claws but through social entrepreneurship.

A love of java jolted Jackman into action in 2009, when he traveled to Ethiopia with a Christian humanitarian group to shoot a documentary about the impact of fair-trade certification on coffee growers there. He decided to launch a business and follow in the footsteps of the late Paul Newman, another famous actor turned philanthropist via food ventures.

Jackman launched Laughing Man Coffee two years later; he sold the line to Keurig in 2015. One Laughing Man Coffee café in New York continues to operate independently, investing its proceeds into charitable programs that support better housing, health, and educational initiatives within fair-trade farming communities. 55 Although the New York location is the only café, the coffee brand is still distributed, with Keurig donating an undisclosed portion of Laughing Man proceeds to those causes (whereas Jackman donates all his profits). The company initially donated its profits to World Vision, the Christian humanitarian group Jackman accompanied in 2009. In 2017, it created the Laughing Man Foundation to be more active with its money management and distribution.

  • You be the entrepreneur. If you were Jackman, would you have sold the company to Keurig? Why or why not?
  • Would you have started the Laughing Man Foundation?
  • What else can Jackman do to aid fair-trade practices for coffee growers?

What Can You Do?

Textbooks for change.

Founded in 2014, Textbooks for Change uses a cross-compensation model, in which one customer segment pays for a product or service, and the profit from that revenue is used to provide the same product or service to another, underserved segment. Textbooks for Change partners with student organizations to collect used college textbooks, some of which are re-sold while others are donated to students in need at underserved universities across the globe. The organization has reused or recycled 250,000 textbooks, providing 220,000 students with access through seven campus partners in East Africa. This B-corp social enterprise tackles a problem and offers a solution that is directly relevant to college students like yourself. Have you observed a problem on your college campus or other campuses that is not being served properly? Could it result in a social enterprise?

Work It Out

Franchisee set out.

A franchisee of East Coast Wings, a chain with dozens of restaurants in the United States, has decided to part ways with the chain. The new store will feature the same basic sports-bar-and-restaurant concept and serve the same basic foods: chicken wings, burgers, sandwiches, and the like. The new restaurant can’t rely on the same distributors and suppliers. A new business plan is needed.

  • What steps should the new restaurant take to create a new business plan?
  • Should it attempt to serve the same customers? Why or why not?

This New York Times video, “An Unlikely Business Plan,” describes entrepreneurial resurgence in Detroit, Michigan.

  • 48 Chris Guillebeau. The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future . New York: Crown Business/Random House, 2012.
  • 49 Jonathan Chan. “What These 4 Startup Case Studies Can Teach You about Failure.” Foundr.com . July 12, 2015. https://foundr.com/4-startup-case-studies-failure/
  • 50 Amy Feldman. “Inventor of the Cut Buddy Paid YouTubers to Spark Sales. He Wasn’t Ready for a Video to Go Viral.” Forbes. February 15, 2017. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestreptalks/2017/02/15/inventor-of-the-cut-buddy-paid-youtubers-to-spark-sales-he-wasnt-ready-for-a-video-to-go-viral/#3eb540ce798a
  • 51 Jennifer Post. “National Business Plan Competitions for Entrepreneurs.” Business News Daily . August 30, 2018. https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/6902-business-plan-competitions-entrepreneurs.html
  • 52 “Rice Business Plan Competition, Eligibility Criteria and How to Apply.” Rice Business Plan Competition . March 2020. https://rbpc.rice.edu/sites/g/files/bxs806/f/2020%20RBPC%20Eligibility%20Criteria%20and%20How%20to%20Apply_23Oct19.pdf
  • 53 “Rice Business Plan Competition, Eligibility Criteria and How to Apply.” Rice Business Plan Competition. March 2020. https://rbpc.rice.edu/sites/g/files/bxs806/f/2020%20RBPC%20Eligibility%20Criteria%20and%20How%20to%20Apply_23Oct19.pdf; Based on 2019 RBPC Competition Rules and Format April 4–6, 2019. https://rbpc.rice.edu/sites/g/files/bxs806/f/2019-RBPC-Competition-Rules%20-Format.pdf
  • 54 Foodstart. http://foodstart.com
  • 55 “Hugh Jackman Journey to Starting a Social Enterprise Coffee Company.” Giving Compass. April 8, 2018. https://givingcompass.org/article/hugh-jackman-journey-to-starting-a-social-enterprise-coffee-company/

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Business plan, strategic plan, operational plan: why all 3 are important

By Andrea Nazarian

operational analysis business plan

When you’re in the early stages of running your business, it’s easy to get lost when thinking about all the things you need to organize in order to grow. This is where making a business plan, strategic plan and operational plan comes into play. 

A business plan outlines the “what” and “how” of your business, while a strategic plan sets the long-term vision. Operational plans dive into day-to-day tasks. We’ll explain their roles, differences, and how they work together. 

In this post, we’ll break down these concepts, explain the difference between them and why all three are important.  By understanding these plans, you’ll gain the tools to steer your ship, set big goals, and navigate the everyday waters with confidence and success.

Get your team in sync with our easy-to-use, all-in-one employee app.

What is a business plan?

A business plan, just like a blueprint for building a house, shows the general path for your business to follow. Besides the essential facts, it’s the tool that conveys your vision to potential investors, partners, and your own team.

A business plan is your business’s roadmap to success. It’s a detailed guide that helps you understand where your business is headed and how to get there. In this plan, you outline your business goals, what products or services you offer, who your customers are, and how you’ll reach them. 

Writing a business plan is one of many tips for starting a business you can tap into to get off the ground. 

Your business plan includes financials 

Your business plan also includes financial details, like how much money you’ll need and how you’ll make money. It’s important to outline everything because it helps you make smarter decisions, attract investors or loans, and stay on track as you grow. 

Think of your business plan as a game plan that keeps you focused and prepared for whatever comes your way.

What is a strategic plan?

A strategic plan is a detailed plan that lays out where you want your business to be in the future and how you’ll get there. In this plan, you outline your long-term goals, the actions you’ll take to move towards those goals, and the major steps to reach those goals.

A strategic plan helps you make smart choices about things like which products to focus on, how to stand out from competitors, and where to expand. It’s like your compass for making decisions that match your vision. 

Goal setting in your strategic plan 

Setting SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time bound) is a clear way to put your strategic plan into actionable tasks. 

This plan also keeps you flexible – you can adjust it as your business grows and the market changes. By having a solid strategic plan, you’re setting yourself up for success, making sure all your actions lead to reaching those big dreams you have for your business.

What is an operational plan?

An operational plan is where the nitty-gritty of running your business happens. An operational plan is like your playbook for your day-to-day tasks . 

It spells out exactly how you’ll execute your strategies outlined in your strategic plan and reach your goals outlined in your business plan.

In your operational plan, you break things down: who’s doing what, when and how. It’s like giving clear instructions to your team on tasks, deadlines, and responsibilities.

From managing the kitchen in a restaurant to handling customer orders in a salon, it’s all in the operational plan.

It also covers how you’ll maintain quality, manage resources, and handle any bumps along the way. Think of it as your action plan – turning your grand ideas into reality, step by step. 

What’s the difference between a business plank, strategic plan and operational plan?

Business plan.

  • Focus: This is the big blueprint for your entire business. It explains what your business does, who your customers are, how you’ll make money, and your long-term goals.
  • Timeframe: Usually covers a few years and includes financial projections.
  • Use: It’s your pitch to investors and guides your business decisions.

Strategic plan:

  • Focus: This is the long-term vision. It’s about where you want your business to go and the major steps to get there.
  • Timeframe: Often covers 3-5 years.
  • Use: It guides big choices like expanding, new products, and setting direction.

Operational plan:

  • Focus: This is the detailed game plan for your day-to-day business operations. It’s about how you’ll execute your strategies.
  • Timeframe: Covers the short term, usually a year or less.
  • Use: It’s the instructions for your team on tasks, deadlines, and responsibilities.

In short, a business plan is your overall roadmap, a strategic plan sets the direction for growth, and an operational plan makes sure everything runs smoothly day by day. They work together to keep your business on track and thriving.

Why is having a business plan, strategic plan and operational plan important?

Having a business plan, a strategic plan, and an operational plan is like having a superhero trio for your business. Here’s why they’re so important:

Business Plan:

  • Clarity: It gives you a clear path for your business journey. You know what you’re doing, who your customers are, and how to make money.
  • Guidance: It helps you make smart choices and stay on track to reach your goals.
  • Attractiveness: Investors and lenders like to see a solid plan before supporting your business.

Strategic Plan:

  • Direction: It’s like a compass for your long-term vision. It tells you where your business is headed and how to get there.
  • Big Goals: It sets ambitious goals like growing big, launching new things, and standing out from the crowd.
  • Adaptation: It helps you adjust when things change, keeping your business aligned with your dreams.

Operational Plan:

  • Smooth Sailing: It’s your step-by-step guide for daily tasks. You know who does what and when.
  • Efficiency: It makes things run smoothly and helps you manage resources well.
  • Quality Control: It ensures your products or services are top-notch and consistent.

Together, these plans are like your business’s superpowers. They make sure your business is not just surviving, but thriving..

Strategic plan example

Let’s say your restaurant, Brenda’s Bistro, wants to become the ultimate dining spot in your community, celebrated for your fantastic dishes and top-notch hospitality.

Brenda’s Bistro’s mission is to create unforgettable dining experiences by offering a diverse menu crafted from locally sourced ingredients, while delivering outstanding customer service.

  • Achieve a 20% increase in revenue within the next two years.
  • Expand the customer base by targeting families and young professionals through special promotions.
  • Introduce a new themed menu every season to keep customers excited and engaged.

Strategies and Initiatives:

  • Strengthen Brenda’s Bistro online presence by sharing engaging content on your website and social media accounts regularly.
  • Partner with local farmers to ensure your ingredients are fresh, sustainable, and support the community.
  • Launch loyalty programs and offer discounts to encourage repeat visits.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs):

  • Monitor revenue growth every quarter to track progress toward your goal.
  • Collect customer feedback through surveys and online reviews to measure satisfaction.
  • Evaluate the success of your seasonal menus based on the number of orders and positive feedback.

How to make a strategic plan

Crafting a strategic plan isn’t a one-size-fits-all deal; each company’s unique goals require a tailored approach. 

Let’s break down the essential steps to shape that core plan.

1. Gather the key people

Start by bringing together the important voices. This usually includes your executive board, managers, and sometimes outside investors. 

Their insights and suggestions are like puzzle pieces that fit into a successful strategic plan.

2: Find your business’ strengths and weaknesses 

Your strategy needs to know where your company stands both inside and out. Begin with a SWOT analysis, checking your internal strengths and weaknesses, plus external opportunities and threats. 

Gather insights from gap analysis, looking at competitors, and listening to customer and employee feedback give you the bigger picture.

3. Set Goals

Now, create goals from all that info. Match these goals with your mission, vision, and values. 

Pick the ones that make a big impact, make sense for the long haul, and line up with your values. Examples can be reaching certain sales targets, or a certain number of followers on your business’ social media. 

4.Make a game plan 

Time for an action plan. Break down each goal into strategies, initiatives, and tactics. Depending on your goals, these could be marketing plans , tech upgrades, or smart partnerships. 

You don’t need tons of details here; that’s what the operational plan covers. Also, set up key performance metrics to measure your progress.

5. Review and and tweak

Schedule regular check-ins to review your plan. This is where you reflect and adjust if needed. Good financial info comes in handy here. 

How often you do this depends on your business’s rhythm – maybe monthly for new businesses or yearly for more established ones.

Remember, your strategic plan is your map to success. Tailor it, review it, and let it guide you toward your goals.

Now that your strategic plan is sorted, let’s dive into the power of operational planning to make those goals a reality.

How to make an operational plan

It’s time to take that big-picture strategic plan and break it into doable steps. First, check out the long-term goals. 

Figure out which departments need to team up to reach which goal. Ask questions like: What kind of resources does the business already have access to? 

What’s missing? Any money financial risks coming up? This helps you see which parts of your business need a boost to hit those goals.

1. Nail down your budget

Make a budget based on what each department in your business needs to reach the big goals. What does your kitchen staff need? How about front-of-house staff?

With your match-up between goals and areas, spread your budget where it’ll give the best bang for your buck. 

Remember to keep some cash aside for surprises and changes. A solid budget is like a shield against unexpected stuff.

2. Set targets

Each goal you’re chasing needs a target. Think carefully here – not too wild that your team loses heart, but not too tiny that the big plan stays out of reach. 

Realistic targets are your secret weapon. An example target could be selling 100 orders’ worth of a certain dish by the end of the month.

3. Check in with your team regularly 

Don’t just set and forget. Schedule regular check-ins with your staff to see how things are going. 

Are you hitting those targets? Are things humming along? 

These feedback sessions with your employees are like checkups for your plan. If things are off, you can tweak the plan to get back on track.

Homebase’s free mobile app has a built-in messenger tool to make it easy to stay connected. Send messages to individuals, groups, or your entire team.

3. Stay open and data-driven

Keep communication flowing during reviews. And don’t forget the data – it’s your treasure map. 

Numbers show where you’re doing well and where there’s room to improve. Use your POS software or an employee management tool like Homebase to help you make data-informed decisions on how to improve your business operations. 

With Homebase’s workforce forecasting and smart scheduling tools, you can save on labor costs for your business. 

With all this, your operational plan becomes a real powerhouse, making sure your business charges ahead toward those big dreams.

Make your business plan, strategic plan and operational plan work for you

In the bustling world of business, having a roadmap is essential for success. The triumphant trio of a business plan, strategic plan, and operational plan work together to steer your ship towards greatness. 

These plans aren’t just fancy paperwork – they’re important tools that guide your every move. 

By understanding each plan’s role and significance, you’re armed with the superpowers needed to navigate the complex business waters. 

A business plan provides clarity, a strategic plan offers direction, and an operational plan ensures smooth sailing. Together, they fuel your business’s journey from survival to thriving, making sure you’re not just a player in the game, but a true champion.

Here are 10 small business tools you can use to put these three plans into action. 

FAQs about business plan, strategic plan and operational plan

Why do i need a business plan.

A business plan acts as a roadmap for your business journey. It outlines your goals, customers, and how you’ll make money. It’s crucial for attracting investors and making smart decisions. 

What’s the purpose of a strategic plan?

A strategic plan sets your long-term vision and goals. It guides big choices like expanding and standing out. It’s like a compass, helping you stay on course towards success.

What’s the difference between a strategic plan and an operational plan?

While a strategic plan sets long-term goals, an operational plan focuses on day-to-day tasks. It’s like a playbook that tells your team exactly what to do to reach those goals.

Remember:  This is not legal advice. If you have questions about your particular situation, please consult a lawyer, CPA, or other appropriate professional advisor or agency.

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What is strategic planning? A 5-step guide

Julia Martins contributor headshot

Strategic planning is a process through which business leaders map out their vision for their organization’s growth and how they’re going to get there. In this article, we'll guide you through the strategic planning process, including why it's important, the benefits and best practices, and five steps to get you from beginning to end.

Strategic planning is a process through which business leaders map out their vision for their organization’s growth and how they’re going to get there. The strategic planning process informs your organization’s decisions, growth, and goals.

Strategic planning helps you clearly define your company’s long-term objectives—and maps how your short-term goals and work will help you achieve them. This, in turn, gives you a clear sense of where your organization is going and allows you to ensure your teams are working on projects that make the most impact. Think of it this way—if your goals and objectives are your destination on a map, your strategic plan is your navigation system.

In this article, we walk you through the 5-step strategic planning process and show you how to get started developing your own strategic plan.

How to build an organizational strategy

Get our free ebook and learn how to bridge the gap between mission, strategic goals, and work at your organization.

What is strategic planning?

Strategic planning is a business process that helps you define and share the direction your company will take in the next three to five years. During the strategic planning process, stakeholders review and define the organization’s mission and goals, conduct competitive assessments, and identify company goals and objectives. The product of the planning cycle is a strategic plan, which is shared throughout the company.

What is a strategic plan?

[inline illustration] Strategic plan elements (infographic)

A strategic plan is the end result of the strategic planning process. At its most basic, it’s a tool used to define your organization’s goals and what actions you’ll take to achieve them.

Typically, your strategic plan should include: 

Your company’s mission statement

Your organizational goals, including your long-term goals and short-term, yearly objectives

Any plan of action, tactics, or approaches you plan to take to meet those goals

What are the benefits of strategic planning?

Strategic planning can help with goal setting and decision-making by allowing you to map out how your company will move toward your organization’s vision and mission statements in the next three to five years. Let’s circle back to our map metaphor. If you think of your company trajectory as a line on a map, a strategic plan can help you better quantify how you’ll get from point A (where you are now) to point B (where you want to be in a few years).

When you create and share a clear strategic plan with your team, you can:

Build a strong organizational culture by clearly defining and aligning on your organization’s mission, vision, and goals.

Align everyone around a shared purpose and ensure all departments and teams are working toward a common objective.

Proactively set objectives to help you get where you want to go and achieve desired outcomes.

Promote a long-term vision for your company rather than focusing primarily on short-term gains.

Ensure resources are allocated around the most high-impact priorities.

Define long-term goals and set shorter-term goals to support them.

Assess your current situation and identify any opportunities—or threats—allowing your organization to mitigate potential risks.

Create a proactive business culture that enables your organization to respond more swiftly to emerging market changes and opportunities.

What are the 5 steps in strategic planning?

The strategic planning process involves a structured methodology that guides the organization from vision to implementation. The strategic planning process starts with assembling a small, dedicated team of key strategic planners—typically five to 10 members—who will form the strategic planning, or management, committee. This team is responsible for gathering crucial information, guiding the development of the plan, and overseeing strategy execution.

Once you’ve established your management committee, you can get to work on the planning process. 

Step 1: Assess your current business strategy and business environment

Before you can define where you’re going, you first need to define where you are. Understanding the external environment, including market trends and competitive landscape, is crucial in the initial assessment phase of strategic planning.

To do this, your management committee should collect a variety of information from additional stakeholders, like employees and customers. In particular, plan to gather:

Relevant industry and market data to inform any market opportunities, as well as any potential upcoming threats in the near future.

Customer insights to understand what your customers want from your company—like product improvements or additional services.

Employee feedback that needs to be addressed—whether about the product, business practices, or the day-to-day company culture.

Consider different types of strategic planning tools and analytical techniques to gather this information, such as:

A balanced scorecard to help you evaluate four major elements of a business: learning and growth, business processes, customer satisfaction, and financial performance.

A SWOT analysis to help you assess both current and future potential for the business (you’ll return to this analysis periodically during the strategic planning process). 

To fill out each letter in the SWOT acronym, your management committee will answer a series of questions:

What does your organization currently do well?

What separates you from your competitors?

What are your most valuable internal resources?

What tangible assets do you have?

What is your biggest strength? 

Weaknesses:

What does your organization do poorly?

What do you currently lack (whether that’s a product, resource, or process)?

What do your competitors do better than you?

What, if any, limitations are holding your organization back?

What processes or products need improvement? 

Opportunities:

What opportunities does your organization have?

How can you leverage your unique company strengths?

Are there any trends that you can take advantage of?

How can you capitalize on marketing or press opportunities?

Is there an emerging need for your product or service? 

What emerging competitors should you keep an eye on?

Are there any weaknesses that expose your organization to risk?

Have you or could you experience negative press that could reduce market share?

Is there a chance of changing customer attitudes towards your company? 

Step 2: Identify your company’s goals and objectives

To begin strategy development, take into account your current position, which is where you are now. Then, draw inspiration from your vision, mission, and current position to identify and define your goals—these are your final destination. 

To develop your strategy, you’re essentially pulling out your compass and asking, “Where are we going next?” “What’s the ideal future state of this company?” This can help you figure out which path you need to take to get there.

During this phase of the planning process, take inspiration from important company documents, such as:

Your mission statement, to understand how you can continue moving towards your organization’s core purpose.

Your vision statement, to clarify how your strategic plan fits into your long-term vision.

Your company values, to guide you towards what matters most towards your company.

Your competitive advantages, to understand what unique benefit you offer to the market.

Your long-term goals, to track where you want to be in five or 10 years.

Your financial forecast and projection, to understand where you expect your financials to be in the next three years, what your expected cash flow is, and what new opportunities you will likely be able to invest in.

Step 3: Develop your strategic plan and determine performance metrics

Now that you understand where you are and where you want to go, it’s time to put pen to paper. Take your current business position and strategy into account, as well as your organization’s goals and objectives, and build out a strategic plan for the next three to five years. Keep in mind that even though you’re creating a long-term plan, parts of your plan should be created or revisited as the quarters and years go on.

As you build your strategic plan, you should define:

Company priorities for the next three to five years, based on your SWOT analysis and strategy.

Yearly objectives for the first year. You don’t need to define your objectives for every year of the strategic plan. As the years go on, create new yearly objectives that connect back to your overall strategic goals . 

Related key results and KPIs. Some of these should be set by the management committee, and some should be set by specific teams that are closer to the work. Make sure your key results and KPIs are measurable and actionable. These KPIs will help you track progress and ensure you’re moving in the right direction.

Budget for the next year or few years. This should be based on your financial forecast as well as your direction. Do you need to spend aggressively to develop your product? Build your team? Make a dent with marketing? Clarify your most important initiatives and how you’ll budget for those.

A high-level project roadmap . A project roadmap is a tool in project management that helps you visualize the timeline of a complex initiative, but you can also create a very high-level project roadmap for your strategic plan. Outline what you expect to be working on in certain quarters or years to make the plan more actionable and understandable.

Step 4: Implement and share your plan

Now it’s time to put your plan into action. Strategy implementation involves clear communication across your entire organization to make sure everyone knows their responsibilities and how to measure the plan’s success. 

Make sure your team (especially senior leadership) has access to the strategic plan, so they can understand how their work contributes to company priorities and the overall strategy map. We recommend sharing your plan in the same tool you use to manage and track work, so you can more easily connect high-level objectives to daily work. If you don’t already, consider using a work management platform .  

A few tips to make sure your plan will be executed without a hitch: 

Communicate clearly to your entire organization throughout the implementation process, to ensure all team members understand the strategic plan and how to implement it effectively. 

Define what “success” looks like by mapping your strategic plan to key performance indicators.

Ensure that the actions outlined in the strategic plan are integrated into the daily operations of the organization, so that every team member's daily activities are aligned with the broader strategic objectives.

Utilize tools and software—like a work management platform—that can aid in implementing and tracking the progress of your plan.

Regularly monitor and share the progress of the strategic plan with the entire organization, to keep everyone informed and reinforce the importance of the plan.

Establish regular check-ins to monitor the progress of your strategic plan and make adjustments as needed. 

Step 5: Revise and restructure as needed

Once you’ve created and implemented your new strategic framework, the final step of the planning process is to monitor and manage your plan.

Remember, your strategic plan isn’t set in stone. You’ll need to revisit and update the plan if your company changes directions or makes new investments. As new market opportunities and threats come up, you’ll likely want to tweak your strategic plan. Make sure to review your plan regularly—meaning quarterly and annually—to ensure it’s still aligned with your organization’s vision and goals.

Keep in mind that your plan won’t last forever, even if you do update it frequently. A successful strategic plan evolves with your company’s long-term goals. When you’ve achieved most of your strategic goals, or if your strategy has evolved significantly since you first made your plan, it might be time to create a new one.

Build a smarter strategic plan with a work management platform

To turn your company strategy into a plan—and ultimately, impact—make sure you’re proactively connecting company objectives to daily work. When you can clarify this connection, you’re giving your team members the context they need to get their best work done. 

A work management platform plays a pivotal role in this process. It acts as a central hub for your strategic plan, ensuring that every task and project is directly tied to your broader company goals. This alignment is crucial for visibility and coordination, allowing team members to see how their individual efforts contribute to the company’s success. 

By leveraging such a platform, you not only streamline workflow and enhance team productivity but also align every action with your strategic objectives—allowing teams to drive greater impact and helping your company move toward goals more effectively. 

Strategic planning FAQs

Still have questions about strategic planning? We have answers.

Why do I need a strategic plan?

A strategic plan is one of many tools you can use to plan and hit your goals. It helps map out strategic objectives and growth metrics that will help your company be successful.

When should I create a strategic plan?

You should aim to create a strategic plan every three to five years, depending on your organization’s growth speed.

Since the point of a strategic plan is to map out your long-term goals and how you’ll get there, you should create a strategic plan when you’ve met most or all of them. You should also create a strategic plan any time you’re going to make a large pivot in your organization’s mission or enter new markets. 

What is a strategic planning template?

A strategic planning template is a tool organizations can use to map out their strategic plan and track progress. Typically, a strategic planning template houses all the components needed to build out a strategic plan, including your company’s vision and mission statements, information from any competitive analyses or SWOT assessments, and relevant KPIs.

What’s the difference between a strategic plan vs. business plan?

A business plan can help you document your strategy as you’re getting started so every team member is on the same page about your core business priorities and goals. This tool can help you document and share your strategy with key investors or stakeholders as you get your business up and running.

You should create a business plan when you’re: 

Just starting your business

Significantly restructuring your business

If your business is already established, you should create a strategic plan instead of a business plan. Even if you’re working at a relatively young company, your strategic plan can build on your business plan to help you move in the right direction. During the strategic planning process, you’ll draw from a lot of the fundamental business elements you built early on to establish your strategy for the next three to five years.

What’s the difference between a strategic plan vs. mission and vision statements?

Your strategic plan, mission statement, and vision statements are all closely connected. In fact, during the strategic planning process, you will take inspiration from your mission and vision statements in order to build out your strategic plan.

Simply put: 

A mission statement summarizes your company’s purpose.

A vision statement broadly explains how you’ll reach your company’s purpose.

A strategic plan pulls in inspiration from your mission and vision statements and outlines what actions you’re going to take to move in the right direction. 

For example, if your company produces pet safety equipment, here’s how your mission statement, vision statement, and strategic plan might shake out:

Mission statement: “To ensure the safety of the world’s animals.” 

Vision statement: “To create pet safety and tracking products that are effortless to use.” 

Your strategic plan would outline the steps you’re going to take in the next few years to bring your company closer to your mission and vision. For example, you develop a new pet tracking smart collar or improve the microchipping experience for pet owners. 

What’s the difference between a strategic plan vs. company objectives?

Company objectives are broad goals. You should set these on a yearly or quarterly basis (if your organization moves quickly). These objectives give your team a clear sense of what you intend to accomplish for a set period of time. 

Your strategic plan is more forward-thinking than your company goals, and it should cover more than one year of work. Think of it this way: your company objectives will move the needle towards your overall strategy—but your strategic plan should be bigger than company objectives because it spans multiple years.

What’s the difference between a strategic plan vs. a business case?

A business case is a document to help you pitch a significant investment or initiative for your company. When you create a business case, you’re outlining why this investment is a good idea, and how this large-scale project will positively impact the business. 

You might end up building business cases for things on your strategic plan’s roadmap—but your strategic plan should be bigger than that. This tool should encompass multiple years of your roadmap, across your entire company—not just one initiative.

What’s the difference between a strategic plan vs. a project plan?

A strategic plan is a company-wide, multi-year plan of what you want to accomplish in the next three to five years and how you plan to accomplish that. A project plan, on the other hand, outlines how you’re going to accomplish a specific project. This project could be one of many initiatives that contribute to a specific company objective which, in turn, is one of many objectives that contribute to your strategic plan. 

What’s the difference between strategic management vs. strategic planning?

A strategic plan is a tool to define where your organization wants to go and what actions you need to take to achieve those goals. Strategic planning is the process of creating a plan in order to hit your strategic objectives.

Strategic management includes the strategic planning process, but also goes beyond it. In addition to planning how you will achieve your big-picture goals, strategic management also helps you organize your resources and figure out the best action plans for success. 

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How to Write a Market Analysis for a Business Plan

Dan Marticio

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money .

A lot of preparation goes into starting a business before you can open your doors to the public or launch your online store. One of your first steps should be to write a business plan . A business plan will serve as your roadmap when building your business.

Within your business plan, there’s an important section you should pay careful attention to: your market analysis. Your market analysis helps you understand your target market and how you can thrive within it.

Simply put, your market analysis shows that you’ve done your research. It also contributes to your marketing strategy by defining your target customer and researching their buying habits. Overall, a market analysis will yield invaluable data if you have limited knowledge about your market, the market has fierce competition, and if you require a business loan. In this guide, we'll explore how to conduct your own market analysis.

How to conduct a market analysis: A step-by-step guide

In your market analysis, you can expect to cover the following:

Industry outlook

Target market

Market value

Competition

Barriers to entry

Let’s dive into an in-depth look into each section:

Step 1: Define your objective

Before you begin your market analysis, it’s important to define your objective for writing a market analysis. Are you writing it for internal purposes or for external purposes?

If you were doing a market analysis for internal purposes, you might be brainstorming new products to launch or adjusting your marketing tactics. An example of an external purpose might be that you need a market analysis to get approved for a business loan .

The comprehensiveness of your market analysis will depend on your objective. If you’re preparing for a new product launch, you might focus more heavily on researching the competition. A market analysis for a loan approval would require heavy data and research into market size and growth, share potential, and pricing.

Step 2: Provide an industry outlook

An industry outlook is a general direction of where your industry is heading. Lenders want to know whether you’re targeting a growing industry or declining industry. For example, if you’re looking to sell VCRs in 2020, it’s unlikely that your business will succeed.

Starting your market analysis with an industry outlook offers a preliminary view of the market and what to expect in your market analysis. When writing this section, you'll want to include:

Market size

Are you chasing big markets or are you targeting very niche markets? If you’re targeting a niche market, are there enough customers to support your business and buy your product?

Product life cycle

If you develop a product, what will its life cycle look like? Lenders want an overview of how your product will come into fruition after it’s developed and launched. In this section, you can discuss your product’s:

Research and development

Projected growth

How do you see your company performing over time? Calculating your year-over-year growth will help you and lenders see how your business has grown thus far. Calculating your projected growth shows how your business will fare in future projected market conditions.

Step 3: Determine your target market

This section of your market analysis is dedicated to your potential customer. Who is your ideal target customer? How can you cater your product to serve them specifically?

Don’t make the mistake of wanting to sell your product to everybody. Your target customer should be specific. For example, if you’re selling mittens, you wouldn’t want to market to warmer climates like Hawaii. You should target customers who live in colder regions. The more nuanced your target market is, the more information you’ll have to inform your business and marketing strategy.

With that in mind, your target market section should include the following points:

Demographics

This is where you leave nothing to mystery about your ideal customer. You want to know every aspect of your customer so you can best serve them. Dedicate time to researching the following demographics:

Income level

Create a customer persona

Creating a customer persona can help you better understand your customer. It can be easier to market to a person than data on paper. You can give this persona a name, background, and job. Mold this persona into your target customer.

What are your customer’s pain points? How do these pain points influence how they buy products? What matters most to them? Why do they choose one brand over another?

Research and supporting material

Information without data are just claims. To add credibility to your market analysis, you need to include data. Some methods for collecting data include:

Target group surveys

Focus groups

Reading reviews

Feedback surveys

You can also consult resources online. For example, the U.S. Census Bureau can help you find demographics in calculating your market share. The U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Small Business Administration also offer general data that can help you research your target industry.

Step 4: Calculate market value

You can use either top-down analysis or bottom-up analysis to calculate an estimate of your market value.

A top-down analysis tends to be the easier option of the two. It requires for you to calculate the entire market and then estimate how much of a share you expect your business to get. For example, let’s assume your target market consists of 100,000 people. If you’re optimistic and manage to get 1% of that market, you can expect to make 1,000 sales.

A bottom-up analysis is more data-driven and requires more research. You calculate the individual factors of your business and then estimate how high you can scale them to arrive at a projected market share. Some factors to consider when doing a bottom-up analysis include:

Where products are sold

Who your competition is

The price per unit

How many consumers you expect to reach

The average amount a customer would buy over time

While a bottom-up analysis requires more data than a top-down analysis, you can usually arrive at a more accurate calculation.

Step 5: Get to know your competition

Before you start a business, you need to research the level of competition within your market. Are there certain companies getting the lion’s share of the market? How can you position yourself to stand out from the competition?

There are two types of competitors that you should be aware of: direct competitors and indirect competitors.

Direct competitors are other businesses who sell the same product as you. If you and the company across town both sell apples, you are direct competitors.

An indirect competitor sells a different but similar product to yours. If that company across town sells oranges instead, they are an indirect competitor. Apples and oranges are different but they still target a similar market: people who eat fruits.

Also, here are some questions you want to answer when writing this section of your market analysis:

What are your competitor’s strengths?

What are your competitor’s weaknesses?

How can you cover your competitor’s weaknesses in your own business?

How can you solve the same problems better or differently than your competitors?

How can you leverage technology to better serve your customers?

How big of a threat are your competitors if you open your business?

Step 6: Identify your barriers

Writing a market analysis can help you identify some glaring barriers to starting your business. Researching these barriers will help you avoid any costly legal or business mistakes down the line. Some entry barriers to address in your marketing analysis include:

Technology: How rapid is technology advancing and can it render your product obsolete within the next five years?

Branding: You need to establish your brand identity to stand out in a saturated market.

Cost of entry: Startup costs, like renting a space and hiring employees, are expensive. Also, specialty equipment often comes with hefty price tags. (Consider researching equipment financing to help finance these purchases.)

Location: You need to secure a prime location if you’re opening a physical store.

Competition: A market with fierce competition can be a steep uphill battle (like attempting to go toe-to-toe with Apple or Amazon).

Step 7: Know the regulations

When starting a business, it’s your responsibility to research governmental and state business regulations within your market. Some regulations to keep in mind include (but aren’t limited to):

Employment and labor laws

Advertising

Environmental regulations

If you’re a newer entrepreneur and this is your first business, this part can be daunting so you might want to consult with a business attorney. A legal professional will help you identify the legal requirements specific to your business. You can also check online legal help sites like LegalZoom or Rocket Lawyer.

Tips when writing your market analysis

We wouldn’t be surprised if you feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information needed in a market analysis. Keep in mind, though, this research is key to launching a successful business. You don’t want to cut corners, but here are a few tips to help you out when writing your market analysis:

Use visual aids

Nobody likes 30 pages of nothing but text. Using visual aids can break up those text blocks, making your market analysis more visually appealing. When discussing statistics and metrics, charts and graphs will help you better communicate your data.

Include a summary

If you’ve ever read an article from an academic journal, you’ll notice that writers include an abstract that offers the reader a preview.

Use this same tactic when writing your market analysis. It will prime the reader of your market highlights before they dive into the hard data.

Get to the point

It’s better to keep your market analysis concise than to stuff it with fluff and repetition. You’ll want to present your data, analyze it, and then tie it back into how your business can thrive within your target market.

Revisit your market analysis regularly

Markets are always changing and it's important that your business changes with your target market. Revisiting your market analysis ensures that your business operations align with changing market conditions. The best businesses are the ones that can adapt.

Why should you write a market analysis?

Your market analysis helps you look at factors within your market to determine if it’s a good fit for your business model. A market analysis will help you:

1. Learn how to analyze the market need

Markets are always shifting and it’s a good idea to identify current and projected market conditions. These trends will help you understand the size of your market and whether there are paying customers waiting for you. Doing a market analysis helps you confirm that your target market is a lucrative market.

2. Learn about your customers

The best way to serve your customer is to understand them. A market analysis will examine your customer’s buying habits, pain points, and desires. This information will aid you in developing a business that addresses those points.

3. Get approved for a business loan

Starting a business, especially if it’s your first one, requires startup funding. A good first step is to apply for a business loan with your bank or other financial institution.

A thorough market analysis shows that you’re professional, prepared, and worth the investment from lenders. This preparation inspires confidence within the lender that you can build a business and repay the loan.

4. Beat the competition

Your research will offer valuable insight and certain advantages that the competition might not have. For example, thoroughly understanding your customer’s pain points and desires will help you develop a superior product or service than your competitors. If your business is already up and running, an updated market analysis can upgrade your marketing strategy or help you launch a new product.

Final thoughts

There is a saying that the first step to cutting down a tree is to sharpen an axe. In other words, preparation is the key to success. In business, preparation increases the chances that your business will succeed, even in a competitive market.

The market analysis section of your business plan separates the entrepreneurs who have done their homework from those who haven’t. Now that you’ve learned how to write a market analysis, it’s time for you to sharpen your axe and grow a successful business. And keep in mind, if you need help crafting your business plan, you can always turn to business plan software or a free template to help you stay organized.

This article originally appeared on JustBusiness, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.

On a similar note...

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Sample Franchise Business Plan

Growthink.com Franchise Business Plan Template

Writing a business plan is a crucial step in starting a franchise business. Not only does it provide structure and guidance for the future, but it also helps to create funding opportunities and attract potential investors. For aspiring franchise business owners, having access to a sample franchise business plan can be especially helpful in providing direction and gaining insight into how to draft their own franchise business plan.

Download our Ultimate Franchise Business Plan Template

Having a thorough business plan in place is critical for any successful franchise venture. It will serve as the foundation for your operations, setting out the goals and objectives that will help guide your decisions and actions. A well-written business plan can give you clarity on realistic financial projections and help you secure financing from lenders or investors. A franchise business plan example can be a great resource to draw upon when creating your own plan, making sure that all the key components are included in your document.

The franchise business plan sample below will give you an idea of what one should look like. It is not as comprehensive and successful in raising capital for your franchise as Growthink’s Ultimate Franchise Business Plan Template , but it can help you write a franchise business plan of your own.

Example – BrandExpand Ventures

Table of contents, executive summary, company overview, industry analysis, customer analysis, competitive analysis, marketing plan, operations plan, management team.

Welcome to BrandExpand Ventures, our new franchise based in the vibrant community of Louisville, KY. We stand out as a beacon for local businesses by providing high-quality franchise services unmatched in the area. Our offerings are comprehensive, designed to empower our franchisees through the use of our established brand, efficient operating systems, extensive training, and robust marketing support. We also ensure the success of our partners by granting exclusive territories, eliminating internal competition within our network. Our location in Louisville not only reflects our commitment to serving the local community but also positions us strategically to understand and leverage unique market dynamics. With a foundation built on the rich experience of our founder and a commitment to excellence, BrandExpand Ventures is on a path to becoming a leader in the franchise industry.

Since our inception on January 5, 2024, BrandExpand Ventures has achieved significant milestones that underscore our commitment to building a robust and reputable franchise business. These accomplishments include the creation of a distinctive logo that aligns with our brand’s values, the careful selection of our company name to resonate with our mission and target audience, and finding an ideal location in Louisville, KY, to serve our community directly. These steps, though just the beginning, are indicative of our dedication to excellence and set the stage for our future success in the franchise industry.

The franchise industry in the United States is a burgeoning market with an estimated value of over $800 billion, offering diverse opportunities across various sectors. Expected to grow annually by 2-3%, the industry’s expansion is driven by consumer demand for familiar brands and the appeal of franchising as a comparatively lower-risk venture. Recent trends, such as the surge in health and wellness concepts and technology-driven business models, align well with BrandExpand Ventures’ innovative service offerings. Positioned in Louisville, KY, we are primed to tap into the growing demand for unique and customer-centric franchise opportunities, setting a solid foundation for success in this competitive landscape.

Our primary customer base includes local residents of Louisville, KY, seeking reliable services that cater to their daily needs and preferences. BrandExpand Ventures is committed to understanding and meeting the unique requirements of this community. Additionally, we target small and medium-sized businesses within the area, providing specialized services to help them streamline operations and enhance their customer experience. By also catering to tourists and visitors, we aim to create a diverse and sustainable customer base, contributing to our franchise’s growth and the local economy.

Our main competitors include Duck Donuts, known for its customizable donuts, Bruegger’s Bagels, offering fresh, high-quality bagels and breakfast options, and Tee24, a driving range and practice facility for golf enthusiasts. Despite the strengths of these competitors, BrandExpand Ventures distinguishes itself through superior franchise services, innovative business models, and a strong support system for our franchisees. Our strategic location in Louisville, KY, along with our focus on tailoring services to the local market, positions us advantageously to secure a significant market share and outperform our competitors.

BrandExpand Ventures offers a compelling suite of services, including brand name and trademarks, operational systems, training and support, marketing and advertising assistance, and exclusive territories. With competitive pricing for these services, we provide a solid foundation for entrepreneurs to succeed in the franchise industry. Our promotional strategies focus on online marketing, including social media campaigns and email marketing, to engage potential customers effectively. Additionally, local SEO, community events, partnerships, a referral program, and exceptional customer service will play crucial roles in building brand awareness and loyalty in Louisville, KY. These efforts are designed to attract and retain a strong, loyal customer base and ensure long-term success.

To guarantee the success of BrandExpand Ventures, our operational focus includes managing inventory, conducting daily financial transactions, implementing quality control measures, continuous staff training, and utilizing effective marketing strategies. We also prioritize communication with franchise headquarters, monitoring customer feedback, maintaining a welcoming store environment, ensuring compliance with regulations, and optimizing operations through technology. Our upcoming milestones include securing a prime location, obtaining necessary permits, building out the franchise location, developing a local marketing strategy, hiring and training staff, launching our business, establishing operational efficiencies, building a loyal customer base, reaching a significant revenue milestone, and evaluating scalability options.

Leading BrandExpand Ventures is Samuel Adams, our President, who brings a wealth of entrepreneurial experience and a proven track record in the franchise industry. His skills in operations, leadership, and strategic planning are invaluable to guiding our company towards sustained growth and innovation. Under Adams’ direction, BrandExpand Ventures is poised to achieve its mission and set new standards in the franchise sector.

Welcome to BrandExpand Ventures, a new franchise serving the vibrant community of Louisville, KY. As a local franchise business, we pride ourselves on filling the void left by the absence of high-quality local franchise businesses in the area. At BrandExpand Ventures, we’re more than just a name; we’re a partner in your business journey, dedicated to providing unparalleled franchise services that set our clients up for success.

At the core of BrandExpand Ventures are our comprehensive offerings designed to empower our franchisees. Our services cover everything from leveraging our established brand name and trademarks, implementing efficient operating systems and processes, to providing extensive training and support. Furthermore, we understand the importance of a strong market presence, which is why we offer robust marketing and advertising support to ensure our franchisees stand out. Additionally, we grant exclusive territories, ensuring our partners can operate without direct competition from fellow franchisees within the BrandExpand network.

Based in the heart of Louisville, KY, BrandExpand Ventures is strategically positioned to serve and support the local business community. Our roots in Louisville not only allow us to understand the unique market dynamics but also enable us to forge strong connections with the people and other businesses in the area.

Our journey to becoming a leading franchise business is built on a solid foundation. With a founder who brings valuable experience from running a successful franchise business and a commitment to offering superior franchise services compared to our competitors, BrandExpand Ventures is uniquely qualified to succeed. Our understanding of the franchise landscape, combined with our innovative approach to business, positions us as a formidable force in the industry.

Since our establishment on January 5, 2024, as a Sole Proprietorship, BrandExpand Ventures has hit several key milestones. We’ve poured our creativity and business acumen into designing a distinctive logo that embodies our brand’s values and vision. Additionally, developing our company name was a thoughtful process, ensuring it resonates with our mission and appeals to our target audience. Finding an ideal location was another significant achievement, allowing us to set our roots in Louisville, KY, and start serving our community directly. These accomplishments, though just the beginning, mark our commitment to building a robust and reputable franchise business.

The franchise industry in the United States is thriving, with an estimated market size of over $800 billion. This industry encompasses a wide range of sectors, from fast food restaurants to fitness centers to cleaning services, providing opportunities for entrepreneurs to invest in established brands and proven business models.

Market experts project continued growth in the franchise industry, with an expected annual growth rate of around 2-3%. This growth can be attributed to factors such as consumer demand for convenient and familiar brands, as well as the appeal of franchising as a lower-risk option for aspiring business owners. As more Americans seek the independence of business ownership without the uncertainty of starting from scratch, franchises offer a compelling solution.

Recent trends in the franchise industry, such as the increase in health and wellness concepts and the rise of technology-driven business models, bode well for BrandExpand Ventures. With a focus on providing innovative services to customers in Louisville, KY, BrandExpand Ventures is poised to capitalize on the growing demand for unique and customer-centric franchise offerings. By staying ahead of industry trends and delivering exceptional value to their target market, BrandExpand Ventures is well-positioned for success in the competitive franchise landscape.

Below is a description of our target customers and their core needs.

Target Customers

BrandExpand Ventures will target local residents as its primary customer base. These residents are seeking reliable and consistent services that cater to their daily needs and preferences. The focus will be on understanding the local community’s unique requirements and tailoring services to meet these effectively.

In addition to local residents, BrandExpand Ventures will also serve small and medium-sized businesses within the Louisville community. These businesses often look for partnerships and services that can help them streamline operations and enhance their customer experience. By offering specialized services catered to these business needs, BrandExpand Ventures will position itself as an invaluable partner within the local business ecosystem.

Furthermore, BrandExpand Ventures will tailor its offerings to attract tourists and visitors to the area. By providing services that cater to the needs and expectations of those visiting Louisville, the franchise will not only expand its customer base but also contribute to the local economy’s growth. This strategy is expected to create a diverse and sustainable customer base for BrandExpand Ventures.

Customer Needs

BrandExpand Ventures meets the rising demand for high-quality franchise services among residents who seek exceptional experiences. Customers can expect not just standard offerings but an emphasis on excellence that distinguishes BrandExpand from competitors. This commitment to quality ensures that every interaction and service provided exceeds customer expectations, fostering loyalty and satisfaction.

In addition to quality, BrandExpand Ventures understands the importance of personalized service. Each client receives tailored advice and solutions that align with their specific needs and goals. This personal touch not only enhances the customer experience but also builds a strong, trusting relationship between the brand and its clientele.

BrandExpand Ventures also recognizes the need for innovation in the franchise industry. Customers can access the latest trends and opportunities, ensuring they are always at the forefront of the market. This approach not only attracts forward-thinking entrepreneurs but also secures a competitive edge in a dynamic business environment.

BrandExpand Ventures’s competitors include the following companies:

Duck Donuts is a popular franchise known for its made-to-order donuts. They offer a wide variety of toppings and flavors, allowing customers to customize their donut experience. Price points at Duck Donuts are competitive, with options ranging from single donuts to larger dozen and bucket deals that cater to both individual indulgence and group treats. Duck Donuts has seen substantial growth, with revenues bolstered by both in-store sales and a strong emphasis on catering and special events. The brand operates locations across multiple states, demonstrating a broad geographic service area that appeals to a wide customer segment, including families, young professionals, and students seeking a unique, customizable snack option. Key strengths of Duck Donuts include its customizable product offering and a strong, recognizable brand. However, its reliance on a single product line could be seen as a weakness, limiting its appeal to a broader audience seeking more diverse menu options.

Bruegger’s Bagels offers a wide variety of bagels, breakfast, and lunch options, including sandwiches, salads, and soups. Their price points are designed to appeal to customers looking for a quick, affordable meal without compromising on quality. Bruegger’s has built a reputation for offering fresh, high-quality bagels baked in-store daily, which has become a significant revenue driver. The company operates numerous locations across the United States, serving a diverse customer segment that includes busy professionals, students, and families looking for a quick-service breakfast or lunch option. Bruegger’s Bagels serves multiple geographies, from urban centers to suburban communities, ensuring a broad market reach. Key strengths include a strong focus on product quality and freshness, as well as a diverse menu that appeals to a wide range of dietary preferences. However, Bruegger’s faces the challenge of competing with other fast-casual dining options and the need to continually innovate to keep their menu fresh and appealing to customers.

Tee24 – Driving Range & Practice Facility offers a unique blend of sports and entertainment, providing customers with high-quality golfing practice facilities and driving ranges. Their pricing strategy caters to both casual and serious golfers, with options ranging from single bucket purchases to membership packages that offer unlimited access. Revenues at Tee24 are driven by a combination of service fees, memberships, and sales from its pro shop, which offers golfing equipment and apparel. The facility is strategically located to attract customers from a wide geographic area, including Louisville, KY, and surrounding regions. The customer segment includes golf enthusiasts of all skill levels, from beginners to advanced players, as well as families and corporate groups seeking recreational activities. Tee24’s key strengths lie in its high-quality facilities and the ability to offer a year-round golfing experience, regardless of weather conditions. However, its key weakness could be the niche market it serves, limiting its appeal to non-golfers and those with no interest in the sport.

Competitive Advantages

As a leading business in the franchise industry, our approach at BrandExpand Ventures sets us apart from the competition. We pride ourselves on offering superior franchise services, a claim that is backed by our commitment to innovation, customer satisfaction, and an unmatched support system for our franchisees. Our unique business model is designed to foster growth and success for both our brand and the entrepreneurs we partner with. By focusing on comprehensive training programs, ongoing support, and leveraging the latest technology, we ensure that our franchisees have all the tools they need to thrive. This dedication to excellence not only enhances our competitiveness but also establishes a strong foundation for our franchisees to build upon.

Moreover, our strategic location in the heart of Louisville, KY, provides us with a distinct competitive advantage. The vibrant local economy and supportive community atmosphere create an ideal environment for franchise businesses to prosper. We capitalize on these local dynamics by tailoring our services and offerings to meet the specific needs of the Louisville market, enabling us to connect more effectively with customers and secure a significant market share. Additionally, our focus on innovation extends to marketing strategies and customer engagement, ensuring that we stay ahead of industry trends and continue to offer value that exceeds expectations. This forward-thinking approach positions BrandExpand Ventures as a leader in the franchise sector, ready to empower entrepreneurs and bring exceptional services to our community.

Our marketing plan, included below, details our products/services, pricing and promotions plan.

Products and Services

BrandExpand Ventures emerges as a dynamic player in the franchise industry, offering a comprehensive suite of services designed to empower entrepreneurs and businesses aiming for expansion. At the heart of its offerings is the provision of Brand Name and Trademarks, a critical asset for businesses seeking to establish a strong market presence. Clients can expect to invest an average of $5,000 for the rights to operate under the BrandExpand Ventures umbrella, gaining instant recognition and credibility in their market.

Another cornerstone service is the development and sharing of Operating Systems and Processes. This service is tailored to streamline business operations, ensuring efficiency and consistency across the board. For an average price of $2,500, clients gain access to a proven framework for managing their day-to-day operations, significantly reducing the learning curve and operational risks associated with new business ventures.

Understanding the importance of human capital in the success of any franchise, BrandExpand Ventures places a high emphasis on Training and Support. For an average cost of $3,000, franchisees receive in-depth training programs covering all aspects of the business, from operational to customer service excellence. This is complemented by ongoing support to ensure franchisees can navigate challenges and capitalize on opportunities effectively.

Marketing and Advertising Support is another critical service offered, designed to help franchises attract and retain customers. With an average investment of $4,000, clients benefit from expertly crafted marketing strategies and materials, ensuring their business stands out in a competitive marketplace. This support extends to both digital and traditional advertising channels, maximizing reach and impact.

Finally, Exclusive Territories are a valuable asset offered by BrandExpand Ventures, ensuring franchisees can operate without direct competition from the same brand within a designated area. This exclusivity is available for an average price of $10,000, providing a clear path to market dominance in their local area.

In summary, BrandExpand Ventures presents a compelling value proposition for entrepreneurs looking to leverage the power of franchising. With a focus on brand strength, operational excellence, comprehensive training, marketing support, and territorial exclusivity, it offers a solid foundation for business success. Each of these services is priced competitively, ensuring clients can access the tools and resources needed to thrive in today’s dynamic business environment.

Promotions Plan

BrandExpand Ventures embarks on a strategic promotional journey to captivate and engage customers in Louisville, KY. The cornerstone of their promotional efforts lies in leveraging online marketing, a powerful tool that ensures widespread visibility and engagement. Through meticulously crafted social media campaigns, BrandExpand Ventures will reach potential customers on platforms where they spend a considerable amount of their time. Engaging content, paired with targeted ads, will drive traffic to their website and physical locations, effectively converting online interest into real-world patronage.

Moreover, BrandExpand Ventures will harness the power of email marketing. By building a robust email list, they will keep their audience informed and engaged with regular updates, exclusive offers, and valuable content tailored to their interests and needs. This direct line of communication will foster a sense of community and loyalty among their customer base.

Understanding the significant impact of local SEO, BrandExpand Ventures will optimize their online presence to ensure they appear at the top of search results when potential customers in Louisville search for relevant services. This will not only increase visibility but also drive higher quality traffic to their website, significantly enhancing the likelihood of conversion.

In addition to online marketing efforts, BrandExpand Ventures will engage in community events and partnerships. Participating in local events, sponsoring community activities, and collaborating with other local businesses will build brand awareness and establish a strong, positive presence within the community. This approach not only attracts new customers but also reinforces loyalty among existing ones.

To complement these efforts, BrandExpand Ventures will implement a referral program. Encouraging satisfied customers to refer friends and family by offering them incentives will create a powerful word-of-mouth marketing channel that can significantly amplify their reach and credibility.

Lastly, exceptional customer service will be a pivotal promotional method. By ensuring that every customer interaction is positive, BrandExpand Ventures will foster an environment where customers feel valued and appreciated. This will not only encourage repeat business but will also lead to positive reviews and recommendations, further enhancing their reputation and appeal.

In conclusion, BrandExpand Ventures will utilize a comprehensive blend of online marketing, community engagement, referral programs, and outstanding customer service to attract and retain customers in Louisville, KY. These strategic promotional efforts will establish a strong, loyal customer base and set the stage for long-term success.

Our Operations Plan details:

  • The key day-to-day processes that our business performs to serve our customers
  • The key business milestones that our company expects to accomplish as we grow

Key Operational Processes

To ensure the success of BrandExpand Ventures, there are several key day-to-day operational processes that we will perform.

  • Monitor and manage inventory levels to ensure that we always have the necessary products in stock to meet customer demand without overstocking.
  • Conduct daily financial transactions accurately, including processing sales, managing expenses, and ensuring all financial activities are recorded for future analysis and tax purposes.
  • Implement stringent quality control measures to ensure that all products and services meet the high standards our customers expect from us.
  • Engage in continuous staff training and development to ensure our team members are knowledgeable, efficient, and capable of delivering exceptional customer service.
  • Utilize effective marketing strategies to attract new customers and retain existing ones, including social media marketing, email campaigns, and local advertising.
  • Regularly communicate with the franchise headquarters to stay updated on any changes in operational procedures, marketing strategies, or product offerings.
  • Monitor customer feedback through various channels, such as online reviews and in-person comments, to identify areas for improvement and implement changes accordingly.
  • Maintain a clean and welcoming store environment that encourages customers to return.
  • Ensure compliance with all local, state, and federal regulations that affect our operations, including health and safety standards.
  • Optimize operational processes through the use of technology, such as inventory management software and customer relationship management (CRM) systems, to increase efficiency and reduce errors.

BrandExpand Ventures expects to complete the following milestones in the coming months in order to ensure its success:

  • Secure a prime location in Louisville, KY : Identifying and securing a lease or purchase for a prime location that is accessible and appealing to our target market. This also involves ensuring the site matches our brand’s image and operational needs.
  • Obtain necessary permits and licenses : Completing all legal requirements including health, safety, and business operation permits. This also includes any specific franchise operation licenses that are necessary to legally operate in Louisville, KY.
  • Build out and customize the franchise location : Conducting renovations and outfitting the franchise location to meet BrandExpand’s brand standards and operational requirements. This includes both the customer-facing areas and the back-end operational spaces.
  • Develop and implement a local marketing strategy : Crafting a marketing plan that includes pre-launch buzz, grand opening promotions, and ongoing marketing efforts to build brand awareness and attract customers in the Louisville area.
  • Hire and train staff : Recruiting a team that aligns with the brand’s culture and values, and providing comprehensive training to ensure high levels of service and operational efficiency from day one.
  • Launch our franchise business : Officially opening the doors to customers with a well-publicized grand opening event. This marks the transition from the planning and preparation phase to operational business.
  • Establish operational efficiencies : Fine-tuning operations to manage costs effectively, ensuring a smooth customer experience, and maintaining quality control across all aspects of the business.
  • Build a loyal customer base : Implementing customer relationship management (CRM) strategies to retain customers, encourage repeat business, and generate positive word-of-mouth.
  • Get to $15,000/month in revenue : Achieving this revenue milestone to prove the business model’s viability in the local market and setting the stage for further growth and possibly future expansion.
  • Evaluate and plan for scalability : Assessing the business’s performance and potential for scaling up operations or opening additional locations in Louisville, KY, or beyond, based on demand, operational capacity, and financial health.

BrandExpand Ventures management team, which includes the following members, has the experience and expertise to successfully execute on our business plan:

Samuel Adams, President

With a robust track record of entrepreneurial success, Samuel Adams brings a wealth of experience to BrandExpand Ventures as its President. Adams has previously demonstrated his business acumen by efficiently running a franchise business, where he honed his skills in operations, leadership, and strategic planning. His expertise in scaling businesses and driving operational excellence makes him an invaluable asset to BrandExpand Ventures. Adams’ proven ability to lead businesses to success positions him as a cornerstone of the management team, guiding the company towards achieving its mission of sustainable growth and innovation.

Financial Plan

BrandExpand Ventures requires $297,000 in funding to achieve our growth objectives. This funding will be allocated towards capital investments such as location buildout, furniture, equipment, and technology, as well as non-capital investments including working capital, initial rent, staff salaries, marketing, supplies, and insurance. With this financial plan in place, we are confident in our ability to reach our goals and establish a successful franchise in Louisville, KY.

Financial Statements

Balance sheet.

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Income Statement

[insert income statement]

Cash Flow Statement

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COMMENTS

  1. Operational Analysis

    Operational analysis regards the initial analysis of what operational aspects are required to carry on the business. This is essential for determining the feasibility of a business idea. An idea may have potential many aspects, but the operational aspects are not feasible.

  2. Learn how to do operational planning the right way

    An operational plan will include action items and milestones that each team or department needs to complete in order to execute your strategic plan. During the operational planning process, outline each team or person's responsibilities for the next quarter, six months, or fiscal year.

  3. Operational Planning: How to Make an Operations Plan

    Operational planning is the process of turning strategic plans into action plans, which simply means breaking down high-level strategic goals and activities into smaller, actionable steps.

  4. 10+ Operational Planning Examples to Fulfill your Strategic Goals

    A business operational plan is a comprehensive document that elucidates the specific day-to-day activities of a company. It presents a detailed overview of the company's organizational structure, management team, products or services and the underlying marketing and sales strategies.

  5. Business Plan

    A business plan is a document that contains the operational and financial plan of a business, and details how its objectives will be achieved. It serves as a road map for the business and can be used when pitching investors or financial institutions for debt or equity financing.

  6. Write your business plan

    Executive summary Briefly tell your reader what your company is and why it will be successful. Include your mission statement, your product or service, and basic information about your company's leadership team, employees, and location. You should also include financial information and high-level growth plans if you plan to ask for financing.

  7. How to Create a Business Operations Plan

    An operational plan outlines the steps you'll take to complete your business mission. Your operations plan should be able to answer the following: Who - The personnel or departments who are in charge of completing specific tasks. What - A description of what each department is responsible for.

  8. Operational Plan: Everything You Need To Know (2024 Guide)

    An operational plan is action and detail-oriented; it needs to focus on short-term strategy execution and outline an organization's day-to-day operations. If your operations strategy is a promise, your operational plan is the action plan for how you will deliver on it every day, week, and month. Put simply, an operational plan helps you bridge ...

  9. How to Create an Operations Plan: Business Planning

    An operations plan is the outline of capital requirements you will need to execute daily functions. A well-defined operational plan section of your business plan should be able to answer the following questions: Who is responsible for a specific task or department? What are the tasks that need to be completed?

  10. Operational Planning: How to Make an Operational Plan

    Clearly define the ultimate vision or objective for the plan. Review and break down the smaller goals for the operating budget, team, and resources required to put the plan into action. Assign budgets, team members, key stakeholders, and resources. Monitor progress with consistent reports. Refine the operational plan and be ready to pivot if ...

  11. What Is Business Operations Analysis?

    Business operations analysis (BOA) is a strategy designed to determine if the general operational structure of a business is in harmony with the business plan adopted and supported by the company. The idea behind this type of analysis is to determine if the operation is actually organized in a manner that complies with terms of the business plan and is helping the company achieve its goals.

  12. How To Write the Operations Plan Section of the Business Plan

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  13. A Small Business Guide to Operational Planning

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  14. Operations Strategy: 5 Key Elements of an Operations Strategy

    Business Operations Strategy: 5 Key Elements of an Operations Strategy Written by MasterClass Last updated: Dec 17, 2021 • 3 min read Learn how businesses use operations strategies to identify and implement cost-effective processes for creating and distributing products and services.

  15. How To Write A Business Plan (2024 Guide)

    Describe Your Services or Products. The business plan should have a section that explains the services or products that you're offering. This is the part where you can also describe how they fit ...

  16. Free Operational Plan Templates

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  17. Operational Analytics: Implementation, Best Practices and ...

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  18. 11.4 The Business Plan

    The business planning process includes the business model, a feasibility analysis, and a full business plan, which we will discuss later in this section. Next, we explore how a business plan can meet several different needs. Purposes of a Business Plan. A business plan can serve many different purposes—some internal, others external.

  19. Business plan vs. Strategic plan vs. Operational plan (2023)

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  20. Operational Analysis

    The business operational analysis comprises operational analysis techniques and self-assessment techniques that look at business processes and performance. This approach compares past business performance with current business performance.

  21. How To Do a Business Plan Analysis

    Here are some tips on how to perform an accurate business plan analysis: 1. Look for a good business plan structure. The first thing to look for in a good business plan is the structure of the business plan. As an investor or owner, you'll want the business plan to include the following: Executive summary.

  22. What is Strategic Planning? A 5-Step Guide [2024] • Asana

    Strategic planning is a business process that helps you define and share the direction your company will take in the next three to five years. During the strategic planning process, stakeholders review and define the organization's mission and goals, conduct competitive assessments, and identify company goals and objectives.

  23. How to Write a Market Analysis for a Business Plan

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  24. Sample Franchise Business Plan

    Operations Plan. Our Operations Plan details: The key day-to-day processes that our business performs to serve our customers; The key business milestones that our company expects to accomplish as we grow; Key Operational Processes. To ensure the success of BrandExpand Ventures, there are several key day-to-day operational processes that we will ...