Everything You Need to Know About Small Business Operations
Business operations are key to finding your rhythm as a start-up or small business. From production to managing payroll, these everyday tasks can seem daunting for every business owner.
An operations plan is helpful for investors, but it’s also helpful for you and your employees. Having a solid foundation of operating practices can make running a company easier and ensure business continuity in case of unexpected events.
What is “business operations” and why does your company need it? We take a look at what setting up your company for successful operation entails.
What does Operations Mean in a Business?
Business operations refer to the tasks and activities that a business undertakes so that it runs efficiently and increases in value and earns a profit. This includes both the daily activities and inner workings.
In any operations definition, business model execution through optimization of these activities is the goal. Business operations typically include business location, equipment and tools, human resources, and business process. The importance of each area depends on the nature of your business.
Building Small Business Operations
If you plan to start a company it is critical to define operation practices intentionally and clearly if you want it to be successful. These are the items and steps to include as you come up with an operations plan.
- Goals and Objectives
What does operation mean for your business? Stating your company’s operational goal will give you a clear objective and goal for everyone to work towards. Remember that your operational objective is not your company’s overall objective, rather, it is the way you intend to reach this objective.
- Production Process
With your objectives on hand, the next step is to come up with a plan of how you will meet them. To do this you will have to outline the resources you need. This depends on the nature of your company, but most businesses normally depend on resources such as budgets, suppliers, equipment, and others.
Creating a timeline for different milestones will help maintain efficiency in reaching your operational goals. Determine when you should make new hires, production timelines, and market and financial milestones.
Examples of Small Business Operations
Business operations vary according to industries and business nature. Benchmarking against similar businesses can provide additional guidance if you are trying to optimize operations in your business. Some examples across industries include:
What is the role of operations in a business doing retail? Successful business operations in this industry means maintenance of an efficient inventory system, stocking items that are popular with customers while reducing deadstock, negotiating friendly credit terms with suppliers, responding to customer complaints efficiently, among other things.
The service industry is one of the most precarious in terms of business operations. In a restaurant, for instance, managing operations entails purchasing and preparation of food, managing staff, inventory and menus, and ensuring a great customer experience for your patrons.
Much of a technology company lies in its talent, thus operations in the technology industry will involve actions such as hiring and training staff, ensuring collaboration through tools, and in some cases, customer interactions.
How to Optimize Small Business Operations
The following are some simple ways that small businesses can improve business operations.
- Measure Performance
As mentioned earlier, having milestones to measure company performance can help to keep you focused on the larger picture and is a good tracking measure for efficiency. Failing to meet your milestones can also help you know when you should do a re-evaluation of your processes.
- Streamline Processes
As a business owner, you should constantly be looking for ways to increase efficiency in your business. This could mean anything from using new tools and equipment to ease processes to hiring or letting go of staff where necessary.
- Solicit Team Feedback
Your team will spot things you might have missed, and getting regular feedback from people on the ground will help ensure most inefficiencies are addressed and no opportunities are missed.
- Document Processes
Clear documentation of how your business operates will not only help to reduce miscommunication, it also makes it easier for you to orientate new hires.
- Make Decisions Using Data
Data-driven decision making takes the guesswork out of your operations by helping you maintain an objective view of how efficient your operations are. Digital tools for processes such as accounting, business marketing, and inventory management often come with analytics features, which will save you both time and money.
Hopefully, this article answers your questions of, “What is operation and how does it apply to my small business?” As a small business owner, you need to look for ways to optimize your operations. L3 Funding can help you get the small business working capital you need to capitalize on operations opportunities. Talk to us to learn more about our fast and simple merchant funding services and solutions.