Monday, June 7, 2010

Operations plan for your small business

Last time we talked about the value of preparing a business plan for your small business. We focused on identifying your target market and determining how your product/service is different from your competitors. This week we are going to talk about operations and how to insure your small business can run smoothly at start-up and as it grows.

Many small businesses begin as a one person shop which means the owner tries to do it all. This is often dictated by the amount of working capital available but it can also be a good idea to insure that the owner knows how he/she wants each job performed. Doing all the work yourself allows you to determine what skills will be needed when you get the point where you will hire employees.

One drawback of doing everything yourself is finding the time. We recommend charting out all the tasks that need to be accomplished in your business and then assigning a time: daily, weekly, monthly, etc. We also believe every business should use a calendar and create set times to accomplish these tasks. Pick the times you feel the strongest to get those jobs which you find distasteful done: bookkeeping, collections, bill paying.

We also recommend writing job descriptions for all the tasks you are performing. This allows to get everything on paper and really think about how things should be done. The act of writing out the jobs can help you streamline and gets the work done as efficiently as possible. It also allows you to be ready to hire employees and train them much more quickly.

Setting your business up with a good operations infrastructure will make running your business easier and more fun! Any suggestions out there as to techniques which have worked well in your business?

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