An operational plan is an essential component to a business plan because it tells the reviewer how you plan to get your product/service out to market. All businesses need plans of operation with definitive time lines to accomplish goals and deadlines for reaching those goals. It should involve tracking the progress of sales, the development of employees and profits. It must be flexible. You create a business operational plan by defining several major goals that should be met within the next three years. Write a list of short-term goals needed to support each long-term goal, and then break the plan of action for each large goal into daily, weekly and monthly tasks. Assign ...view middle of the document...
What the reader thinks he knows (if anything) may not actually apply to your business. So, you need to explain everything a financier might want to know about it.
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Start with the basics: provide your business's legal name, operating name, contact information (address, phone number, fax number, website address, email address), and the name of at least one contact person. Also include the names of any owners other than yourself and the names of your lawyer, CPA and insurance agent, if applicable.
Next you must explain what, exactly, your business does. "We run a grocery store" is not as descriptive as "We run the only grocery store in the greaterSpringfield area that exclusively sells foods grown or produced within a 100-mile radius." The latter description not only explains that you are in the grocery business, but it also says why your business is unique and shows that it fills a potentially untapped market. Also include your mission statement, which should describe your company's purpose, values and goals.
Relate the problem your business solves for consumers, and state the facts you have gathered to support the existence of this problem. Be as specific as possible. For example, describe the limited availability of locally grown and produced foods for purchase despite the abundance of farmers and artisanal food producers in the area. Describe the demand for these products and how your business would make them accessible and affordable.
Define the industry that your business belongs to, the major characteristics of that industry, and the major existing players in that industry. Where do their strengths and weaknesses lie? How will your business be able to compete with their strengths and improve on their weaknesses?
Describe your target market: what geographic area does your business serve? What are the demographics of the customers you intend to reach? What are the psychographics of your target customers? (Psychographic characteristics include purchasing motivations, lifestyles and values.)
When and how was your company formed? Provide a brief history of your company, lay out how your business is operated and outline its key players. Then explain how your firm operates. What are the steps it takes to bring its product or service to market? Are there unique characteristics of the way your company does this that gives it a competitive advantage? For example, Wal-Mart's highly efficient distribution system is one of the main factors that helps the company undercut its competitors' costs. Specify how your company sells its product or service and what quality control and customer service measures you use to make sure customers are satisfied. (Find out how VC firms make the market go round, and round, and round. See Cashing In On The Venture Capital Cycle.)
How do your firm's products or services fit into their industry, and how to they interact with market...