Whether you’re thinking of starting a business or you already are a business owner with an established company, you’ve probably heard the term business operations floating around. But you may not fully know what it means, and that’s alright. We’re going to discuss it with you here.
What Are Business Operations, and What do They Entail?
The original use of the term operations as it pertained to businesses came from companies that manufactured physical goods. The times have changed, though, and the definition has expanded and broadened.
Your company can succeed or fail based on the efficiency of your business operations. Value increases in what your company is worth are based primarily on how well the business stands to do financially. This is determined by dividends, interest, generated income and profits, and cost balances. The more consistently your business generates a profit, the more valuable it becomes.
Be ready to invest time, money, and effort into your products and services. Properly assess the market and keep attention on trends, and adapt accordingly. With the right high demands, especially if they’re focused on demands your company produces, you can afford the investments necessary.
In short, business operations help you to maintain and grow your business based on several factors, and if your productivity is in line with consumer demands, you will truly find success.
What Guidelines Are There For Operations in a Company?
Business processes and strategies can change frequently depending on the market dictating them. What doesn’t change is the guidelines your business should follow if you want it to grow and prosper. Some of these guidelines include:
- Start by building a strong foundation. Collaborate and work with people that share the same goals and dedication for success that you do.
- Aim for transparency from the start. Strong communication between departments and a lack of secrets will lower errors, distrust, and mishaps or mistakes.
- Choose the right people for the tasks at hand and be open to delegations. Remember that different people possess unique qualities that could benefit your business in different ways.
- Utilize gathered data and proven tactics. Practice caution if you plan for the future, as trends within any market can change quickly. Be adaptable and ready to shit focuses based on data you’ve collected and reasonable interpretations. This can limit or eliminate certain variables in your business model and will help streamline things.
- Even while practicing caution for the future, you should establish long-term goals and plans. Changes in external factors out of your control can often be anticipated with proper foresight and care during planning. This will guarantee both survival and eventual growth.
- No matter what kind of business you run, customer service should not be overlooked or underappreciated. All businesses rely on their customers and should keep in mind not to ignore or underestimate them.
- Be open to receiving feedback and suggestions from your team, managers, and employees. It’s easy as a founder or CEO to lose track of your core values and operations, and that can be dangerous when it comes to making decisions that will affect day-to-day operations.
Using these guidelines as a basis, you should be able to ensure the success of your business no matter what market category it falls under.
Functions of and Improving Business Operations
Operations for a majority of businesses focus on the following four key elements:
Business operations should include thorough documentation. Different departments should have their own documentation, which will help management see specific areas that need improvement or consolidation.
Process documentation helps to determine staffing needs for your business. You can see where you need what kind of people, and what sorts of tasks they should be entrusted with. The size of your company will also help to determine staffing needs, such as whether or not you need specialists.
This may or may not be important to your specific business based on the kind of business you’re running. The reasons for your location may vary. Restaurants won’t thrive in a location that’s better suited for a manufacturing plant, for example.
4. Equipment and Technology
Your business may have equipment or technology that will affect your choice in location. If you’re operating a cleaning service, you won’t need a storefront business at the heart of a downtown metro area – you’ll need a storage unit or garage and an office, at most. If you’re running a bakery, you may want an area for your customers to sit and enjoy your goods, or you may want to focus on producing and delivering your items.
Also, you should keep the following in mind for maintaining and improving the functions of your business operations:
- Maintain effective communication across the board and strive for consistency or improvement
- Provide coaching, tutoring, and mentoring to your management team directly to ensure they can properly guide the employees in their teams
- Audit and reformat processes as needed
- Third-party suppliers and cooperative entities should be monitored and guided where needed with diligence.
- Establish balances between departments, groups, and teams to maximize performance
- Both the budget and planning processes should be managed at a department level first to optimize strategies moving forward
- Perform frequent, regularly-scheduled contract reviews to ensure compliance with your suppliers as well as your employees
Business Operations for Restaurants
Food-based businesses, such as restaurants, delis, bakeries and more, have more challenges than the average business when it comes to operations. This is primarily due to problems with inventory.
Most of the product in restaurants and other food-based businesses is perishable. Additionally, operations do not just apply to the food items of these businesses. You have to worry about beverages, fluctuating seasonal food costs, preparation, and labor. On top of that, you have to worry about customer service and experiences.
If you’re hoping to streamline the business operations of a food-focused business, you should start by signing contracts with some of your primary suppliers. This could reduce cost fluctuations, especially if you purchase locally. You can also improve on the organization of your walk-in fridge, and schedule refreshing seminars for your staff about customer service practices.
It’s a good idea to assign your managers to these tasks. With such a large range of possibilities, as those were only a few options, you would be quickly overwhelmed trying to do it all yourself.
Business Operations for Service Companies
Service companies are rather unique, in that their operations can be divided into two primary categories. These are client-facing and business-focused, and this mindset applies to hotels and other service-based businesses.
Sit with your staff and management team and discuss how client interactions happen every day. Client interactions are key to half of the equation of operations for service companies. What could make the experience better for not only your staff but the clients and customers as well?
Consider the current processes that you, your staff, and your company use for communication, collaboration, and project management. Think about how they affect your offered services. Figure out how to better anticipate the concerns in the future, or eliminate them entirely.
What works on paper may not always be what works in the real world. Proper practices with business operations help to bridge the gap between the two. They will help you to make the right decisions and be prepared for shifts in the market, emergencies, and more. Following this guide will help to ensure that your business is successful.