Below is a list of additional elements of an operational plan.
After developing the value chain of activity necessary to carry out your business function, you will need to apply these operations to a timeline. The timeline allows you to account for the increase in activity and additional activities that arise as the company grows larger. The timeline should allocate additional resources at key junctures in the growth cycle of the business. The rapid-growth objectives of the startup generally requires large percentage increases in resource allocation early in the life of the business.
Who is going to fulfill the given operational activity at any point in the business life? Here, you will need to account for the necessary hiring process and growth of the business team (partners or employees). This process should account for the necessary personnel to carry out all of the primary and secondary operational activities of the business. As the business develops it will require more personnel with more specified roles. You will need to account for the personnel and growth requirements at each stage of the business.
The budget is the final portion of the operations plan. The operational budget is of primary importance when later developing the business financials. Developing the budget can be a tedious process. You will need to ascribe some level of cost (generally a liberal assessment) to the individual functions of the operations plan. These costs, collectively, make up the total cost of operations and will be matched against the revenue producing functions in the financials. Again, as functions within the business become more specialized, you will become increasingly detailed in your budget development. The main elements of the plan will correspond to the main components of the income statement:
Cost of Goods Sold
- Research and Development: This section includes projected dates for product release and assumptions about resources required for research.
- Costs and supply of Raw Materials – Account for the needs and supply mechanisms for raw materials at various stages of the business life.
- Manufacturing Process – What necessary changes must take place in the manufacturing process? As the business grows, many of the operational processes may become automated or more stream-lined. The fixed costs may rise sharply early in the automation process, while the variable cost of goods produced declines.
Marketing and Sales
- What demand creation activities, including marketing programs, will the business undertake. What are the cost projections for these activities.
- Include the cost of product fulfillment, including sales model and sales productivity assumptions. This may include installation costs, cost of sales force, and commission fees.
- Logistics costs for distribution of product. This is any cost arising when transmitting the product from point the business to the customer. This may require warehousing and other shipping related costs.
- Include costs for all administrative activities and personnel. This will often involve human capital and technological resources. How will you track and retrieve customer sales information and problem reports. What will be the cost for the additional personnel, technology, and record retention.