If you’re sailing your boat without a rudder, you’re going to lose control when the water gets rough. A growing business needs a sound operations plan to survive.
On my first day as a small-town newspaper editor, the publisher handed me a book of procedures. It explained my deadlines, the stories he liked and the ones he didn’t want to see, how to deal with the columnists, how to operate the fax machine, how to answer the telephone, how to lay out the copy and how to get the storyboards to the printer every Tuesday by midnight. I scanned it quickly, but never consulted the book again because I was too busy just trying to get the paper done every week. I made a lot of mistakes early in that job because I didn’t pay attention to these carefully crafted processes in the first place. Sound familiar?
Many small businesses are running at the speed of light, grappling with prospecting, helping customers, tweaking product mixes and pricing, updating the website, managing employees and paying their bills. With social media, there are even more tasks to handle on a daily basis. But wait: What about the big picture?
Writing the book on operations
Most growing companies will benefit from developing an actionable operations plan. This is a document, updated frequently, that details the company’s goals, strategies and processes.
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