When the world is in turmoil and many companies suddenly find themselves at risk, an operating plan can help a firm face the future with more certainty. Sometimes referred to as an action plan, this is a document that outlines the steps needed to reach a particular goal.
It exists to give clear direction and to cut down on chaos and wasted time and other vital resources when unforeseen difficulties should arise. Below are some guidelines for writing effective operating plans in a variety of situations.
Though you are describing prospective events that you cannot completely anticipate, it is still vital that you provide a thorough analysis of what is to be expected. You can do this by articulating your established objectives and values in doing business. Also, be thorough in your research prior to any emergencies, investigating what similar companies have done in like circumstances, incorporating ideas that worked well and discarding or improving upon those that did not.
It is essential that your plans contain writeups of different contingencies that can stem from one root scenario, much like a flowchart would do. In addition, it is far more beneficial to err on the side of providing too much data than to be lacking in information.
Include Instructions On Persons Involved
The responsibility for certain functions is going to fall on a particular unit or department, and this needs to be defined in terms of timeframe with a starting and ending point. If there is a chain of command to be activated, this must be explicitly stated, along with the specific actions that will trigger a move up to the senior employees. Units and departments must be identified along with contact information and other essential pertinents.
It is a well-known fact that oftentimes those in upper management are not completely privy to the inner workings of their firms, as they may be removed from these processes on a day-to-day basis. That said, it is expedient to talk to the various members of your staff to get a complete picture of how they interact with one another.
You’ll learn valuable insight on who is gifted in what capacities in order to put these strengths to use every day and when the time comes for swift action.
Routinely Assess Your KPIs
KPI stands for Key Performance Indicators, and this is typically done once a year. It helps you to see where growth is occurring and allows you to make changes going forward. This process informs you where your systems are and will enable you to evaluate where your baseline is in the face of unforeseen changes in the market.
When outside forces threaten to wreak havoc, you can very quickly determine how far off course you’ve gone and where it is you wish to go. Additionally, your operating plans will contain a roadmap for how to accomplish this.
Use Leading Indicators
Many enterprises make the mistake of just analyzing metrics that are past tense. This can spell trouble, as you won’t know until it’s too late that there is a problem in need of fixing. By projecting where your company is headed, you can avoid running into issues that give a fair amount of warning.
This will require that you track processes and their relationship to desirable outcomes. An example of this would be to compare your callbacks with eventual sales made to a client and working on a higher success rate in this area to better affect the bottom line.
Fidelman & Co. is there to walk alongside your business in these uncertain times, providing consulting with your finances and by helping you develop strategies for management. In addition, we use our trained eye and expert experience to assist you in the preparation of your presentation models, so you can make a great impression with potential investors and financial institutions. Contact us for more information, and we look forward to working with you.