e-Business Plan: Operations
Beginning with the operations section, the scope of the business plan changes. Previous sections
of the business plan, especially mission statement, value proposition, target markets, and
competitive positioning, mostly focused on the strategic aspects of developing your business and
writing the business plan. Although we couldn't do the hard work of writing the business plan
itself, previous lessons have provided specific guidelines and assignments to help you do so.
In the operations section and financial statements section that follows, the scope of the business
plan changes from the strategic to the operational. This change makes it more difficult to specify
exactly what needs to be included in the operations section (or "operations plan") because many
of the operational details depend on the nature of the business itself. For example:
Will the company be business-to-consumer or business-to-business?
Will the business manufacture a product, deliver a service, broker information, offer
goods for sale, or distribute goods for others?
Will the business offer one product or service, or a range of products and services?
Will the company have a bricks-and-mortar presence, or sell strictly over the Web?
Will the firm be a large company, a medium-sized enterprise, or a small business?
All these factors, and more, directly impact the specification of the operations plan. In fact, one
how-to-write-a-business-plan book lists 198 questions companies should consider in business
location, operating facilities, purchasing procedures, inventory management, quality control,
customer service, organizational structure, and personnel. It is beyond the scope of this lesson to
attempt to list, much less answer, those 198 questions for you.
Accordingly, the first part of this lesson moves away from a step-by-step approach of writing a
business plan. Instead a more general, descriptive approach is taken of what should be in the
operations section, leaving it up to you to use the resources in the
Top Ten Resources for Writing
an e-Business Plan
and guidance from your instructor to develop an operations plan with the
detail required for your course assignment.
The second part of the lesson, establishing a Web presence, returns to the standard lesson format.
Instructions are provided for considering three operational aspects that each e-business will have
to face: Web site hosting, Web site development, and selecting a domain name.
The lesson outline is:
Writing an Operations Plan
--What is operations?
--Should operations be in a business plan?
Content of the Operations Plan
--Operating facilities and equipment
--Production and operating procedures
--Inventory management procedures