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Blog Business

10+ Operational Planning Examples to Fulfill your Strategic Goals

By Danesh Ramuthi , Oct 25, 2023

Operational Planning Examples

An operational plan is a comprehensive, action-driven document that maps out how daily activities within an organization fuel the journey towards achieving strategic objectives.

Essentially acting as the nexus between high-level strategy and practical execution, this plan ensures that every department, from human resources to specific departments, operates in synchrony, aligning their day-to-day activities with the broader strategic goals.

By streamlining processes, it fosters cohesive efforts amongst diverse cross-functional teams, ensuring that both individual team members and entire departments work together harmoniously towards the company goals.

Ready to sculpt your organization’s future? Start your journey with venngage business plan maker and leverage their expertly crafted operational plan templates . 

Click to jump ahead: 

Why is an operational plan important?

10 operational plan examples, what should an operational plan include, how to write an operational plan.

  • Strategic plan vs operational plan: What is the difference? 

In summary 

An operational plan is crucial because it serves as a bridge between a company’s high-level strategic planning and its day-to-day activities, ensuring that the business operations align with the strategic goals. 

While a strategic plan provides a long-term vision, outlining the company’s objectives and goals to gain competitive advantages in the business environment, the operational plan outlines the specific actions, key elements and resource allocation required to achieve those objectives. 

For example, while the strategic plan might set a goal for revenue growth over the fiscal year, the operational plan provides a detailed roadmap, breaking down major projects, assigning responsibilities to individual team members or specific departments and setting key performance indicators to monitor progress and ensure the entire organization works together effectively.

Operational planning, in essence, transforms the strategic objectives into actionable plans, ensuring that the entire team, from department heads to diverse cross-functional teams, is aligned and works in tandem to support revenue growth, increase productivity, and achieve the desired outcomes. 

Operational plans, through a well-structured operational planning process, also provide a clear understanding of the day-to-day activities, allowing team members to know their roles, leading to better collaboration and synergy. 

Moreover, by having clear operational plan examples or templates, businesses can ensure realistic expectations, manage their operating budget effectively and track progress through key performance metrics, thus ensuring that the company stays on course to realize its long-term vision.

Operational plans play a pivotal role in the business landscape, bridging the gap between strategic vision and tangible actions. They translate the overarching goals of an organization into detailed procedures, ensuring that daily operations are in line with the desired strategic outcomes. 

In the section below, I will explore a few operational plan examples, shedding light on their structure and importance.

Business operational plan example

A business operational plan is a comprehensive document that elucidates the specific day-to-day activities of a company. It presents a detailed overview of the company’s organizational structure, management team, products or services and the underlying marketing and sales strategies. 

For businesses, irrespective of their size, an operational plan can prove invaluable. By laying down the business goals and objectives, it acts as a blueprint, guiding entrepreneurs through the creation and implementation of strategies and action plans. The planning process also incorporates mechanisms to track progress and performance. 

Additionally, for startups or companies looking to scale, a meticulously crafted operational plan can be pivotal in securing funds from potential investors and lenders.

Business Operational Plan Template

Layered on this are details about the company’s organizational structure, its products or services and its marketing and sales strategies. 

The document also delineates the roles and responsibilities of each team member, especially the management and key personnel. Given the dynamic nature of the business environment, it is imperative to revisit and update the operational plan regularly.

Related: 15+ Business Plan Templates for Strategic Planning

Simple operational plan example

A simple operational plan, often used by startups or smaller enterprises, emphasizes the basics, ensuring that the fundamental aspects of the business operations are captured succinctly. While it might not delve into the intricacies of every operation, it provides an overview of day-to-day activities, highlighting the goals and objectives the business aims to achieve in the short term.

Green Sage Simple Clean Yellow Operational Plan

In essence, this plan revolves around core elements like the company’s main objectives for the fiscal year, key responsibilities assigned to individual team members and basic resource allocation. A straightforward market analysis might also be included, offering insights into customer needs and competitive advantages the business hopes to leverage.

Simple Clean Yellow Operational Plan

Though simple, this operational plan example remains pivotal for the organization. It provides a roadmap, guiding team members through their daily responsibilities while ensuring that everyone is working together towards shared goals. It becomes especially essential for diverse cross-functional teams, where clarity of roles can lead to increased productivity.

Colorful Shape Simple Operational Plan

Modern operational plan example

In today’s fast-paced business environment, the emphasis on efficiency and innovative processes is paramount. The modern operational plan example caters precisely to this demand. Ideal for organizations aiming to streamline processes and highlight workflow, this type of operational plan emphasizes a more dynamic approach to planning. 

Modern Clean Orange Operational Plan

It not only reflects the evolving nature of business operations but also provides a modern backdrop for content, ensuring that the presentation resonates with the current trends and technological advancements. The use of modern tools and platforms within this plan enables diverse cross-functional teams to work together seamlessly, ensuring that day-to-day activities are synchronized with the company’s long-term vision.

Clean Modern Shape Operational Plan

Furthermore, such an operational plan helps the entire organization stay agile, adapting rapidly to changes in the business environment and ensuring alignment with strategic goals.

Minimalist operational plan example

The minimalist operational plan example champions simplicity and clarity. By focusing on clear and concise business strategies, it eliminates any potential ambiguity, ensuring that team members and stakeholders have an unclouded understanding of the company’s objectives and goals. 

Simple Minimalist Operational Plan

The minimalist design not only promotes easy comprehension but also aligns with the modern trend of decluttering, ensuring that only the most vital components of the operational planning process are highlighted. 

This approach leaves no room for confusion, streamlining the planning process and making sure that individual team members and departments are aligned with the business’s key objectives. 

White Clean Lines Minimalist Operational Plan

Moreover, the flexibility offered by a minimalist design allows businesses to craft an operational plan template that is not only functional but also accurately reflects their brand image and core values, ensuring cohesion across all aspects of the business strategy.

Blue And Orange Minimalist Modern Operational Plan

Clean operational plan example

The clean operational plan example stands as a testament to this principle. Ideal for businesses that prioritize clarity and directness, this format seeks to convey goals and strategies without overwhelming stakeholders. 

While maintaining a neat and organized layout, it ensures that tasks are managed effectively, helping team members grasp their roles and responsibilities without getting lost in excessive details.

Pink Retro Clean Operational Plan

One of the primary advantages of a clean operational plan is its ability to eliminate distractions and focus solely on the critical aspects of operational planning. 

Such a design aids in making sure that diverse cross-functional teams can work together harmoniously ensuring that day-to-day activities align seamlessly with the company’s long-term vision. 

The simplicity of the clean operational plan not only supports revenue growth by ensuring efficiency but also reinforces the company’s strategic goals, making it an excellent tool in the arsenal of businesses that believe in clear communication and precise execution.  

An effective operational plan acts as a roadmap, directing how resources should be allocated and tasks should be performed to meet the company’s objectives. Here’s what a comprehensive operational plan should encompass:

  • Goals and objectives : Whether short-term or long-term, the operational plan should define clear goals and objectives that align with the company’s strategic plan. This gives direction to the entire organization, ensuring everyone is working towards a common aim.
  • Clear responsibilities for team members : It’s essential that team members understand their roles within the operational plan. By outlining who is responsible for what, the plan ensures that there are no overlaps or gaps in duties and that everyone has clarity on their day-to-day activities.
  • Assigned tasks: Alongside responsibilities, specific tasks need to be allocated to individual team members or specific departments. This granularity in assignment ensures that every aspect of the operational plan is covered.
  • Timeline: This provides a clear schedule for when each task or objective should start and finish. A well-defined timeline assists in monitoring progress and ensures that the plan stays on track.
  • Budget and resources : Every operational plan needs to factor in the budget and resources available. This includes everything from the operating budget to human resources, ensuring that the business has everything it needs to execute the plan effectively.

Read Also: 6 Steps to Create a Strategic HR Plan [With Templates]

As businesses evolve, it’s essential to have a comprehensive and adaptive operational plan in place to navigate the complexities of the business environment. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you craft an effective operational plan:

Step 1: Define your goals and objectives

Begin with a clear understanding of your strategic goals and objectives. This will act as a foundation for your operational plan. Ensure that these goals are in alignment with your company’s strategic plan and provide both short-term and long-term visions for the business.

Step 2: Determine roles and responsibilities

Identify the key stakeholders, department heads and team members who will play pivotal roles in executing the plan. Assign responsibilities to ensure that everyone knows their part in the planning process and day-to-day activities.

Step 3: Develop a timeline and milestones

Establish a clear timeline that breaks down the operational planning process. Include key milestones to track progress and ensure the plan remains on target.

Step 4: Allocate budget and resources

Determine the resources required to achieve your goals and objectives. This includes estimating the operating budget, identifying human resources needs and other resource allocations, ensuring you have everything in place to support revenue growth and other business needs.

Step 5: Outline day-to-day operations

Detail the day activities that are integral to the business operations. This will provide clarity on how different tasks and functions work together, ensuring efficiency across diverse cross-functional teams.

Step 6: Monitor and measure performance

Integrate key performance metrics and indicators to regularly monitor progress. Using both leading and lagging indicators will provide a comprehensive view of how well the operational plan is being executed and where improvements can be made.

Step 7: Review and adjust regularly

The business environment is dynamic and as such, your operational plan should be adaptable. Regularly review the plan, comparing actual outcomes with desired outcomes and adjust as necessary to account for changes in the business environment or company goals.

Step 8: Document and communicate

Create an operational plan document, potentially using operational plan examples or an operational plan template for guidance. Ensure that the entire team, from individual team members to the entire organization, is informed and aligned with the plan.

Related: 7 Best Business Plan Software for 2023

Strategic plan vs operational plan: What is the difference?

When running an organization, both strategic and operational planning play pivotal roles in ensuring success. However, each has a distinct purpose, time horizon and scope. Here’s a breakdown of the differences between these two essential business plans:

  • Strategic plan : This plan sets the course for the organization’s future. It embodies the long-term vision and mission, detailing the objectives necessary to achieve it. The essence is how everyone, from C-suite executives to individual team members, collaborates towards realizing this vision.
  • Operational plan : This is the roadmap for the day-to-day activities of the organization. While the strategic plan looks at the bigger picture, the operational plan hones in on the tactics and execution. It is crafted to support organizational goals with a focus on short-term activities specific to departments or functions.

Time horizon :

  • Strategic plan : Long-term in nature, usually spanning three to five years.
  • Operational plan : Concentrates on the short-term, with plans laid out yearly, quarterly, or even monthly.

Modification and updates :

  • Strategic plan : This evolves over longer intervals, typically three to five years. There might be minor adjustments year over year based on changing business needs and the external business environment.
  • Operational plan : Due to its short-term focus, it requires frequent assessments. Plans might be adjusted yearly, quarterly or even monthly to ensure alignment with the strategic objectives and current business environment.

Created by :

  • Strategic plan : Crafted by the upper echelons of management – think CEO, CFO and other C-suite members.
  • Operational plan : These plans come to life through mid-level management and department heads, ensuring alignment with the broader strategic vision while catering to specific departmental needs.
  • Strategic plan : Broad in its outlook, it takes into account external factors like market trends, competition, customer needs and technological innovations.
  • Operational plan : This narrows down the focus to the internal workings of the organization. It revolves around technology in use, key performance indicators, budgeting, projects, tasks and the allocation of responsibilities among team members.

As we’ve traversed through the importance of operational planning to various operational plan examples, it becomes evident that having a detailed and efficient operational plan is pivotal. 

From the business-centric to the minimalist approach, every operational plan serves as the backbone, guiding team members and ensuring that day-to-day activities align with the long-term vision and strategic goals.

By knowing what should be included in these plans and how to craft them, businesses can navigate the complexities of their operational environment with greater confidence.

For those looking to refine their planning process or start from scratch, the world of digital tools has made it significantly easier. Venngage offers business plan maker and operational plan templates designed to simplify the process. 

Whether you need to create an operational plan or draft a business strategy, their intuitive platform can guide you every step of the way.

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How to create an operating plan: Examples with template

business operating plan sample

In today’s business environment, clear and consistent communication enables your team to have a shared understanding of the status and direction of your product. To this end, an operating plan collects your strategic objectives in one place, allowing everyone to grasp what they need to do, and how the product will remain successful.

How To Create An Operating Plan: Examples With Template

In this article you will learn what a product operating plan is, how it can help you achieve your objectives, and best practices for effectively implementing one within your project team.

What is an operating plan and why is it important for product managers?

A product operating plan is a document that outlines the strategic actions your team will take to achieve a specific goal. Most operating plans only cover a period of one to two years and serve a crucial role in the product development process . You can expect your operating plan to include budgets, resource allocation, timelines, and key performance indicators (KPIs).

The operating plan moves away from the big picture vantage point of vision and strategy, towards a more granular and tactical plan for the execution of product strategy.

The operating plan helps product managers assess the impact of changing business priorities and customer needs on the product roadmap . Product managers can use the operating plan as a tool to factor in and communicate changes across the organization, allowing the product development process to remain agile.

What goes into an operating plan?

An operating plan seeks to outline your product strategy to guide decisions and deliver on your stated goals. The operating plan comprises of the following:

  • Product goals and objectives — Define the product goals and objectives based on your product vision. Objectives should have clear deadlines and measurable outcomes that align with the business strategy
  • Milestone based plan — Create a milestone oriented plan to map your goals and objectives that can be tracked and measured against target
  • Structure of team, budget, resource, and timeline — Design your team, resources for the project, and budget allocation in order to work on the scope of the project and adhere to the milestones
  • Product metrics to measure progress — Identify and create the product metrics which can be used to measure the success of the product once it goes live to customers
  • Status check and interactive corrections — Iterate to customer requirements and watch for opportunities to make changes to the product

How to develop an effective operating plan

To better understand what goes into an effective operating plan we will breakdown each step and discuss best practices for approaching the following:

Identifying the product goals and objectives

Aligning with the strategy and vision of the product, selecting and tracking the product metrics.

The product goals derive from the product vision and strategy. To define these you should:

  • Break your vision into executable tasks (include the ‘what’ and not the ‘how’)
  • Ensure consistency with the product vision
  • Make you have a way to measure success

In order to align with the product strategy and vision, one should:

  • Infuse the product strategy and vision into all the steps of the product life cycle
  • Align the product vision with customer and business needs, as well as the values and principles of the company
  • Check alignment and correct any deviations with the vision

Identifying and tracking the right metrics is key to the success of any product and therefore the product team. Below are the steps to identify and track the right product metrics:

  • Identify the goal of your business and business strategy
  • Ask the right questions to help determine which goals would help track the success of your product against the business goals
  • Assign metrics as acquisition, engagement, retention, revenue, or referral
  • Create a platform to visualize and track the metrics

Implementing and monitoring an operating plan

A product operating plan provides you with an instrument to ensure your product will deliver on the stated vision, strategy, and goals. However, the success of your operating plan depends upon your ability to manage and monitor it throughout the course of the product lifecycle. Proper management of the operating plan includes:

Tracking success

Adjusting and/or pivoting course, keeping stakeholders aligned.

You can measure the success of a product operating plan by developing product metrics which allow you to quantify and track the progress of the plan. Also, having a visual representation of the metrics allows you to make better interpretations and display your progress visually.

Product metrics let you determine whether a product operates to plan or not. When your team performs as planned, there’s no need for further adjustment.

However, when the team misses, or finds themselves falling short of the agreed upon target, you need to take corrective action and pivot course.

Here, corrective action could come from aligning or augmenting resources, changing the budget allocation, or moving around the tasks based on the dependencies in the plan.

Because the operating plan has many moving parts and stakeholders involved, you need to ensure that you have the buy-in from all the stakeholders involved.

The best practices for ensuring stakeholder buy-in include:

  • Communication — Constant and consistent communication with all stakeholders will allow all everyone to be on board and aligned with the operating plan
  • Transparency — Being transparent with all stakeholders in terms of progress updates and any challenges/roadblocks that crop up during the course of executing the operating plan will ensure all stakeholders are are able to provide their full support
  • Status updates — Providing status updates to leadership and obtaining regular status communication from other stakeholder teams will ensure everyone remains aware of the state of your product

Common challenges and how to overcome them

As with anything, challenges will arise while working with a product operating plan. Rather than allowing these to grow into a bigger problem, you should work to mitigate following issues before they impact the health of your product:

Lack of authority

Communication challenges, visibility restraints.

Similar to the product manager role, the product operations or operating plan team has to work without direct authority, or people management responsibilities. You should be aware of this while trying to push the team towards your deliverables and use the operating plan as an influencing tool.

Communication is key to maintaining the flow of delivery across the product lifecycle. Insufficient communication or communication gaps can result in teams and stakeholders missing out on necessary changes or tasks. These knowledge gaps could result in misalignment, which impacts the product delivery timelines, as well as the scope.

Since the product operations team is a level above the product management, the product operations team may have limited visibility of the roadmap, customer needs, or the technical architecture/design information.

business operating plan sample

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business operating plan sample

Operating plan example

Below is an example of an operating plan that provides an illustration of what the process might look like for you. The operating plan focuses on two main steps:

Product vision and strategy

Product operating plan components.

To provide a mobile based shopping experience for a retail grocery store shopper (in addition to in store shopping which is currently available)

Product goal(s):

  • Complete an end-to-end customer journey on a mobile app (viewing inventory by categories, adding to cart or wish list, checkout, and completing payment)
  • Seamless experience in terms of navigation on the site, as well as understanding the pricing and assortment to the mobile platform users
  • Additional benefits of the mobile shopping experience in terms of reordering items, mobile based return/refund for eligible items
  • Discuss the scope of work needed to deliver complete functionality in terms of the mobile shopping experience to the mobile platform users
  • Create the plan for delivering the identified scope (e.g., to have the first version of the mobile grocery shopping platform released to customer within the next six months)
  • Identify the data engineering needs to provide a seamless mobile platform experience for grocery shopping (e.g., identify what categories of products will be available for user selection in the first version of mobile application and how many concurrent users can shop on the platform)
  • Determine the structure of the team and resourcing needs to deliver to scope and planned timelines (e.g., scrum team would develop the mobile platform in terms of frontend and backend and user experience engineers)
  • Identify the success metrics for the product (e.g., how many users were activated on the mobile platform, how many users could complete one successful workflow of the mobile grocery shopping experience, or the time taken to complete a checkout in store checkout)

Operating plan template

To help you get started on your own operating plan, use this template . The template includes all the key parameters that need to be tracked and mobilized in order to make the product operating plan successful.

The product operating plan is a key component of the product development and delivery lifecycle. Having a product operating plan allows you to outline the tactical steps and ensure successful product delivery and tracking of your product.

The product operating plan also fosters alignment with the vision, stakeholder buy-in, and sets the product and the product organization up for success.

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Free Operational Plan Templates

By Andy Marker | July 11, 2022

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We’ve rounded up the most useful collection of free organizational plan templates to record and track the goals and resource needs of your business or organization. 

Included on this page, you’ll find a basic operational plan template , a nonprofit operational plan template , a three-year operational plan template , and a five-year operational plan template .

Basic Operational Plan Template

Basic Operational Plan Template

Download Basic Operational Plan Template Microsoft Excel | Microsoft Word  

Use this basic, customizable operational plan template to create a detailed roadmap for your organization. With this template, the path to reaching your goals will be clear to all stakeholders, and team members will know exactly what tasks need to be completed and when. 

Having efficient and clear processes in place is critical for reaching your organizational goals. Learn more in this guide to operational excellence principles .

Nonprofit Operational Plan Template

Nonprofit Operational Plan Template

Download Nonprofit Operational Plan Template Microsoft Excel | Microsoft Word

Nonprofit organizations often have complex, long-term strategic goals. This operational plan template for nonprofits will help you develop a clear set of tasks and accountability measures to keep everyone apprised of next steps. Use this template to identify your goals, establish a clear plan, set and track your budgets, assign stakeholders, and implement reporting protocols. 

This guide to operations strategies will give you an overview of the steps necessary to develop a comprehensive plan for your organization.

Three-Year Operational Plan Template

3-Year Operational Plan Template

Download Three-Year Operational Plan Template — Microsoft Excel  

Your operational plan might include long-term tasks and deliverables. Use this operational plan template to chart your organization’s needs over a three-year period. Enter specific goals, delivery dates, responsibilities, and necessary resources on this customizable template to track progress and ensure that you are on your way to reaching your strategic goals. 

Your business or organization might also benefit from an operational audit, which is a chance to conduct a deep dive into strategic planning and to increase accountability. See this comprehensive guide to operational audits to learn more and gain access to additional resources and templates.

Five-Year Operational Plan Template

5-Year Operational Plan Template

Download Five-Year Operational Plan Template — Microsoft Excel  

Long-term planning is a key element of any organization. This five-year operational plan template gives you a detailed look at the steps and resources needed to reach your goals. Track deliverables, responsible parties, and resources in this customizable template. This template also helps team members visualize long-term needs and stay on top of their responsibilities and timelines. 

See this guide to operations management for more information, tips, tricks, and future trends in managing your organizational resources.

What Is an Operational Plan Template?

An operational plan template is a form that captures key details about a work plan. An operational plan includes specific actions and resources needed to reach certain milestones. It is more detailed and specific than a strategic or business plan.

Operational plans help project managers identify resource needs, maintain accountability, implement a reporting process, and maintain a budget.

Operational plan templates templates vary by type but typically include the following:

  • Delivery Date: Enter target completion dates for each task in your plan.
  • Evidence of Success: Write a short statement explaining how you will know when the goal has been achieved. 
  • Executive Summary: Describe the plan in a short paragraph that specifies how it differs from or relates to other plans in your organization.
  • Goals: Enter specific goals or milestones of your larger strategy or business plan.
  • Responsible Parties: Include the names of the stakeholders who are responsible for each task.
  • Resources Needed: Enter all resources necessary to complete each task, including on-hand resources and those you will need to procure.
  • Risks: Note any risks you may encounter.
  • Title: Enter the plan name or title.

Stay on Top of Operational Goals and Resource Needs with Smartsheet

Empower your people to go above and beyond with a flexible platform designed to match the needs of your team — and adapt as those needs change. 

The Smartsheet platform makes it easy to plan, capture, manage, and report on work from anywhere, helping your team be more effective and get more done. Report on key metrics and get real-time visibility into work as it happens with roll-up reports, dashboards, and automated workflows built to keep your team connected and informed. 

When teams have clarity into the work getting done, there’s no telling how much more they can accomplish in the same amount of time.  Try Smartsheet for free, today.

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  • Grasshopper

Operations Plan

  • Lesson Materials Operations Plan Worksheet
  • Completion time About 40 minutes

The operations section of your business plan is where you explain – in detail – you company's objectives, goals, procedures, and timeline. An operations plan is helpful for investors, but it's also helpful for you and employees because it pushes you to think about tactics and deadlines.

In the previous course, you outlined your company's strategic plan, which answers questions about your business mission. An operational plan outlines the steps you'll take to complete your business mission.

Your operations plan should be able to answer the following:

  • Who – The personnel or departments who are in charge of completing specific tasks.
  • What – A description of what each department is responsible for.
  • Where – The information on where daily operations will be taking place.
  • When –The deadlines for when the tasks and goals are to be completed.
  • How much – The cost amount each department needs to complete their tasks.

In this session, we explain each item to include in your operations plan.

Goals and Objectives

The key to an operations plan is having a clear objective and goal everyone is focused on completing. In this section of your plan, you'll clearly state what your company's operational objective is.

Your operational objective is different than your company's overall objective. In Course One , you fleshed out what your strategic objective was. Your operational objective explains how you intend to complete your strategic objective.

In order to create an efficient operational objective, think SMART:

  • Specific – Be clear on what you want employees to achieve.
  • Measurable – Be able to quantify the goal in order to track progress.
  • Attainable & Realistic – It's great to be ambitious but make sure you aren't setting your team up for failure. Create a goal that everyone is motivated to complete with the resources available.
  • Timely – Provide a deadline so everyone has a date they are working towards.

Operations plan goals and objectives

Different departments will have different operational objectives. However, each department objective should help the company reach the main objective. In addition, operational objectives change; the objectives aren't intended to be permanents or long term. The timeline should be scheduled with your company's long-term goals in mind.

Let's look at the following example for a local pizza business objective:

  • Strategic objective : To deliver pizza all over Eastern Massachusetts.
  • Technology department operational objective : To create a mobile app by January 2017 to offer a better user experience.
  • Marketing department operational objective : To increase website visitors by 50% by January 2017 by advertising on radio, top local food websites, and print ads.
  • Sales department operational objective : To increase delivery sales by 30%, by targeting 3 of Massachusetts's largest counties.

Sales department operational objective: To increase delivery sales by 30%, by targeting 3 of Massachusetts's largest counties.

Production Process

After you create your objectives, you have to think strategically on how you're going to meet them. In order to do this, each department (or team) needs to have all the necessary resources for the production process.

Resources you should think about include the following:

  • Suppliers – do you have a supplier (or more) to help you produce your product?
  • Technology team: app developing software
  • Marketing team: software licenses for website analytical tools
  • Sales team: headsets, phone systems or virtual phone system technology
  • Cost – what is the budget for each department?

In addition to the production process, you'll also need to describe in detail your operating process. This will demonstrate to investors that you know exactly how you want your business to run on a day-to-day basis.

Items to address include:

  • Location – where are employees working? Will you need additional facilities?
  • Work hours – will employees have a set schedule or flexible work schedule?
  • Personnel – who is in charge of making sure department tasks are completed?

Operations plan timeline

Creating a timeline with milestones is important for your new business. It keeps everyone focused and is a good tracking method for efficiency. For instance, if milestones aren’t being met, you'll know that it's time to re-evaluate your production process or consider new hires.

Below are common milestones new businesses should plan for.

When you completed your Management Plan Worksheet in the previous course, you jotted down which key hires you needed right away and which could wait. Make sure you have a good idea on when you would like those key hires to happen; whether it’s after your company hits a certain revenue amount or once a certain project takes off.

Production Milestones

Production milestones keep business on track. These milestones act as "checkpoints" for your overall department objectives. For instance, if you want to create a new app by the end of the year, product milestones you outline might include a beta roll out, testing, and various version releases.

Other product milestones to keep in mind:

  • Design phase
  • Product prototype phase
  • Product launch
  • Version release

Market Milestones

Market milestones are important for tracking efficiency and understanding whether your operations plan is working. For instance, a possible market milestone could be reaching a certain amount of clients or customers after a new product or service is released.

A few other market milestones to consider:

  • Gain a certain amount of users/clients by a certain time
  • Signing partnerships
  • Running a competitive analysis
  • Performing a price change evaluation

Financial Milestones

Financial milestones are important for tracking business performance. It's likely that a board of directors or investors will work with you on creating financial milestones. In addition, in startups, it's common that financial milestones are calculated for 12 months.

Typical financial milestones include:

  • Funding events
  • Revenue and profit goals
  • Transaction goals

In summary, your operations plan gives you the chance to show investors you know how you want your business to run. You know who you want to hire, where you want to work, and when you expect projects to be completed.

Download the attached worksheet and start putting your timelines and milestones together on paper.


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How to Write an Operations Plan Section of your Business Plan

An Operations Plan Template

Free Operations Plan Template

Ayush Jalan

  • December 14, 2023

Operations Plan Section

Your business plan is an elaborate set of instructions stating how to run your business to achieve objectives and goals. Each section describes a part of the process of reaching your desired goal. Similarly, the operations plan section of your business plan explains the production and supply of your product.

An operations plan is formed to turn plans into actions. It uses the information you gathered from the analysis of the market , customers, and competitors mentioned in the previous parts of your business plan and allows for the execution of relevant strategies to achieve desired results.

What Is an Operations Plan?

An operations plan is an in-depth description of your daily business activities centered on achieving the goals and objectives described in the previous sections of your business plan. It outlines the processes, activities, responsibilities of various departments and the timeframe of the execution.

The operations section of your business plan explains in detail the role of a team or department in the collective accomplishment of your goals. In other words, it’s a strategic allocation of physical, financial, and human resources toward reaching milestones within a specific timeframe.

A well-defined operational plan section of your business plan should be able to answer the following questions:

  • Who is responsible for a specific task or department?
  • What are the tasks that need to be completed?
  • Where will these operations take place?
  • When should the tasks be completed? What are the deadlines?
  • How will the tasks be performed? Is there a standard procedure?
  • How much is it going to cost to complete these tasks?

An Operations Plan Answers

How to Write an Operations Plan Section?

Creating an operational plan has two major stages, both addressing different aspects of your company. The first stage includes the work that has been done so far, whereas the second stage describes it in detail.

1. Development Phase

Development Phase

In this stage, you mention what you’ve done to get your business operations up and running. Explain what you aim to change and improvise in the processes. These are the elements your development section will contain:

Production workflow

: Explain all the steps involved in creating your product. This should be a highly informative, elaborate description of the steps. Here, you also mention any inefficiencies that exist and talk about the actions that need to be taken to tackle them.

Supply chains

Quality control, 2. manufacturing phase.

Manufacturing Phase

The development stage acquaints the reader with the functioning of your business, while the manufacturing stage describes the day-to-day operation.

This includes the following elements:

Outline of daily activities:

Tools and equipment:, special requirements:, raw materials:, productions:, feasibility:, why do you need an operations plan.

An operations plan is essentially an instruction manual about the workings of your business. It offers insight into your business operations. It helps investors assess your credibility and understand the structure of your operations and predict your financial requirements.

An operations plan reflects the real-time application of a business plan.

Internally, an operations plan works as a guide, which helps your employees and managers to know their responsibilities. It also helps them understand how to execute their tasks in the desired manner—all whilst keeping account of deadlines.

The operations plan helps identify and cut the variances between planned and actual performance and makes necessary changes. It helps you visualize how your operations affect revenue and gives you an idea of how and when you need to implement new strategies to maximize profits.

Advantages of Preparing an Operations Plan:

  • Offers Clarity: Operational planning, among other things, makes sure that everyone in the audience and team are aware of the daily, weekly, and monthly work. It improves concentration and productivity.
  • Contains A Roadmap: Operational planning makes it much easier to reach long-term objectives. When members have a clear strategy to follow: productivity rises, and accountability is maintained.
  • Sets A Benchmark: It sets a clear goal for everyone about what is the destination of the company and how to reach there.

Operations Plan Essentials

Now that you have understood the contents of an operations plan and how it should be written, you can continue drafting one for your business plan. But before doing so, take a look at these key components you need to remember while creating your operational plan.

  • Your operations plan is fundamentally a medium for implementing your strategic plan. Hence, it’s crucial to have a solid strategic plan to write an effective operations plan.
  • Focus on setting SMART goals and prioritizing the most important ones. This helps you create a clear and crisp operations plan. Focusing on multiple goals will make your plan complicated and hard to implement.
  • To measure your goals, use leading indicators instead of lagging indicators. Leading indicators is a metric that helps you track your progress and predict when you will reach a goal. On the other hand, lagging indicators can only confirm a trend by taking the past as input but cannot predict the accomplishment of a goal.
  • It is essential to choose the right Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) . It is a good practice to involve all your teams while you decide your KPIs.
  • An operations plan should effectively communicate your goals, metrics, deadlines, and all the processes.

Now you’re all set to write an operations plan section for your business plan . To give you a headstart, we have created an operations plan example.

Operations Plan Example

Operations plan by a book publishing house

Track and Accomplish Goals With an Operations Plan

Drafting the operations plan section of your business plan can be tricky due to the uncertainties of the business environment and the risks associated with it. Depending on variables like your market analysis, product development, supply chain, etc., the complexity of writing an operations plan will vary.

The core purpose here is to put all the pieces together to create a synergy effect and get the engine of your business running. Create an effective operations plan to convey competence to investors and clarity to employees.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What role does the operations plan play in securing funding for a business.

The operations plan defines the clear goals of your business and what actions will be taken on a daily basis to reach them. So, investors need to know where your business stands, and it will prove the viability of the goals helping you in getting funded.

What are the factors affecting the operations plan?

  • The mission of the company
  • Goals to be achieved
  • Finance and resources your company will need

Can an operations plan be created for both start-up and established businesses?

Yes, both a startup and a small business needs an operations plan to get a better idea of the roadmap they want for their business.

About the Author

business operating plan sample

Ayush is a writer with an academic background in business and marketing. Being a tech-enthusiast, he likes to keep a sharp eye on the latest tech gadgets and innovations. When he's not working, you can find him writing poetry, gaming, playing the ukulele, catching up with friends, and indulging in creative philosophies.

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  • Strategic planning |

Operational plan template

Operational planning is simpler when you have a system. Learn how Asana’s operations team uses standardized processes to streamline strategic planning—no matter how many stakeholders are involved.

Sign up to create your own template.


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How Asana uses Asana for strategic operations template example image

Operational planning is highly cross-functional. It touches every team and can drive real change—but it also involves lots of coordination. For it to work, you need to bring together almost every team in the company, including executives, finance, product, legal, human resources, and more. 

With so many relationships to manage, templatized workflows are key. Templates give stakeholders a plan for how to work together—so instead of constant back-and-forth conversations, you can make plans and take action quickly. At Asana, we use predefined workflows to streamline our operational planning processes—from annual planning to business planning meetings. 

What is operational planning?

Operational planning is the process of organizing how your company comes together to make strategic decisions. It’s similar to project management, except instead of looking at a single project, you’re charting the course for the entire company. The goal of operational planning is to drive alignment and clarity across all business divisions—so company leaders can work together to make decisions, and the rest of the company can understand and take action on those decisions. 

For example, operational planning involves: 

Organizing monthly and quarterly business reviews

Annual planning

Project management for strategic initiatives

What is an operational plan template? 

An operational plan template is a pre-made workflow for any essential operational planning process—like annual planning or quarterly business reviews. The template lays out each step of the process, so stakeholders know exactly how to collaborate with each other. For example, if you build an annual planning template , you no longer have to start from scratch for each new planning cycle. Instead, you can just copy the template and follow a predefined workflow.

Why use a digital operations plan template?

Since operational planning involves so many stakeholders, it’s common to run into pitfalls like long and confusing email chains, too many meetings, and losing information in the shuffle. There’s a lot to keep track of, and static tools like email and Google Docs often add to the confusion. 

Using a work management platform solves these problems by centralizing your strategic planning process in one place. That way, everyone has a single source of truth where they can communicate, share updates, and make plans in real time. 

Here’s what you can do with a digital operations plan template:

Create a single system of record for operational planning work. 

Centralize conversations with stakeholders in one place, so no information is lost.

Share status reports with stakeholders without scheduling extra meetings.

View project reports and graphs to quickly understand how initiatives are performing. 

Automate operations workflows—so teams can spend less time coordinating work and more time on high-impact initiatives.

Easily update project schedules, tasks, and owners as circumstances change.

Use forms to standardize how teams share information. 

Switch between project views to visualize operations workflows in different ways—including task lists , Gantt charts , calendars , or Kanban boards . 

Types of operational planning templates

When creating operational planning templates, it’s best to focus on a single use case at a time. Below, we’ve outlined two specific use cases we utilize at Asana—plus the key elements of each.

Annual planning template

quotation mark

With everything streamlined and the busywork automated, we can focus on the work of planning, collaborating, and creative problem-solving—instead of the busywork of coordinating planning, and wishing we had more time to collaborate and think creatively.”

Annual planning is a highly cross-functional process. There are top-down company goals and bottom-up team and department plans, all happening at the same time. At Asana, our strategic planning team uses predefined workflows to streamline the planning process, share information across teams, and help everything come together into a coherent, integrated plan. Here’s how. 

Create a single system of record for all annual planning tasks. During annual planning, you need to coordinate tasks across many different teams. Make sure nothing gets lost by centralizing everything in one project, so you can see what each team is responsible for and by when. 

Define each annual planning phase. At Asana, we break the annual planning process into phases, each with a specific goal and time frame. When building your template, create a section at the top to define each annual planning phase—including the goal of that phase and when it occurs. By clearly defining what you want to achieve by when, stakeholders can understand how their individual annual planning tasks fit into the overarching process. 

Create sections for each department or team. Organize each team’s tasks into a single section, so they can easily see what they’re responsible for accomplishing during the annual planning cycle. 

Use custom tags to add additional information. At Asana, we use custom tags to view important details about each task. For example, we use tags to identify which team is responsible, which planning workstream the task falls under, whether it’s a concrete deliverable or a decision to be made, and whether a meeting is required. 

Identify key milestones in your plan. Create milestones to identify important checkpoints throughout the annual planning process. This helps teams understand what they’re working toward and how it fits into the overall planning roadmap. 

Once you’ve created your annual plan, share and track it with Asana’s Goals feature. Goals is an organization-wide tool that can help your entire company set, monitor, and communicate about goals.

Business planning meeting template

Bringing together the leaders of our business org across sales, marketing, biz tech, people ops, customer success, and business strategy is critical to ensure ongoing cross-functional clarity and alignment. But, it can also be extremely costly if it’s not done so effectively and efficiently.”

Business leaders need to stay aligned. One way to keep executives on the same page is by hosting regular business planning meetings—where leaders can share updates, align on action items, and create plans. 

At Asana, we’ve created a standardized workflow to streamline business planning meetings and ensure we’re using meeting time as efficiently as possible. Thanks to this workflow, we no longer have to scramble to pull together and prioritize the right topics. Instead, presenters have plenty of lead time, and meeting attendees can focus on what’s most important for the business—not just what’s top of mind. Here’s how.

Create a single source of truth for meeting planning and follow-up. Centralize planning tasks in one place, so stakeholders can easily see what’s coming up and who’s responsible for each presentation. Create a single task for each agenda item—and then when the meeting is over, add that same task to other projects (like meeting notes or action items) without duplicating work. 

Use sections to organize information. Make tasks easier to find by bucketing them into sections, like upcoming topics, new topic submissions, and meeting agendas. 

Submit new discussion topics with forms. Create a topic request form to standardize how new agenda items are added. Forms ensure you have all the information you need to plan agenda topics—like a brief description of the agenda item, goals for the discussion, the facilitator, and time required.

Create custom tags to see key information at-a-glance. Add custom tags to get a quick view of each task’s category and status. For example, use custom tags to identify whether agenda items are set or still open. 

Recommended features and integrations

As you build out your operational planning templates, customize your team’s workflows with these features and app integrations. 

Integrated features

Custom fields . Custom fields are the best way to tag, sort, and filter work. Create unique custom fields for any information you need to track—from priority and status to email or phone number. Use custom fields to sort and schedule your to-dos so you know what to work on first. Plus, share custom fields across tasks and projects to ensure consistency across your organization. 

Adding tasks to multiple projects . The nature of work is cross-functional. Teams need to be able to work effectively across departments. But if each department has their own filing system, work gets stalled and siloed. Asana makes it easy to track and manage tasks across multiple projects. This doesn't just reduce duplicative work and increase cross-team visibility. It also helps your team see tasks in context, view who’s working on what, and keep your team and tasks connected.

Automation . Automate manual work so your team spends less time on the busy work and more time on the tasks you hired them for. Rules in Asana function on a basis of triggers and actions—essentially “when X happens, do Y.” Use Rules to automatically assign work, adjust due dates, set custom fields, notify stakeholders, and more. From ad hoc automations to entire workflows, Rules gives your team time back for skilled and strategic work.

Forms . When someone fills out a Form, it shows up as a new task within an Asana project. By intaking information via a Form, you can standardize the way work gets kicked off, gather the information you need, and ensure no work falls through the cracks. Instead of treating each request as an ad hoc process, create a standardized system and set of questions that everyone has to answer. Or, use branching logic to tailor questions based on a user’s previous answer. Ultimately, Forms help you reduce the time and effort it takes to manage incoming requests so your team can spend more time on the work that matters.

Zoom . Asana and Zoom are partnering up to help teams have more purposeful and focused meetings. The Zoom + Asana integration makes it easy to prepare for meetings, hold actionable conversations, and access information once the call is over. Meetings begin in Asana, where shared meeting agendas provide visibility and context about what will be discussed. During the meeting, team members can quickly create tasks within Zoom, so details and action items don’t get lost. And once the meeting is over, the Zoom + Asana integration pulls meeting transcripts and recordings into Asana, so all collaborators and stakeholders can review the meeting as needed.

Google Workplace . Attach files directly to tasks in Asana with the Google Workplace file chooser, which is built into the Asana task pane. Easily attach any My Drive file with just a few clicks.

Microsoft Teams . With the Microsoft Teams + Asana integration, you can search for and share the information you need without leaving Teams. Easily connect your Teams conversations to actionable items in Asana. Plus, create, assign, and view tasks during a Teams Meeting without needing to switch to your browser.

Vimeo . Text may get the point across, but written words lack tone, emotion, and expression. With video messaging in Asana, powered by Vimeo, you can give your team all the context they need, without having to schedule another meeting. Record short video messages of yourself, your screen—or both—then embed the videos in tasks, projects, messages, and comments to provide additional clarity and context. A transcript of the recording is automatically created by Asana, making it readable and searchable. Give feedback, ask questions, and assign tasks—all without leaving Asana.

What other operational planning templates can I use to streamline workflows for my business?

With Asana you can create—and customize—templates to fit any business operations use case. Here are some places to start: 

Business plan template

Operations project plan template

All company meeting template

Startup checklist template

Business continuity plan template

Team goals and objectives planning template

Can a project management platform help my business achieve strategic goals faster?

Project management platforms like Asana can significantly improve team efficiency, allowing you to accomplish more with fewer resources. According to an independent report , Asana cuts the time it takes to complete a project by up to 50%—meaning it could help your team get work done in half the time. With less time wasted day-to-day, your team can focus on high-impact work, like driving revenue and achieving strategic goals.

What’s the best way to monitor all operational workflows in one place?

With Asana Portfolios , you can see a high-level view of all operational planning initiatives—including project status, progress, and owners. If an initiative is off track, it’s easy to click in, identify the blocker, and create an action plan to get things back on track. 

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10 Simple Operational Plan Templates in Word & ClickUp

Praburam Srinivasan

Growth Marketing Manager

February 15, 2024

Every business starts with an idea, but it takes disciplined execution to bring it to life. That’s why operational plans are indispensable—they require you to think about the steps and resources you need to make your vision come true. By writing down these processes, you create a roadmap for your organization and empower your teams to work together towards the same goal. 

There are lots of components that make up an operational plan—from your business objectives and market analysis to your operational strategy and budget. You need to add clear details, tasks, and assignments for your plan to be useful.

The good news is you don’t need to start from scratch. Use an operational plan template to outline and manage the day-to-day activities and processes of your business, ensuring that you have the capacity to complete tasks efficiently and on time. With the right tools in hand, like Word or ClickUp templates, businesses of any size can create effective operational plans tailored to their individual needs. 

In this article, we’ll explore 10 customizable and simple operational plan templates.

What is an Operational Plan Template?

What makes a good operational plan template, 1. clickup operational plan template, 2. clickup business plan template, 3. clickup business requirements template, 4. clickup business continuity plan template, 5. clickup business development plan template, 6. clickup business roadmap template, 7. clickup compliance project plan template, 8. clickup contingency plan template, 9. clickup action plan template, 10. microsoft word operational plan template.

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An operational plan template is a document designed to help you turn your business strategy into action. It includes pre-designed pages, lists, and tables that you can fill in with details like:

  • The day-to-day operations that need to be implemented to reach your business objectives
  • What you need in terms of space, human resources, and equipment
  • Roles, responsibilities, and scope of work
  • Operational budget and financial limitations
  • Project timelines
  • Metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) for success

Depending on the size and scope of your organization, operational plans can vary in complexity and length. That’s why you need to find a template that gives you flexibility in making it your own—and we’re here to help you do just that.

A good operational plan template is customizable to fit your specific needs. It offers you several ways to view, sort, and organize your data, and makes it easy for you to track responsibilities and progress. It provides visual cues and clear and concise instructions on how to fill out each section and page. 

The best operational plan templates offer an intuitive, user-friendly experience so that anyone using them for the first time can easily navigate them. Think of how people in your organization will use the plan: Will they want to see your progress at a glance? Do they need to see workload distribution among your team? Choose a template with features that support those needs. 

You also want your operational plan template to be able to scale with your organization as you grow. Choose a template that lets you adjust and update your plans without needing to start from scratch every time.

10 Operational Plan Templates

Whether you’re looking for an annual operational plan template or a simple project tracker , there are plenty of options available. Here we’ve rounded up 10 of the best templates in Word and ClickUp that you can use to create effective operational plans.

ClickUp Operational Plan Template

This simple operation plan template by ClickUp helps you strategically plan your business by outlining processes , clearly defining individual responsibilities, and tracking your progress toward your goals. It’s designed to help you monitor all the moving parts of setting up a business.

With this ClickUp operation plan template, you get a range of view options. Use the List view for maximum flexibility in grouping and sorting tasks, and arranging tasks by priority.

Switch to Board View to examine Plan Phases: planning, implementation, monitoring, and management. Use other views like Gantt, Timeline, and Workload to visualize dependencies, keep track of schedules, and spread out work across your team. 

Do more with this template using custom fields. These fields let you assign responsibilities to a team, add information and resources to a task, and update a project’s progress.

The ClickUp Business Plan Template is an excellent tool to help entrepreneurs move from ideation to launch. Start documenting your business strategy by going through the topics provided in the Topics List View. Add notes, files, and tasks to sections on your company background, market analysis, sales and marketing strategy, operational strategy, and milestones.

Each section has pre-filled tasks with short descriptions to help you flesh out the details of your business plan. For example, under the Company Background section, you have four “tasks” to fill out—The Team, Overview, Mission, and Vision.

Launching a business gets hectic pretty quickly, so use the Board and Timeline views to keep track of tasks and deadlines. And when you’re ready to zoom out and see what you’ve written, head over to the Business Plan Doc view, which presents the outputs of each section and task in one clean, professional document.

3. ClickUp Business Requirements Template

The ClickUp Business Requirements Template outlines the necessary steps and resources for an end solution to fulfill your business needs. For example, if you’re looking for an agency to help you build an app, you’d use a Business Requirements Document (BRD) to explain what you need, why you need it, and how the agency can help you. This helps you get buy-in from your company’s decision-makers, determine the project’s scope, and get all parties aligned on timelines, budgets, goals, and expectations.

This useful business requirements template starts with a list of subpages, and each one comes with brief instructions for filling it out. For example, the Project Objectives subpage comes with a note asking you to include the project’s purpose, current processes, challenges, and reasons for the undertaking.

It recommends using the SMART goals format (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound). Other subpages also come with tables that you can easily fill out.

ClickUp Business Continuity Plan Template

When the unexpected happens, don’t be caught without a plan. The ClickUp Business Continuity Plan Template helps you plan how to manage risks in the event of a disruption to your business operations. This includes mapping out the steps you need to take in the event of a natural disaster, power outage, cyber attack, or other unforeseen (and unfortunate) events.

This template covers the core parts of a business continuity system—priorities, continuity coverage, and guiding principles. Dive into the details of your plan with a Priorities List view, a consolidated List view, and a Board view. Quickly spot tasks across different categories and progress stages with the use of distinct color coding.

With this template’s intuitive and minimalist design, you can focus on the crucial steps and resources to keep your business sailing through a storm (literal or figurative!).

ClickUp Business Development Plan Template

Track your short-term and long-term business goals with this ClickUp Business Development Plan Template for beginners. The template dedicates one subpage each for operations, marketing, finance, and people, as well as an executive summary.

Each subpage gives you a structure to guide you in writing down your plans. For example, the Operations subpage comes with tables for facilities and equipment costs and also shares an example of a process map. The Financial Plan subpage gives you a template for projecting cash flow, forecasting your balance sheet, and running a break-even analysis.

Make this template your own, whether you’re planning for a short-term or long-term business development goal.

Business Roadmap in ClickUp Timeline view

Avoid falling prey to fuzzy strategy syndrome by documenting your business roadmap . Use this ClickUp Business Roadmap Template to record your strategy, focus on your North Star, and say “no” to tactics that don’t align with your vision .

The ClickUp Business Roadmap Template helps you create a high-level strategic document that communicates your goal and how you plan to get there. It sets expectations for every team in your business and maps out project initiatives to strategic goals. Your team can collaborate on projects in List, Gantt, and Timeline views, helping to streamline communication and collaboration. 

When you’re ready to dive into the details of your roadmap, use this template’s custom fields to add long text descriptions and upload files. And whenever you complete a subtask, checklist, or comment, the template automatically updates a progress bar, showing you how close you’re getting to reaching your goal.

ClickUp Compliance Project Plan Template

Complying with legal and industry rules and standards involves keeping track of a lot of documents and tasks. This ClickUp Compliance Project Plan Template ensures nothing slips through the cracks as you work on your compliance project.

The template is organized into sections for regulatory, HR, and data compliance. Start by using forms for collecting information on various compliance requirements. You can use the form’s preset questions and add or delete items as you need. The answers will show up in the List view, where you can group, sort, explain, and assign each requirement. Track priorities, task statuses, point persons, and due dates in Board view as your compliance project progresses.

To provide more context to each requirement, use custom fields to fill in details like performance metrics and consequences of non-compliance. The template also has dropdown fields with pre-filled options—for example, fields for compliance threat category and degree of compliance.

ClickUp Contingency Plan Template

No project goes off exactly as you imagine—even when you follow your plan to the letter. An employee goes on emergency leave, your website crashes and the WiFi stops working. For times like these, you need a plan B. And you can create it using the ClickUp Contingency Plan Template .

The ClickUp Contingency Plan Template offers three views that let you list down events, prioritize them based on risk level, and track progress across planning stages. When you add a task, the template automatically creates custom fields, such as the event’s risk level, likelihood, and potential impact on your organization. There are also fields for you to describe the preparations you’ve made to mitigate risk internally and provide details about your response plan.

Bonus: Contingency planning templates !

ClickUp Action Plan Template

The ClickUp Action Plan Template is a colorful whiteboard template for reviewing an action plan daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly. You can add files from within ClickUp or from your device, or import them from G Suite or Figma. You can also embed YouTube videos and ClickUp tasks, making this template interactive, collaborative, and anything but boring!

This media-rich template gives you the space and flexibility you need for creating action plans that come with lots of contextual information. Zoom out for a bird’s eye view of your progress or zoom in to break down action plans into small steps. You can also use this Action Plan Template to assign tasks, track progress, set deadlines, and add notes. 

Microsoft Business Plan Template Example

Create a professional document with a Microsoft Word Operational Plan Template, such as this business plan template that gives you step-by-step instructions for creating a comprehensive plan. It comes with formatted text and simple layouts so you can focus on the content more than the presentation. 

If you want more creative control, though, this template is completely customizable. Plus, it lets you add animations and transitions, as well as photos, videos, and graphics. Once you’re done, you can share and publish the doc with a few quick clicks.

Streamline Your Operational Planning Process

Boost your chances of reaching your business goals by creating an effective operational plan. With the right tools and templates, you can easily create a tailored document that helps you track your operational planning process and projects. 

We hope our list of 10 simple operational plan templates has helped you find the perfect template for your needs!

Try them out by setting up a free ClickUp Workspace !

Questions? Comments? Visit our Help Center for support.

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Operational Plan: Everything You Need To Know (2024 Guide)

Download our free Operational Strategy Template Download this template

The old way of planning no longer works in complex and unpredictable business environments, and companies are struggling to find their feet on shaky ground. As we’ve seen with many of our customers and strategies in Cascade, organizations can no longer count on executing three or even five-year strategic plans.

The new reality forces companies and their operations teams to adapt their operational plans more frequently and within shorter time frames if they want to reap benefits faster than their competitors. Organizations need to work on their strategic instinct and fast adaptability to enhance their operational efficiency .  

And that requires big changes—including building a flexible operational plan, supported by the right tools and systems that help you achieve real-time centralized observability and empower a strategic response to external disruptions.

Read this article to build a bulletproof operational plan that includes all the key elements necessary to overcome unpredictable business chaos. You’ll also get free templates that will help you rapidly adapt and align your teams.

✨Bonus: We’ve included pro tips from business leaders in our network to help you identify gaps in your strategy execution and build resilient business operations.

Free Template Download our free Operational Strategy Template Download this template

What Is An Operational Plan?

An operational plan is action and detail-oriented; it needs to focus on short-term strategy execution and outline an organization's day-to-day operations. If your operations strategy is a promise, your operational plan is the action plan for how you will deliver on it every day, week, and month.

Put simply, an operational plan helps you bridge the gap between business strategy and on-the-ground execution and ensures that the organization is on track to achieve its long-term goals.

Benefits of operational planning

  • Clear definition of relationships between cross-functional teams in different departments and responsibilities for each to eliminate duplicated efforts.
  • Tighter alignment between corporate or business unit strategic plans and on-the-ground execution, helping the organization meet its business targets.
  • Strong operating system that enables the company to quickly adapt, deliver operations goals, and monitor performance.

Operational planning vs. strategic planning

Operational planning deals with the day-to-day details and short-term goals, while strategic planning focuses on the big picture and long-term direction of an organization.

To put it in simpler terms, operational planning is about the "how" of daily tasks, while strategic planning defines the "what" and "why" for future success.

📚Recommended reading: Strategic vs. Operational Planning

Kickstart Your Operational Planning Process: Lay The Foundation

The quality of your operational plan will depend on your input. A successful operational planning initiative will consider these aspects:

  • Who will be involved? Identify and include employees, customers, and the management team in the planning process to gain valuable insights from the front lines, ensuring better strategy and execution buy-in.
  • What are your internal capabilities? Assess internal capabilities by conducting an internal analysis , including resource requirements, operating budget, and talent skills. Talent management and employee engagement are just a few of the many challenges that COOs will have on their operations agenda.
  • What environment are you operating in? Conduct an external analysis (e.g., PESTLE or Porter’s 5 Forces ) to inform your approach and identify optimization opportunities and risks, keeping you agile in a changing market.
  • Is it aligned with your organization’s strategy? Ensure alignment of your operational plan with your organization’s strategic plan to actively support the company's long-term vision and contribute to key business metrics.
👉🏻 Once you’ve gathered this information, you can develop an operational plan to help you execute business strategies.

Key Elements Of Your Operational Plan

Enough chit-chat; it’s time to put your operational plan together. We've built this based on our proven and tested approach, used by over +45,000 Cascade users.

See how Cascade Strategy Execution Platform enhances operational efficiency by reducing duplication and aligning teams toward common goals. It effectively eliminates waste resulting from misalignment, fostering smoother operations and improved performance.

Here’s a recap of the five key elements your plan must consider:

Choose key metrics aligned with the company goals

Selecting your operational plan's key metrics isn't a mere exercise in tracking numbers; it's about laser-focused alignment with your business needs and objectives. These metrics are the tangible indicators of your organization's efficiency and performance. They serve as the compass, guiding your daily decisions and actions toward achieving concrete results.

By precisely aligning these metrics with your company's core objectives, you ensure that every initiative and action within your operational plan directly contributes to achieving tangible results.

An aligned operational plan makes it easier to:

  • Communicate roles and responsibilities to all employees so they know how their efforts contribute to overall business success.
  • Identify and address operational bottlenecks and inefficiencies that could derail strategy execution.
  • Motivate and engage employees to work toward strategic objectives and deliver on business outcomes.
Remember that the role of operations is to close the gap between your organization's strategic goals and what is being done on a daily basis to make them happen.

👉🏻 How Cascade can help:

With Cascade’s Metrics Library , you can bring your operating and financial business-level goals together with your strategy under one single roof. This makes reporting & governance easy, accurate, and less time-consuming by connecting your business data to your key business initiatives.

cascade metrics library

Through Cascade’s integrations , you can consolidate your metrics in one place, importing your data directly from business systems, data lakes, BI tools, or even spreadsheets.

Define the focus areas of your operational plan

The focus areas of your operational plan are the key areas of the business that the plan will address.

This will depend on your business plan. Think about how the business operates and how it succeeds. Do you need to pursue short-term cost reductions while simultaneously pursuing longer-term growth and transformation initiatives? Your operational plans must be built on these strategic priorities.

For example, you can prioritize your focus areas based on the most relevant business strategies or by specific departments. Some examples of focus areas could be:

  • Administration
  • Human Resources

💡Tips to help define the focus areas of your operational plan:

  • Identify the business's key challenges and opportunities.
  • Consider the business's overall long-term strategy and key metrics and how the operational plan's focus areas can support these objectives.
  • Bring other people on board to help you identify what needs to be addressed by the operations plan.

Create strategic objectives for your operational plan

Strategic objectives are specific goals aligned with the operation’s strategy and focus areas. They represent what you want to achieve in each focus area and will serve as the building blocks of your plan, ensuring that it’s focused and actionable.

Some examples of strategic objectives:

  • Reduce costs by 10% within the next year by implementing more efficient processes and streamlining the supply chain over the next year.
  • Launch three new products in the next fiscal year to expand your product lines and increase revenue.
  • Increase customer satisfaction scores by 5% within the next six months.

💡Tips for defining strategic objectives include:

  • Ensure your objectives are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).
  • Consistently align objectives with your operational plan's focus areas and the company's goals.
  • Don’t be afraid to get input from other people about your objectives.

Identify and prioritize projects

It’s time to identify and prioritize the projects that need to be executed. Remember, projects are action plans to help you achieve your strategic objectives.

Project planning should include thinking about time frames, task assignments, and deliverables (and prioritizing).

Here are some examples of project ideas:

  • Localize sourcing for critical semi-finished materials.
  • Streamline the supply chain to reduce costs and improve efficiency.
  • Find and develop an alternative logistics channel.
  • Implement a new customer service training program to improve customer satisfaction scores.
  • Implement a new technology that will enable end-to-end supply chain visibility.

💡Tips for defining and prioritizing projects:

  • Identify the specific actions and activities needed to achieve each strategic objective.
  • Prioritize the projects based on their importance, feasibility, and potential impact on the business.
  • Involve stakeholders in defining and prioritizing the projects to ensure their needs and concerns are heard.

Identify and track key performance indicators (KPIs)

Finally, you’ll need to know if your operational plan and day-to-day activities result in outcomes.

Set KPIs for key initiatives and strategic objectives to measure success, ensure alignment, and identify performance gaps in your operational plan.

Some examples of operations KPIs are:

  • Inventory costs
  • Costs of goods sold
  • Revenue growth
  • Employee retention rate
  • Customer satisfaction score

💡Tips for defining and tracking KPIs:

  • Align KPIs with your strategic objectives and focus areas so that you can track the plan's progress against these specific goals.
  • Add both lagging and leading indicators .
  • Instead of using multiple disconnected spreadsheets and project management tools, consider live dashboards or reporting systems to track the KPIs and monitor progress over time.

👉🏻 How Cascade can help build your plan:

Cascade’s planner feature enables you to build your operational plan with structure and ease by breaking down the complexity from high-level initiatives to executable outcomes. Define your key elements (focus areas, objectives, projects, and KPIs), and share the plan with your teams. You’ll get full visibility of the plan’s progress in real-time, allowing you to identify gaps, quickly update the plan, and communicate the change with your team with a single click.

cascade planner view example

👉🏻 If you don’t want to start building the plan from scratch, use our free Operational Plan Template pre-filled with examples of focus areas, objectives, projects, and KPIs that you can customize to meet your organization’s needs.

Operational Plan Examples & Templates

Here are five operational plan examples to help you create plans for your teams. You can use one master operational plan or set up an operational plan for each department.

Master Operational Plan Example

operational plan free template

This Operational Plan Template will help you close the gap between business goals and day-to-day operations. You'll be able to set goals and KPIs for your top priorities and work with the operations team to deliver operational excellence and business results.

HR Plan Example

This HR Operational Plan Template can be used to meet staffing requirements, manage human capital and align human resources activities with your strategy. HR managers in any industry can create a clear operational plan that can be constantly monitored, adapted, and improved.

IT Plan Example

If you’re in the IT team, try out this IT Plan Template to get your IT operational planning up and running fast. It comes prefilled with focus areas and KPIs relevant to IT operations; you can easily customize workflows and deliverables to your needs.

Marketing Plan Example

This Marketing Plan Template can help you efficiently understand and plan your digital marketing operations using best practices. Use it to quickly set up priorities and get your social media and marketing teams moving on tasks that will make an impact.

Finance Plan Example

This finance-focused template is ideal if you want to get on top of your finance operations plan. Use it to allocate and distribute financial resources across your organization and get real-time updates through your dashboard and reports—which are great tools to create a visually compelling financial summary that clearly shows your key metrics.

💡Pro Tip: To ensure successful execution, it's crucial to align not just your master operational plan with your overarching strategic plan, but also all the operational department plans.

With the Alignment Maps feature, you’ll be able to visualize how your top-level business strategy breaks down into functional and operational plans. This empowers COOs and CFOs to consolidate their operational plans in one place, creating tighter alignment between the finance and operations teams and improving cross-collaboration to build more resilient operations.

alignment map view in cascade

Want to dig deeper? Use the Relationships feature to see the relationships between connected objectives from your plans and understand how your different department goals contribute to the core business metrics and goals. This view will allow you to clearly map dependencies, blockers, and risks that may lie along your journey.

relationships view in cascade

5 Tips For An Effective Operational Plan And Its Execution

1. don’t underestimate the power of transparent communication.

Regularly communicate the operational plan and progress to all relevant stakeholders to build the necessary buy-in and support. Your employees must know your goals and the roadmap, and team members should understand their role in its execution. This business transparency will help everyone row in the same direction.

“Clarity regarding strategy is one of the key drivers of autonomous execution. If people understand what you’re working toward and have guardrails in place, they can be empowered to make their own decisions and don’t need everything to be ‘run up the chain’ to get approved. This allows you to move fast and at scale.” — Sam Sterling , Chief Strategy Officer, Akqa

2. Keep moving forward and adopt a growth mindset

Keep the momentum going and ensure that the plan is executed effectively. Regular monitoring and reviews can help identify and address any challenges or obstacles that may arise.

Schedule regular reviews and check-ins and provide the necessary support to ensure projects are on track and moving forward.

“I think adopting a growth mindset is super important. This means having the confidence to fail fast, try something new and empower people to do that.” — Ken Miller , General Manager, Azure Intelligent Cloud at Microsoft

With the Team Updates functionality, every team member can post updates on key measures, actions, and objectives. This will give you real-time visibility into performance and help you identify possible risks before it’s too late—without having to schedule extra meetings or nag your team members for updates.

3. Make strategic moves and change fast when you need to

Your operational plan should be flexible, adaptable, and open to adjustments. This means keeping an eye on progress, making corrections if needed, and being willing to adapt the plan to changing circumstances or new opportunities. As McKinsey suggests, you can consider creating a team that will be able to collect data, link analysis with action, and offer quick responses to rapid changes.

“Traditionally, companies would have taken that piece of paper and gone out and said: we're going to execute it, start to finish. Then get into the formulation of the strategy, what we need to hit, and what the end product result will be like. But what we do know is that’s never the case. Along the way, you're going to have bumps, and inevitably, you’ll need to change from that original picture.” — Annie Lucchitti , Marketing Manager, Unilever

4. Empower your operations team and boost efficiency

Effective operational planning requires the engagement and empowerment of your team. Involve stakeholders in the planning process and provide them with the necessary resources. Give them context and an opportunity to set goals and prioritize initiatives. This will help you boost engagement and hold them accountable for progress.

“I think it just works at every single level. Are people allowed to be themselves at work? Personally, are they at peace? Are they happy? Productivity happens when people have the right skills, but also when they are engaged and happy. If one of those fails a bit, productivity will start decreasing.” — Joan Torrents , Global Sourcing Manager, TESCO.

5. If it isn’t measured, it isn’t managed

Don’t underestimate the importance of tracking and measuring progress against the operational plan's goals and objectives. Set milestones, enforce KPIs, and stay on top of progress. Doing this will help you stay on course, empower you to act quickly, and provide valuable insights into what is going wrong.

“Data is a foundational element in the strategy definition phase as well as in the strategy execution phase as it helps create a baseline, identify key priorities, set goals, and measure progress.” — Erica Santoni , Principal, Diversity Equity & Inclusion, Intuit

Use Cascade’s Dashboards to monitor your day-to-day progress on key metrics and critical business and strategic information in real-time.

example of an operations strategy dashboard in cascade

Compile the information in powerful reports and executive summaries in seconds with pre-built templates. Share them with your key stakeholders —internal and external— and invite them to collaborate on your strategy together.

Execute Your Operational Plan With Cascade 🚀

What good is an operational plan if no one executes it? If your organization wants to operate at a higher level, static tools like Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoints, Google Docs, and/or project management tools aren’t the solution.

❌They aren’t designed for adaptive strategy and planning.

❌They often lead to siloing and hinder effective cross-collaboration.

❌They make it challenging to measure progress and slow down decision-making.

With Cascade as your central operating system, you can stop running business operations blindfolded and embrace rapid, coordinated, and data-driven decision-making.

Get your Operational Plan Template to get started with a dynamic plan that will lead to actual outcomes for your business and see faster results from your strategy.

Or take Cascade for a spin! Start today for free or book a 1:1 product tour with Cascade’s in-house strategy expert.

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Operational Planning: How to Make an Operations Plan


The operations of your business can be defined as the sum of all the daily activities that you and your team execute to create products or services and engage with your customers, among other critical business functions. While organizing these moving parts might sound difficult, it can be easily done by writing a business operational plan. But before we learn how to make one, let’s first understand what’s the relationship between strategic and operational planning.

Operational Planning vs. Strategic Planning

Operational planning and strategic planning are complementary to each other. This is because strategic plans define the business strategy and the long-term goals for your organization, while operational plans define the steps required to achieve them.

What Is a Strategic Plan?

A strategic plan is a business document that describes the business goals of a company as well as the high-level actions that will be taken to achieve them over a time period of 1-3 years.

What Is an Operational Plan?

Operational plans map the daily, weekly or monthly business operations that’ll be executed by the department to complete the goals you’ve previously defined in your strategic plan. Operational plans go deeper into explaining your business operations as they explain roles and responsibilities, timelines and the scope of work.

Operational plans work best when an entire department buys in, assigning due dates for tasks, measuring goals for success, reporting on issues and collaborating effectively. They work even better when there’s a platform like ProjectManager , which facilitates communication across departments to ensure that the machine is running smoothly as each team reaches its benchmark. Get started with ProjectManager for free today.

Gantt chart with operational plan

What Is Operational Planning?

Operational planning is the process of turning strategic plans into action plans, which simply means breaking down high-level strategic goals and activities into smaller, actionable steps. The main goal of operational planning is to coordinate different departments and layers of management to ensure the whole organization works towards the same objective, which is achieving the goals set forth in the strategic plan .

How to Make an Operational Plan

There’s no single approach to follow when making an operation plan for your business. However, there’s one golden rule in operations management : your strategic and operational plans must be aligned. Based on that principle, here are seven steps to make an operational plan.

  • Map business processes and workflows: What steps need to be taken at the operations level to accomplish long-term strategic goals?
  • Set operational-level goals: Describe what operational-level goals contribute to the achievement of larger strategic goals.
  • Determine the operational timeline: Is there any time frame for the achievement of the operational plan?
  • Define your resource requirements: Estimate what resources are needed for the execution of the operational plan.
  • Estimate the operational budget: Based on your resource requirements, estimate costs and define an operational budget.
  • Set a hiring plan: Are there any skills gaps that need to be filled in your organization?
  • Set key performance indicators: Define metrics and performance tracking procedures to measure your team’s performance.

business operating plan sample

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Operational Plan Template

Use this free Operational Plan Template for Word to manage your projects better.

What Should be Included in an Operational Plan?

Your operational plan should describe your business operations as accurately as possible so that internal teams know how the company works and how they can help achieve the larger strategic objectives. Here’s a list of some of the key elements that you’ll need to consider when writing an operational plan.

Executive Summary

An executive summary is a brief document that summarizes the content of larger documents like business plans, strategic plans or operation plans. Their main purpose is to provide a quick overview for busy stakeholders.

Operational Budget

An operational budget is an estimation of the expected operating costs and revenues for a given time period. As with other types of budget, the operational budget defines the amount of money that’s available to acquire raw materials, equipment or anything else that’s needed for business operations.

It’s important to limit your spending to stay below your operational budget, otherwise, your company could run out of resources to execute its normal activities. You can use our free operating budget template for Excel to track your operating costs.

Operational Objectives

It’s essential to align your operational objectives with your strategic objectives. For example, if one of your strategic objectives is to increase sales by 25 percent over the next three years, one possible operational objective would be to hire new sales employees. You should always grab your strategic plan objectives and turn them into one or multiple action items .

Processes & Workflows

Explain the various business processes, workflows and tasks that need to be executed to achieve your operational objectives. Make sure to explain what resources are needed, such as raw materials, equipment or human resources.

Operational Timeline

It’s important to establish a timeline for your operational plan. In most cases, your operational plan will have the same length as your strategic plan, but in some scenarios, you might create multiple operational plans for specific purposes. Not all operational plans are equal, so the length of your operational timeline will depend on the duration of your projects , workflows and processes.

Hiring Plan

Find any skills gap there might be in your team. You might need to hire a couple of individuals or even create new departments in order to execute your business processes .

Quality Assurance and Control

Most companies implement quality assurance and control procedures for a variety of reasons such as customer safety and regulatory compliance. In addition, quality assurance issues can cost your business millions, so establishing quality management protocols is a key step in operational planning.

Key Performance Indicators

It’s important to establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the productivity of your business operations. You can define as many KPIs as needed for all your business processes. For example, you can define KPIs for marketing, sales, product development and other key departments in your company. This can include product launch deadlines, number of manufactured goods, number of customer service cases closed, number of 5-star reviews received, number of customers acquired, revenue increased by a certain percentage and so on.

Risks, Assumptions and Constraints

Note any potential risks, assumptions and time or resource constraints that might affect your business operations.

Free Operational Plan Template

Leverage everything you’ve learned today with our template. This free operational plan template for Word will help you define your budget, timeline, KPIs and more. It’s the perfect first step in organizing and improving your operations. Download it today.

ProjectManager's free operational plan template for Word.

What Are the Benefits of Operational Planning?

Every plan has a massive effect on all team members involved, and those can be to your company’s benefit or to their detriment. If it’s to their detriment, it’s best to find out as soon as possible so you can modify your operational plan and pivot with ease.

But that’s the whole point of operational planning: you get to see the effect of your operations on the business’s bottom line in real time, or at every benchmark, so you know exactly when to pivot. And with a plan that’s as custom to each department as an operational plan, you know exactly where things go wrong and why.

How ProjectManager Can Help with Operational Planning

Creating and implementing a high-quality operational plan is the best way to ensure that your organization starts out a project on the right foot. ProjectManager has award-winning project management tools to help you craft and execute such a plan.

Gantt charts are essential to create and monitor operational plans effectively. ProjectManager helps you access your Gantt chart online so you can add benchmarks for operational performance reviews. You can also create tasks along with dependencies to make the operation a surefire success.

business operations data on a Gantt chart

Whether you’re a team of IT system administrators, marketing experts, or engineers, ProjectManager includes robust planning and reporting tools. Plan in sprints, assign due dates, collaborate with team members and track everything with just the click of a button. Plus, we have numerous ready-made project reports that can be generated instantly, including status reports, variance reports, timesheet reports and more.

business operations reporting

Related Operations Management Content

  • Operational Strategy: A Quick Guide
  • Operations Management: Key Functions, Roles and Skills
  • Operational Efficiency: A Quick Guide
  • Using Operational Excellence to Be More Productive

Operational planning isn’t done in a silo, and it doesn’t work without the full weight of the team backing it up. Ensure that your department is successful at each benchmark. ProjectManager is an award-winning pm software dedicated to helping businesses smooth out their operational plans for a better year ahead. Sign up for our free 30-day trial today.

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What is an Operational Plan? A Complete Playbook (+ Examples, Tips & More)


Without a plan, your business operations are as good as a children’s playground—everyone’s doing their own thing with no care in the world. 

An operational plan brings order to your organization. It defines the functional aspects of your long-term strategy, like goals, milestones, responsibilities and timelines, to build collaboration and make real progress toward your vision. 

Teams often overlook the importance of operational plan management, leading to miscommunication, unnecessary roadblocks and slow growth. 

If you don't want to end up in a chaotic playground with everything going south, read this start-to-finish guide on operational planning. We'll share a 6-step process of making your own operational plan with a few examples to inspire you.

TL;DR: What is an operational plan?

  • An operational plan clarifies the details of your strategy, assigns responsibilities, and sets milestones and timelines.
  • Use an operational plan to create a roadmap, assign roles, track progress, establish criteria for success, and minimize errors.
  • To develop an operational plan, create a fail-proof strategic plan, establish clear goals and budgets, define the project scope, create the operational plan, get stakeholders' buy-in, and publish the plan using the right tool.

What is an operational plan?

An operational plan is a roadmap designed to implement your business strategies. It operationalizes your strategic plan by defining:

  • Vision and objectives behind a strategy.
  • Budget and resources required for execution.
  • Weekly, monthly and quarterly milestones. 
  • Relevant metrics to track progress consistently. 

‎An operational plan clarifies all the finer details about your strategy—like what, who, when and how—to help you realize the bigger vision. It’s a work plan for transferring the available inputs into the desired outputs. 

Operational planning vs. strategic planning

While operational and strategic planning might sound the same, they have significantly different meanings. Let's take a quick look at these differences to understand what an operational plan stacks up against a strategic plan.

5 reasons why you need an operational plan

Only setting goals without a solid operational plan to implement them is like making new year’s resolutions that never come true. 

Without a clear direction of what to do and how, you’d end up wasting your resources with little to no progress to show for it. An operational plan helps move the needle for your company by clarifying the steps to success and bringing more accountability. 

Still wondering how an operational plan can keep you on track? These five benefits will clue you in:

1. Creating an airtight roadmap

If a strategic plan defines the destination, an operational plan chalks out the itinerary to reach that destination. This actionable roadmap covers all bases to streamline collaboration within the team and set up the right systems to hit your milestones. 

2. Attributing roles to all stakeholders

Making an operational plan allows you to assign responsibilities to all internal and external stakeholders. It clarifies who’s responsible for what and sets expectations from the start. This is key for bringing everyone on the same page and avoiding roadblocks once the work is underway. 

3. Tracking progress & making strategic changes

Timelines and milestones are two of the most crucial components of an operational plan in business. They empower teams to analyze their performance and review progress objectively. You can use these insights to tweak your game plan for greater success and to improve operational efficiency .

4. Establishing criteria & metrics for success 

An operational plan outlines the parameters for success and metrics to monitor the same. These metrics give you a clear picture of your progress at every stage to ensure you’re moving as per the plan. They also highlight any potential red flags that can potentially derail the plan and need your attention. 

5. Minimizing discrepancies & errors

One of the most important benefits of making an operational plan is the clarity it brings to everyone. Instead of leaving your team clueless about the next steps, this work plan clarifies how and where they can start. It also reduces errors by laying down the ground rules for every task and process.

📌 ‎ Related resource: Operations Teams: How to Assemble and Lead a High-Performing Team

How to develop an operational plan strategy

There’s no standard rulebook for creating an operational plan. It’s a fully customizable document that depends entirely on your company’s goals, resources, timelines and overall approach. 

For example, a fast-paced team can work with shorter timelines and hit more goals than a large-scale organization with more levels of checks and a bigger hierarchy.  

So, instead of replicating other companies’ operational plans, let’s help you create your own plan with this 6-step process:

  • Draw out a fail-proof strategic plan.
  • Establish clear goals and budgets.
  • Dig deeper into the project scope.
  • Create your operational plan.
  • Get all stakeholders’ buy-in for the plan.
  • Publish the plan using the right tool.

1. Draw out a fail-proof strategic plan

A strategic plan is to an operational plan what a storyline is to a movie—it conveys the essence and creates a direction for the operational plan to become a masterpiece. 

So, naturally, the first step to operational planning is creating a strategic plan; here’s how:

  • Define what success looks like for the entire organization. 
  • Evaluate organizational readiness to implement this strategy. 
  • Take inputs from people in the senior leadership. 
  • Assign responsibilities to different stakeholders. 
  • Prioritize goals against timelines. 

Once done, you can rely on this strategic plan throughout the operational planning process to prepare for what lies ahead. 

💡 ‎Use these 14 free customizable project plan templates to enhance communication, save time and achieve your strategic planning goals.

2. Establish clear goals & budgets

The next step is breaking your high-level goals into shorter, more actionable objectives. For example, you can divide the goal of achieving an X% growth in revenue into smaller targets, like increasing inbound leads, doubling down on cold outreach and rolling out a referral program. Implementing effective referral tracking within the program will allow you to monitor and optimize the success of your referral initiatives, providing valuable insights into the sources and impact of referred business.

Goal-setting makes your operational plan realistic and feasible. You're ideating the means to realize the long-term vision by hitting the right milestones. 

More importantly, once you have a list of goals, it's easier to determine the budget and resources required to achieve them. Before moving ahead, do your homework to set a solid budget that allows you to implement your strategy without splurging too much. 

3. Dig deeper into the project scope

Once you’re clear about your goals and resources, it’s time to define the finer details of your plan—specifying who’ll do what, when and how. 

Create a comprehensive project scope by outlining:

  • Department-wise goals and tasks according to the goals.
  • Different stakeholders involved within and outside your company. 
  • Responsibilities for each stakeholder with primary KPIs for their role.
  • SOPs  and  workflows  to perform a task or complete a process. 

This step brings more specificity to your operational plan. It concretely spells out each goal with details about milestones within each goal, roles and teams responsible for fulfilling these milestones and how they will work toward the end goals. 

💡 ‎ Scribe top tip: Creating a project scope document is a breeze when you use Scribe. You can use Scribe's project scope template to get cracking at the earliest. 

4. Create your operational plan

By this point, you've done all the legwork to get to work and start writing your operational plan finally.

Make it as actionable and value-packed as possible by answering these five main questions:

  • Who: People involved in different tasks. Include a list of teams and specific roles involved in the business operations and clarify what’s expected of them. 
  • What: Plan of action and targets to pursue. Create a milestone-based roadmap of the high-level goals to achieve and the smaller goals involved in the process. 
  • Where: Platform(s) where daily operations will happen. Add all the tools and frameworks you'll use to run business operations through this plan seamlessly. 
  • When: Deadlines for different tasks and activities. Map out the timelines for each job to ensure your team is on track for timely completion. 
  • ‍ How much: Costs involved in hitting the designated goals. Mention your final budget and resource allocation for different tasks.

Use Scribe's free AI Writer for Operations tool to capture and document operational procedures.

‎Additionally, a good operational plan also lists the metrics to track your progress. Pick and explain relevant metrics in your plan to show employees how you'll analyze their efforts.  ‍

5. Get all stakeholders’ buy-in for the plan

No plan is perfect and there's always scope for improving your operational plan to make it perfect. So, once you've drafted the plan, don't forget to run it by a few select stakeholders to identify the gaps you can cover. 

Actively seek feedback from people in different ranks and departments to understand the missing links in your plan. Your plan will go through 2-3 rounds of iterations before it’s finally ready to roll out. 

6. Publish the plan using the right tool

The final step in the process is publishing the plan. The most important thing to remember is that your plan should be:

  • Reader-friendly.
  • Easily accessible.
  • Quickly shareable. 

Clueless about the best way to hit all three points to roll out your operational plan? We have just the solution you need — Scribe . 

‎Scribe is a documentation tool designed to create intuitive documents, like an operational plan, in a few seconds. It significantly reduces the time spent on creating such documents and improves team efficiency in more ways than one.

‎You can create a single Scribe to explain a process or compile instructions with SOPs in a single place with Pages. You can even ask the AI to write your operational plan — just add a simple prompt and your Scribes, and the AI will build a customized document!

‎It's the easiest way to bring your team on the same page and power up your operations! 

✨ ‎See how operations teams use Scribe to tackle even the most daunting operational challenges.

3 operational plan examples (& why they work)

If you’re looking for some inspiration to get cracking with your planning process, looking at a few operations plan examples can help big time! Let’s look at three great examples, see why they work and how you can replicate the results. 

1. Carter Supply’s risk management plan

This detailed risk management plan by Carter Supply covers several aspects of managing risk at the organization. This 10-page document lists the key components of this plan, like a summary, the approval process and the end-to-end risk management process. 

As an operational plan, it gives the entire team clear insights into the risk management plan, highlights why it’s in place and explains how this plan will be used. 

This plan also covers different aspects of the plan and lays down the process of working on each element. For example, for risk quantification, the plan specifies that the risk manager will work with the risk owner to understand the exposure. 

2. Upscope’s go-to-market plan

Upscope ’s go-to-market (GTM) plan is another excellent example of operational planning. The SaaS company created this plan to execute its strategy for breaking into the co-browsing market. 

Pursuing this goal, the team created an airtight plan with a rundown of its target audience, pain points the product solves and the buyer journey. 

The Upscope marketing and sales teams could use this GTM plan to launch targeted campaigns and reach the right people. They were also well aware of the main value propositions to share with the target buyers, nudging them towards a purchase. 

📌 ‎Related resource: How Product Operations Can Help Your Team Build Better Products 📌 ‎

3. SmartNet’s project quality management plan

The quality management plan by SmartNet is a detailed document explaining the company’s entire operations framework, from the management structure to project reporting, risk assessment, deliverable production and more. 

Instead of a single department, this operational plan documents the complete business operations. Despite being so lengthy, the document is easy to read and understand—exactly how the plan should look like.

It also includes all the critical information to guide new employees about the company's operations from scratch.

Make operational planning your road to success 

When done right, operational planning can be a game-changer for streamlining your operations. It’s an in-depth roadmap to work toward your vision and hit all goals. 

Even though making an operational plan isn’t the most exciting task and it can get extremely time-consuming, the right process and tools can do the trick for you. Follow the six steps we’ve highlighted in this guide and when you’re ready to roll, use Scribe to put the plan in place. 

Scribe takes the pain out of documentation to empower teams for seamless operational planning. Try it today to see how it works!

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How to Develop an Annual Operating Plan + Template

You may have heard the famous quote, “give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe,” supposedly by Abraham Lincoln . 

It highlights the importance of planning and preparation in order to do the job effectively. And that is the case with an annual operating plan in business. It is a document that, when prepared correctly, will create the framework your business needs to achieve its goals. 

This article helps you create the document, providing an annual operating plan template on which to base yours. 

What is an Annual Operating Plan (AOP)?

An annual operating plan, also known as an annual operations plan, is a report that lays out the elements the company needs to reach its targets, including key performance indicators (KPIs), budgets and other human, physical, educational and financial resources. It provides a roadmap to help you navigate day-to-day activities that will lead the organisation to meet its objectives. 

The document lays out the resources required by different company activities and who holds responsibility for carrying them out. It also takes into account pertinent risks for the company and how it might mitigate them to remain on course to achieve its aims.

The AOP differs from your budget and your strategic plan in the following way: 

How to create your annual operating plan

1. assess your current situation.

Look back at your performance over the last year and consider what you achieved in relation to your aims and objectives. Review how closely aligned your performance was with company values and your mission. This will help you to reset your planning for the next year. 

In which areas could you improve in the future? Consider actions that did not achieve the necessary results. For example, did a new product launch fail to spark the expected revenue boost ? Consider what you can learn in order to refine your processes going forward or whether you should cancel some activities and seek out other opportunities instead.

Analyse all areas of the business to ascertain where you can make improvements. One of these areas could include the effectiveness of your board . You can use iBabs to track board member engagement, which will allow you to identify directors who might need more encouragement or training. A more engaged board is a more effective board and that can help you move the business forward over the next year. 

2. Analyse the market climate

The risks in your sector will have a bearing on your planning for the forthcoming year. There is no point in pursuing a plan that is destined not to work because the market climate is incompatible with its success. 

This means keeping a keen eye on the industry press to spot market trends that will help you set KPIs that chime with the business environment in which you will be working. 

Discuss the plan with the CEO to find realistic routes forwards for the next business year, as well as planning contingencies that can address the shifting landscape. 

Make use of competitive landscape analysis to see what your peers are doing and how they work. This will identify opportunities to diversify and gain an advantage over your competitors. Use a SWOT analysis to better understand their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. This will help you adjust your planning framework to the market conditions. 

3. Build your business strategy

Consider what you want to achieve overall for the business during the next year based on what is achievable as the market stands. Develop a strategy that will allow you to meet your objectives, given the risks and challenges that lie in store. 

Use your board portal to facilitate collaboration between board members on this topic between meetings. This allows them to thrash out the minor details outside of the boardroom, creating more time in board meetings to discuss the more substantial aspects of the strategy. 

You should also meet with department heads to discuss what they want to achieve during the year and what they need from you to meet those objectives. Attempt to work out how you can allocate the necessary resources for them to meet their aims. Also, use historical data to give you a realistic read on their ability to deliver what is required. 

4. Create the operational plan

Using the information you have gathered, you can begin to create a framework for the day-to-day activities that will comprise your operational plan. Set KPIs to help you monitor progress during the year and adjust your plan accordingly. Allocate the necessary resources and assign responsibilities. 

Once you have selected the areas on which you want to concentrate for the twelve months ahead, set SMART goals to achieve the growth that you require. These are goals that are S pecific, M easurable, A chievable, R elevant and T ime-bound.

Ensure your goals are relevant by aligning them with your company mission and that they are time-bound by setting them for the full term of your annual operating plan.

Include your budget and financial planning within the operational plan, which allocates how that budget works in a practical manner within the organisation. Include sales targets to help you achieve the results you need to carry out your plan. 

5. Explore new technology

Consider how technology could help you meet your operational goals with the resources that you have available. 

This could include using artificial intelligence to automate some repetitive tasks and free up employees to work in other areas. When it comes to allocating human resources, you can make your plan more efficient by finding solutions that make the most of your employees’ talents. 

Another use of technology to improve your operational efficiency is to use board meeting software like iBabs to run your meetings. This allows you to implement a digital meeting management process that uses your resources more effectively. 

6. Implement your plan

Put the plan into action and communicate that plan clearly to all stakeholders. Everyone must understand which goals you are aiming for, the steps required to reach them and their role in reaching those steps. 

Use internal communications methods such as company town halls to discuss the operating plan with employees and field any questions that they might have. In order to make sure your board members understand their responsibilities, create and track action items in your board software to increase accountability. 

Once the plan is in place, make sure to review it periodically, as changes in the market may have a bearing on its current state. 

Annual Operating Plan Template

This template provides you with a basis for operational plans for businesses and non-profits, as well as for longer-term planning. It allows you to visualise your goals, the stakeholders with ultimate responsibility, the measures of success and the potential risks you could encounter. 

Why is creating an AOP important?

Creating an AOP organises the route towards your goals. Without it, you could veer off-course without being able to recognise that immediately. The steps in your plan help you to track progress more effectively and adjust accordingly if necessary. 

What is the difference between an annual operating plan and a business plan?

Your business plan is your overall aims and goals and the methods to achieve them. The annual operating plan breaks that down into a one-year timeframe and plots how you will achieve the aims of your business plan that year. 

How often should we update the annual operating plan?

You should check in on your plan regularly during the year, quarterly or even monthly. This is to ensure that you are on target and that the AOP is still on track to lead you to your goals, considering the market conditions. 

How can we ensure everyone stays engaged with the annual operating plan?

Setting SMART goals and KPIs allows all stakeholders to know where they stand and what they need to do to meet their targets. With strong internal communications, you can keep everyone informed and motivated, offering incentives and praise for meeting goals. 

How do we determine the right key performance indicators (KPIs) for our annual operating plan?

This involves selecting leading KPIs that help you predict future performance. Discuss them with relevant stakeholders to ensure that they are realistic and helpful in achieving your aims. 

How can we effectively communicate the annual operating plan to other stakeholders?

Use your internal communications channels to keep stakeholders informed about developments and progress. This could include, for example, internal webinars or emails. For boards, use your board portal software to provide documentation and action points for directors. 

Using an annual operating plan template to create a road map towards achieving your goals helps you stay on course and gain an important overview of how you need to distribute your resources during the coming year. It provides all stakeholders with targets to meet and responsibilities to carry out so everyone understands the part they will play. 

For board members, you can use iBabs’ meeting management software to digitalise your processes, keep your board on track towards completing their action items and monitor directors’ engagement with board matters. Request a demo of iBabs today to find out how to improve your workflows, accountability and effectiveness using one platform.

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How To Write the Operations Plan Section of the Business Plan

Susan Ward wrote about small businesses for The Balance for 18 years. She has run an IT consulting firm and designed and presented courses on how to promote small businesses.

business operating plan sample

Stage of Development Section

Production process section, the bottom line, frequently asked questions (faqs).

The operations plan is the section of your business plan that gives an overview of your workflow, supply chains, and similar aspects of your business. Any key details of how your business physically produces goods or services will be included in this section.

You need an operations plan to help others understand how you'll deliver on your promise to turn a profit. Keep reading to learn what to include in your operations plan.

Key Takeaways

  • The operations plan section should include general operational details that help investors understand the physical details of your vision.
  • Details in the operations plan include information about any physical plants, equipment, assets, and more.
  • The operations plan can also serve as a checklist for startups; it includes a list of everything that must be done to start turning a profit.

In your business plan , the operations plan section describes the physical necessities of your business's operation, such as your physical location, facilities, and equipment. Depending on what kind of business you'll be operating, it may also include information about inventory requirements, suppliers, and a description of the manufacturing process.

Keeping focused on the bottom line will help you organize this part of the business plan.

Think of the operating plan as an outline of the capital and expense requirements your business will need to operate from day to day.

You need to do two things for the reader of your business plan in the operations section: show what you've done so far to get your business off the ground and demonstrate that you understand the manufacturing or delivery process of producing your product or service.

When you're writing this section of the operations plan, start by explaining what you've done to date to get the business operational, then follow up with an explanation of what still needs to be done. The following should be included:

Production Workflow

A high-level, step-by-step description of how your product or service will be made, identifying the problems that may occur in the production process. Follow this with a subsection titled "Risks," which outlines the potential problems that may interfere with the production process and what you're going to do to negate these risks. If any part of the production process can expose employees to hazards, describe how employees will be trained in dealing with safety issues. If hazardous materials will be used, describe how these will be safely stored, handled, and disposed.

Industry Association Memberships

Show your awareness of your industry's local, regional, or national standards and regulations by telling which industry organizations you are already a member of and which ones you plan to join. This is also an opportunity to outline what steps you've taken to comply with the laws and regulations that apply to your industry. 

Supply Chains

An explanation of who your suppliers are and their prices, terms, and conditions. Describe what alternative arrangements you have made or will make if these suppliers let you down.

Quality Control

An explanation of the quality control measures that you've set up or are going to establish. For example, if you intend to pursue some form of quality control certification such as ISO 9000, describe how you will accomplish this.

While you can think of the stage of the development part of the operations plan as an overview, the production process section lays out the details of your business's day-to-day operations. Remember, your goal for writing this business plan section is to demonstrate your understanding of your product or service's manufacturing or delivery process.

When writing this section, you can use the headings below as subheadings and then provide the details in paragraph format. Leave out any topic that does not apply to your particular business.

Do an outline of your business's day-to-day operations, including your hours of operation and the days the business will be open. If the business is seasonal, be sure to say so.

The Physical Plant

Describe the type, site, and location of premises for your business. If applicable, include drawings of the building, copies of lease agreements, and recent real estate appraisals. You need to show how much the land or buildings required for your business operations are worth and tell why they're important to your proposed business.

The same goes for equipment. Besides describing the equipment necessary and how much of it you need, you also need to include its worth and cost and explain any financing arrangements.

Make a list of your assets , such as land, buildings, inventory, furniture, equipment, and vehicles. Include legal descriptions and the worth of each asset.

Special Requirements

If your business has any special requirements, such as water or power needs, ventilation, drainage, etc., provide the details in your operating plan, as well as what you've done to secure the necessary permissions.

State where you're going to get the materials you need to produce your product or service and explain what terms you've negotiated with suppliers.

Explain how long it takes to produce a unit and when you'll be able to start producing your product or service. Include factors that may affect the time frame of production and describe how you'll deal with potential challenges such as rush orders.

Explain how you'll keep  track of inventory .


Describe any product testing, price testing, or prototype testing that you've done on your product or service.

Give details of product cost estimates.

Once you've worked through this business plan section, you'll not only have a detailed operations plan to show your readers, but you'll also have a convenient list of what needs to be done next to make your business a reality. Writing this document gives you a chance to crystalize your business ideas into a clear checklist that you can reference. As you check items off the list, use it to explain your vision to investors, partners, and others within your organization.

What is an operations plan?

An operations plan is one section of a company's business plan. This section conveys the physical requirements for your business's operations, including supply chains, workflow , and quality control processes.

What is the main difference between the operations plan and the financial plan?

The operations plan and financial plan tackle similar issues, in that they seek to explain how the business will turn a profit. The operations plan approaches this issue from a physical perspective, such as property, routes, and locations. The financial plan explains how revenue and expenses will ultimately lead to the business's success.

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Top 10 Business Operational Plan Templates with Samples and Examples

Top 10 Business Operational Plan Templates with Samples and Examples

Aditya Chakraborty


 Are you aspiring for the best outcomes from your business model? Do you want to set the pace of the organization in the right direction?

The right kind of business operational plan will set teams in motion to achieve desired organizational goals. With the assistance of powerful PPT models, businesses are able to direct the process’s blueprint to the employee and all stakeholders. A clearer picture of the state of operations and targets always helps teams be comfortable with what they are doing. They also know what success looks like. 

Running, and even thriving in you business, could be a greater challenge when the marketplace is tough. If your enterprise can be taken as a ship, a business operation plan can be considered as its lighthouse. It (the business operational plan) reminds teams & stakeholders of the way to go and highlights potholes or obstructions the path ahead. 

A well-designed PPT Presentation is the answer to ensure your venture prospers and has answers to most problems that will come your way. Start your business operational plan today with help of suitable presentations that suit your requirements. SlideTeam offers you PPT templates that assist in shaping business operational plans.  Download  slides that assist businesses to tackle operational challenges with flair and effectiveness. 

Why Do You Need Business Operational Plan? 

Companies often tend to spend time and resources in strategic planning for long-term goals. While it is necessary to make strategic plans, most of these miss out on a key strategic element: a business operating plan. 

“The proper outlining of business operational plan for daily needs leads to best outcomes for the organizations. Research has indicated better allocation of resources in organizations with well-laid operating plans.”

The operator should be able to answer these questions:

  • What are the operational strategies in line with the vision of the organization? 
  • How to perform and outshine in changing business environment?
  • What are the tasks to be completed on regular basis?
  • How to prevent risks associated with the implementation of plans? 

Let us look at the list of PPT models to fit business operating models: 

Template 1: Business Operational Plan 

This PPT Template is meant to ensure a pictorial depiction of the company’s sales & marketing goals. Use this presentation deck to highlight the executive summary, company vision, company strategy, changes in the competitive environment, revenue sources, objective for the next 12 months, milestones, financial summary, and others. The deck also contains slides related to acquisition of new customers, customer lifetime Value, and risk mitigation strategies to fit sales requirement.

Business operational plan powerpoint presentation with slides

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Template 2: Business Plan Operational Strategy 

The PPT slide deck is helping businesses overcome fears and tackle challenges. It displays the company mission and objective, KPIs, business problems & solutions, changes in the competitive environment, financial summary, revenue growth, and others. Businesses are able to optimize their performance with information related to gross margin improvement, operating expenses, product roadmap , and more.

Business plan operational strategy powerpoint presentation slides

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Template 3: Business Operational Planning Process 

  The specific kind of PowerPoint Deck is focusing on the condition of the company, key performance indicators, operating highlights, hiring plans, and more to boost the overall outcome. It will help businesses devise top strategies to support product roadmap, operational challenges, risk & mitigation plans, and others. Put forth all details in the respective slides to make the presentation fruitful and result-oriented.

Business operational planning process powerpoint presentation slides

Template 4: Business Operation Planning 

  If you’re planning to set long-term business goals, then this PowerPoint Deck will be a desirable option. It includes slides related to the executive summary, business solutions, details related to key stakeholders, analysis of competitors, budget, source of revenue, and more. Highlight milestones of the company through visuals, establishing operational highlights.

Business operation planning powerpoint presentation slides

Template 5: Business Operational Plan PPT Infographics 

  The business operational plan PPT infographic will help companies establish their goals efficiently. It includes details related to mission & objectives, strategic intent, budget, performance indicators, time, responsibility, and progress. We provide thousands of editable icons on each topic and adjust sizes easily. Companies can use their own icons in the PPT Slides and edit the color of the graphics. Highlight details accurately through infographics and boost the overall output of presentations.

Business operational plan ppt powerpoint presentation infographics infographics

Template 6: Business Operational Plan Pie Charts 

  Graphical presentation of data assists in easier understanding of key business indicators. The business operational plan pie charts are creating huge impact on business meetings through the guided presentation. We provide thousands of editable icons for each category to make business presentations successful. Our pie charts are easy to understand, and comparison in the meeting rooms become easier with this.

Business operational plan pie charts powerpoint presentation

Template 7: Business Operational Plan Timeline Pictures Infographics 

Plan the best moves for the company with a business operational plan timeline PowerPoint Deck. The infographics used in the PPT will help businesses analyze present costs and plan future timeline. Use the editable infographics and pictures to highlight details related to the strategic intent of the company, performance indicators, budget, progression, risks mitigation, and others.

Business operational plan timeline ppt powerpoint presentation pictures infographics

Template 8: Business Operational Readiness Plan with Multiple Tasks 

  Select Business Operational Readiness Plan with Multiple Tasks PPT to describe aspects of operations minutely. It is the best option for businesses looking for pro-presentation solutions to highlight essential details. The slides can be easily edited, as per the preferred size and color to fit the business presentation requirements.

Business operational readiness plan with multiple tasks

Template 9: Essential Elements of Business Operational Readiness Plan 

Businesses need to add backdrops in their presentations to describe subjects minutely. The Essential Elements of Business Operational Readiness Plan PPT deck is designed by our experts to make the teams ready for efficient operations. Edit the slides as per choice and improve the output of business meetings. Download the PPT deck today to ensure the completion of business pro presentations timely. 

Essential elements of business operational readiness plan

Template 10: Business Operational Plan for Organizational Governance Infographic Template 

  The governance of organizations needs to be chalked out accurately for optimal output. Our Business Operational Plan for Organizational Governance Infographics Template provides you detailed-reports on specific subjects. The editable slides suit pro-business presentation requirements and incorporate icons that fit business needs. Download it today to present detailed reports on the company’s progression and govern the organization suitably. 

Business operational plan for organizational governance infographic template

Final Thoughts!

The operational plan templates prove to be the idle option to develop the presentations to be showcased in business conferences. Such plans should be in line with the strategic plans of the company and ensure focus on specific goals. Take the stakeholders & business partners in the loop to focus on the right objective of the business. The templates will work as the top option to solve specific problems in company operations and achieve long-term goals. 

What is an example of an operational plan?

An operational plan focuses on the future of the business and identifies its activities. It helps in better outlining of the purpose of businesses and understand specific activities to achieve desired goals. If you desire to grow your business by 25%, over the next few years, then the creation of an operational plan becomes critical to meeting targets. An example is given below: 

Goal: 25% growth in business by evaluating the revenues. 

Timeline: 2-5 years. 

Tasks: Engaging with customers and advertising brand products to generate leads for business. 

Resources: Specific skills and customer servicing needs. 

Budget: $5,000-$10,000 for each year. 

Output Monitoring: Revenue analysis for the next few years 

How do you write a business operational plan?

Write business plans in templates to ensure a simple understanding of facts that help in getting desirable output at all levels. Plan presentations critically as the checklist for dealing with business problems & solutions. 

A business operational plan includes

  • Defining employee roles and contributing to the business outcomes. 
  • Detailed instructions on daily operations within organizations. 
  • Creation of risk and mitigation plans.  
  • Defining short and long-term business operational goals. 
  • Detailed reporting on financial summary of businesses. 
  • Providing realistic goals to key stakeholders for achievement of goals. 
  • Create transparency to earn the trust and loyalty of employees. 

What are the seven things an operational plan should contain?

A business operational plan helps in decide on a strategy that will deliver the best results. If you want to run projects successfully, then prepare operational plans that help to build revenues. The operational strategy of a company is future-oriented and set the plans that fit the requirements. 

Let us look at the seven things to be included in a business operational plan:

  • Precise objective 
  • Delivery of activities 
  • Quality standards 
  • Best outcomes 
  • Staffing & resourceful needs
  • Milestone tracking 
  • Keep revising and updating monitoring procedures 

What are the three types of business operational plans?          

The business operational plan is acting as the blueprint for business procedures and helps your reach your milestones with both speed and ease. The three types of business operational plans include

Single-use plans: It is meant for a specific purpose in business operations and handle challenges promptly. The development of single-use plans helps deal with problems for top outcomes. 

Multi-use plans: It includes plans for stages of the business operation and implements these accurately. These work at many level with accuracy and efficacy. 

Ongoing plans: It is the best way to solve repetitive, assembly-line like issues in daily operations. Such plans help in business growth and thus eliminate prevailing troubles. 

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How to write an operational plan for an online business

Table of Contents

Current position

Opportunities, measuring progress, operate finances effectively with countingup.

To run an online business, you’ll need to set goals and strive to achieve them. An operational plan helps you lay out all of your tasks needed to reach your objectives. The online market can be profitable for businesses, but success relies on your ability to scale up and grow. There are plenty of reasons to be ambitious about your company, but having a plan makes you more likely to be successful.

This guide discusses what you need in an operational plan for your online business, including:

The first section to include in your operational plan is your budget . It is an estimation of money coming into the business and how much you’ll spend. Budgeting allows you to be more aware of your money and only focus your spending on things to create revenue. Set your budget over a specific period – months, quarters or years. 

When you are using a budget, first consider how you can create a surplus – which is when you’re left with more money than expected. That could be a result of more sales than anticipated, for example. Second, think about how to balance your budget – which is meeting all costs. Thirdly, understand how to avoid a deficit, which is when your costs have exceeded your budget. 

A deficit could hurt your ability to continue operating. For example, if your costs go over expectations for the month, you may not have enough for the following month, making you unable to pay a supplier. To be aware of your budget, you can use an accounting tool like Countingup. It’s a current business account with built-in accounting software. The app features cash flow insights, which shares the incoming and outgoing of your business. 

Another section to include in your operational plan, is your business’s current position. It’s essential to be aware of where you are, before moving forward. One way to look at your current position is through SWOT analysis . This method pinpoints your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

Even if your business has not been long-running, you can likely see some key strengths. It’s essential to recognise what they are, so you can keep doing what works. For example, suppose you often gather positive customer reviews. In that case, you may decide to encourage more people to fill them out.

Your weaknesses are just as important as your strengths. You’ll likely have business areas to improve through your objectives. Looking at how you operate overall, decide where you’d benefit from change. For example, if you have been on social media for months but still have a low number of followers, then you may want to rethink the content you put out.

As a business, your current position helps you identify key opportunities to take advantage of in future. For example, you could sell an online service and see the potential of VR to improve what you offer customers.

Also, look at possibilities that could become threats to your business. Those might be important to consider when deciding on improvement strategies, as you can set up ways to avoid them. For example, say there’s the threat of a competitor selling a similar product. You can patent your next one so competitors would face repercussions for stealing the design.

The goals of your business can be the primary things your operation is going to achieve for you. This section commits to a vision of where the company is heading in the future. It can include your long-term goals, but it’s just as essential to consider short-term ones. 

Your operational plan can set up short, medium and long-term goals for your business. Having a dedicated aim for the future first, may help break those down into smaller ones. For example, the goal of being the biggest supplier in the UK for hair products is ambitious. Still, without short term goals, you’ll never work towards it.

Short term goals can include giving yourself targets like growing your sales. A medium-term goal could be to offer more products. Then a long term goal can be the overarching idea for the future of your business. Breaking down what you would like to do makes the strategy more manageable.

The business strategy to help reach your goals is another important section of your operational plan. This section helps to set up the actions and activities you want to take on. Everything you decide to do can follow your current budget position. Keeping those other sections in mind helps you stay realistic but purposeful.

Your strategy can address how you see the business achieving your goals and which steps to take. For example, to get more customers, your strategy can decide which channels to use for digital marketing. Every decision will be unique to your business and its specific goals. 

Consider the risks you may face. Similar to the threats you currently have, you could see more problems by changing the way you operate. By assessing possibilities, you can better face them. For example, your strategy might include launching an IOS app. But, if Apple changes their system before development ends, last minute changes could put you over budget.

An operational plan can provide something to look back on and compare your success . To do that, include a section on measuring progress. Choose figures that can be checked quickly and routinely. Another way of measuring progress is by assigning a timescale to achieve each goal. 

For example, you can aim to reach 100 sales a week in three months. After one month, look at how close you are and if anything needs to change. By the third month, if you haven’t reached your goal, come back to your operational plan and find a new strategy.

Aside from helping you stick to your budget, by having a Countingup business current account, you can also track the progress of your financial goals. 

Its expense categorisation feature lets you sort costs, which allows you to separate different areas of the business financially. Suppose you want to increase your profit by keeping expenses low. In that case, you can access all of the information and compare the attention you need to give to each section of the business.

Start your three-month free trial today. 

Find out more here .


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Operational Plan for Business Plan

Operational Plan For Business Plan

It is important for a business plan to have an operational plan. Your business functions will not be complete if you will not set action plans and strategies that will be used for your operations.

  • 19+ Hotel Operational Business Plan Examples
  • 11+ Operational Plan For Cleaning Services Examples

Business Operational Plan Template

business operational plan template

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Operational Plan Template

operational plan template

Startup Operational Plan Template

startup operational plan template

Having an operational plan can help you look into the quality standards and metrics that you need to consider to attain operational successes and other business goals and objectives. May it be a monthly, quarterly, or annual operational plan that you would like to develop or update as a part of your business plan, you always have to ensure that you are fully aware of the purposes of the document and how its usage can affect the actual operations of your business.

We have listed a number of operational plan for business plan examples that you can browse through and download in this post. Refer to these downloadable examples if you want to be more specific with the formatting and content development of your own operational plan.

Operational Plan and Budget for Business Plan Example

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Operational Plan for Business Plan Elements Example

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Operational Business Plan Example

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What Is an Operational Plan for Business Plan?

Just like a project operational plan , an operational plan for business plan promotes organization within all the processes that concerned stakeholders will be involved in. Every business should have an operational plan as this document can help point out operational goals, the gap that is needed to be filled during business operations, and the business condition that is needed to be achieved with the help of a proactive and productive workforce.

Here are some ways on how an operational plan for business plan can be defined:

1. An operational plan for simple business plan deals with the daily activities of the business. It helps prepare specific action plans that can be used to support the requirements, needs, and demands of the operations. This can help the workplace become more organized, functional, and appropriate for all the work processes that are needed to be done on a day-to-day basis.

2. An operational plan for business plan is an extremely detailed document that presents the tactics and strategies necessary to be implemented for operational growth and development.

For an operational plan to be highly usable, it needs to present the entities who will be responsible for the execution of particular call-to-actions, the details of the operational plan activities, the location where specific work functions will be implemented, and the time frames that are necessary to be considered when executing general action plans .

3. An operational plan for business plan ensures that the lower management is fully aware of the desired and demands of the upper management. With this document, there will be clarity with the direction where the operations will be brought which should be relevant and aligned with the objectives of the business. You may also see operational plan for restaurant examples .

4. An operational plan for business plan adheres to low-level management. This means that this document is helpful for single-area units like specific departments. As an example, a sales operational plan can help the sales team associate its professional goals , work processes, and action plans with the objectives of the business.

Annual Operational Plan for a Business Example

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Farm Operational Plan for Business Plan Example

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Bank Group Operational Plan for Business Plan Example

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Key Elements of an Operational Plan for Business Plan Example

Using an operational plan for business plan can help you define all the factors, elements, and components that you need to consider to ensure that all the objectives and goals of the upper management for its operations can be achieved. The same goes with how event management teams use an event operational plan to ensure that the workforce is well aware of what is expected from them.

Especially when dealing with potential operational successes, it is important for you to know how strategies and tactics can help business processes, operational workloads, and stakeholders’ relationships to be better. Here are the key elements that you should not forget to include in your own operational plan for general business plan :

  • The desired output of the upper management and the operational guidelines that the workforce can refer to so that they can provide all their deliverable needed during operations.
  • The strategies and tactics that you will incorporate in your business operations for you to yield better results and return of investments.
  • The tasks, obligations, and responsibilities that are needed to be done in a timely manner to ensure that specific operational goals and objectives will be realized.
  • The particular entities who will be assigned to take ownership of the incorporation of strategies or the execution of call-to-actions.
  • The timeline that will serve as guide within the entire execution of the operational plan for business plan.
  • The time frames or duration where particular operational activities are expected to be done, completed, and/or provided.
  • The amount that will be used for the implementation of the operational plan for business plan and the financial resources where the required budget will be coming from. You may also see event operational plan examples .
  • The performance indicators that can assess the quality of the results given by the workforce and other stakeholders with the help of the operational plan.

Operations and Maintenance Business Plan Draft Example

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Business Plan Outline with a Thorough Operational Plan Example

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Things That You Need to Focus on When Developing an Operational Plan for Business Plan

It is essential for you to know the phases of the business management planning processes where you will incorporate the operational plan. You have to consider the different setups within various business areas so you can develop an operational plan that works for every department and division while still considering the overall corporate goal of the company. With this, you have to be keen with the development of your own operational plan for business plan.

Here are some of the things that you always need to look into when drafting the specified document:

1. Ensure that there is clarity with your objectives. You have to be aware of what it is that you truly want to achieve. If you can present the better goals that you have in mind for the operations of the business, then it will be easier for you to come up with strategies and process guides that can help your objectives be a reality.

2. Particularly and specifically present all the activities and functions that the operations team is expected to be delivered. The people that you will be working with must be knowledgeable of what you expect from them so that they can execute work processes accordingly. Having an operational plan for a business plan can also help the operations become more sensitive with the quality standards that they need to meet.

3. Speaking about quality standards, you have to set the measures and metrics that you will use for assessment and evaluation. It is essential for you to have a thorough process of identifying whether the operational plan is working for the benefit of the business, and not against the direction where the upper management would like the business to be at. You may also see annual operational plan examples .

4. List down all your desired outcomes. This should be based on your long-term and short-term goals . Specify the things that you would like to achieve in different time frames and periods. Through this, you can be aware of whether there is growth and development that is happening to the business and its operations with the usage of the operational plan that you have created.

5. It is important for you to consider the staffing needs of the operational plan for business plan that you will develop. You have to look into the current workforce pool of the company so that you can identify whether the plans that you have are realistic and attainable based on the number of people that you can work with. You may also like  IT operational plan examples .

6. Present all the resource requirements, needs, and demands that are essential to be supplied within the actual implementation of the operational plan for business plan. You have to be aware of the resources that you will be needing, from the budget that you need up to the equipment and materials that are expected to be at hand and readily available, so that there will be a smooth execution of all your simple action plans for the business operations.

7. Develop an implementation timetable that can ensure the timeliness of all your work processes. You have to keep in mind that the daily operations of the business have particular requirements.

Hence, you have to make sure that all your listed work functions are time-sensitive. If you can present all the time frames for every operational action plan, then it will be easier for all point persons to execute their responsibilities in a timely manner. You may also checkout project operational plan examples .

8. Include all the processes, activities, programs, and efforts that are relevant to the operations of the business. You have to incorporate a particular success measure for monitoring the progress and growth of the business operations. Your b usiness operational plan  should be evaluated and updated from time to time so you can ensure that the usage of the document is still effective.

Food Truck Operational Plan for Business Plan Example

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Business Planning: Operating Plan or Operations and Maintenance Plan

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Operational Plan for Business Plan Example

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Guidelines and Instructions for an Operational Plan for a Business Plan Example

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Tips and Guidelines for the Creation of an Operational Plan for Business Plan

Whether you are making an operational plan for a restaurant or any other kinds of businesses, you always have to ensure that the document that you will come up with is understandable, specific, direct to the point, and complete with all the details that you would like to disseminate to your target audience. A few of the useful tips and guidelines that you can refer to if you want to start drafting your own operational plan for business plan are as follows:

1. Ensure that the discussion in the operational plan for formal business plan are divided into clauses or segments. You have to present key points and areas of consideration in an organized manner so that it will be easier for the document to be understood and interpreted accordingly.

2. Know the nature of your business operations and how your performance as a corporate entity pars up with your competition. Having the knowledge about your current operational conditions can give you an idea on how you can develop formal action plans that can bridge the gap between the state of the business right now and the condition that you would like to experience, business operations wise.

3. Browse through a selection of operational plan for business plan examples especially those that have been used by successful businesses in the same industry. Being able to see the trends or common denominators in the development of this document can help you come up with an effective operational plan of your own. You may also see importance of business plan .

4. Be specific with your plan discussion. Limit the content of the document to its bare minimum ensuring that your operational plan only contains relevant and necessary information.

With the help and guidance of the operational plan for business plan examples that we have compiled just for you, we hope that you can have an easier and faster time in developing your operational plan for sample business plan . You can always go back to the discussion specified above if you need to refresh your mind about the proper and efficient creation of an operational plan.

Download any of our examples and try to create a well-formatted and comprehensive operational plan for business plan now.

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How to Write an Arcade Business Plan + Free Sample Plan PDF

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Elon Glucklich

7 min. read

Updated April 1, 2024

Free Download: Sample Entertainment Business Plan Templates

Once headed for extinction, the arcade has made a comeback. 

There are now nearly 7,000 arcades and entertainment centers across the U.S., and the sheer range of gaming options means there are plenty of opportunities for entrepreneurs looking to carve out a niche in their community.

But to build a successful business around people’s love of gaming, you need to make sure that:

  • There’s a big enough market for your arcade to be financially viable.
  • You’re offering something that competitors aren’t.
  • You have a plan to staff the arcade and keep machines operational.
  • If you’re operating an arcade bar, you need to ensure minors aren’t getting access to alcohol.

You can account for all of these concerns and improve your chances of starting a profitable arcade by writing a business plan. Plus, if you’re looking for a bank loan or investment to cover major costs like new arcade machines, they’ll need to see your plan before they’ll consider funding you.

Those are just a few of the concerns an arcade business owner might deal with. And it’s why writing a business plan will keep you focused on your market opportunity and run your operation smoothly. 

  • What should you include in an arcade business plan?

Here are a few sections we recommend including in an arcade business plan:

Executive summary

  • Products & services
  • Market analysis
  • Operational plan

Financial plan

There’s a traditional format that you can follow when writing your business plan .  But don’t feel like you have to follow that structure if you aren’t looking for funding. 

At its heart, a business plan is about creating a growth strategy for your arcade, so focus on the sections most relevant to your situation.

The executive summary introduces the reader to your arcade business. It’s typically written last, because it summarizes your whole plan. But it needs to be engaging.

Start by outlining your arcade’s unique concept and mission. Do you focus on:

  • Classic arcade games
  • Cutting-edge gaming systems (i.e. virtual reality)
  • Competitive play (tournaments)

Next, highlight what sets you apart . Maybe you have a massive game selection, exciting prizes to win, or an appealing food and beverage concept. Tie these features to the desires of your target market and the role your business will play in the community.

Briefly touch on your qualifications, financial outlook and long-term goals as well. Do you have experience in business, entertainment, or the gaming industry? If you’re seeking funding, how much do you need, and how will you use it?

Products and Services

The products and services section details the experiences you offer customers, and revenue streams you generate. Start with your core service.

Arcade Games

List the types of games you offer, such as:

  • Classic cabinets
  • Pinball machines
  • Modern gaming consoles
  • Cutting-edge gaming experience like VR
  • Interactive games

Some arcades specialize in a type of gaming experience, like retro or sports games. If you’re focusing on a specific genre or era, explain in your business plan why choosing that segment over others gives you an advantage.

Then think beyond the arcade games themselves. Additional revenue streams may include:

  • Food and drinks
  • Events and tournaments
  • Merchandise
  • Party packages

If you’re already operational, mention any services that have proven successful.

Market Analysis

To build a successful arcade with a steady customer base, you must deeply understand your target customers and the arcade industry.

A good place to start in your market analysis is to identify the characteristics of your ideal player:

These include demographic factors, like:

  • Income level

Are you catering to teens, young adults, or families? Do you expect your customers to be mostly from the area around your arcade, or can you draw people from farther away? Based on average incomes in your area, do you expect cheaper, coin-operated games to be your most popular attraction? Or can you get customers to pay more for premium games, meals, and drinks?

You should also consider the psychographic characteristics of your customers. These are about your customers’ motivations. Are they seeking:

  • Stress relief
  • Social outings
  • Serious competition

The answer to these questions can help determine how to position your arcade to potential customers, as well as the types of arcade games to purchase.

Competitive Analysis

Understanding the competitive landscape is an extension of your market research. But due to the complexity of the arcade gaming competition, it’s worth separating into its own section.

Start by listing your rivals:

  • Direct Competitors: Other arcades, especially those with a similar concept or location.
  • Indirect Competitors: Family entertainment centers, bowling alleys, home gaming systems – anywhere people spend leisure time and money.

Analyze their strengths and weaknesses. Consider:

  • Game Selection: Do they offer a similar mix, or specialize in specific genres?
  • Atmosphere: Is it modern, family-friendly, or geared toward serious gamers?
  • Pricing & Promotions: How do their prices compare to yours? Do they run specials or loyalty programs?
  • Customer Experience: Look at online reviews – what do people praise or criticize?

The key to your competitive analysis is determining what will make people choose your arcade over other options. It could be that you have a larger selection of games, or a more approachable atmosphere. Clearly spell out your competitive advantage in your business plan.  

Operational Plan

Your operational plan maps out the day-to-day work that keeps your arcade running smoothly. Here’s what to cover:

Describe your space

  • Square footage
  • Special features (party room, kitchen, etc.)

If you haven’t secured a location, outline your ideal requirements.

  • Arcade machines
  • Coin and token machines
  • Kitchen and bar equipment
  • Food and drink supplies
  • Cleaning supplies

Archase games require periodic upkeep, so be sure to outline your plan for regular maintenance and how you’ll handle unexpected breakdowns. Also, detail where you will source games, parts, prices, food and drinks.

The complexity of your operational plan depends on your arcade’s size and staffing needs. A simple arcade might have a shorter section, while a large entertainment complex will need a more detailed plan.

Your arcade financial plan is where you demonstrate that you can turn your vision into a sustainable business that operates for years to come.

Startup Costs : If you’re seeking funding to start an arcade, detail your costs to launching, like buying arcade machines, building renovations, and initial inventory needs. Be sure to demonstrate exactly how those funds will help you succeed.

Sales forecast : Project your revenue from game plays, prizes, food and drinks, events, and any other income sources. Be realistic, especially in the early months.

Expense Budget : Think carefully about all of your costs, then list them out. Typical expenses include:

  • Rent and utilities
  • Game purchases/leases
  • Maintenance & repairs
  • Supplies (prizes, food, etc.)
  • Insurance, marketing, licensing, and fees

Profit & Loss (P&L) : This combines your revenue streams and expenses, demonstrating whether your projections show a profit.

Cash flow statement : Regardless of how successful you think your arcade will be over time, you always need to have enough cash on hand to pay bills and avoid running into shortages. 

Balance Sheet : An overview of your arcade’s financial health, listing assets (like your games), liabilities (loans), and overall equity.

Important Notes

Assumptions: Be clear about any predictions you’re making (number of customers, growth rate, etc.). If you’re writing your business plan in hopes of getting a bank loan, they’ll want to see that you’ve thought through your projections.

Industry Research: Try to find sample financials from other arcades to make sure you’re not missing any key expenses. At the very least, research typical arcade expenses online.

  • Download your free entertainment sample business plan

You can download any of our entertainment business plan samples for free right now to get inspiration for your own plan. Or, browse the Bplans library of over 550 free sample business plans to see what plans in other industries look like.

With competition from other arcades, large entertainment centers and home gaming systems, identifying your niche as an arcade destination is crucial for your success.

Writing a business plan keeps you disciplined in your entrepreneurial journey by ensuring you focus on gaming experiences with a high return on investment. And remember, a bank or investor won’t fund you without one.

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See why 1.2 million entrepreneurs have written their business plans with LivePlan

Content Author: Elon Glucklich

Elon is a marketing specialist at Palo Alto Software, working with consultants, accountants, business instructors and others who use LivePlan at scale. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and an MBA from the University of Oregon.

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