Keeping a healthy Pulse On Your Business
Whether discovering how to start a new business, heading into additional verticles, or scaling existing operations, mastering the knowledge areas for Operations is crucial to maintaining a healthy heartbeat throughout the organization's growth.
A well-thought-out structure of your organization creates the necessary foundational pillars from which to grow your business and contributes to the healthy mechanics of cross-functional teams. Whether a flat, hierarchal, or other variances of organizational structure, the appropriate form will depend on the stage of your business and its strategic growth plans.
The best way to succeed in your business is to plan for that success. Organizations should develop a business plan and then plot the execution of that plan into numerous models. Typically organizations would have a one-year, three-year, and five-year plan. Each plan should contain conservative, moderate, and aggressive models. New businesses should understand their breakeven dates and funding requirements based on any model. All models should contain reports on cash flow, profit & loss, balance sheet, financial summary, overhead, inventory, etc. And all reports should update with each model accordingly, providing a perspective of future outlooks.
Growing too slow? Growing too fast? Either can surely break a business. Scaling a business is a precise and delicate balance of multiple business and operational acumens converging to support an organization's growth objectives. It's a meticulous ongoing calibration of maintaining market relevance and meeting market demands profitably. Recruiting talent, placing the right seats into position at the right time, providing the support your teams need, and infrastructure to support increased operations are only scratching the surface.
The right blend of systems can reduce the burden on Operations and support nearly every business function. A key objective of Operations is to ensure the business's day-to-day mechanics remain optimal and reduce friction in all systems use. Consider what systems are needed to support healthy operations; company email, appointment scheduling, conference systems, project management platforms, team collaboration and communication systems, CRMs, SOP repositories, invoicing and accounting systems, etc. And implicit in "stack" is that these systems should align on top of one another, integrating as vertically as possible to improve communication between them where needed and improve efficiency
Production management supports your organization's service fulfillment arm by carefully, systematically, and methodically orchestrating work production and calibrating production pipelines. Work allocations must afford teams the time to comfortably do their best work without haste or shadow of other looming tasks that might need their attention. Supply chain and procurement must maintain synergy with production. An organization should deliver the necessary oversight of demands against resources to provide the appropriate production support to their teams, limit liabilities, and proactively uncover and resolve production issues. Human resource allocation and modeling should furnish empirical business insights on past and current demand, track the business's baseline performance and how well it meets the demands, and plan for future demands based on projections.
Project Management is an essential competency for any organization. Executing the proper PM methodologies for any endeavor in any industry is key to delivering on objectives with high-quality outputs. Website projects are no exception. They are almost always predictive in their constraints (scope, budget, time). Thus, they are carefully planned endeavors where project management skills will significantly benefit the development process's efficiency, quality, and execution.
Standard Operating Procedures
Standard Operating Procedure (SOPs) is not just a quirky operational term for how you fulfill services. It has profound impacts on the business. Ensuring repeatable processes are well documented and resourced aids in providing quality of work, allows for effective management, uncovers areas to improve the services, eliminates confusion, keeps your production team happy, etc. And only through repetition can organizations expose patterns and unveil opportunities to realize improved efficiency in delivery.
Ensure your business has the necessary tools, materials, infrastructure, and resources to service its market - including the costs of goods sold (COGs), be it materials, manufacturing, or fees from suppliers. Effective management of supply chains in part means A.) nurturing strategic relationships with partners, B.) planning risk management, C.) proactively anticipating where breakdowns or bottlenecks might impact the business, and D.) uncovering and resolving issues efficiently.
Procurement is a competency that manages an organization's acquisition of goods and services and the contracting of external expertise or services from strategic partners. Key responsibilities include maintaining healthy and strategic relationships with vendors while leveraging the business value in negotiation. Excellent procurement proficiency brings along with it a solid acumen for establishing terms and agreements and effectively managing all bidding processes. Procurement plays a critical role with finance in prudent planning and managing budgets.
Resource Allocation Management
Every organization should know precisely how much time and effort it takes to deliver a service. It should know how the work effort is divided, who is carrying out the work, when those resources are needed and when they will be released, and at what cost to the business—this transparency arms organizations with the data needed to carefully allocate workloads to its teams. Avoid uneven distribution of work, balance the load, and prevent staff burnout.
Human Resource Modeling
Once an organization understands the work effort required for every service and effectively manages workloads across teams, it will need to model out the resource needs to maintain healthy operations. Modeling refers to projecting the addition of future staff to your team. The projections should account for empirical business insights and numerous KPI variables, including future sales targets, recruiting timelines, employee churn, and the amount of tolerable buffer in production capacity the organization can withstand while maintaining profitability.
A make-or-break competency for any organization, the right recruiting muscle is one of the greatest assets to wield, especially in a market of stiff competition for talent. We also know that the traditional scope of recruiting underserves the needs of organizations today. Recruiting has to proactively consider diversifying its workforce if it desires to find the best talent and teams to deliver. An organization should also consider what it takes to attract new talent and what it takes to keep talent (or hold onto talent as long as possible before graduating them on to their next venture).
Organizations should consistently recruit even the talent they've already hired. Develop transparent and thoughtful career track programs that invest in their skills development and support their growth. Ensure you have a standardized and comfortable onboarding for every role and skill level. Uncover strengths and gaps in knowledge or skill and tailor training accordingly. Empower your team to learn and grow together. Continue to attract and invest in your talent by furthering education through courses, certification programs, and fostering mentorships. Consider developing incubators and internal startups that allow your most talented rockstars to flex their genius - Hence, reduce your talent feeling they have to leave your organization to grow or pursue ambitions where those ambitions might otherwise align with the organization. And when they have outgrown the organization, commission a grand ceremony of their graduation that demonstrates your gratitude for all they have done and do all that you can to help them succeed in their new ventures. Be the organization that is intentional about building careers.