If you plan to start a small business, you’ll need to prepare for success. A business plan will help you organise your services and structure to set up and earn funding. But an operational plan is essential to managing your day-to-day. 

This guide will cover how to write an operational plan for your business, including: 

  • What is an operational plan?
  • How can an operational plan help your business? 
  • What should your operations plan include?

What is an operational plan? 

An operational plan outlines the physical requirements of running your business and how you’ll function daily. It can be its own document or a section of your business plan. Either way, the operational plan answers essential questions about how you’ll make your business earn a profit. 

This plan covers your business’s who, what, where, when, and how much, similar to a company description. But your operational plan dives into the nitty-gritty details and outlines exactly how you’ll achieve them. 

Writing an operational plan for your business will help you determine the essential materials to set up. The more detailed it is, the easier it will be to organise your business and increase productivity. As your operations grow, you can update the plan to fit your needs, so check in with it regularly. 

What should your business’s operational plan include? 

If you wonder how to write an operational plan for your business, you’ll need to know some key components. We’ll outline the essentials. 


The first step to outlining your operations is considering your objectives. Objectives are the specific things you want to achieve for your business in a particular time frame. For example, you may want to achieve profitability within the first six months. Or you might aim to use paid advertising to double your client base in a year. 

Create different objectives based on the departments or sectors of your business. For example, you can form financial, marketing, sales, and development objectives. To develop effective plans, use the SMART method, short for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based. 


Next, you’ll have to consider the logistics of where you’ll run your business. Are your operations home-based or will you need an office or shop? If you need to find a space, outline where it will be and how you plan to do it. You may need to use a real estate or letting agency to purchase or let a space. 

So, discuss that process, when you plan to have a location, and how much you’ll spend. Costs will include things like rent, electricity, water, and any other elements you’ll need to include. For example, you might need to fit a cafe with kitchen equipment or decorate the space. 

If you already have an office or shop, provide the address. For a customer-facing shop or office, outline the working hours. 


Once you decide where you’ll run your business, you’ll need to consider the how. In this part, outline daily operating procedures. Which products or services will you provide? How will you offer them? Outline your structure and how you’ll achieve your objectives day-to-day.  


But your business procedures won’t be effective without a reliable production plan. If you need to develop a supply chain or keep an inventory, you’ll discuss that here. First, list which supplies, equipment, and technology you’ll need to run your business. Then, include which suppliers you’ll use to keep a stock of your products. 

Finally, detail what your production will cost by breaking it into sections. How much will you spend on your inventory each month as you start your business? What other regular expenses will you have?  

For example, if you run a coffee shop, you would outline which coffee supplier you’ll use and how much you’ll order at what cost. Then, you might include the cost of ordering baked goods for your shop and other things necessary for your business. Additional production costs might consist of shop rent, disposable cups, stirrers, milk etc. 


As you outline each aspect of your operations, consider the cost of running that aspect. Then, in the finances sections, bring each cost together. This section will help you get a broader picture of how much you’ll need to spend to run your business. 

This section also outlines where you’ll get the money to keep up these operations. Similarly, list prices for your products or services, plus the profit margin and sales goals. Then, touch on how you’ll accept payments and organise your finances. 

You might discuss what business current account you’ll use and how you’ll maintain your financial accounting. For example, you could explain how you’ll use Countingup, the business current account with built-in accounting software. 

The Countingup app offers valuable features that simplify your finances, automate processes, and help track your performance. Using a unique tool like this will make your operations more efficient and allow you to maintain accurate records. 


When writing your operational plan, it’s also important to consider your timeline. Consider outlining a daily working schedule and attaching times to different functional tasks. For example, how often will you reorder inventory? When do you plan to achieve your short-term, medium-term, and long-term objectives?

By organising your calendar, you can stay on top of what you need to do and when you need to do it. Plus, consider how you’ll manage your time well, which will help you run your business smoothly.  

Simplify your operational finances and more with Countingup

Once you know how to write an operational plan for your business, you can earn money. But, financial management can be stressful and time-consuming when you run a business. That’s why thousands of business owners use the Countingup app to make their financial admin easier. 

Countingup offers features that help you stay on top of your operations. With automatic expense categorisation and receipt capture, you can stay on top of your business spending and maintain accurate records. Plus, the app lets you create and send invoices on the go, helping you receive the money you earn. The app will even notify you when the invoices are received and match them to payments. 

Start your three-month free trial today. 

Find out more here.