A business operations definition is all the actions that are necessary for running your company and generating income.

Introduction to Business Operations

In most business plans, you will find a section that focuses solely on business operations. This section of the business plan will describe everything needed to make a company function, including:

  • Equipment
  • People
  • Processes
  • Systems

Several factors can impact your company's business operations, including the size of your organization and the industry in which your business operates. For instance, an online retailer will likely have vastly different business operations than a physical store. Brick-and-mortar stores will need equipment such as POS terminals to help complete transactions, where online stores typically use specialized e-commerce software.

Every business is complicated in one way or another. It's extremely rare for a company's activities to be smooth and easy. Instead of viewing your business operations as a straight line, they are better understood as a grouping of processes necessary for a successful organization. Because every company will have different needs, business operations can differ from organization to organization.

For a business endeavor to succeed, you will need to define your business operations. When you first describe your business operations in your business plan — they function as a guide for your company. Founders and investors can examine your business operations to better understand the different parts of your company, including your equipment and employees.

While the term ‘business operations' is relatively broad, the actual operations of your business will be specific. The idea behind defining your business operations is allowing both outsiders and those inside of your company to understand the activities of your organization. With clear-cut business operations, you'll be better able to assign roles in your organization and effectively manage resources and risks.

Role of Business Operations

Essentially, business operations serve two purposes within your organization. First, they serve as a guide for your company. Second, they are a fail-safe, limiting your risks and helping your operation to avoid problems. For example, effective business operations can facilitate cooperation between the different departments in your company and can also make it easier for your organization to stick to its budget. When you're putting your business operations as defined in your business plan into practice, there are numerous variables to consider.

Let's assume, for example, that your company is focused on manufacturing products. The length of your company's supply chain will depend on the type of product that your company manufacturers, and the number of employees you hire will depend on the automation of your manufacturing process.

If you intend to sell your products in physical stores, you will need to be sure to choose the right location for your business so that you can avoid onerous regulations while optimizing sales. On the other hand, if you plan to offer your products solely online, you will need to invest in the right software. The decision where to sell your products is one of many factors that will impact your organization's business operations.

As your business expands, it's likely that your business operations will undergo several changes. For example, in small companies, one employee may be responsible for a range of duties, but in a larger organization, this simply isn't practical.

Ideally, your organization's business operations will evolve with your company. If your business operations are static, you will typically experience issues that will negatively impact the long-term success of your organization. If one person in your company has too many responsibilities, for example, they will inevitably make mistakes that will influence the entire organization.

When mistakes occur in an organization due to ineffective business operations, there tends to be a domino effect that can be disastrous for your company. Every department in your company should be continually adjusting business operations to account for the growth of the organization.

Your operations' efficiency, or lack thereof, will be the determining factor when it comes to your business's success. The main point of the processes you use in your company is to increase the value of your organization. To increase your company's value, you need to consistently make a profit. If the income that your company generates is more than the money that has been invested into your business, you have turned a profit and your value will increase.

If you need help with the business operations definition, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.