In the commercial world, lots of phrases are often repeated but rarely understood. They’re those classic buzzwords or terms that everyone uses without really thinking. Business operations is a prime example.
You’ll have heard the phrase ‘business operations’ hundreds of times. On how many occasions, though, have you stopped to really think about it? Perhaps now is as good a time as any to consider what business operations are.
Business operations is a term used to define a broad range of activities. In essence, it refers to everything a firm does day-to-day to keep running and making money. Those activities, therefore, can differ hugely from one company to the next.
Take an online store, for example. Their typical business operations might include:
A digital marketing agency’s operations, meanwhile, cover a different range of activities:
The specifics of business operations, then, are individual to each business. There are, though, some shared aspects across the board.
The particular business operations of any firm often fall into one of a trio of categories.
The processes aspect of business operations is the bread and butter. These are the activities vital to a business’s survival. Getting your processes correct is essential to any firm. It’s what ensures you can maintain productivity and, therefore, profitability.
In order to cover its vital processes, a business’s operations also encompass HR. Firms must ensure they have the correct workforce to perform their essential activities. That might mean building a full-time staff. In the online age, it may also involve working with digital nomads and freelancers.
As well as a team of workers, companies also need equipment or tools. These are the essential solutions to keeping operations as efficient as possible. For a manufacturing firm, that may mean a significant amount of machinery and plant. For a call center, it could be workforce management software to better roster and organise agents.
Making vital business operations as efficient as possible is crucial. It can be the difference between success and failure. That’s especially true in competitive niches like ecommerce. How, then, can you improve business operations?
The first step toward improving any business operation is to grasp where you stand. Once you know how you’re performing, you can ID an avenue to improvement. Your first priority then is to monitor performance.
What to look out for in this area varies. A brand selling ACD software, for instance, might want to track the following:
Many of those considerations wouldn’t apply to an ecommerce clothing brand. They’re still interested in sales. They may also, though, want to track website bounce rate, and other similar metrics.
Once you understand your present performance, it’s easier to make useful tweaks. You’ll know the processes to focus on for improvements. You can then look to streamline those areas of operations. That may mean automating particular workflows or hiring new, differently skilled staff.
You can also look outward to improve business operations. As well as tracking your performance keep an eye on your niche. What are your rivals up to? What are the broad trends in the industry? What you’re looking for are things you can adopt to up efficiency and productivity.
Every business has vital tasks and activities that keep them running. These are the processes that are essential to survival, growth, and success. Put together, they’re known as business operations.
Getting your business operations as efficient and effective as possible is essential. It’s how you can achieve a level of productivity to outstrip your rivals. When trying to make improvements, look both inward and outward. That way, you can find those small tweaks that can make a big difference.