How to Create a Start-up Blueprint

From time management to budgeting, your start-up blueprint affects all aspects of planning and running your business. Having an operations plan will help you anticipate potential problems and keep business running smoothly.

Here, we’ve broken operations management down into four parts to help guide you in creating a great start-up blueprint.

  1. Finances – Budget, cash flow, financial systems, point-of-sale systems, banking, taxes, and audits.
  2. Methods – Policies and procedures.
  3. Equipment – Property, leases, insurance, repair, maintenance, and capital replacement.
  4. Workforce – Human resources, whether employees or contractors.

1. Finances

  • Budget – Write out the amount allocated to policies and procedures and revise it as you consider each aspect of your business operations. Try to be as accurate as possible, even though most of your numbers will start as estimates.

2. Methods

  • Day-to-day operations – Describe how you’ll run your business. In general, what will your company do day to day? How will these activities be done? Who will do them? It’s essential to consider these questions when crafting your start-up blueprint.
  • Industry standards and regulations – Are there any that affect your regular operations? Would it benefit your organization to be certified in any way (Organic, ISO 2000, or industry association certification)?
  • Quality of service standards – Are you setting any? If so, how will you monitor and maintain these standards?
  • Environmental standards and social responsibility guidelines – Are you setting these standards for your business? Are they part of your marketing efforts?

3. Equipment

  • Facility – How does your facility fit into your operation plans? You must consider everything from the access and size of your storage areas to the hours of operation to the location of fire exits. Ensure you comply with your business licenses, lease, and zoning bylaws.
  • Equipment and vehicles – Do you or your staff require training or certification to operate equipment or vehicles? Do you have space to store your equipment or vehicles? What power consumption do they require? Do you have or need to create safety policies and procedures?
  • Telecommunications – Consider whether your business might need only a single cell phone or an automated phone tree system.
  • Inventory, supplies, and procurement – Do you have space to store and stock your inventory? Might you require fixtures, display racks, or shelving? Does your insurance cover any potential loss or damage to your inventory? Does your inventory require specific environmental conditions, such as temperature or humidity?
  • Information management and technology – Can you assess, configure, and operate the computers, software, point-of-sale systems, or other technology required in your business? Do you need outside expertise to assist you? Do you have a plan for what to do if and when something doesn’t function properly?
  • Utilities – How are your utilities integrated into your lease? How often do you pay these? Do you have a contingency plan if prices increase suddenly?
  • Insurance – Ensure you’re covered in the event of loss of property, breakdown of equipment, liability (directors or key personnel), or interruption of business.
  • Security – How will you protect your staff and money? Is security included in your lease agreement?

4. Workforce

  • Suppliers – Who are they, who deals with them, and what are their fulfillment timelines? Do you have alternative suppliers or backup plans if your regular suppliers cannot provide the materials you need?
  • Customers – Who are they? What is your relationship? How will you communicate? How will you deliver your products or services?
  • Staff and management – Explain how you’ll recruit, retain, and motivate employees when required. How will you manage their schedules? Will you have a contingency plan if employees cannot work? How will you monitor and conduct performance planning? How will you plan for vacations? Are there any union issues to be aware of and accountable for? Refer to our Human Resources section for more information.

Buying a Business

You wouldn’t buy a complex machine without an instruction manual, just like how you wouldn’t buy a business without an operations plan.

Business development experts will tell you that the success of a business that has been sold is mainly due to the ability of the new owner to understand how the business has operated successfully in the past. So, if you’re considering buying a business, reading the operations plan and understanding the commitment required to run the company should be a crucial part of your decision.

How Small Business BC Can Help Your Business

SBBC is a non-profit resource centre for BC-based small businesses. Whatever your idea of success is, we’re here to provide holistic support and resources at every step of the journey. Check out our range of business webinars, on-demand E-Learning Education, our Talk to an Expert Advisories, or browse our business articles.