For Small Retail Business: Writing an Operations & Development Plan in Six Steps
Nicholas Robbins reports:
"Wise planning lays the framework for successful small retail businesses...Plans often expand to include operations and development guidelines to govern day-to-day operations and growth. These plans offer a solution to current problems as well as a forward-looking approach. Clear and concise operations and development plans provide a resource for retail managers that limits risk and provides support for their actions...Determine the correct actions for employees on all levels. Clearly state in the plan which job titles bear responsibility for which actions and how these relate...Describe in separate sections how each role should fulfill their duties. Explain the intervals at which cash audits, inventory counts, shift changes and other regular duties should occur. Lay out guidelines for store banking, staffing and customer service interactions...Write emergency procedures every role should perform. Retail stores must regularly deal with shoplifting, slip-and-fall incidents, employee or customer injury reports[,] and even the potential of robbery or disasters such as fires. Each store needs a policy on how to deal with these emergency situations as they occur. Placing these in the operations manual gives both employees and managers a way to determine the correct actions during and after these events. Forms, such as robber identification sheets or loss paperwork for shoplifting, should also appear in this section...Determine the overarching goal for the company. This long-term goal should correspond with the company's vision and flow naturally from the original business plan. Many retail stores seek expansion on a local, national or even international level. Others wish to provide the best quality of service and gain recognition within their field as an industry leader. Some will incorporate these and other qualities into the main goal of the company...Describe how each employee at every level contributes to this goal. Retail owners, managers and sales staff bear responsibility for many different aspects of the business, and this section serves to inform them as to how that responsibility affects the business as a whole...Write down specific goals that directly relate to the overarching goal. These serve as milestones and offer a chance for celebration and re-evaluation of goals upon attainment. Each of these entries should represent measurable results and include clear instructions for the attainment of the goal itself...Re-evaluate business, organizational and development plans on a regular basis. Retail business needs and market situations constantly change, and companies may gain a competitive edge through flexibility."
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