How to streamline business operations

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Business Operations: what are we talking about?

At first glance, the term Business Operations may seem complex. We hear it regularly, and yet it is not always easy to understand what is behind this anglicism. 

In reality, Business Operations simply refers to all the activities that a company performs on a daily basis to generate profitability

These activities vary depending on the nature of the company's business, but also on its size and industry. For example, it can be sales, marketing, manufacturing, research & development (R&D), etc.

What are the three main types of Business Operations?

Traditionally, there are three main types of Business Operations.

Business service

This includes companies that offer a service to a clientele. The activities are therefore very varied: insurance company, bank, consulting, personal service, etc.

These companies do not sell physical products, so they have fewer issues related to manufacturing or logistics. Instead, the value-generating activities will be centered around marketing and sales.

Merchandising business

The term Merchandising Business refers to companies that offer a physical product (as opposed to a service). They generally practice a purchase-resale activity. This includes convenience stores and e-businesses. 

Here, businesses will need to maintain inventory, keep track of stock, etc. To optimize revenue-generating activities, it is therefore important to spend time on budgets and tracking business expenses. 

Sales is a key activity: it is therefore necessary to optimize the customer experience, whether in the store (via equipment, merchandising) or on the Internet (by creating an intuitive and optimized site, by proposing adapted payment methods, etc.). 

Manufacturing business

The term Manufacturing Business refers to companies that produce a product (from raw materials) with the aim of reselling them. 

Here, it will be necessary to optimize production-related activities to generate income.

This involves a wide range of actions: recruitment, technology, equipment, quality control and compliance, automation...

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Why are Business Operations so important for companies?

Business Operations are at the heart of every company's operations. It is through these activities that they grow and generate revenue. 

The challenge is to optimize these key activities to make all teams more efficient on a daily basis. 

- For activities related to sales teams, we speak of Sales Operations (Sales Ops)
- For activities related to marketing teams, Marketing Operations (Marketing Ops)
- And for activities related to legal teams, Legal Operations (Legal Ops)

The benefits are many:

- Reduction of low value-added tasks
- Improved productivity for everyone. Freed from time-consuming missions, the teams are in the front line to carry out actions that bring value to the company (strategy, negotiation of important contracts)
- Reduced budget overruns and better visibility on expenditures
- Increased profitability of the company. 

Thanks to Business Operations, companies do not navigate by sight, but with real tools and instruments. They have better visibility into their performance, stay on course and achieve their goals faster. 

3 steps to boost your company's business operations

As we have seen, Business Operations depend on the activity and size of the company. Each company will not adopt the same strategy. Nevertheless, there are some key principles that can be applied to boost Business Operations and improve profitability. Here are some of the key principles that can be applied to boost business operations and improve profitability.

Step #1: Measure your performance

Business Operations are the activities that generate value for the company.It is therefore not enough to have a vague idea of the results generated by these activities.

It is essential to know precisely, in figures, how much they contribute to the company's profitability and growth. In this way, it will be possible to see if the results are satisfactory and to have the necessary data to readjust one's strategy if this is not the case. 

Step #2: Set specific and achievable goals

Business Operations are driven by profitability and growth objectives. These objectives must be precise and achievable. These are sometimes referred to as SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound) objectives. 

In other words, it's best to avoid being vague or too general. 

For example, "The company will increase its sales." 

"The company is going to be profitable."

And focus on concrete and quantified objectives such as:

"The company will negotiate and close 10 contracts for €XXX by the end of the second quarter." 

"The company will support an additional 100 customers by the end of 2022." 

It will then be easier to put in place an action plan to achieve these goals.

Step #3: Use appropriate digital tools to simplify processes

More and more used by companies, digital tools are nowadays a precious help to boost Business Operations. Indeed, they simplify processes and automate low value-added tasks. As a result, teams can devote their energy to missions that are really important to the company.

CRM tools

CRM (Customer relationship management) tools are used to manage customer relationships. 

Each customer is referenced in the database. Key information such as contact details, correspondence, quotes and invoices sent, and negotiated contracts are accessible in a few clicks. It is a real support for the sales teams. 

Contract management tools 

Contract Management solutions aim to optimize the management of each cycle of a contract's life, from its creation to its closing (including its negotiation and execution). 

They offer very useful tools to simplify processes and limit friction (electronic signature, automatic deadline reminders, library of contract templates, etc.). 

Teams then have better visibility into performance and the proper execution of contract obligations.Of course, there are other tools that simplify the activities of companies: SaaS, invoicing software, collaboration and planning tools....

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