What is a Business Operation? 5 Key Components

July 17, 2019

Vague definitions seem to cloud the business world.

In meetings, emails, and other communication channels, employees with different specializations may not know everything about every aspect of the company. But in the field of business operations, this vagueness might be more of a blessing than a curse. Business operations is an emerging field that serves to fill in the gaps between the processes and responsibilities of operating a business. 

Operations include many moving parts, from personnel, to physical equipment, to goals. 

Business operations: an explanation in 5 different components

To define business operations, we’ll go through the many essential company needs it accomplishes. From managing employee specialization and communication to ensuring compliance with key company policies and variables, it can be hard to fit all of the different roles of business operations under a single umbrella. These five key components of business operations show just how wide-ranging and also essential the field of business operations is to a business. 

Assigning roles and responsibilities

A role in business operations is like playing point guard on a basketball court. Business operations specialists delegate and distribute roles and responsibilities to other members of their team. When hiring new employees, it becomes clear that different candidates have different skill sets. Business operations encompasses both selecting the right candidates and making sure their individual roles within the company best suit their strengths.

It’s one thing to have a company with top-tier talent. However, it’s another to make sure that this talent is fitting into roles that maximize their ability to excel. Business operations is the funnel through which roles and responsibilities are delegated to the right employees for the jobs. 

Managing internal communication

While the assignment of these roles and responsibilities may be specialized and distinct, business operations also includes making sure that specialization within a company doesn’t compromise any qualities of a company’s ability to function as a unit. 

A key aspect of any company’s ability to function is how its employees communicate internally, from the c-suite, to its sales team, to its interns. Business operations facilitates this communication and in turn builds a community from a company’s employees. 

Maintaining effective relationships with coworkers, from internal communication software, to emails, to establishing the overarching processes through which different teams communicate with each other, is essential to a business of many individuals functioning as a unit. Business operations takes hold of facilitating effective conversation within a company to produce a positive result. 

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Management of resources

In addition to delegating roles and responsibilities within a business, business operations is also concerned with smartly managing the resources a company owns, from capital to tangible products. In order for a business to function successfully and efficiently, it needs to maintain the right amount and level of equipment and technology.

Business operations is concerned with finding the right balance of cost with the necessary type and quantity of equipment and technology for a business to perform its best. Performance, in this case, is both in producing a product and making money doing so. A business can have great engineers, product managers, and salespeople, but they cannot function well together without a well-constructed business operations plan.

Roadmapping a plan

Business operations are the foundations through which a company executes all of the actions it feels necessary to operate successfully. And very few companies feel they can operate successfully without a detailed plan. Roadmapping this plan falls under business operations.

Continuing with the theme of business operations filling in all of the gaps between teams and specializations, great talent is nothing without a clear-cut purpose and plan for how to use it. Roadmapping a plan for a business is an essential element of business operations that enables companies to find the best uses for their talent and transform many successful workers into a single successful business. 

Ensuring compliance

Business operations also measures that employees are complying with a company’s key guidelines and values. When a business is in the thick of operating and there are moving parts left and right, compliance with certain regulations such as an expense reimbursement policy or upholding key cultural values can be hard to track. Business operations is the vehicle through which these key company rules and regulations can be implemented sustainably for employees. 

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Get operating

Now that we’ve gone over key components of business operations, it’s clear to see just how essential they are to ensuring that a business functions successfully. As roles become more and more specialized within a company, there needs to be a strong backbone of company values, roadmapping, and management of day-to-day business activities that remains constant. 

Business operations is the field in which all of these necessary elements of a well-functioning business live. With all of this in mind, it’s easy to see why at the core of every successful business is a well-run business operations team.

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