Business Process vs. Operational Process (+ Examples)


This is about business process vs. operational process.

You’ll learn:

  • What a business process is
  • What an operational process is
  • The differences between a business process and an operational process
  • Lots more

So if you want to understand this 101 of business processes, then this article is for you.

Let’s get right into it!

What Is the Difference Between a Business Process and an Operational Process?

A business process is what a business uses to deliver a service or product to their customers.

It includes different tasks that help the business achieve specific goals.

Each business process should have the goal of getting the company more business.

The different processes should have factors that can help add value to a product or service.

You can categorize a business process into three different groups based on the primary considerations.

One type may be more important to your business than the others, but you should know all of them.

When you know what each one is for, you can use them to best suit your company.

Consider how each one fits into the greater picture of a business.

All business processes are important, but they serve the company in slightly different ways.

What Is a Business Process?

It sounds simple, but when it comes to answering the question “what’s a business process,” you have to dive deep.

In fact, a business process is a series of steps, not a single action. The process leads to a specific goal within the business.

So, a business process might involve multiple steps and numerous team members to reach the desired outcome.

Learn exactly what a business process is in this definitive guide to business process.

Management Processes

Management processes determine how you run your business. It includes everything from the accounting department to the executive suite.

Without a management system, your business won’t be as successful.

Creating a management process will help you and your team know who to contact for certain problems. It also sets up the basic structure of your business so that you can run your business efficiently.

As any company grows, it can be hard for the CEO or president to handle everything.

You can use management processes to create different departments for your business.

Then, you can hire experts who focus on human resources and other business tasks.

Whether you’re setting up a new business or restructuring a current one, you should consider the business management processes.

If you can’t manage your business well, it will be harder to grow and get more customers.

Operational Processes

Your operational processes are essential to running your business and providing the end product or service.

Even if you have the best management processes, your business won’t succeed without a set of operational processes.

Depending on the products or services you offer, your operational process should include a few things. It should cover how you will brainstorm new products or services and how you plan to get them off the ground.

The specific process will depend on what you offer.

Selling Products

If you sell products, your operational process should include how you plan to manufacture or create the products.

Operational processes cover how you will sell your product, be it online or in a retail store.

Selling Services

As a service-based business owner, your operational processes should cover where you will offer the new service and how you plan to acquire help.

Your operational process can include how you will collect payment to how customers can book your services.

Supporting Business Processes

An essential part of your business process is how you will execute supportive tasks.

Tasks include accounting, marketing, and human resources.

Without these departments, you would have a hard time running your business.

However, they’re not always part of your management or operational process.

Going over the books and hiring someone won’t necessarily get you a new customer. But those things help grow your company.

They are more like general business processes in that they help you run everything behind the scenes.

While management processes can include setting up these departments, filling each department will help support your business.

If you don’t have these supporting business processes, you will have a harder time running your business and offering your products or services.

By hiring people to help, you can focus on the operational process instead of the overall business process.

Business Process vs. Operational Process

When comparing a business process vs. operational process, you should think about how they relate to each other.

A business wouldn’t succeed without one or both types of processes.

Operational processes are a type of business process, and the two are related.

Both help to grow the business and reach certain goals.

A general business process and an operational process have different goals, though.

While both are critical to the success of a company, you should understand how they differ.

If the differences weren’t as important, there would be no reason to distinguish the two.

From the goals they target to who they are for, here are some common factors for a business process vs. operational process comparison.

More Focused

The biggest difference between a business process and an operational process is how focused each can get.

A business process remains fairly general as it focuses on the business structure.

You can focus on certain areas of a business, especially when you consider supporting business processes.

But as you formulate an operational process, you need to focus more on a single goal.

In most cases, the goal will be to get new customers or increase sales.

The specific steps in your operational process will depend on your business, but they should have inputs and outputs.

Inputs include how you will source the materials for your products.

If you offer a service, your inputs might consist of knowledge and labor to perform the service.

Any type of business should also strive to give the customer the best possible experience.

When you offer a product or service, your inputs will transform into outputs.

Outputs come in the form of offering a service or delivering a product.

The more you can streamline your operational process, the easier it will be to grow your business.

More Transactional

An operational process is more transactional than a business process.

Your business processes focus on who will serve what role or roles in your company.

The process doesn’t usually cover how you will offer your product or service.

Because of that, your operational process is where you will focus on transactions with your customers and vendors.

Vendor Transactions

If you offer a product, you will have transactions where you buy the materials or pay for manufacturing.

Service businesses may need to pay to rent a space to offer hairstyling or consulting services. Even home-based businesses will need to pay for the internet.

Customer Transactions

You’ll also have transactions with your customers, including taking payment for a service.

When working in person, you can use a credit card portal to accept payments.

If you sell your product or service online, you can use a website like PayPal.

More for Customers

Another difference between a business process vs. operational process is that your operational processes target your customers.

Your customers usually won’t care how you structure your company. But they will care a lot about how you offer your product or service.

They might wonder how quickly you can manufacture and ship a product to their door.

If your product comes in multiple sizes, customers will want to know which sizes are in stock and available to them.

In the case of a service business, customers may want to be able to book an appointment on the same day or within a week.

Some may want to book their consultation online so that they don’t have to make a phone call.

Depending on your business and your target audience, you should tailor your operational process to fit them.

If your audience isn’t very tech-savvy, consider some easier options for ordering or booking you.

Whenever you find that you aren’t attracting customers, your operational process should be your focus.

It may be easier to change your business structure, but that will only affect you and your team. Instead, focus on your operations whenever you don’t see much growth.

More Safety

Safety is essential when setting up any business process, but how you do it can vary.

When it comes to something like a management process, you only need to focus on the safety of your team.

But your operational process needs to consider the safety of your customers.

If you offer a product, you should make sure that the manufacturing process doesn’t use any toxic chemicals.

When offering a service, your workspace should be easy to get to, and it should be safe for your customers to enter.

If your customers can’t get to you safely, you will have a harder time getting clients for your services.

By keeping things safe for everyone, your operational process will help you get and retain more customers.

Then, you can watch your business grow even though the focus isn’t always on making a profit.

More Practical

When setting up a business, you want to consider each business process and each type.

But while deciding on your title can be fun, it won’t necessarily get your business anywhere.

Creating an efficient and safe operational process will help you because it is what your customers will see.

Your operational process is how you will interact with customers and how you will bring in revenue.

If you don’t have a solid operational process, it can take longer to see the same growth in your business.

By focusing on how you will operate your business, you can make sure the process will work.

Then, you can find the right methods for sourcing materials or the right space to offer your services.

If you want to build your business more quickly, your operational process needs more attention.

Business Process vs. X

There are many activities in business that are similar but yet different to a business process.

Below you find a list of the most important distinctions between different business activities and a business process:

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