This week, I was speaking with a client who wanted to be able to go on vacation with the knowledge that his business was still moving in the right direction. He wanted to be able to go away and be away without checking in (and stressing out) throughout the day. That conversation inspired this post.
As a small business owner or self-employed professional, you place a high value on your time. It’s easy to get caught up in reinventing the wheel over and over again. As you grow and bring on help (a virtual assistant, customer service, etc.) it can be hard to let go and feel confident that your business is moving in the right direction without you being in the office and following up on every detail yourself.
In order to work less, get more done and make sure your staff is doing things they way you want them to be done, you need to create systems.
Business systems are really powerful. They can help you:
- Manage growth
- Bring on assistance
- Focus on the big picture while still knowing the day-to-day tasks are being handled in the manner in which you WANT them to be handled
- Standardize your processes
- Be assured your clients will have a solid and consistent experience with your company
- Provide for top-notch client service
- Stop reinventing the wheel
I always recommend my clients create an Operations Manual. In it you will list all the tasks that must be done in your business with step-by-step directions for each task. It should be regularly updated.
The goal of your Operations Manual is to allow anyone to walk into your business and quickly get up to speed. It allows you, the business owner, to know your business is moving forward in the direction YOU want, even when you are not there. Plus, it gives you direction for processes you do over and over but which aren’t part of your daily routine.
Your Operations Manual should be easy to read, use simple language and have practical information. It’s a good idea to have an easy-to-use table of contents.
There are many software options for your operations manual. You can use something as simple as Microsoft Word, although there are many “fancier” options out there. Another route to take would be to use a web-based collaborative tool such as Google Docs or SharePoint so everyone on your team/staff can update the document.
Since your Operations Manual is a living, breathing document, it’s important that you put a quarterly review of it on your calendar.