Your operations manual is the foundation of your business through which all
- What is the process?
- Why is important to my business?
- How should this process be completed?
Using these three questions to create your operations manual allows you to define the level of service you want to provide to your clients and how to respond to situations or challenges when they occur.
WHY DOES MY BUSINESS NEED AN OPERATIONS MANUAL?
- It allows you to provide consistent service to your clients.
After you have delivered a project to a client have you ever realized you forget a small step or overlooked something?
Creating processes within your operations manual gives you a standard of service for which you measure each project with. Processes which can include step-by-step directions, checklists, etc.
- It allows you to delegate tasks to team members with greater ease.
Have you ever handed off a project to a new team member and then they asked you a “100” questions? You probably thought to yourself it would be easier and faster if I did it myself.
One of the ways you can reduce questions and be more confident in delegating tasks is to have an operations manual. The operations manual includes the documents (policies, processes, templates) which guide a team member in completing a task well. The manual explains why a task is important, how to complete it, and provides examples to make it easier to complete.
- It allows you to step away from the office with peace of mind.
Have you ever gone on vacation and worried something wouldn’t be completed or fall apart in your absence? Or have you gone on vacation and your team continued to email or call you with questions?
Having a manual empowers your team and gives them the confidence to continuing working in your absence. The manual is a resource for them on how you want things done, why it is important to the business, and examples of what successfully completed tasks look like.
HOW DO I BEGIN AN OPERATIONS MANUAL?
It is common to feel overwhelm or have your eyes glaze over when you first hear the phrase “operations manual”. It doesn’t have to be that way. Your operations manual is a fluid document which will evolve with your business growth.
When talking to clients I encourage them to start small. Pick a task or project you commonly complete in your business (writing a blog post) and outline the steps you take from idea to publishing. There is a good chance because you complete this task so frequently you will forget a step. Keep the document available and add missing steps the next time you complete the task.