Part 1 –
Last week I talked about how the key to consistency within a business is at the heart of your Business Operation Manual; it’s the guidebook and your single point-of-reference to ensure success within your industry. Also, it will differentiate you from your competition by documenting the differences in the way your operations are executed, and your services are unique.
Table of Contents
The Business Operation Manual “Must-Haves”
Regardless of your business size, you need the essentials within your Operations Guide to run efficiently and build customer loyalty. Your Operations Manual will need to consist of the following Systems (think of them as Action Plans):
Everyone who works within your business needs to know what is expected of them to excel at their jobs and provide the best possible company experience. Often, the people who are the most unsatisfied with their jobs are the ones who do not have clear objectives in what their role requires. Having clearly written descriptions will ensure that everyone is managing their responsibilities and not wasting any time in performing tasks that are not theirs.
Clearly if you are a one-person show, then you are at the top of the structure. However, once you have two or more additional people in your company, this chart is a must have. Whether those two individuals report to you or whether you’ve put someone in charge to handle the fires, everybody in your business needs to know who they report to. Having an Organizational Chart will ensure that your employees only come to you when necessary, and it’s a crucial element in decision-making within the business.
Processes and Routines
This is where every task, service, and action that you do within your company is detailed. Even if you are the only person operating your business, everything that you do should be listed in a step-by-step format so that you perform it consistently (which will help you ensure consumer trust and brand loyalty). Your process and routines section will have a step-by-step format and also will include checklists to ensure that the work has been completed as required.
When I handle the “Intro and Inquiries” emails for my clients (you know the ones – those that take up the majority of your day: “How much is it for…?”, “Do you handle…?” “When is…?”), I have a script to follow in regards to how I answer those questions. From proper responses to when I need to direct those emails back to my client, every email I answer handled within a personal script format so that I can do it properly and efficiently for the company I work for.
Likewise, you may develop these Company scripts to answer Customer Service questions, telephone conversations, and handling perhaps those “difficult” clients.
Your business policy will not only communicate the expectations within your company, but it will also detail the consequences that will take place if someone within your business steps outside of that expectation. Some examples might include a policy on smoking, gratuities, or unexpected absences.
Remember that the size of your business doesn’t matter; even if you’re a one-man (or woman) operation, having an Operations Manual will ensure that your business is run consistently and will help optimize your time.
Need suggestions on where to get started? Do you need some sample templates and examples? Check out our resource business page at www.simcoe-va.com/resource-business-kit