“Your Operations Manual will be the heart of your business; it will be your company’s guidebook and a single-point reference to ensure your success in your industry.” ~ Shawna Bailey
As a repeat customer of anything, we understand and appreciate consistency within a business; from manufacturing processes to customer service we’ve come to expect a level of standard that keeps us coming back.
As business owners, we know that consistency within our company ensures consumer trust and brand loyalty. It proves to customers that they will receive what our brand promises.
Every. Single. Time.
So how do you ensure consistency in business?
The key is to develop an Operations Manual, which will be your guidebook for navigating all of the elements within your company. The unfortunate reality is that many small businesses fail to establish themselves just because they’ve failed to set-up an Operations Manual. How they perform their services and market those services to potential clients is often unpredictable because each system is not documented.
And if it’s not documented, then it won’t be consistent.
Does business size matter?
Not at all. I operate independently, but I still have my own Operations Manual, and while it may not be a big one, it ensures everything I do for each client is done consistently every single time. From welcome cards for my new clients to how each day is structured, my own Company Manual helps me to build a better business.
If you have employees, it will allow them to operate independently with maximum results. If you ever wish to sell your business, an Operations Manual will promote a turn-key company, thus reinforcing the asking price for your business.
Take the time to write and save the rest
“I understand the consistency part,” I hear you say, “but it’s going to take a lot of time – time that I don’t have.”
Yep, I get that, but the reality is that for every hour you spend writing and perfecting your Operations Manual, you will gain at least a week of free time:
- Your manual is your personalized communication tool and training resource. For every new person you hire you will spend a little time explaining how everything is done. Very quickly your employees (or your assistant) will be able to read your Company Manual and know the ins-and-outs of the business and your expectations within it.
- Your manual will serve as written documentation for how things are done. You will spend less time putting out fires within your business because every process will have the steps on how to accomplish a task. It will also have the “Company Standards” behind them (which makes you more efficient as a manager when someone is operating within those standards).
Similarly, any supervisors that you have won’t waste time coming up with decisions that others have made before (or “re-inventing the wheel”, so-to-speak). Every question that has ever been asked in your business will be clearly answered and properly documented.
If you currently have an Operations Manual, be sure to revisit it now. Constant review and revision are essential, as your business is constantly changing (which means your systems need to as well). If you have employees, be sure to get their opinions on potential updates or necessary additions; front-line workers within any company often have the best expertise when it comes to your customers and services.
If you don’t have a Company Manual yet, be sure to check back next week as we will feature the “must-haves” as well as offer you, our free Operations & Policy Manual Contents Resource.