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So, where do I start…

Faced with a business and the need to document it – the response is panic– often…

Well – often we start just writing something – usually with the processes for the procedures causing the most pain.

But then everything comes to a halt. What next? And then what after that?

And that’s when the panic sets in.

Fear not. I’ve found a little upfront planning works. Not too much mind you, or the overwhelm will set in again. So, to start the planning process, ask yourself a few questions.

1. Where is the money coming from?

So many of us are entrepreneurs, focused on the next interesting business bauble on the market. The trouble is if we are that way inclined, business is probably cluttered with many side arms and not clearly focused.

You might know what you think you should be concentrating on, but your staff just see a clutter of product and they are not sure what it is they should be selling/delivering/generally looing after/focusing on.

It helps at the beginning to make a list of all your products and find out how much money each is bringing in and assess which REALLY have value.

Then ditch the rest.

2. Where is the pain?

Which processes are causing the most pain? Where are you spending most of your time unscrambling issues or constantly making sure things are done right?

Obviously, if the processes of concern are not bringing in the money, then they’ve been ditched

But if they are profitable, then these are the processes to start

3. Make a list

Put your issues of concern in order.

You will probably find they fall into a timeline set by the customer contact, sales, payment processes, and delivery processes.

You will probably create a list of lists.

Heading 1 Lead Generation

Customer communication

There will be a list of policies and actions under here


There will be a list of policies and actions under here

Social Media

There will be a list of policies and actions under here

Adwords and Google

There will be a list of policies and actions under here

Heading 2 Sales

Heading 3 Payment

You get the picture.

4. Apply the rule of one point of truth

Never shall business procedures be documented more than once.

What this means is that processes which are likely to be used by more than one part of the organisation or more than one procedure need to be placed in a separate section or everyone will become completely confused. Most often these general processes are IT or Human Resources Management based.

So, what we do with these, is to create separate sections and just refer to them in the main body of the operations and connect with clear references and links.

5. Cloud based business systems are the only way to go

Because the need to link your operations, and because you must create a clear, logical, intuitively usable system, paper manuals are part of history.

Simple to use, easily accessible cloud-based systems, available immediately on every phone are the only way to go.

And because systems like these are immediately available when staff questions come up, they will be more likely to be used by stressed staff than a paper-based document which must be searched for. Simple, relevant, fast, easy to understand is the basis for success.

6. Start setting up your operations system and documenting directly into the cloud

Once you have your first list of lists just start directly documenting your processes into your digital cloud-based system. Use the quickest method available which will suit your staff or franchisees. Video, text, notated images, audio, or a mix – the method doesn’t matter. Just make sure you document in short simple statements. No waffle needed here.

Yes, it will change. Operations are never done. There will always be something to be kept updated forever.

So, start somewhere and the pain will slowly abate.

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