When do business procedures become useful
We’ve all heard it – systemise your business and put in great business procedures governing every process and you will create business magic.
And yes, it’s true, documenting your business processes has a dramatic effect on everything…
It adds value to your business. Every business broker will tell you that they can sell your business for thousands more if it is properly documented.
It adds consistency to your business because you can make sure everyone does things your way – every time.
It makes training easier, and your new staff become more valuable members of the team faster.
You get more time because you are not fielding questions or having to constantly retrain staff
Most of all you get happier customers because they get better service every time.
And being able to attract customers – new and returning – means your business will grow.
But it’s difficult to document every important process. It takes time, energy, emotion, thinking and focus. All things not available in most small to medium businesses from what I see.
It also takes consistent follow-up effort to make sure your documented processes are kept up to date which is important because no one will use them if they are allowed to lapse when things change as inevitably change, they will. Bitter experience with my own business processes has shown me how fast documented business procedures can go out of date if there’s no one with the time and energy responsible for looking after them.
So, is it worth investing the time, sweat and energy in documenting your processes at the beginning, when your new business is just starting up and you are working mostly on your own doing everything?
I’d say probably no with one important proviso…
Try to keep things organised through these initial tricky stages. Keep forms, templates, standard emails, and anything else really stored logically so when the time comes to document – you can find things and you don’t have to recreate anything.
And when is that time? Well, the value provided to business by documented processes really kicks in when you are prepared to give away tasks to others – when you need to delegate to staff.
Unless you are creating a franchisee manual which will require you to document everything in one go, you really only need to document your processes as you add staff to your team to pick up specific tasks.
And then, think about it.
Which tasks need to be done consistently every time to make your business feel the same, sound the same, deliver the same amazing product to everyone of your customers.
Which tasks need to be done consistently so various staff members understand each other – where will putting in a documented system with a form so a task is completed faster, in a way that is understood by the recipient. Ordering stock for instance.
Which tasks need instructions because staff keep forgetting how to get them done – changing that EFTPOS roll for instance or filling in that long webform.
If you approach the task this way, it won’t be long before you have critical processes in place and you can take the next step to start using them for training and managing staff.
Documenting your business processes really does add value and take away the hassle if you just start and then keep an eye out for the necessary updates.