What is a Business Operations Manual?
A Business Operations Manual is a way to gather all your business information together in one place. It contains information about who you are, what you do, and how you do it.
It’s Too Big
Creating a Business Operations Manual can be seen as a time consuming and cumbersome job! It can feel overwhelming and it is difficult to know where to get started. This is enough to stop many small business owners from even trying. Having a clear plan to stay focused is key!
It’s Out of Date
The reality is that the minute you print your Operations Manual something in it is already out of date. Having a fluid document that can easily be modified is important. You need a schedule and a process for updating your Business Operations Manual so it remains relevant.
If it is too big and quickly out of date, why bother? There are four good reasons to create a Business Operations Manual and all of them will take your business to a new level.
No one wants to imagine this possibility. What happens to your small business if you are injured or worse? So often the operating tasks of a business are stored in the mind of its owner. This prevents anyone from stepping in during an emergency to keep the business running. Part of an Operations Manual is the creation clear How-To’s and Process Maps that even someone outside of your business would understand. This allows someone to take over during a disaster.
A small business is more than its physical assets. The value lies in the intellectual property of a business. Your business is made up of more than what you do, it is also how you do things, and why you do things. Part of a Business Operations Manual is gathering the who, what, why and how of your business into one document. This document together with a financial assessment can be used to value your business. It is a necessary asset if you ever want to sell your business.
An important part of an Operations Manual is the mapping of your business processes. Being able to see in a picture your detailed workflow helps everyone understand your business better. These process maps give you the ideal opportunity to look for areas you might improve your business. Improvements can be made to customer satisfaction, profitability, time management, error reduction, etc. This is the heart of taking your business to the next level .
A Business Operations Manual provides the necessary framework to grow and expand your business. Formalizing your policies, processes, and vision allow you to train additional staff quickly and efficiently. By mapping your processes you are able to look for ways to ramp up to handle more business volume in a systematic way. Your Operations Manual captures the state of your business today but it allows you the structure to plan for your business tomorrow.
A Business Operations Manual is a tool that allows small business owners to take their business to the next level. It maintains a business through a disaster. It formalizes the business for easy valuation. An Operations Manual allows for clear process improvements and provides a structure for business growth and expansion.
About the Author: Kirsten Wreggitt is a Professional Organizer who helps both families and businesses create more space and time. If your small business is interested in creating an Operations Manual, please contact Kirsten Wreggitt or Dawn O’Connor at Work In Order. Their specialty is business productivity, process improvement, and Operations Manual creation.
Photo credit Colin Logan via Creative Commons