Steps to Starting a Business: A Manual (3 of 3)
Today’s goal is not to give exact details of setting up the processes and systems. Rather it is an overview to guide further in the steps of setting up a business. Consider these as helpful steps to starting a business. One of the final steps is to prepare a Manual of Operations. In fact, it really should be a continuing process, and truly will not begin until after the proverbial doors are open and as steps and processes are developed.
Perhaps the mention of manuals brings back memories of the ‘Corporate World’ lifestyle in the rear view mirror. The horrid memories of thick paged binders with page after page of long boring documents. Fortunately, today everything can be digitally produced, eliminating the need for a binders for every employee or person on the Team. One copy can, of course, be printed out to have a hard copy, but digital copies will do most times.
As discussed in the last article regarding Processes, Systems and Manuals, the Manual is simply a record of your daily processes and systems.
What is the Manual of Operations
Just as a Business Plan sets up a blueprint of what/where/when for the business, the ‘How to’ must also be answered. The manual will serve as the ‘How to’, especially, for the day when working ‘ON’ the business, not ‘IN’ the business is priority. It will enable others to follow the footsteps within the business. Every business will have a different manual of operations and depending on the type of business, there may be a need to have many different manuals, including an Employee Handbook.
The Manual simply takes many of the daily processes and systems that have been set up for the business and puts it into words and possibly even screenshots. The words are, of course, entered into a document or template for to create the Manual of Operations for the business. It will usually also have a ‘Table of Contents’, to direct the employee or team member. It can be written in parts or sections and really should be a continual process, including reviewing and updating regularly. Many pieces will probably need to be added on as the company grows and as technology updates.
Easy Manual Setup Options
Another easy way to keep up with your processes and even develop a manual of operations, can be to use a software like clarifyit*.
It is a one time cost, not monthly and is very affordable. It can be used to create training documents, step by step procedural manuals with screenshots and more, through this easy to use program. Every little step now may not seem significant, but once the procedures and systems are established and well in place, this software (and others like it) will make it so much easier to document the procedures. Remember, if these are not documented as the procedures are established, it can lead to confusion, inconsistencies and even miscommunication. Therefore, please take the time, early on, to establish the discipline of recording steps necessary to running the daily business of the company.
An easy discipline to establish, is simply picking a day of the week and time that will work and actually stop and think about the work being done and reflecting on steps already put in place. Reflect on what is the very first thing done in the morning? Is the computer turned on, calendar checked, then what? Record each item, as well as, set goals and directions for the future of the Company. If you make it a habit, by being consistent and keep the appointment with yourself – no exceptions, you will be one of the smarter Entrepreneurs around.
A Business is a growing entity and will need updating all of the time. A template is helpful for those who may need a little direction. Microsoft Word offers a template for manuals (under their ‘New’ section when setting up a document), as do other sites, but many offer templates for sale. Always research and look at reviews to be sure the site is trustworthy if you go this route.
Once the basics of the Operations Manual have been compiled, along with all of the other steps already discussed in Steps to Starting a Business series, it is time to DO Business! Remember this is not a detailed step by step of setting up business, but a broad, helpful, overview. Are you ready?
How exciting to embark on this new journey. Thank you for allowing me to come along the journey. I would love to hear about the business and any systems and processes that are being used today. Or simply let me know that the business is off the ground and I will celebrate with you here. I love to read comments.
[Remember it is often also good to leave comments and your site to develop backlink SEO, as well as, good business relationships.]
*I am not making any money by mentioning this software and am not an affiliate with them.