Processes are key to the survival of your business

There is no denying that having an up-to-date comprehensive process manual or procedure document is a key element to the survival of your business.  However, as a small business owner, you rarely have the spare time or headspace available to dedicate to writing one.  Often the daily running of the business takes priority and documenting the back-end procedures, if it is even a consideration, fall to the bottom of the list.

A business starts with an idea and the motivation to lift it off the ground.  It could be yourself, you and a significant other, or yourself and a friend, working together, often spending long hours to see their dream succeed.

Time passes, business is booming and as your work-life balance slips further away a decision is made to bring in a new employee, to help spread the workload.

This new employee brings a new dynamic into your business. Tasks need to be shifted around, clearly defined, and allocated across all members of your business and training needs to be provided to ensure your new employee knows what they are doing.

As time goes on and your business continues to grow, everyone settles into the new routines of their roles and things flow smoothly.  At this point, every part of the business, and every step, task or action that is needed to keep the business moving, is stored in the mind of each employee. Where once, as the business owner, you knew every aspect of your business intimately, now you don’t.  Your focus has shifted to the bigger picture, new clients, growing and working in your business, not on it.

It’s at this point, or even before your new employee starts, that you should document your business processes and procedures. It may seem counter-intuitive and productive to focus on the ‘how’ but there is one factor that makes it necessary – a solid process or procedure manual is the key to the survival of your business.

Life throws us curve balls. Whether that is through illness, injury, rapid business growth or the COVID19 pandemic, your ability to quickly adapt to this unexpected change is critical for the longevity of your business.  If you or an employee had to unexpectedly leave your business tomorrow, having a step-by-step process or procedure manual available, will allow anyone follow it and consistently achieve the same outcome to keep your business moving.

A process manual won’t replace you as the personality and face of your business, but it will give your customers the confidence that they will continually receive the same level of product or service, regardless. And your business cannot survive without your customers.

As your business evolves, so will your processes and procedures.  But having the ‘how’ documented and clearly defined will help your business overcome any unforeseen obstacles and not only continue to survive but thrive.

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