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Productivity / Processes

The importance of business process documents

As your business grows you may consider obtaining help, whether by outsourcing tasks to free up your time or hiring staff. Either way, are you ready for all that involves, including having business process documents?

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Many small business owners have plans to grow their business beyond simply being a consultant or sole trader of products. Having the desire to take your business to the next level is vital for continued business development and is both a desirable and admirable trait to have as an entrepreneur.

But, are you really ready to take that next step? You may be frantically busy and in desperate need of some help, but, like many solo enterprises, there may be a distinct lack of systems and processes in place.

Map out your business systems

Before you even think about outsourcing to virtual assistants or employing staff, you need to sit down and map out all the systems and procedures that are involved in your day-to-day operations. And, if there aren’t any systems because the business has evolved from ideas in your head, now is the time to create some.

If you only have a vague idea of what actually happens in your business each day, then your recruitment efforts are doomed. You’re not going to get the right person for the job if you can’t define what the job actually is in the first place. Without clear parameters how can you expect someone to perform and deliver on a daily basis?

The very exercise of creating written systems and business process documents may even mean that you can delay taking someone on. You might be surprised by how much time you save by systemising and organising yourself. Creating a more organised workday tends to make chunks of time you can use for both core business activities and business development appear as if by magic.

"You’re not going to get the right person for the job if you can’t define what the job actually is in the first place. Without clear parameters how can you expect someone to perform and deliver on a daily basis?"

It’s worth the time and effort

Sure the thought of spending time documenting systems and performing other activities that aren’t income producing is scary. But the alternative is parting with your hard-earned cash on a daily basis to someone that you won’t be able to equip with clear goals and instructions, and consequently have no right to expect outstanding results from.

Seek expert assistance

If you want to make the process of creating business process documents less daunting, brainstorming with others might be the way to go. Spend time talking to your business advisors and mentors, or call in an expert in systems and processes. Give extra credence to experienced people who can give you advice on tried and tested work methods for your own industry.

Test-drive the systems yourself

Even the most creative jobs require systems and discipline. Put together an official procedures manual and spend a few weeks religiously adhering to it yourself before foisting it on any staff members or contractors. You’ll soon learn where things are working and where they’re not, and be able to adjust your procedures accordingly.

When your new team members come along, your well-honed procedures manual will help create a culture of achievement in your business and an environment where everybody works on the same page – one you’ve carefully crafted and delivered rather than haphazardly thrown together.

Think of it as architecture for your business. Do you want to create a Walter Burleigh Griffin masterpiece or the house that Jack built?

If you already have business processes documents, would you recommend others do the same? Why?

Karen Morris

, owner of Underground Communications, is a PR consultant and business copywriter with over 20 years’ experience in writing communications designed to grab an audience and deliver a clear message for her clients.

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