Business Operations Manuals

"What good is a map if you cannot find the road?"

As a business owner, why should you have an operations manual? Because it adds value to your business.  A thoroughly-crafted Operations Manual creates a clear roadmap for the people every successful employer depends on the most–his or her team!

In this tightening economy, most businesses could not afford to shut down for even a short time without losing customers and suffering devastating financial consequences. An Operations Manual means the difference between a business that can run while you are out of the office and one that cannot.

An operations manual documents the 3Ps Policy-Process-Procedure and is the key to running your business. It is the master plan on how your business operates, trains your employees and delivers your service. It covers all of the “steps” kept in your head or on the post-it note. However, the manual does not stop there. 

The operations manual becomes the primary tool for training your employees.

Unfortunately, most business owners do not have a strong process for training new employees. They typically walk them around the place of business showing them where everything is. They then tell them what they need to do and then expect that new employee to intuitively do what they were told with excellence. Often the new employee is a disappointment to the owner.

A well-written operations manual will set the standard for performance. It will also give detailed procedures (how-to’s) on the critical functions of the tasks the new employee is responsible for. Mentoring is always a great idea, but an operations manual is essential as both a standard and a reference tool.

The operations manual will create and maintain a standard of excellence in your business.

As a business grows and new employees are added to the mix, the quality often diminishes. If the owner gives a customer one experience but the employees give that same customer a sub-par experience, it will confuse the customer and lower the customer’s opinion of the business. A written operations manual will help give you and your team the discipline to do what it takes to maintain excellence as the business grows.

The operations manual makes your business scalable.

The common business owner adage is this, “If you want it done right you must do it yourself.” Have you ever said that? There is some truth to this statement, but what if you had a checklist or a detailed procedure for your employee to follow – and then, of course, you held them accountable to follow the checklist or procedure? I guarantee the job would be done right!

If you as the owner have to do everything for it to be done right, your business is not scalable. It cannot grow beyond the time that you as the owner have to “do everything.” You must create systems that are documented in an operations manual for your business to grow in a healthy, sustainable way.

The operations manual makes your business more valuable.

In his excellent book Built to Sell, author John Warrillow reports that 99 out of 100 businesses in America are not sellable. The reason- the business is too dependent on the owner. In other words, the business is not a transferable asset or system. The owner is the system, and without the owner, the business has little or no value. What will make your business valuable and sellable is to have well-designed, well-documented systems that almost anyone can operate successfully. The more your business looks like this, the less dependent it will be on the owner, and the more asset value your business will have. When you create systems that will allow your business operations to be transferable with minimal interruption, you create value. A business has value only when the ability to keep generating cash flow can be transferred.

The operations manual creates more time for the owner.

Most small business owners feel like they do not have enough time to do the higher level, more strategic functions of their business. They lament that they do not have time to plan and think strategically. I frequently hear that their time gets consumed putting out fires and solving problems. This typically happens when the company does not have an operations manual.

A few years ago I had a client who said that her goal was never to be asked another question by her employees. She realized that SHE was the company operations manual and everyone constantly came to her for instruction and permission on everything. It was literally driving her nuts! In the end, she created a comprehensive operations manual that answered almost every question any employee would have. It also gave her the assurance that things would be done in a proper manner. She was able to relax more and found that she had a lot more time to do the things that she wanted to do! Operations manuals, once written, are a tremendous time saver!  

So, does an operations manual add value to a business? Most certainly, yes.

Creative Consulting Services specializes in Custom Tailored Solutions that help you attain an ROI on your employees and increase customer satisfaction. With creative know how we simplify the employee training process provide, risk management and add value to your business through customized operations manuals and forms.

Contact us for a Free Consultation today!