Creating my own Operations Manual – Where do I start?

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Creating my own Operations Manual – Where do I start?

So you understand why Systems are important in your business, you know you need to get started but you are stuck. Where should you start?? The task seems so HUGE!


Have you heard the saying “How do you eat an elephant…one bite at a time.”? Creating an Operations Manual is like any task that seems too daunting; you just keep putting it on the backburner. In reality all you need to do is just start!


Here are some guidelines as a suggestion for where you can get started on your own Operations Manual.


  1. Write down all the tasks that you don’t enjoy doing – If you document a system on how to complete a particular task that you don’t like, you can then delegate it to someone else! Maybe it might be managing the social media in your business, creating monthly e-newsletters for your clients or data entry into your bookkeeping programme.


  1. Start with something you do everyday – All the tasks you perform everyday you know how to do automatically. This is a great place to start documenting systems, as it doesn’t require too much thinking.


  1. Start with something that is easy which you don’t need to think about – For example, you more than likely answer your business phone every day so you probably don’t need to think about that. Document what you say when you answer, what questions you ask your clients, how to transfer a call, how to take a message, how to document your new enquiries etc.


  1. Document your own Position Description, complete with your own Key Performance Indicators. You could also create a Position Description for a role that doesn’t yet exist but you would like to employ in the future.


  1. Begin by brainstorming (either by yourself or with your team) all of the tasks that your business carries out. Then start grouping them into particular key areas of the business, or start by looking at the key areas and listing the tasks in each key area.


  1. Create a list of tasks that your business may need to carry out in the future.


  1. If you are still unsure, search the internet for a particular procedure you would like to write. You will notice that some procedures on the internet are in word document format so they are easily changeable to suit your particular business needs.


Some Do’s & Don’t


  1. Do ask! If you have friends or family members in business, ask if they have a procedure for a certain task that you can model from. Why re-invent the wheel if you don’t need to! Systems and Procedures are about making life easier, not more difficult.


  1. Do give yourself a target. Maybe write procedures for 1 hour a week or have a target of a particular number of procedures per day or week that you would like to complete.


  1. Don’t create systems just for the sake of it. If a simple checklist will work just as well, create that instead!


  1. Don’t try to create your Operations Manual in one day! It is a task that requires time. You will be rewarded for your efforts!


Compass Business Support specialises in assisting small business owners to create their operations manual. If after reading this, the task still seems too overwhelming, why not contact us to see how we can help.


Download our 8 Steps to Systemising Your Business cheat sheet here

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