Whether you are just starting out, trying to grow or thinking about selling your business, documenting your processes can benefit you no matter what stage of your business. Documenting your processes allows you to take more time out of the office while also increasing the value of your business. Here are some of the benefits:
1. The task is no longer dependent on one person
There is usually one person in the organisation that is the “go-to” person for something. When this happens, there is a huge risk to the business if that person gets sick or leaves. Having a documented process means that another team member can pick up where that person left off. If you are the “go-to” person, it means that you can take a holiday and know that everything will still run smoothly while you’re gone.
2. Training new employees is easier
Hiring a new employee is a lot of work, but that process is made easier if they have documented procedures to follow. If an employee doesn’t have technical training, but their values align with those of your business, it is much easier to hire for those values and have them follow your process. A documented procedure becomes especially important if you are required to work remotely.
3. Clients receive consistent service
If each employee is following the same procedure, clients receive a much more consistent service standard. If you have a standard of customer service, you want to make sure that this is consistently delivered. Having a documented process with a checklist can help you achieve this.
4. Delegation is easier
It is much easier to delegate tasks if there is a documented procedure. You will set employees up for success if you give them a documented process to follow when you delegate a task to them for the first time. This saves time in the long run and helps to eliminate errors by providing clear instructions.
5. Increase the value of your business
If the business is not reliant on key employees, it will be much more valuable to a potential purchaser. Clearly documented processes add value to your business.
6. Make Improvements
The activity of documenting your processes gives you the opportunity to review what you are currently doing and make adjustments. There may be some tasks that are done more efficiently and others that are wasteful. If different people are doing the same thing differently, which process is performing better? You can make comparisons and find out what works best for your business. You can also ensure that the quality is at the standard required by your business.
Where to get started
A quick summary of steps to take to start documenting your processes:
- Collect details on processes that need to be documented. Keep an inventory of your processes so that you can keep track of where you are up to
- Get input from those people who carry out the processes
- Brainstorm the activities that need to be done to get from start to finish. Describe who is responsible for each activity.
- Take these activities and put them into a process flow diagram or checklist
- Test the process to see if someone in your team can follow it easily
- Get approval from your team
- Make processes available to your team in a central location that can be accessed by everyone who needs it
Documenting your processes can be daunting to start with. Here are a few additional tips to help you:
- Start with those processes that are causing bottlenecks first or a single department. Don’t try to document the entire organisation at once.
- Make sure that you can easily edit the processes so they can be edited as improvements are identified.
- Use colour coding, screenshots and videos where necessary to make it easier to understand. A good program is Loom which allows you to easily record and share videos of your screen.
- Assign team members who are responsible for processes in their department. If changes occur, the process needs to be updated and relevant staff notified.
If you need help documenting your processes, please get in touch. We can schedule a complimentary 45-minute Strategy Session to discuss your business, the current opportunities and challenges and the next steps you should take now to take your business to the next level.