Operations manuals: Do you have them?

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operations manual

operations manual istockOne thing many small businesses (and some larger one) lack is a system of effective and updated operations manuals. The concept: That you codify your business operations into a set of rules makes sense on several levels. First, you have better control over the business if you know what is supposed to happen in any given circumstance. Second, and perhaps more important, if the individual performing key task(s) isn’t available, someone can fill in and recover by following the manual.

Accordingly, we have sales and administrative manuals, and editorial guidelines/manuals, as well. These need to be updated with some regular frequency.

However, until now, no one bothered developing an online operations manual.

It turns out that I’ve taken on many of these responsibilities personally. I co-ordinate the updating of the company’s websites (with help from our third-party designer and a network of offshore contractors). I also administer the company’s server, email systems, and domain administration, as well as security/hacking/backup processes.

All of these responsibilities, of course, create a somewhat unconventional system, where the business owner/president often puts out fires with ISP outages, spam attacks and the like — or has the more mundane tasks of making sure the email forwarding goes right. And none of this stuff has been documented in any manuals.

In other words, in a key set of responsibilities that I should have been delegating, I haven’t even codified the stuff into a document that would guide anyone filling my diverse shoes.

This will change — and as I write this posting, I’m setting out the online operations manual’s first draft.

Do you have a system of manuals and procedures for your business. If not, why?  If so, have they come in handy or been helpful for your business and sales and marketing. Please feel free to comment or email your observations.

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