No sooner do businesses open their doors or offer services and they are already looking to the future growth and scale of the business. Most likely the owner/founder is aware of all the responsibilities and tasks that need to be managed. They may even delegate some of these responsibilities. As they look to future growth they may also look into financing. All of these are important to a strong business, however, to have a strong foundation built for that business is best. Remember that your company will never grow to be bigger than the strength of its practical processes.
Solid processes offer a systemic approach to operating the business as well as a more organized business creating less chaos at growth time. Here are a few steps to creating a process for each area of your business.
1. Better out than in
Get all of that information about your business and how to run it out of your head and down on paper or recorded digitally. Include everything that you can think of to establish the basis for a manual format (this will serve as your company’s operations manual).
2. Start things right on Day One, not later
Think back to Day One. Think of of the steps/procedures it took to get the business running (most importantly, the procedures that are done regularly and that are vital to the business). You need to refer back to your Day One philosophy on every procedure.
3. Shadow yourself
Start writing down every literal step you take a given day running the business. Take time to “shadow” yourself; it will be frustrating but well worth it. An intern can also help you establish these processes. Hiring someone who is interested in your type of business creates a win-win situation.
4. Fear the worst, Hope for the best
Think of any possible problems that could come up, identify those specific to your company and develop a process for dealing with them. Include these issues and concerns in your eventual Operations Manual.
5. Ask for help
If you are a solopreneur, ask a friend that you know will provide sound, objective advice; if you have a manager or employee ask them to review the information you have and provide feedback. It is possible that you missed something or they may have information to add.
6. Sharing is caring
Create and share your processes or the full Operations Manual you have now created. If you are a solopreneur you will now be ready when growth happens.