Alrighty my fellow “party of one” business owners, by show of hands, who has a business operations manual?
Just as I suspected, many of us haven’t taken the time to formally write down our processes and procedures. We may have a folder stuck somewhere at the bottom of a pile on our desk that has a few documents in it. But most likely it’s the “how to use….” software, hardware, app that we needed at the time. Or maybe your desk looks a lot like mine with a series of brightly colored post-it notes with a couple of “how to” things scribble here and there. Many of us are probably doing well if we have an up to date list of passwords somewhere.
And listen, this is a no judgment zone here. We all probably just turned on the “open” sign and got to work. We made it all up as we went along. If it didn’t work, we changed it and kept it moving. Being a solopreneur is a lot of hard work and we still only have the same 24 hours in the day as everyone else.
But 2017 is the year that we will change that. Operations Manuals are important, even for businesses with only one employee. Let me tell you why.
- Operations Manuals allow you to create business standards and live by them
- Operations Manuals require you to document processes which will make it easier to hire seasonal, part-time or full-time assistance when the time comes
- Operations Manual creation also allows you to recognize where there may be “holes” in running your business.
- Having an up-to-date Operations Manual makes your business saleable.
Bet that last one caught your attention, right? You read that right. Having an operations manual makes your business saleable. Got your attention? Let me explain. If for some reason in the future you decide you want to sale your business, not only will you sale your customer database, products and services, logos and other marketing materials, you will also want to sell your operations and procedures. Being able to save the buyer from huge learning curve which would possibly alienate current customers is a HUGE win for you and them.
In addition to being business owners, we are also consumers. We’ve all experienced corporate buy-outs of companies that we love. And if the customer experience changes too drastically, especially for the worse, customers leave. No new business owner wants that if they are buying a business from someone else. This is where having your operations manual is a major asset to them.
I won’t mislead to you. Creating your operations manual will NOT be easy. It’s not something you can do in a couple of hours and mark it off the to-do list. But it will be worth the time and energy you invest in it. There are many ways to do this. You can absolutely do it on your own if you want. But I would suggest working with a virtual assistant or business strategist with an operations background to help. You could even call your favorite Next Big Move Catalyst and Empress Project Planner *cough, cough* to help you create the plan to get ‘er done. *Yep, that was a (not so shameless) plug. *
As Your Next Big Move Catalyst, Twanna has worked as THE Business & Project Strategist for Empress Business Solutions. For more than 5 years, she’s worked exclusively with solopreneurs to start and grow their businesses. For more tips on how to stay more productive and motivated in business, please sign up for our newsletter.