“ Documenting efficient processes is like weeding a garden: it can be hard work, but there’s a real pleasure to be derived from knowing you’re improving everything.”

As small business owners whilst we are in the startup phase of business we tend to try and do everything ourselves. Which works in the short term, however, the trap we then tend to fall into is that we are the only people who know how to do everything in our business. The downside of this is that our businesses then rely on us, and on us being in the business, which in turn limits the growth capacity of the business.

If something were to happen to us and everything is in our heads then there is nothing for anyone else to follow should we need someone to step in to help? Additionally, if we don’t have documented processes then quite frankly we don’t have a saleable asset either.

Documented processes and checklists are what allowed me to travel through Europe for five weeks with my family whilst running a business with 20+ staff without any hiccups. Everyone knew what they had to do when it had to be done and to the standard that was expected. There was no doubt and no confusion as there was a reference point for my staff and they knew exactly what needed to be done.

As your business grows, it’s important to ensure it runs as efficiently as possible, especially when you aren’t in the office or onsite. Having your processes documented will improve efficiency, consistency, and clarity while providing a reference point for risk mitigation.

To maintain customer service and standards in your business we need to ensure everyone carries out the tasks within the business with consistency and to the same standard. Documenting processes is one way to ensure this will happen. If there’s no proper process being followed then processes can become chaotic and become a risk to your business.

Nowadays with such a wide variety of technologies available to us, it’s easy to have a systematised and efficient way of documenting and implementing our processes. Gone are the days where we need to have a massive file sitting on the shelf of the company’s policies and procedures that are likely to go out of date every year or two. There are so many computer programs available to be able to capture your processes through video and talk through them so they are more easily absorbed by the user and quick for us to update. Capturing a five-minute video of you performing the task is a lot more efficient than producing a multi-page document outlining the process AND is quicker and easier to update when required.

I know it’s a boring subject for some of us, however, if you want to grow your business it’s something that you simply can not ignore. Below I’ve outlined five reasons why documented processes are important to your business:
 

1.Visibility

If you have staff in your business then you need proper supervision over the way tasks are performed. It’s important to have documented processes for everything they do so you can give them support and so they have a reference point should they encounter problems. If the process is clear then it eliminates the room for human error and forgetting parts of the process. It also sets an expectation of how tasks are to be performed so that everyone is clear on the process.
 

2.Efficiency

Having a documented process of how a task is to be performed will increase efficiencies as people won’t be interpreting instructions in their own way or waste time trying to figure out how a task should be performed. There is no need to reinvent the wheel. Take the time to create the process once and update it as required.
 

3.Security

Keep your processes secure, they form part of your company’s IP. There are ways these days to store your processes digitally to ensure they never get lost. Additionally, you can also choose which staff you grant access to. You don’t have to expose all of your processes to all of your staff, you can grant access to the relevant processes for particular staff. Online storage is a great way to achieve this. Don’t risk damage to your business from sensitive information falling into the wrong hands.
 

4.Agility

It is always necessary to modify procedures or practices in order to stay abreast with the changing conditions of your market and relevant industry. Having the ability to be proactive in updating your processes means you can be agile in the current fast-paced business world. As I mentioned earlier, it takes no time at all to re-record a 5-minute video on how a process should be done.
 

5.Profitability

Efficiency and consistency equal profitability. So in a nutshell, if everyone is carrying out processes in the same way then we expect the same outcome, the same level of service and the same quality of product or service. When we know all of this we can effectively manage costs in our business and increase our profitability.

Efficient people, processes, and streamlined productivity are a few of my favourite things in business, as these things add up to a business that will run with ease and that is profitable. Don’t build a business that relies solely on you, how you do things and what is in your head Understanding the benefits of documented processes in your business is a must if you want to see your business grow.

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