Most businesses pride themselves on the standards they show to both their customers and their staff. A standard can only be defined if it has been repeated to the point of mastery; which is where businesses operations comes in. Combining years of research, hard work and critical thinking, operations shines brightest when it becomes the norm for your business.
However, due to factors such as staff forgetting existing structures or new workers coming on board, these can often be changed in the process. This is where the operations manual becomes essential.
The primary purpose of an operations manual is to ensure that there is a written guide to how your company runs - a way to ensure that the discipline you have cultivated over years of experience and analysis is easily accessible.
But what is an operations manual?
Many people mistake a business plan for an operations manual. While the two certainly do share some similar traits, a business plan is just that - a plan. An operations manual on the other hand is concerned with more immediate matters; what are the daily steps that you need to take to reach your sales goals? What is the policy that you need to follow when dealing with new clients? How can you brief your new staff to the same standard that you’ve expected from your long-time employees?
A business plan allows you to set your goals; an operations manual gives you the necessary tools to reach them. Regardless of how in depth you choose to make your manual, it is the single most useful document that you and your employees will have access to.
What can (and should) I put in an operations manual?
While varied, there are generally three things you should include in your operations manual:
- Guides (a walkthrough of the operations you go through everyday)
- Contacts (a directory of the people in your company, beside their roles)
- Policies (rules, regulations and HR guidelines)
Again, it’s important to remember that an operations manual should be accessible (and more importantly, understandable) to your entire company. Aside from outlining checklists, it is also useful to include the best point of contact to for the task as well as any relevant policies.
What will an operations manual do for my business?
Aside from keeping the aforementioned standard and quality that your customers have come to expect, an operations manual can help you refine your processes and allow you to show potential clients and partners exactly how you run your entire company.
Crafting an operations manual can go a long way in assuring that no matter the situation, you are always prepared to make a good impression.
If you’re interested in learning more strategies that can help your business grow, contact myCEO’s business experts here. For more information on how we can help you optimise your operations, download our free Operations Pillar eBook today.