The Operations Manual

Before we start our new business, we sit and think, ponder and plan, scratch and scheme, until we can visualise exactly what we want to do, where we want to get to in our busness and, in the end, how we are going to get there. Is that a fair summary of what you have  been doing?  Well keep at it and dont stop. “Time spent in reconnaissance is never wasted” goes the old soldiers mantra, and it also applies to business.

Eventually, after a considerable time preparing and planning our business, there is nothing more to do but get on the road to business success. We set off. Normally, we do this by giving up all other activities and concentrating completely on our new baby – and yes you men out there, that is what it becomes. It is at this stage that YOU NEED TO START YOUR OPERATIONS MANUAL.

“Why????” I can hear you shout, “I know what is going on and really dont have the time to spend on this non-essential”. Well here are some good reasons:

  • The sooner you start, the more effective and relevant will your manual be;
  • Although you are doing everything, it is certain that, in time, you will expand to the stage that you cannot take on all the work you could. If you want to continue expanding you need to employ assistance. Then you need to ensure that your new assistants do as you want them to do, not what they think you want them to do.
  • The existence and use of an Operations Manual will add up to 30% to the value of your business when you have reachede your desired goal.
  • Your training time and personal involvement in training and bringing new staff members on board will be minimised; and
  • Your business will run properly, even when you are on holiday!!!

How do you start?

  1. Buy a diary, preferably a “page-a-day” type, and put it on your desk;
  2. At the end of each day, enter into your diary each challenge you faced and conquered that day, what it involved and how you conquered it;
  3. At the end of each month extract challenges and solutions and copy them into a different file under section headings, making sure you continually update and replace old solutions with new.
  4. AS your business gorws, make each department head do the same thing. Each quarter hold a meeting and update the overall Operatrions Manual so that everybody knows how to solve every challenge.

You now have an Operations Manual for your business.

I would suggest that you use the following Manual Sections as it will cover every aspect of your business:

  • Governance and Management;
  • New Product (Service) Development;
  • Marketing and Sales Policies;
  • Operations Policies;
  • Customer Care;
  • Human Resources;
  • Stock Management;
  • Money Management;
  • IT Policies.

Some of these may not fit into your specific business,  but they should cover most businesses.

So now you know where to start so, even if your business has already been going for some time, you can set about creating your Operations Manual immediately. Once it is in place you will find that you can take that month holiday without having to always be on the other end of a telephone. Have fun and enjoy working ON your business.


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