Looking back at what I’ve written in previous June, I came across a post from 2011 about making manuals less intimidatingand therefore simpler to use.
Once people are used to having good procedures to follow, it is a simple step to make manuals accessible rather than intimidating and officious.
Even to me, the word manual conjures up images of big heavy folders, covered in dust, and difficult to use.
There is no need for all your procedures to be kept in a heavy (or light!) folder. Make it more accessible with any or all of the following ideas:
What creative ways can you think of for presenting procedures in your business?
It’s an officious sounding word for many people, and certainly a daunting prospect if you have to write or update the manual for your business. So much so, that people often avoid having a procedures or operations manual or just call it something less intimidating.
Really it is just a collection of ideas and instructions to help operate something efficiently. It may be boring to read the manual that came with your new iPod, phone or TV but it is very handy when you can’t figure out how to set it up or use the advanced features.
Manuals range from a few pages long to hundreds and even thousands of pages long, depending on the purpose of the manual. Obviously the manual to run a multi-million dollar business will be longer than the manual for your home printer, but the concept is the same.
Here are a few tips to make the concept of a manual less intimidating in your business:
Thinking about manuals you’ve had to use in the past, what were some of the big issues with them?
If you have worked in the corporate world, you know that big businesses have procedure manuals and policies for how things are to be done. They may vary in effectiveness, but they have been thought out and written.
Maybe you consider this something that only belongs to big business, but small and medium businesses should also have some procedures written out.
A small business will have fewer procedures, may not call it a manual and may be more flexible in their approach, but the concept is the same.
Why have procedures?
Many small business owners, especially sole traders, know how to run their business so don’t see any reason to write down their procedures. But what happens when the owner isn’t the one trying to carry out a particular task one day?
By having procedures written down, someone else is able do the job with minimal disruption to clients and the overall business.
Here are some the main reasons to have procedures written down for your business:
For some tips on how to start getting some procedures for your business, read my article on business procedures. For a full run on why procedures are useful and how to use them as well as how to prepare procedures for your business, my preparing procedures eBook is jam-packed with information and tips.