As long as your business is a one-man show, you, the founder, end up doing everything for it right from identifying new clients, pitching to them, servicing them to being your own accountant and taxman and so on. But as your business grows and you start taking in employees, you start delegating to them the day-to-day operations of the business.
One common pitfall of many growing businesses is the fact that in their hurry to scale up and the over-whelming everyday requirements of the business, they fail to document their processes or systems. While in the short-run, one may not see any risk in not documenting, in the long run, the risks could be high and can prove to be an expensive lapse on the part of the business.
But let’s first understand what we mean by documentation of a process? It is the making of an elaborate note of what you and your team have determined to be the best possible way to do a particular operation in your business. The newest/ growing business will ask, why spend time and resources on documenting processes? We give you the answers:
• Documentation makes room for consistency in routines, which in turn makes top performance achievable. • It helps reduction in operation variation, thereby saving time and resources •
Well-written documents of processes facilitate training. Having complete step-by-step instructions will help you or your team ensure that nothing is missed when you have a new employee and provides a reference resource for trainees.
• Further, a well-documented process often serves as a reference for your team when the primary person responsible for the job is absent or, in dire cases, has left the business without notice.
How to set about the task of Documentation?
• Step 1: Identify the functions that are critical to your business operations. You will need to document these functions
• Step 2: Identify a scope for the document. Do this by first making a list of the specific tasks within a process that will be covered. Once the list is prepared, identify for whom the documentation will be written for.
• Step 3: Include the number of people required for the task, their skill levels, resource requirement and a description of how the finished product or result should look.
• Step 4: Describe each task in detail. Include the specific order in which activities are done and the timing sequences and times allowed
• Step 5: Finally, at the end of the document, include a trouble-shooting guide that will serve as a ready reference in times of crisis. Begin by listing out the range of problems and solutions. A well done troubleshooting document can greatly cut problem-solving time.
Good to Use: Flow charts, graphical depiction of processes, can be very useful in process documentation. Being graphical, they are easy to make and easy to understand too. However, you need to be well conversant with flow-chart symbols as they convey different meanings.