One of the most common questions I am asked is what exactly should I include in my procedure manual. The following is a list of the eight common areas to cover and what each area should include:
This section should answer the question “How do you like your business to be run?” This is all the behind the scenes stuff such as goals, vision, SWOT, growth strategy, succession planning and so much more …
To complete this section consider how you get leads for your business and be sure to look at all aspects both current and future. I would also suggest adding in ways that you have marketed your business in the past that may not have been as successful as you would have liked so someone who steps in knows your marketing history.
So now that you have documented how you get the leads, how exactly do you turn them into customers? Consider your client’s journey from prospect all the way to client and then to returning client and everything in between.
Once they are a client how do you deliver exceptional customer service and what is it that keeps your clients happy? Once you have outlined exactly how you expect your clients to be treated it will be easy for others to treat your clients this same way.
Now that you have paying clients, what are all the financial aspects in your business that come with that. Be sure to include both incoming and outgoing financial obligations as well as long-term strategies for increasing the cash flow and profit of your business.
What about the technology behind the scenes and what about when it doesn’t work the way we believe it should? This is a great section to include information on how to handle the “what ifs” (or as I like to refer to them the contingency plans).
Don’t just look at your business now, but your business in the future too! How will your organizational chart change and what do each of those roles entail? How will you find the people to join your team and then how will you handle their training and exit (yes, this is an important part to consider too!) once they are part of your team?
How do you deliver each of your products and services and what is included? This is probably the most critical piece in your procedures manual as it is the core of your business. Think about McDonalds … no matter whether you walk into a McDonalds in London, Ontario or Vancouver, BC or Dallas, Texas or even in Europe, your Big Mac is prepared the exact same way. This is what documenting how you provide your services and products will mean for your clients too!
I know this may seem like a lot of work, so if you prefer someone to help walk you through the process I do offer a year-long program where I hold your hand throughout getting your entire procedures manual created. To learn more about this program, let’s schedule a time to chat and see if the timing is right for you to enroll!