You’re the Expert — So Write It Down!
Over the past two decades, we have continued to remind business owners that, “You’re the expert, so WRITE IT DOWN!”
To clarify, the small business owner is the MOST qualified person, regarding how their business does or should operate. The simple reason is, they live it every day, from opening to closing. They generally wear many, if not most of the hats that keep their business running.
No, we are NOT saying they are experts in all technical aspects of the business, such as operating complex equipment. However, they should know the who, what, when, where and most of the how of the business. Moreover, how jobs/services flow and the process-steps toward completion.
More importantly, the business owner should have a VISION for how the company should look, feel, and function. Make no mistake, it’s the owner who sets the pace and agenda for all operations.
As TQM guru Edwards Deming believed, “ALL QUALITY starts at the TOP.”
Yep, quality of product, service, facility, employees, vendors, materials, workflow systems, equipment and operations, ALL START AT THE TOP!
Deming said, “If you can’t describe what you are doing as a PROCESS, you don’t know what you’re doing!”
To be sure, business owners CAN describe, in writing, what they’re doing. So again, we say, “Write it Down!”
Describe How the Business Operates
Describing, in written form, how their business is to operate is Job No. 1 for a small business owner. It may sound tedious and boring to some. But, is it more exciting having a constant parade of interruptions from employees and others seeking information on how to do their job?
Unfortunately, many owners live with the consequences of that thinking. Therefore, most small businesses don’t have a written Operations Manual.
On the other hand, those owners who realize how effective written procedures are, become motivated to finish the task of writing a comprehensive operations manual. An SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) manual that covers all areas of how the business operates.
For those owners a little hesitant in taking on such a task, I say, FEAR NOT!
Taking into account, when writing an operation manual systematically, you don’t go it alone. Everyone in the company who is affected by a procedure, checklist, or policy will be part of the writing and updating of the document. It can actually be FUN!
HOWEVER, the owner needs to APPROVE every change and new document added to the manual.
Again, IT STARTS AT THE TOP!
The good news is, once completing the manual; the owner will soon discover how easy it is to delegate ALL updating of the manual to someone else. Usually, that’s the production manager or a similar position.
Most exciting is — the VALUE of a business with a written operation manual is vastly increased.
So, WRITE IT DOWN!”
Did I mention? Great systems work!
Philip Beyer, founder/president of Ebiz Products LLC and founder of Beyer Printing Inc. in Nashville Tenn., is a chronic entrepreneur, business systems analyst and consultant. Author of "System Busters: How to Stop Them in Your Business" and recipient of an InterTech Technology Award for the design and development of System100 business process management software. Beyer speaks to business owners across the country on how to bring lean, sustainable order to their businesses. Contact him at (615) 425-2652.