Documented Processes? I’m Not BHP Mate!
A few years ago I was talking to a new client and I asked them if they had a documented process for a particular task that they were doing. The conversation continued along these lines:
“Documented processes? I’m not (bloody) BHP mate!”
“What happens when you’re on holiday then?”
“Nah mate, I can’t go away. Nobody else can do it”
If this conversation gives you a sense of deja vu, I’m not surprised! That feeling of being beholden to your business and the cycle of not being able to step away is one that almost all business owners go through at some point in their journey.
Well, I’m here to tell you a secret…..
You CAN take a holiday from your business!!
Whether you call them documented processes, SOP (standard operating procedures), modus operandi, an operating process, standard of procedure or something else entirely; standard operating procedures are a means of finding more freedom and value in your business.
It’s not just about finding more time for holidays either. Businesses that rely on individual knowledge are worth less than businesses that have systems in place. Jobs take much longer because nobody can remember how it was done last time or new staff come in and need to figure things out from scratch again.
In the end, it’s frustrating for you and time consuming for everyone involved.
Do I Really Need Documented Processes?
I know it feels like we’re adding “one more thing” to your ever growing “to do” list. You probably started your business by yourself or with a mate or two and you’ve managed just fine, right?
Maybe you have even had a few holidays in the past already. Maybe you’ve scribbled down a heap of notes or fired off a quick “how to” email an hour before you leave, waved goodbye to your business partner and tried to enjoy your break.
How many emails and questions did you get while you were off though? How much extra work did you have when you got back after that holiday to “fix” things.
The point is, you don’t have to “manage just fine” if you have a SOP document or manual in place. Instead, developing procedures means you can take a break with zero worries and come back to an operation that’s been running just as smoothly as ever.
At Refresh Accounting, we’ve worked with a wide range of businesses. From sole traders with everything filed neatly away in their heads to large businesses that seem to reinvent processes every single day. Without a doubt though, the most efficient businesses we’ve seen are those with process and procedure documents that can be followed by just about anyone!
Having been a partner in a firm of accountants, a Financial Controller, a Chief Finance and Operations Officer and a Director, I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, that well documented processes lead to a higher sale value. Potential buyers don’t want to rely on key employees’ personal knowledge and skill set. They want to invest in and rely on a process that they can see works!
Selling might not be on your radar right now but if you could do one small thing to increase value with minimal effort – don’t you think it’s worthwhile?
So, you can keep reinventing the wheel every time you or an employee is away (after all you’ve muddled through before). Or, your business can continue effortlessly thanks to easily understood business process documentation that increases efficiency AND increases the value of your business!
Once you’ve created your documented processes, read our article on creating business dashboards to get even more clarity in your business.
But Standard Operating Procedures Take Ages To Create…. Don’t They?!
SOP writing doesn’t have to mean spending hours writing or slaving away at your computer. There are plenty of easier ways to get your standard operating procedures organised. You could use voice recording apps like otter.io or video recording like Loom.
Easy 3 Step SOP Process
Make writing standard operating procedures super simple by following this easy 3 step process.
- Ask yourself “Is this a task that will have to be done again”. If the answer is “No”, don’t worry about documenting it. If the answer is “Yes” then move to step 2;
- Record it! Whether that’s as written content, video content, images, voice recordings or something else, as you actually do it. It may slow the process a little, but not by much and it’s only that once. If you choose to create video or audio content, you could always send this to a transcription service or VA to have it written down after the fact. Otter.io turns your spoken word to text as you speak and Loom will create a transcript of your video recording;
- Next time the task needs to be done, get someone else to follow the instructions that you created. If they can easily complete your process, fantastic! Put it in a SOP manual or employee handbook. If they can’t follow the process easily, go back to your documented process and add more detail or make things clearer.
Folders, manuals or employee handbooks don’t even need to be printed. They could quite easily be kept in a computer folder where they’re accessible by the whole team.
It’s also a great idea to revisit SOPs regularly and add more information as you go and pretty soon you will have a ‘documented’ process for everything.
It’s 4PM and you’re on 3 weeks holiday from tomorrow, completely out of contact.
Now instead of feeling rushed and stressed, you can relax and go on your break without a care in the world! Everything you do is documented and someone else will keep everything going while you’re away.
When you begin to document processes and procedures this could easily be the reality for you!
We understand that starting can be daunting. So, if you need some guidance, BOOK A CALL and we’ll help you on your journey to achieving independence from your business.