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Standardising to make yourself above-average

Tuesday, 28 September 2021 10:10

Standardising to make yourself above-average

There's always a lot to do when you run your own business so why would you bother setting up a formal manual for the procedures you use for your business? Simple.  Because there will come a time (hopefully not too long away!) when you are no longer concentrating on running your business but on growing your business.  Other people will be handling most of your day to day functions and if you already have each procedure documented you can be reasonably sure that they're doing things the way you want!  It's also really helpful to have those things documented that maybe you don't do that often such as quarterly, six-monthly or yearly jobs.  I find when you don't do things on a fairly regular basis it can be easy to forget the actual way to do it.  Having to re-learn how to import photos to mail chimp for example (like I've been doing for a big chunk of today) is wasted time.  If I'd just quickly documented how I did it before, that task could have been finished in a third of the time!

Formalising things is also beneficial when dealing with others.  Do you have a standard procedure for chasing up debts?  If you have a well documented order to deal with this it can make it much less stressful.  Likewise, what are your procedures for dealing with a customer complaint or return of an item? 

Formalising your procedures for all aspects of your business and then scheduling them regularly into your calendar may seem like something you don't have time for but if you start doing some of it now you'll be surprised how often you can refer to the document.   What you put into your Standard Operating Procedures Manual is largely defined by what sort of business you have.  In the one for my cleaning business I have staff lists and contact details, rosters, customer lists, standard invoice amounts, insurance details, supplier details and copies of important documents.  In the one for my art business, I have sizes of all the relevant prints with their prices, details of people who sell my work, repeat customers, supplier information and details of the inks for my printer, important documents and schedules for art prizes and competitions.  Having standard operating procedures will go a long way to giving you an above-average business!

Till next time,

Sarah-Jane X