3 Key Steps to Successful Business Just by Writing Procedures

I think we have all had experience of the dreaded procedure manual, a mile thick that no one looks at but that is NOT what I mean. If it is not simple it won’t work. It will just sit on the shelf and gather dust and the forms and checklists will be ignored because you are too busy to be bothered. If office procedures are not a help and they don’t reduce your workload or prevent problems then why have them?

3 key steps

1 Planning – Know what you actually do

The first step needs to be – know what you actually do. It sounds so obvious but unfortunately a lot of what people do is off the cuff and automatic. When you employ someone their automatic is often different from your which can cause issues or worse, leave gaps. 

You need a list of every activity in your business, right down to the things you think do not matter

Mindmapping can be a helpful tool for business planning because it is a more natural way of thinking and uses both sides of the brain. When you only list all you do, you may miss some things because you are only using your logical left side and getting half a brain worth.

And while you are doing this why not look at your carbon footprint and safety procedures at the same time? Both of these can save you a lot of money. Reducing your carbon footprint will reduce your energy bills and because it reduces other waste will save more there. Failure to be aware of safety hazards can make you liable for huge fines if anything unfortunate did happen. Both are worth including in your plan.

2 Critical resources needed to make life easier?

Now you have your list you need to go though it to see what is critical. If you or your assistant were to be unable to come to work or to tell anyone else how to do their job would your business survive? This is the “fall under a bus” test. For every activity, apply this test to see if it is critical. 

If you have decided the information is critical, how much is? You do not want to building a paper mountain because no one will look at it.

You need to decide whether procedures are really what you need or whether a detailed “use once for induction” training plan is better with just a brief reminder where the job is actually done. You may decide you need a training schedule if training is important – that is just a simple spreadsheet or reminders in outlook. If you need to maintain equipment setting up the same sort of reminders is another useful procedure. You also need to include forms and checklists here but only have the once you really need.

3 Control them

How do you keep your procedures etc up to date and controlled? Procedures have a bad habit of growing and multiplying. Some people keep their own copy in their drawer and it gets out of date but they stick to the old way. Others know they can do better and sit down and write long winded procedures that you know nothing about

Be careful. Procedures, checklists and forms can easily go “feral” and result in chaos. They are actually easy to control but it means have everything dated and listed if it is printed form or in a read only form if you have them on a computer. Only one person should be authorised to make any changes although others can suggest changes if they really feel they have though of an improvement. The one person then updates the procedure or form, makes it read only again and makes sure no one has old ones in their desk.

Successful business includes writing procedures but please keep it simple. If it is not simple it will not work.

Advice For Small Businesses Just Starting Out

Carwashes and Illegal Immigration; Some Businesses Just Do Not Get It!

Many carwash owners and operators at the International Car Washed Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada this year try to justify the hiring of illegal aliens. The hiring of the legal immigrants in any business in the United States is against the law just like sneaking over the border is against the law. It appears that some carwash owners and the industry itself just doesn’t get it. When they hire illegal aliens they are breaking the law and therefore there is no justification in doing so.

In fact one seminar at the International Carwash Association dealt with public perception and how carwash owners should deal with the public perception of carwash owners hiring illegal aliens. The fact is that carwash is do hire ilegal aliens and there’s nothing wrong with the public perception, but rather the carwash owners themselves who will not admit that they are breaking the law.

Many carwash owners state that as long as the worker has documentation there is no way they can tell if it is false or counterfeit. This is a copout and is part of the reason that the public is simply not buying the car washes plea for innocents.

These carwash owners are hardly innocent if they are hiring illegal aliens and know them to be legal aliens but use a loophole in the law and simply say they had no way of knowing. It appears the carwash industry just doesn’t get it. So we need to throw some of these gentlemen into prison so they understand. Please consider all this in 2006.