If not, you’re missing out.

An Operations Manual is the perfect tool to keep any business operating smoothly. Think about it. Even if you have a startup right now, you’re eventually going to want some help as your business grows and flourishes. Or, maybe you’ll decide to franchise your business or just want to take some time off to travel and live a little.

There are many reasons business owners need an Operations Manual and the sooner you get started, the better.

What is an Operations Manual?

A business operations manual outlines detailed yet simplified instructions for each aspect of the business. Basically, it helps your business run smoothly with or without you.

When I started my first business it was just me and I did everything myself. However I knew from listening to successful entrepreneurs that I’d eventually have to get help if I wanted to grow, so I started writing down steps as I was doing things.

For example, we accepted credit card payments through Paypal so I created a step-by-step procedure that shows someone exactly how to log into Paypal and process the payment. Every time I did a mundane task, I would document it to create a dummy-proof procedure that anyone could follow.

Why your business needs one.

If you’re like most entrepreneurs, writing procedures is as appealing to you as watching paint dry. That’s understandable. Just try to remember that by investing a bit of time upfront, you’ll save yourself a heck of a lot of time in the long run. Here are just a few more reasons why an Operations Manual is a must:

  1. You’re only human. Unless you have the memory of an elephant, you’ll likely forget some things—especially when you’re the small business owner that wears a bunch of hats. If you jot down how you did it the first time, it will be easier to do it next time. Plus, if you get sick or injured or go on vacation you can easily have someone (a family or team member) fill in for you.
  2. Team Training. Many business owners have trouble delegating because they think they’re the only ones that can do it and do it right. Don’t be a control freak. By trying to do it all yourself you’ll get burned out and your business will get stagnant. Just draft a well-written procedure and let someone else (like a new hire or virtual assistant) take care of it for you. Or lets say your accountant told you how to do something but bookkeeping isn’t your thing. Instead of forgetting and having them to show you again and again (and possibly paying them more money) simply draft a procedure you can refer to anytime you need it.
  3. Add Business Value. Not only does the Operations Manual make your life easier, it adds monetary value to your business. Ask any business broker and they’ll tell you that owners who invest in writing a comprehensive operations manual increase the value of their business. Or, if you have a successful business model you may want to use your Operations Manual to franchise your business.

Getting started.

Creating an Ops Manual may seem like a daunting endeavor at first, but it’s easy to get started. Next time you’re doing a repetitive task, quickly jot down the steps (you can always refine it later). Or even better, have your team members do it for you.

Before you know it you’ll have an Operations Manual you can give to just about anyone and they can run your business for you. That means you’ll enjoy the freedom of more stress-free time at home or on the beaches of Bora Bora. Either way, you can’t go wrong by creating an Operating Manual for your own business today.