Why process documentation is important for your business if you want to grow
Process documentation might sound like the least exciting task ever. And it might be – except for preparing taxes and balancing the checkbook. But we’d like to help you see that process documentation might be one of the most vital strategies you can implement to prepare yourself and your business for growth. At the heart, process documentation is all about allowing you to work smarter, not harder.
We recently read a quote that said it well: “Develop strategic systems and plans the first time you do something so that the next time you attempt it the path is already laid out for you. Evaluate the process a few times a year to allow for evolution and refinement.”
A textbook definition of process documentation says: “[It] is created and used to ensure employees understand your company’s processes and knows which area to contact when there is a problem or a change is needed. It allows the user to understand the entire flow of an organization or department – the inputs to a given process and where they come from, the process itself, and the outputs from the process and where they go next.”
Essentially, it’s a how-to guide for anything you do at your company. It can be as simple as basic instructions typed out in Word to as elaborate as a spiral-bound manual new employees receive on their start date. The important thing is that you’ve taken the time to document each and every process you habitually do every day. It’s the combination of how you do those little processes that give your business its own unique flavor. Without your precise way of doing things and saying things, your company will start heading a different direction. So why is process documentation so important? For a few reasons.
- Creates a productive workflow, not only for your employees but for you, too. If you take the time to document a process the first time you do it, the next time around you won’t have to spend a ton of time trying to remember how you managed to do it right the last time. The same is true for your employees. Process documentation is an incredible way to reinforce hands-on training without having to repeat the training.
- Builds repeatable routines for greater efficiency. Writing a process out makes it easier to analyze and improve. You’ll have a much better ability to streamline a process and simplify it once you’ve taken the time to clearly identify and document each step in a process.
- Takes the load off of you being the only one who knows how to do things. If you’re the only one who knows how to do a task, then you’re limiting your business’ ability to grow because you’re narrowing the funnel growth can go through. Properly documenting your processes makes it easy for you to hand tasks off to other employees and team members as your business and your responsibilities grow.
- Gives you peace of mind. The problem with being an entrepreneur is the tremendous amount of responsibility we feel towards our businesses. We tend to look at your business like we would a child, and want to take care of, nurture, and baby it the same way. That raises the bar pretty high when it comes to our expectations of how things are done. Process documentation allows you to hand a task off to someone else, knowing that as they follow the documented instructions the task will be done the right way.
Sounds like some pretty desirable outcomes, right? And they can be your reality. Process documentation is working smarter, not harder. While it’s more work on the front end, it will give your business momentum in the long run. Curious to know how to actually create a process document? Stay tuned for part 2!