procedure manual

People often ask me how I manage to run a business in the UK from my home in Spain … the answer I give is easy … I have an amazing team!!

Now that in itself is true, and each staff member has unique attributes that help maintain a productive yet happy team, however they all have one thing in common and that is their attitude.

They all enjoy their work, have self-motivation and good customer service skills.  Without these attributes and everyone working towards the same vision then the business would not have survived without me working from the office.

However, that doesn’t mean I walked away and just left them to it … I still have a lot of contact with the team to ensure both employee happiness and customer satisfaction are fulfilled.

The biggest key asset that has guaranteed the success of the business is our Procedure manual and I honestly think without this I wouldn’t be able to be living my dream life here in Spain.

Over the 17 years in business I had attempted to create a procedure manual several times.  After going to a meeting with the British Franchise Association to see whether I could franchise the business as we seemed to have a winning formula (I chose not to do this as I realised I enjoyed looking after clients not managing franchises), then after reading Michael Gerber’s The E Myth and then again after seeing his very frank and inspiration talk in Birmingham some years later.

For some reason they never got off the ground … and after now having one that works I understand why … it’s because I didn’t involve the team!

This time, when I was planning to move away from the day to day, I gave the power over to the team, getting each of them to right their own procedures giving them control over the what format they put them in; Some found recording the screen as they did tasks more worthwhile, some found bullet points and check lists more valuable.  They then each added appendix of any supporting documents that would help them and others in the future.

Giving them ownership meant that the procedures were true and accurate documents about what was happening in the business rather than what I thought should happen.

There was a surprise advantage to this as when I reviewed the procedures, when labelling up the manual, I was able to see areas where we could improve.  I then spoke to the leadership team and asked them how we thought we could improve on this.  Things were then added and implemented.

Once all the procedures were reviewed, and the team were happy with them, we made it a working document online where everyone has access to everything.

On top of knowing that we had a well oiled machine running the business the other benefits to having this procedure manual are:

Reduces employee training time – having the procedure manual drastically reduces time spent training new team members as you only have to run through things once and then they have the procedure to look back on should they forget any steps in the future.

Delegation and Transfer of work is simplified – having the procedure manual helps when a certain team member is busy or someone is off sick and tasks need to be delegated to someone else as anyone can just pick up the procedure and undertake an urgent task.

Maintains high customer service – having a procedure manual that is customer service focused means that when the procedures are followed you maintain the high level of customer service each time the task is undertaken to every client.

Improves Productivity – having a procedure manual will help with team productivity as there are check lists to follow, everything is done to best practice.  Also new team members don’t have to sit thinking about what to do next and hoping they don’t have to ask another member of the team.

Maintains consistency and continuity for brand – having a procedure manual means that every task is performed the same each time it is done, regardless of who is doing it, and this gives brand continuity which is very important to your customers especially if they are going to refer you to their own network.

Therefore you can see how a procedure manual overall strengthens your business.

If you want any help in knowing where to start then feel free to send me an email and we can have a chat.