Have you ever considered documenting your company’s procedures? Do you think documentation might benefit your business, but it’s always put on the backburner in favor of actions with greater ROI?
This article shares the information you need to determine if documenting business procedures would bring value to your company in terms of ROI. Read on to discover why businesses focus on process documentation, the ROI of documentation, and when and how to start.
Why Document Processes and Procedures?
Business owners approach documenting business systems in a variety of ways. However, before launching a large project like process documentation, the first thing to establish is the “why” behind the activity.
Here are ten reasons company owners have shared regarding why they decided to document business systems:
1. Documentation helps busy executives and successful leaders delegate tasks that no longer fit into their busy schedules.
Establishing accessible processes and procedures makes it easier to pass duties to assistants or other appropriate staff.
2. Establishing systems is a wonderful way to ensure your HR team hires the right staff for a job.
Clearly documented processes help your hiring team articulate the skillset they are looking for – even if that skillset requires special knowledge the HR team doesn’t necessarily have.
Additionally, these systems will help your HR team onboard new staff quickly, making training much more straightforward. This also enables team members to provide mentorship opportunities because all staff are starting from the same baseline.
3. Documented processes and procedures increase company revenue.
When processes and procedures are documented your staff can accomplish tasks quicker, uniformly, and with better outcomes. Utilizing proven methods to serve clients, hire employees, produce products, and more increases efficiency. This makes your business more profitable and scalable.
4. Having processes and procedures in place makes knowledge transfer much simpler.
When a key person leaves, what happens to the tribal knowledge? If it’s documented, that knowledge stays with the company – rather than leaving with the employee.
5. Documentation supports expansion in automation.
If you have always hoped to automate more of your business but don’t know how to do it, document your processes. This will show you what could be automated and what needs to be done in person. Additionally, if you have a team building custom automation, having documentation available for them to utilize will help them work more rapidly and efficiently.
6. Established documentation increases your company’s ability to intake more clients with the same amount of staff.
Documenting processes and procedures that your team uses daily will make your business more efficient and able to take on more clients with your existing staff. Additionally, as your company grows beyond what the current team can handle, documentation makes onboarding and training new staff much easier.
7. Consistency created by documentation makes the customer experience better.
One problem you may have experienced as a consumer is that businesses without documented processes can present inconsistencies in the customer experience.
If you’ve ever crossed your fingers and hoped for a good customer service agent, you know what I mean. Eliminate this issue in your own company by documenting processes and procedures that everyone interacting with customers follow. This makes every customer experience consistent, regardless of which agent they speak with.
8. Clearly documented systems allow for franchising.
Having all of your business systems recorded in one accessible location makes franchising or opening new branches easier. As your company expands, teams in any branch can utilize the same processes, improving the customer and employee experience and promoting consistency.
9. Measurables are clearer when everything is documented.
Do you ever have difficulty discovering what measurables to utilize in your business? Documentation can provide clarity and ensure tasks are measurable. Understanding your metrics and measurables allows you to:
- Improve processes.
- Understand what is working well.
- Compare employee performance.
10. Established processes make the business more valuable when a company owner is ready to exit.
Whether you plan to sell your business or hand it over to a family member, documenting all processes and procedures in advance will make your company more saleable. When your processes are recorded and used by the whole team, it is easy for a newcomer to take the business over and keep it as a going concern without making any significant changes.
What is the ROI of Process Documentation?
While several of the above points make it clear that process documentation provides a return on investment, we wanted to define the returns that business owners have shared with us. Here are five returns company owners have seen after establishing system documentation.
1. Increased profitability
Process documentation provides increased efficiency, more opportunities for automation, and reduces waste.
2. Happier customers and staff
Consistency in training makes for happier customers. Easing workflows and providing processes for everyday tasks set staff up to succeed, making working at your company a satisfying experience.
3. Improved opportunity costs
Staff can spend more time doing their jobs. For example, your lead salesperson can spend more time in the field making sales instead of training that new salesperson in the office.
4. More control over personal time
Business owners work 50-60 hours a week. Documentation can provide opportunities for delegation so that owners can cut those hours down and even take a distraction-free vacation.
5. Increased peace of mind
When everything is documented, you know that your business has continuity built into the structure. This increases peace of mind and removes stress from staff transitions, opening branches, and more.
When Should I Start Documenting Business Systems?
If the reasons for documenting above sound appealing, the next question is, “when should I start?” Our clients often reach out when a business is in a state of change. For example, when a company is just starting out or on a growth curve.
However, there are other times when it makes sense to document processes. These include moments when:
- You need more customers.
- There is an area in the organization that always needs your attention.
- You cannot take a vacation because you are constantly being pulled into the office to help out.
- Your team needs to service an influx of new customers or when such an influx is anticipated.
- The business needs to get more efficient, or you’d like to include more automation.
- Hiring has stalled and you need more staff.
- You plan to sell the company or pass it on to a family member.
- You or your board plan to acquire new businesses, and you will need to introduce those additional staff to your company rapidly.
System documentation provides stability within a company, which is why so many business owners choose to document before or during a time of change. However, documentation can also help keep a going concern running smoothly while increasing efficiency.
How to Begin Documentation
Documenting business systems can feel like a challenge – and it often is a large task. However, as pointed out above, the benefits can often outweigh the costs in time and energy.
Here is a “how-to” that you can use when just starting out in business system documentation:
1. Determine how much time you want to spend on the project.
2. Involve your team immediately. You can share this document with them or have a discussion with them.
3. Set up meetings with your team to:
a. Map the process
b. Figure out the procedures to be documented
c. Figure out which person does what and collaborate with them
e. Ensure everyone reads what the others wrote to create a uniform procedure
4. The best way to structure this project is to spread it out so that you and your team have time for your full-time work, plus some time to work on process documentation. Usually, about 2-5 hours a week will work to get the job done in a reasonable period.
Four signs that you need help
You and your team can tackle process documentation on your own. Usually, our team is called in to consult when:
1. A leader doesn’t feel they have enough knowledge to document processes and procedures without specialists to help.
2. Everyone is too busy to document.
3. There isn’t enough time in the day to dedicate even 2 hours a week to system documentation.
4. Documentation is getting too complex for anyone to find it useful. Alternatively, the documentation that’s been completed is just not thorough enough to build efficiency into the organization.
Do you want more information on the ROI of documenting your business procedures? Business Success Consulting Group CEO, Adi Klevit, spoke on this subject in a podcast interview. You can listen to the whole discussion here.
Finally, contact us if you want to begin documenting but need help. Schedule your free initial consultation here. We are here to help you reach your business goals.