All aspects of running a small business need to be documented. Documentation can prevent a lawsuit, can remind you of things that you need to finish, documentation shows your customers that you care and are on “top of things”. Documenting instructions to your staff and vendors make for smoother relationships within the company and avoids future misunderstandings,
Running a business of any size is difficult, but for a small business owner who has to wear many hats, it is even more difficult. Time becomes an issue and the organizational aspects of running a business are often neglected.
Documentation forms a basis for organized and efficient management. It provides the foundation for the development of future systems. Perhaps the most important benefit is that it provides a written record from which to learn and grow a sustainable business.
Like most other disciplines, documentation has to become a habit. The following is a system I recommend to my clients.
- Purchase two journals, one desk size and one pocket size.
- In your office make all notations in your desk journal. That includes phone calls made and received.
- Include conversations with staff, suppliers, prospects and customers ( use common sense in selecting notations made)
- Date each page and note the time when you write something in the journal.
- Even in face- to- face meetings in your office use your journal for making notes during the conversation
- The same procedure should be used when you are out of the office. Use your pocket journal for taking notes. Don’t be embarrassed to be seen taking notes, it shows that you care and are paying attention.
- In weekly sessions spend a few minutes reviewing the notes and discussing what was learned. This is the way I get my clients to adopt this system, knowing that we will be reviewing the results on a weekly basis.
Yes, I am aware of technology, computers and tablets; but, in my opinion, the hand written journal is best. It not only provides a permanent record but the learning aspect of what you do allows for operational systems to be developed that are specific to your business.
The greatest of all insights is that we cannot be tomorrow what we do not do today.