Business Manual-Preparation

This post is part of a series that began here. By sharing the daily development of my own operations manual I hope to illustrate how you might approach doing the same in your own business. Please follow along and share what you are doing to document your own systems and the challenges that come up along the way.

This being the start of a new year – fresh beginnings and all that – I decided to start with a empty binder and rebuild the higgledy-piggledy mess that I’ve been calling a business manual.  You know… clean slate… tabula rasa… taking all your clothes out of the closet and only putting back what you like and what fits. That sort of thing.

STEP 1:
Brainstorm all the categories I can think of as necessary and make tabbed dividers for them (this is essentially the work of creating a container before I begin). In no particular order: calendar/schedules, passwords (this is such a bugaboo for me, it needs it’s own space), blog, newsletter, tabs for each of my class topics, speaking, coaching services, design services, legal, finance, technology, website, print collateral, customer relations, products. Please don’t think this list is final or complete. I totally expect this will change.  Soon.  Just wait and see.

STEP 2:
Insert two sheets of notepaper after each tab.  One titled “notes” to capture tasks as they occur to me, but I can’t get to immediately.  The other titled “lessons learned” (yes, it’s here, too) to capture those moments of insight into the ways my policies and procedures (or lack of them) aren’t working as well as they could be.

thw-blog_bmcover

STEP 3:
Insert the cover I designed awhile back into the front of the binder – this is probably the only thing about my old business manual that I still like.  I truly believe that beauty can change behavior. Creating a resonant and inspiring image that reminds me what this thing is all about and why it’s important really helps me to actually use the darn thing.

It’s so pretty and pristine! But that won’t last… and that’s a good thing.  Perfectionism is not useful anywhere, especially here.  Remember: Living Document. Work-In-Progress (just like you and your biz).

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3 Responses to “Business Manual-Preparation”


  1. 1 JoVE January 3, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    Just came over here via your comment on the HOB blog. I have to say that I always get bogged down at the point of figuring out what categories I need. Even if I decide some, inevitably things will fit in more than one category which then gets me stuck again. I’m looking forward to seeing how you do this.

  2. 2 Cairene January 3, 2009 at 9:17 pm

    @JoVe – ah, the joys of being a divergent thinker! Fun, isn’t it? I’ll try to talk about how I avoid the overlap trap (because I so understand what you are talking about) as this thing progresses.


  1. 1 BOM - Day 3 « How THW Gets In Gear Trackback on January 12, 2009 at 8:27 am

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