Working more effectively is a worthwhile goal however it’s challenging to figure out how to begin. I’ve seen documentation help a business highlight that starting point. Be honest, after completing a task for your business a certain way once, how often does that become The Way thereafter?
Many of my clients sell both directly to customers and have wholesale accounts. One business struggled to codify how they generated a list of wholesale customers. During the process we confirmed it was a cumbersome process of multiple reports that needed to be cross checked and reconciled. That explained why the list was rarely updated!
After this discovery we were able to do two things to help this company. First, in their database we added labels for different types of customers. This let us automate the report of wholesale customers. Second, I put together a series of additional training for their system. While everyone felt confident doing what they needed to do, the refresher helped them find better ways to use the software. We found additional ways to further simplify report generation based on these training sessions.
I’ve been documenting my businesses this month too. I discovered several areas where I can improve. For example, once I wrote out all the steps for planning and review, it was apparent that it was unwieldly. The process of explicitly writing down all the parts — the what, where, and why — allowed for a simpler system to emerge.
I hope this example of how documenting your business influences you to try it.