Starting a business takes much more than your resources and money.
There is tons of work that you have to do.
Every task that you do in business holds importance, including writing the procedure. This can be your skill that can boost success.
Consider the tasks that your business does frequently, it can be fulfilling customer’s orders, doing monthly webinars, or responding to complaints.
There might be plenty of work that has been going on over and over. These tasks require to get documented so they can be passed to get the work done in challenging.
Well if you are new to how you can write your own procedure, here is what can help you.
What Writing A Procedure Means?
Well, the idea of the writing procedure depends on who you are referring to.
For lots of people, procedure means a set of detailed instructions that helps the reader to understand how to compete with the work that is given to them.
However, to others, policies and procedures are interchangeable terms. It can be a list of tasks or completing the goal.
Also, it depends as it can be detailed, basic list or set out as a flowchart.
Why Writing A Procedure Matters To Your Business?
There are lots of owners who believe that writing procedures can be time-wasting. It does make sense as you have a lot of work to do. And formally documenting something which is already done by your team can be a hassle.
But, the writing procedure can help you in the future. You invest your time and effort to get the steps to writing it down will pay you off.
Here are some of the benefits that you will get by writing a procedure.
You Can Reduce The Chances Of Doing Mistakes
When you write a procedure, it acts like a roadmap that helps your team members through the way.
A procedure not just makes sure that your team gets things done but also does it the right way.
Having resources that can help your team, it will also boost their accountability. This reduces the chances of making mistakes and wasting time.
You Get Standard of Doing Work
Well, giving space to your team to be creative is a good idea. However, when you don’t document the procedure it can be confusing for the next person to do the same work.
It can be difficult to remember and also cause the problem due to personal preferences.
The team can take different actions doing the same task and for results. It can cause trouble for the business.
For example, suppose your team gets a call from a customer who has something to complain about. Where your own customer service representative apologizes as a response, the other offers a steep discount.
What will happen when your customer will know that they received only an apology when the other one got the discount?
Not just this bad news and things will not be going to end well, but maybe you are using a discount when the apology can work the same.
That’s why having the procedure can help in solving the customer complaints and eliminate the problem.
You Can Get Your Team Empower
There are chances that your team is not feeling comfortable in approaching you with their questions.
It can be the feel of being dependent or the embarrassment of not knowing work properly.
Even though you want to teach and guide them, they are not feeling the same thing. Writing the procedure can help in referring to them.
They can follow the steps you did as well as wrote in the document, it will also make them feel more confident in their jobs, without taking help from you in every step.
Also, this gives you free time since you don’t have to repeat the same thing over and over.
You Can Easily Grow Your Team
When you are bringing a new member to the team, this can create a lot of work including introducing them to work.
Also, onboarding and training are a hassle and it will take time. This can be helpful to write the procedure.
As the new member can refer to the documents as the guidance. This will speed up their work and familiarize themselves with their responsibility.
When Do You Need To Write A Procedure?
Not everything requires a procedure, it can be time-wasting to write a procedure when it’s not needed.
That’s why when you do the basic tasks, you don’t have to create a procedure for it.
Well, the number one rule of writing the procedure is to make sure when you do it, you have the reasons for it.
It can be because it’s easy to forget taking those actions, or perhaps your team is getting it wrong over and over. Or maybe it can be a long process and complex that needs a checklist for doing it right.
Writing a procedure is only needed when the issue is complex and important. Or there will be a significant benefit that will be gained by clarifying the process.
You need to write down a procedure when the process is following any of such consideration or situation :
- It’s lengthy
- It’s too complex
- It’s routine but essential that everyone follows the same rules
- It demands the consistency
- It involves the documentation
- It has consequences that can be serious if the changes happen
- It involves the significant change
How You Should Prepare For Writing The Procedure?
When you are writing the procedure, you need to understand that going straight is not the best idea. Especially when you don’t know what to do first.
That’s why you need to prepare yourself for the procedure, it includes the three basic things :
Decide The Platform
The first thing you are going to need is to know where you are going to store the procedure. This will dictate everything from what layout you are going to use and how detailing it would go.
Also, it depends on how redundant it would be, or difficult to update, etc.
There are different factors that affect your procedure. That’s why you should not decide this lightly.
Make Sure You Have Consistent Layout
The next thing you need to follow is having a layout that can be consistent. This will help in making the navigation easier, also with one glance, it can be detected if the procedure is updated or not.
Having the layout also saves time and makes it faster to write down the procedure. However, here are a few questions that you should consider to brief the document.
- Are you going to need the content pages or cover?
- Where are you going to mention the required knowledge or resources of the procedure?
- Are you going to list the relevant information?
- Where is the relevant information going to be stored?
- Are you going to use videos, files, or images or it will be plain text?
- How often are the images, files, etc going to be used?
- Are you including the linking or process?
- What’s your set color scheme?
- What is your tone?
Steps To Write Your Procedure In Effective Way
Once you know when and why you need to write your procedure, now you require to understand how to do it effectively.
To know that, here are the steps that will help as well as a guide to know the effective and easier way to write the procedure.
Step 1: Spend Time On Observing First
The first thing you need to understand is to observe the situation. There are chances that you are thinking about writing a procedure for a long time, and it can make your work more chaotic.
That’s why you need to identify your reasons and why actually it’s important for you to write a procedure.
Spend some time thinking through your average workday or workweek for the team. Make a list of tasks that they are doing on a regular basis.
Now when you get the list, here you need to identify which one holds the priority
Look for the work that is frequently required to do. Also, consider the number of mistakes happening for performing the task and how it’s slowing down the process.
Those tasks are the one that requires the procedure. Highlight them or get it on your list to know that it’s important.
Step 2: Create Your Template
The procedure is supposed to save time. Using too much time on creating the system that adds more work and takes time to get it done is the last thing you want to do.
It gets much more important when you are supposed to do it more. There might be more tasks that will require the procedure.
That’s why you need a template that can save you time.
Here you need to understand where they want the procedure to live. Are you planning to create it on Google Drive and share it with your team? Or are you planning to use collaboration software to store it?
Decide the logistics, and now draft the template document that you can copy repeatedly. Also, it should be simple so you can fill in the necessary details.
When you are making the template, make sure this information is included :
- Description of the tasks for what the procedure is meant
- List the team members who are involved in performing the task
- Space to link necessary resources as well as other procedures
- The steps for completing the task
- This information will help you in writing your procedure while saving time. But also it will ensure that you are not missing anything important.
Step 3: Identify What Kind Of Task It Is
Now, it’s important to choose the specific task to start your procedure.
You are going to need the list you created before you started, pick the task that you feel is important and require the urgent procedure without delay.
However, it can be difficult to choose one as it’s a deceptive and complicated step for certain procedures.
It can be challenging to think which task requires the procedure, you are going to break the larger goals or objectives into singular as well as smaller tasks.
For making this easier, you can follow the golden rule :
Make sure you are being specific and granular, The more, the better. You need to put yourself in the place of the person who is looking for the procedure. Think about what you would look for.
You can also loop the team members to identify the steps if it requires. This will ensure that you are breaking steps in a way that makes sense.
Also, add the links and references of another document if that can help in helping. It will help in being narrow and specific instead of being too vague or general.
Step 4: Talk To The Key Players
The procedure can be of no use if it’s written by someone who had no or very little involvement in the actual task.
In this situation, The person uses their outside and high-level point of view for writing the steps. So there are chances of not working that well when someone else uses it.
That’s why you need to talk and have an honest conversation with those who played a key role in the task. Including all those people who actually carry out the work.
Make sure that you understand how they approached the specific task. Clarify the questions or doubts that you have as they can confuse others too.
Try to take as much perspective you can get, identifying what can be confusing, and then write the procedure that works for everyone.
Step 5: Write Everything
When you are armed with the Information, now you are required to write everything in one place.
You already completed your template, it’s time to use it. Use it for every step, and fill in the needed information.
When you are writing the procedure, there are some rules to follow :
- Write in the action of how it happens
- Avoid using too many words
- Use the active voice
- Use bullets and lists
- Don’t be too brief
- Explain the assumptions
- Carefully use the jargons and slang
- Keep the reading level appropriate
- Use the notes from the conversation you did with team members.
Since you have already done all the work, it will be easier as well as straightforward.
But make sure you are writing everything in order, it will help in completing the tasks much faster and easier when the person knows which direction they should follow.
Mention The important instruction ahead of time, keep the format easy so they can follow it with going back to redo something.
Step 6: Do The Test Run
Once you complete the first draft, you need to do the test drive.
Do not plan to document your procedure and implement it immediately.
This increases the chances of errors, incorrect, bottlenecks, or out-of-order instructions. This is important to do the proofreading.
Before you officially introduce the procedure for everyone, choose a few members from the team. Do the test run before you introduce it to everyone.
Ask them to follow the procedure, and then ask to provide feedback or notes. This will help in improving what is not working or change the steps.
This can be an extra step but it will help in saving a lot of work. Also, it will remove the chances of getting errors.
Step 7: Revise Your Procedure & Refine It
After getting the feedback from your team members, you can make the final tweaks. This is a step that you should follow so you can finalize the final version.
Also, you don’t have to implement all the suggestions you get. Especially if you feel it’s more to personal preferences.
Not just that, you have suggested revisions that are actually important to follow. Ask to clarify the confusion or questions that they have.
Understand the impact that it will have on the procedure. Or maybe it’s not something you need to implement.
Step 8: Now Put The Procedure In-Play
The last step and it means you successfully write the procedure. Now it’s the time that you require to roll it out so the entire team can follow.
So when you want to launch, have the conversation first with the team. You can announce it via using email or conduct a meeting.
You can use this for giving the context behind why the procedure was created and how it will help the team to accomplish their goal.
Frequently Asked Questions ( FAQs)
Why Does Your Business Need A Procedure?
Having the procedure is an essential part, it works like a roadmap for performing the day-to-day operations. With that, it ensures the guidance for making the right decisions and streamlines the internal process.
How Is Writing The Procedure Beneficial For The Team?
The procedure makes sure that the team is following the standard way of getting the work done. It reduces the independence of the seniors, also boosting the confidence of performing the task in their own way.
What Is The Golden Rule Of Writing Procedure?
Make sure that there is an absolute need for the procedure, put yourself in the position of someone who needs the procedure. It’s important to focus on everyone instead of one person.