Whats an operations manual and why you need one for your online businessImagine your brand new dreamy desk from IKEA just got delivered and you’re so excited to set it up!

You rip open the box, pull out the 27 pieces it came with and stare at the bottom of the box because surely there must be instructions in there, right? There’s no way you can assemble this without knowing where every screw and piece of wood goes!

Well, if you don’t create an operations manual for your business, that’s exactly what it’s going to feel like to a new team member you’re onboarding: a bunch of pieces that make up this awesome business, and no clue what to do with them.

Maybe you think this doesn’t apply to you because you aren’t ready to hire someone – but don’t you want to hire someone eventually?

Or systems to follow so you don’t skip steps by accident?

The last thing you want to do is wait until you absolutely have to hire someone and then realize you have to spend hours creating your operations manual.

 

What to include in your operations manual

Grab a sheet of paper and start listing every task you do in your business – big or small. Whether it’s uploading blog posts to WordPress or sending monthly invoices, be sure to write it down.
Break these down into categories. Your email category might look like this:

Category: Client Process

Sub-tasks:
Client inquiries
Onboarding
Monthly Reports

You’re going to write out the steps for each task you wrote down. Don’t worry, you don’t have to do this in one sitting. Choose a batch day where you knock out instructions for a bunch of tasks or pick 1 a week to start chipping away at that list.
Be sure to write down every step you take to complete a task. Pretend like you’re going to hand this document over to someone who has never used these platforms before and needs to know every single step. It’s better to include too much information than not enough.

This way, when you’re ready, you just point your new team member to the right document or link and they can take it from there.

You might even currently have team members that have been managing tasks for you. You might not even know how your team member is getting a task done because it’s something new you’ve implemented and never needed to do it yourself – leaving you with no idea how to complete it if that person quits tomorrow. Ask them to write their process down in case they ever leave (or your team expands, you decide to hire someone else, etc.), you aren’t left picking up the pieces.

It doesn’t have to be something official with a perfectly designed template. You just have to get started!