Free Operations Manual Template | Improve Your Business

Operations Manuals can be complex documents. However, if you only have a small business then why make it harder than it needs to be?

Operations Manuals can take a long time to develop. They include every aspect of your organization. This is a massive undertaking. If you are searching for an Operations Manual Template that suits your business, then it could be a very difficult thing to achieve.

Check out our Operations Manual Template here.

If you are looking for a free operations manual template then this is going to be even more difficult. Businesses can be complex and not a lot of businesses are the same.

However, we take a look at the free options available online in this article below. If you are on the look out for a free operations manual template, then read on below.

What is an Operations Manual?

Wikipedia determines the operations manual as the following.

“The operations manual is the documentation by which an organization provides guidance for members and employees to perform their functions correctly and reasonably efficiently. It documents the approved standard procedures for performing operations safely to produce goods and provide services.”

If you operate a small or medium business, having an operations manual is going to make a huge difference to the performance of your organization. These types of documents explain a lot of detail for your team to follow. They are also a document that is constantly updated.

Let’s take a look at a Google search for Free Operations Manual Template.

Wait a Second

If you drill down into the detail, an operations manual or business operations could mean several different things. For example, does it mean just the operations part of the business such as the factory floor or does it mean the whole organization?

Well it really depends on who is writing the content, article or whatever they are trying to communicate. For example, check out Shopify’s explanation of an Operations Manual. They think it is everything collectively in the business that keeps it running and making money.

However, if you do a Google search using the Google Ads keyword tool, a few related ideas pop up. See the image below. Click to enlarge.

So an Operations Manual could be known as several different types of documents with the same purpose.

Training Manual, Reference Materials, Technical Manual, Supply Chain Manual, Maintenance Manual, Development Manual and Management Manual.

What about Marketing Manual, Policy Manual, Procedure Manual, SOP Manual, Operational Policy Manual and the list goes on and on.

What Does Your Business Look Like?

Operations Manual Hierarchy | What Does Your Business Look Like?

There is no set way to do this stuff. It depends on your business. The best way would be to keep it simple. So many things have become over complicated The best thing you can probably do is keep it as simple as you can within the realms of what you produce or deliver.

Overall, probably the best term for all of these documents is an Operations Manual and everything else come beneath this. Seems to make sense right?

The important thing is that this type of manual is a document that helps you operate your business. It can become really detailed. It can become really extensive and they usually take a long time to develop.

However, you can purchase ready made templates to speed up the process of creating your operations manual quickly, efficiently and cost effectively so you can get on with the task of operating your business.

Operations Manual for Small Business

If you are a small business, we believe an Operations Manual should be relatively simple. However, there probably needs to be several sections to include in your Operations Manual.

This should include at the minimum a number of sections such as the following.

Business Introduction

Vision and Values

Administration Manual

Finance Manual

Human Resources Manual

Operations Process Manual

Emergency Procedure Manual

Marketing Manual

Including all of these sections in your Operations Manual will ensure you grasp each area of your business and set it off heading in the right direction.

Heading in the right direction

When newcomers enter your business, they will fall under any one of the operations manual areas, and you can get them to develop their own areas as your business grows.

So let’s take a look at each of these sections in detail.

Business Introduction, Vision and Values

We believe you need an introduction to your business that sets the direction and meaning behind why you are in business in the first place. Your business needs to mean something. If it doesn’t, your team might feel as though they have no direction and are simply floating along and reacting to whatever comes their way.

This Business Introduction, Vision and Values section outlines the ‘Vision and Values’ of your business, sets direction for your team and allows you to think of the big picture.

Administration Manual

The Administration section includes everything to do with operating the administration side of the business. This includes things like general tasks such as answering the phone and providing stationary and facilities for staff to use on a daily basis.

This particular part of the Organization is important because it helps the business to operate smoothly.

Finance Manual

The Finance Manual includes everything to do with finance such as approving monies to be spent, purchasing transactions, team credit cards and invoicing and debt collection.

This particular aspect of a business is crucial to ensure cash-flow and ensure the business has suitable funds to keep operating.

Human Resources Manual

The human resources section of a business can be complex and demanding. This part of the business deals with team contracts, entitlements, team member concerns and behavior.

There are plenty of standards that need to be met in this area of the business and are often dictated by law. Often one of the harder parts of a business this area often needs a specialist.

Operations Process Manual

Operations are the core of your business and the product or service you provide. Documenting your process is one of the most important things you can do for your organisation. It has far-reaching effects into all areas of your business.

Your operations process manual should detail how everything is done within your business. From quality control to cleaning the factory floor or cleaning the office, it doesn’t really matter, everything should be documented.

As you can imagine this is a huge undertaking. However don’t expect it to be done quickly just expect it to be done thoroughly. Every time you document a process or procedure you save a significant amount of time the next time somebody needs to complete that task.

This is particularly important when new team members start in your organisation. However it doesn’t apply just to new team members it applies to existing staff that have been there for a while as well. Having processes and procedures documented ensures a good quality outcome for your product or service.

Even existing team members that have been in your business for a long time need to be reminded on how to do things correctly. If your business is complex then these tools are necessary reminders to get things done to the standard you expect.

Can you expect to be delivering a high quality standard if you don’t have any rules or documentation to follow? It simply won’t happen because people will apply their own personal standards to their jobs. Everybody is different and everybody’s standards are different and so this is where operations processes and procedures come into play.

All of your operations and processes should have quality control checklists. This ensures that the quality leaving your business is of the highest standard. Everybody misses things particularly when there is a lot of details to be captured and therefore checklist are an awesome tool to ensure that quality is met.

Emergency Procedure Manual

An emergency manual is a definite inclusion for your Operations Manual. This type of document explains in detail what should be done should there be an emergency that impacts your business.

It includes actions and procedures to take in the event on an emergency.

Free Operations Manual Template

If you’re looking for a free operations manual template it could be quite difficult to try and find one that suits your business specifically. If you do a quick search on Google you will find plenty of templates it our examples of operations manual from other companies. These aren’t really free operations manual templates because all they are are examples from other organisations.

If you’re really looking for a good Operations Manual then you probably need to consider purchasing one from the many options available online.

As these documents are complex there are probably not very many good available free options.

What is Your Experience with Business Operations?

You will be able to save a significant amount of time by using an Operations Manual Master Template. Leave a comment below.

Operations manuals are complex documents that include a lot of information across all areas of a business. The fastest way to create an operations manual is to use master templates. Obviously creating an operations manual is going to take a huge amount of time and effort.

If you want to save a lot of time and effort than the best thing you can do to use a master template. A master template may not have every specific thing in there you’ll need but he will have a lot of content that is generic to a lot of businesses. Chances are you’ll save a ton of time using a generic operations procedure manual template.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an Operations Manual?

An operations manual is a document that outlines all of the procedures, rules, guidelines, vision, and values of an organisation. It is a tool that is used by all staff members to perform their role in the business.

Should I buy an Operations Manual Template?

Purchasing a template is going to save you a significant amount of time and effort getting your operations manual together. These documents take a lot of time to create.

Does my business really need an Operations Manual?

The operations manual is the foundation for the business and should be a critical component of any business.

What should be in an Operations Manual?

An Operations Manual should have a large amount of data in it including information regarding all aspects of your business including team engagement leadership and all processes.

5 Crucial things a Procedure Manual Should Include

If you don’t have a procedure manual in your business you need to get one immediately. This tool will change your business dramatically and create an organization that is professional and profitable.

What should a procedure manual include? If you are not striving for quality, professionalism, efficiency and decent profit in your business then why are you in business? All of these things will help you to create a strong business that provides not only you, but also for your team and their families as well.

A Procedure Manual is a tool that is your ‘Business Bible’. It will help you operate your business. So, what should a Procedure Manual include? Passwords? People’s salaries? Phone numbers? Instructions? Well it depends on your business type.

A procedure manual should include a range of things depending on the type of your business what it performs how it operates and what industry it is in.

It really is going to make a difference on the type of business that you operate. However generally a lot of businesses have fundamental principles that can be replicated. As the old saying goes it’s not worth reinventing the wheel. You simply don’t need to when somebody has already done it before you.

Generally a lot of businesses have fundamental principles that can be replicated.

So today we’re going to take a look at five crucial things that you should include in your procedure manual or quality system. These five items should be generic in relation to your business type however they may not be specifically relevant. But read on down and see what you think and if you’ve got any comments please do not hesitate to leave the comments at the end of the text.

So let’s not hesitate any longer and get underway and check out 5 crucial things that a procedure manual should include.

Crucial Thing Number 1

Rules. OK, so crucial thing number one has to do with rules. If you operate a business and don’t really care about rules it is likely it’s going to turn into a mess quickly. Rules can come in any form including policies.

Policies are designed to not only keep your team safe but also level the playing field across your organization. Everyone needs to be treated equally and the idea behind policies is to set a foundation for equality. So policies are crucial.

It could be policies about bullying or policies about personal phone use or policies about travel. There are literally dozens of areas that any business needs policies for.

If you haven’t set up policies in your business yet then you should get started as soon as you can.

Crucial Thing Number 2

Essential Procedures. Procedures are important to ensure cohesive team all striving for the same goals. Procedures will ensure that team members are performing their duties the way they are supposed to be performing them. As business owner you know and understand how things need to be done correctly.

After all this is how you have built your business from scratch. You understand that quality and delivering it well makes a massive difference to the performance of your business and the importance of getting repeat work.

However your team may not know this or even may not care about this. It is your responsibility as leader to communicate this to them and provide the tools for them to follow. This is why this particular thing is so crucial. Procedures for everything you do in your business is essential.

Crucial Thing Number 3

Safety Requirements. You have a responsibility as business owner to keep your team, visitors and subcontractors safe.

Very last thing you need in your business is accidents or incidents or any items where people are injured or even worse lose their lives. The knock-on effects of things like this can be extremely devastating.

Putting things in place with the aim of avoiding accidents should be a priority for your business. This is particularly important for junior staff who have little experience in operating in the business.

Crucial Thing Number 4

Disaster Management. When something goes wrong are you prepared? Whether it’s a fire or a terrorist event or a bomb threat having these guidelines in place will assist people to move through these events. It’s important that you communicate what actions should be taken if such an event occurs.

You may not be able to cover all events however you can surely cover some of the most commonly known who ends based on the history of your location.

For example if you often receive hurricanes in your area been having these procedures and instructions in place is going to be fairly obvious. However it’s a good idea to accommodate many other events that could possibly not happen but be prepared just in case.

Crucial Thing Number 5

Vision, Direction and Values. If you don’t have any of these your business is like a boat without a rudder. Floating aimlessly in a sea of other businesses. Getting vision and Direction and values together is relatively easy and should be one of the first things you do when creating a quality or procedure manual.

No doubt you already have an idea of what you want to achieve with your business so modifying this to determine a vision should be reasonably straightforward.

It’s always good to aim high and underpin your business with something that produces good well for your community or your passion. For example you may support a local community cause. This provides meaning for not only your business and yourself but also for your team and give some confidence that they are contributing to something in the community that is bigger than them.

What should a Procedure Manual include in Your Business?

What items do you have in your procedure manual? Are there things that you see are absolutely crucial and you cannot do without? Are there things that you wouldn’t bother with?

Every business is different so any comments you put below are certainly going to help others in their business experiences. Join the conversation below and provide your best advice for others to help them as well.

What should a Procedure Manual Include?

1. Vision, Direction and Values
2. Rules
3. Essential Procedures
4. Safety Requirements
5. Disaster Management
6. Operations Manual
7. Marketing Manual
8. Financial Manual
9. Policies
10. Human Resource Manual

A Procedure Manual is Your Ticket to more Freedom

You didn’t start a business to be tied to a desk or tied to your team. Ensure you set up systems so your team have a rule book to follow.

You likely started a business because you felt like you could either do it better, wanted to earn more money or desired more freedom. Or maybe it was a lifestyle choice?

So, if that is the case, then how will you make it actually work to achieve your goals?

Do you need to be realistic?

OK, notice I didn’t say total freedom. I said more freedom. If you think you can operate a business and not be involved – let’s get real. It is very difficult. In fact, I am not sure it is possible.

It sounds like one of those fantasies dreamed up by people trying to sell you nothing by pretending it is something. They are spreading around the internet like a massive rash.

Some of the dodgy ones look incredibly like ponzi schemes. A house of cards all ready to collapse and destroy a lot of people’s lives. Anyway, let’s not go there.

The truth

The truth is your business needs you. However, you don’t need to spoon feed everyone in your business do you?

How do you stop spoon feeding your team?

By using a procedure manual, quality manual or systems manual. Whatever you want to call it – these things are the best tool ever.


Because they show your team ‘how we do things around here’ and avoid the need for you to repeat yourself over and over again.

Apart from this there are many other benefits for having good quality systems that get updated on a regular basis. This is important – ensuring they are updated.

What are the benefits?

If you operate a small business you might find it overwhelming. It isn’t easy. Dealing with all the issues daily can wear you down really fast. Then, add people into the picture and it becomes a major challenge.

If you are passionate about your business and want to deliver to a high standard, don’t be shocked, it is likely your team probably don’t care. Well maybe not as much as you do.

This is where a system comes into play. A system ensures your team deliver to the standards you the business owner expect. If they don’t, then it is time for a discussion about performance. Maybe they shouldn’t be in your business if they don’t see the value of providing a top quality product or service.

The biggest benefit of getting your system sorted is that you can breathe a sigh of relief – just a bit. You will certainly be able to delegate better in accordance with the ‘rules’ and lead your team to be more responsible for the tasks they complete.

Having rules, procedures and guidelines in place makes a huge difference.

Are you building your system daily?

If you operate a small or medium business, one of your most important tasks is to build your procedure manual – daily.

This means adding content every time someone in your business asks you a question.

Sound like a lot of work? Well – it won’t be a walk in the park but it is achievable. You can also use your team to help you get your system together and achieve progress daily.

Depending on the complexity of your business, you may have a very extensive manual or a simple manual.

What does our manual have?

Our manual is extremely detailed. It has so much stuff in it, it is amazing. And it is constantly growing. Our business is highly technical and therefore requires a lot of information and steps for our team to follow.

You would take a month to read it. We have built it by adding a answer every-time a question is asked.

When new team members arrive in our business, that have a massive resource to refer to. This is so helpful in saving time and allowing the business owner to delegate tasks efficiently. It also improves the quality of our output.

Having a step by step instruction to follow for our team allows them to perform their role more accurately.

What a fantastic tool this really is!

What a fantastic tool

If you are not convinced yet on how good a procedure manual is, then think about your business if you have 10 or 20 team members. It will be very difficult for the business to produce consistent results. I encourage you to grow your business through your procedure manual.

This is steady regular and controlled growth.

What about you?

Where does your manual stand today? Does it have a few pages or does it have hundreds of pages?

What have you found that works and what have you found that doesn’t get used?

It would be great to hear your comments.