If you are creating an Operations Manual, you will already know this is a mammoth task. Don’t lose hope. You can actually create your operations manual relatively easily if you approach it with an open mind and persistence.
The best way to do this is to get your team to help you. You need the resources to gather the information and help you collate it in a way that makes sense. So take the time to plan it first.
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Use our Operations Manual Template.
What is an Operations Manual Anyway?
OK, so we all have a pretty good idea what an operations manual is. Basically a document that outlines all areas of your business.
Wikipedia describes it as:
“The operations manual is the documentation by which an organisation provides guidance for members and employees to perform their functions correctly and reasonably efficiently.”
You could have an operations manual for each area of your business or an overall operations manual if your business is relatively small. For example, if your business has numerous departments like a marketing department, a human resources department or a sales department, then all these areas will come under ‘operations’.
Because you need your team to deliver in all these areas, structuring the operations of each area using an operations manual is going to be the best way to do it by far.
Anyone that tells you otherwise is either making it up to sell you something or hasn’t done it themselves.
Having a detailed operations manual for each department in your business is essential for your business to operate efficiently. Just try operating a business without one and see how that goes.
What is the Easiest and Fastest Way to Create One?
So if you need something quickly the absolute fastest way is to start creating one with Microsoft Word. However it certainly will take a long time. That is why you could also buy one if you want to save a ton of time.
Want to Save Massive Amounts of Time?
Use our Operations Manual Template.
Start planning it out by creating a table of contents about how you want it to look and then engage with your team to create each area based on their expertise.
Using your team is going to save you massive amounts of time. It doesn’t have to be built all in one week. It will take months of work before you have something that is worthy of using. (Unless you buy one). So engage with your team and get their help to create it.
You might need to look at the bigger picture when you start. For example, a crucial decision is how are you going to deliver it? What format will it be in? Will it just be a MS Word document or are you going to create a super-intranet system?
Either way, if you get your team to help, before you know it, you will have a comprehensive Operations Manual. You team will want to use it because they helped create it. They will find it really helpful in their daily tasks and best of all, the performance of your business will skyrocket.
It’s worth the effort. Believe me, it will make a difference and you will be glad you started.
Operations Manual Table of Contents
So the table of contents will help you plan your document. If you list our each section and then sub-sections you will quickly be well on your way to creating a document that is useful and relevant.
The last thing any business needs is useless paperwork that no one reads or uses. This occurs in many organization. It doesn’t have to in your business.
Just create something that is relevant, clear, easy to read and easy to update and use.
What Should be in your Table of Contents?
It will really depend on your business, how complex it is, what you produce and how it operates. However, you can pretty well assume that you will need the basics such as Vision, Finance, Operations and Marketing at the very least. Take some time to get together the main pillars of your business.
There isn’t any right or wrong way to do this. It comes down to your organization and how you want to structure it. Below we propose 8 pillars that are typically relevant to any business.
8 Important Pillars
The following 8 areas will allow you to create a relatively comprehensive Operations Manual and get your system underway. These are:
- Business Introduction
- Vision and Values
- Administration Manual
- Finance Manual
- Human Resources Manual
- Operations Process Manual
- Emergency Procedure Manual
- Marketing Manual.
You might need additional areas for your business, however if you just start with the above, you will be well on your way to creating something of value for your organization.
Within each area there is likely to be a lot of detail. If you have particular personnel in your business that manage these areas then it would be ideal to get their input and ask them to take charge of their section.
With your guidance you will soon create a significant Operations Manual that will become an extremely useful tool that you can use daily and provide to new team members when they arrive in your business.
Detailed Table of Contents
Once you have determined the important pillars of your organization, you can then drill down into the detail. Below is an example of this within a Marketing Pillar.
Operations Manual Template Table of Contents Sample
Looking for a Operations Manual Template Table of Contents Sample? Review this sample below. This is a basic sample for a typical business, so it may not apply to your business.
But generally, there are aspects of most businesses that are the same. Depending on how large your business is will depend on how detailed your Operations Manual is.
You may need to break your operations down into the pillars as mentioned above or just use a simple document like the table of contents below.
Either way, you should start off by setting the direction of your business with a Mission and Vision and then progress to the general details and safety requirements. Then, after that you can jump into standard procedures and detailed tasks. Finally, summarize it at the end.
Operations Manuals – What is Available for Free?
OK, so if you are really trying to save some cash you might be able to source a half decent operations manual online for free.
However, you can’t expect it to be awesome. You might find something half suitable that you could amend to suit your business, so if you have a fair bit of time check out what you can find online to save your hard earned money.
Operations Manual Template – A Fast Solution
There is a ton of work to develop an Operations Manual even if your team help you. If you want to speed up the process then purchase a template and be done with your operations Manual in a matter of days instead of months.
Save a ton of time by using our Operations Manual Template. Create your manual in a matter of minutes instead of months.
What do you think should be in an Operations Manual? Have you created one for your organization?
Do you operate your business without one?
If you don’t have some sort of guidelines or manual for your team to follow you will find it very difficult to operate your business efficiently. You may be able to operate a small business without one, however as your business grows you definitely need an operations manual that guides and informs your team.
You certainly don’t have enough time in the day to be repeating yourself over and over again and then when new employees start – repeating yourself yet again.
Use an Operations Manual and save yourself a ton of headaches, become more efficient and roll out your products and services in a much more competitive manner.
What does it look like? Share your thoughts below.