I often face resistance from clients when I ask about their business documentation. Because I’m tired of sounding like a broken record of “you need it”, throughout September I’m sharing examples of how this often overlooked part of your business is key to success. In early October I plan to release a guided worksheet (as a PDF download) for creating documentation. This series will answer questions such as how documentation can help you plan, fill out your budget, write blog content, improve your processes, and more.
Three ways documentation helps your business
I maintain a calendar for my business. I have generic ones for daily, weekly, monthly as well as a dated annual calendar. Are there tasks I need to do every work day? Throughout the week? Are others more periodic each month?
For example, every day I need to check a catch-all email address to see if anything was caught in it such as a blog comment. On a weekly basis, on Wednesdays I edit and schedule a blog post while Fridays is for bookkeeping. Monthly sees my credit card statement paid on the final Thursday of the month. In my annual calendar I have dates that my webhosting and some software subscriptions renew for example.
Having this information in a calendar format is half the battle!
Or perhaps not so subtle. I’m basically crafting the ebb and flow of each day, week, and month as I write this part of my documentation. In the course of filling out the generic calendars I often think of things that either should be completed at a different rate or that I’ve forgotten to include at all.
A few months ago, I helped a client write out the steps needed to ship their product to their customers every month. We began by focusing on the specific steps necessary on the day the box left the office. As we worked on that part, the tickler of tasks that had to happen before the product was ready to head out the door practically wrote itself. Not only did we create checklists for shipping, we also improved their inventory management and tightened the marketing plan.
Sitting down to write this type of documentation forces me to accept that each day has 24 hours and it’s not practical to fill every moment. Writing out these key parts of my business in a calendar helps me create a day that is more balanced and therefore more productive.
For a long time I scheduled all my business administration tasks on one day each week. If I missed that window it would then be reset for the following week. While bills were paid, I wasn’t invoicing clients timely. Now I set aside time every day for administration with more set aside for Fridays to make sure I’m caught up.
I hope these examples help you see the benefit to business documentation!