How to document your procedures

Documenting routine tasks and activities to systemise your business can be a complete nightmare. I often hear the following from clients:

  • They don’t know where to start
  • They don’t know what to do first
  • They don’t know how to write a procedure
  • They don’t know what to put in the procedure to have others successfully follow it
  • They don’t know how detailed the procedure should be

Here are some crucial aspects to consider including when you are documenting your standard operating procedures. These aspects will have a big impact on your ability to systemise your business quicker, easier, and more successfully.

1. Name the procedure correctly

The aim of compiling a procedure is to lead you from point A to point B. It tells you how to do something. A good title will describe this, eg. “How to create an invoice”, “How to answer a sales call”, or “How to sign up a new client”. A name that does not reflect what the procedure is about is not helpful and can cause confusion.

2. Include a description at the top of what the procedure is about

This can be very brief. A sentence will do. The aim is for the person reading the procedure to immediately understand what it is that they are doing, and how it fits into the overall context of the business.

3. List the expected outcome

This tells the reader what they should expect once they have completed all the steps in the procedure. If they don’t reach the expected result, something is not right. Either the procedure is faulty or they have not executed it properly.

4. Create a procedure template

Start out with the same consistent template. Later all the standard operating procedures can fit into a Standard Operations Manual easily. This increases the intellectual property of your business. You will also save a huge amount of time in the long run because you have a business that runs on systems and procedures.

If you have people working for you, they will not only be doing the right things (because you are clear on what the right things are), they will be doing them right (because they are written down) consistently.

If you need help in writing your procedures, please contact Virtual Productivity Solutions.