By Melissa Viera
Writing an operations manual or a standard operating procedures manual can seem like an overwhelming task, but clearly defining the process of everything that goes on within your business is important for both large and small businesses, and even the solopreneur.
An operations manual serves as a guide and covers every detail about what goes on inside the business. From carrying out each job, to how to handle situations that might arise, the operations manual will cover it.
You might think that you do not need at operations manual if your business is small or even if your work alone, but if you plan to grow, an operations manual is a must. Even if you do not have a big team, writing an operations manual forces you to think about every detail involved in your business and different ways to handle situations that might not have come up yet.
Whether you choose to hire outside help to assist in the writing and editing of your manual or do it yourself, there is one major key to being successful and that is to imagine that you are explaining to someone with no experience how to perform the job duties and handle every situation the way you would. If you were away from your business and you had someone else handling it, how would you tell them what to do if your only communication was the operations manual? Use clear and simple terms and do not leave anything out.
Begin writing your manual by outlining everything that typically goes on in a normal day. This involves things like outlining your intake process, each step involved in the grooming process, whether you begin with pre–work, place the pet in a holding area, or put them right into the tub. Along with the grooming process, outline how you handle phone calls, walk–ins, emails and everything else that goes on every day.
Every process should be broken down into steps from grooming to cleaning, and sales and customer service. Additionally, a process should be outlined for things like ordering supplies and maintaining records. There might be things that arise from time to time that you do not think about on a regular basis. For example, how would you want your employees to handle it if someone comes in asking for the business to participate in a community fundraising event by making a basket for an auction? You could have a donation request form already on file that the employee could hand to the person to fill out for your review. Having a process for everything will maintain your professionalism and ensure that your employees know what to do in every situation so that they are not put on the spot or made to feel uncomfortable.
A very important part of the manual is your safety regulations. Outlining what to do in the case of an emergency and how to handle delicate situations is a must. Writing this out will help you improve your process and think about different areas that you might not think about on a day–to–day basis.
If you do not have an operations manual yet, now is the time to begin writing one. It does not have to be an overwhelming task, although there is no denying that it will be a lot of work. Having a manual will keep you a step ahead and give you a guide to refer to. It is not a business plan, but it is a more detailed guide that you will use and revise as your business grows.
Every groomer has their own process and a big part of what makes your business special is the process that you have created and perfected. By writing out the detailed steps, you can make sure your employees stay on the same page and that the business will hold true to its roots even as it grows. Take every idea you have and everything that makes your business special because it is a part of who you are, and turn it into a real guide that can be shared amongst your team. ✂