When someone mentions process documentation to you, it might not sound like an immediately thrilling concept. However, it is a fundamental element of your business in terms of productivity and scalability.
Process documentation is especially important when your business turns to outsourcing on a regular basis.
Similarly, more and more companies are expanding their horizons to remote working and the freelance workforce is only getting bigger too.
Managing a remote team or on a freelance basis can only be possible with effective process documentation.
The very core of your business operations center around processes. When it comes to documenting your business processes, there are many reasons it can make or break the efficiency of your company.
Here are seven reasons that show how important process documentation is to most businesses.
- Enhancements and improvements can only be made when you have accurately documented your business processes.
- You will be instilling complete consistency when you document processes and carry out regular audits.
- When central, talented members of your team leave or take a holiday, having the operational cadence will reduce the risks to your business.
- Keeping your business protected in terms of trade secrets and patents require process documentation for official legal files.
- The variations in performance across your team will be reduced and consistency will increase when process documentation is enforced.
- Many detailed requirements from your clients will be outlined in process documentation. This is necessary when you outsource tasks to other companies or freelance employees.
- In-depth process documentation is often necessary for acquisition requirements.
Process documentation in B2B operations
Process documentation is implemented in the majority of B2B setups and businesses who outsource to other businesses.
Understandably, a lot of the notable hurdles they face revolve around processes.
Whether they haven’t been provided with the correct guidelines or client information has been lost in translation, documentation processing is at the forefront of B2B operations.
Your operations rely on process documentation
In industries such as architecture, blueprints and processes are essential to smooth delivery of their work. Part of their daily operations rely on analyzing blueprints so they can gain the best results possible.
If they completely ignored the facts, figures and sketches in front of them, the entire project would fall at the first hurdle.
An architect fails to complete their job properly without adequate process documentation. In the same manner, B2B operations need process documentation to make sound decisions and execute tasks properly.
Run your business based on facts
When you need to make operational decisions on a daily basis, you need to base these on tangible facts.
You will not be able to thrive and succeed if you are constantly making fleeting assumptions about your business. You will risk the integrity of your company if you follow this off the cuff method.
The critical role of process documentation
All in all, this outlines the critical role of process documentation for your business.
When you implement this correctly, it can shape your business positively. Your business processes will support other aspects of your company, so you can refer back to them at any point.
For example, when it comes to link building strategies, you can create a checklist that defines each stage of the process which you can identify as your blueprint.
You can feel confident executing changes, expanding and exploring new realms for your business. Huge decisions can be made with complete self-assurance because the facts are right there in front of you.
Without process documentation you may not be able to carry out your business operations with such ease and efficiency.
How to document your business process
If you are looking to start implementing this fundamental process into your business there are a couple of approaches you can take.
First, you will want to carry out a detailed inventory and pull together the process of your business.
Secondly, outline your processes into a document and optimize these into a clear, structured and understandable template.
The success of your process documentation heavily relies on execution. If your collected data isn’t accurate, your process document will be largely invalid.
This is why it is incredibly important to take your time over this huge milestone for your business.
There are also a number of templates and tools you can use to pull together your business processes.
You will need to put plenty of ground work before you can refine and document your processes. Be sure to get all the information you need.
Before you get started with documenting your processes, you will need to take the following steps:
- Formulate your plan with regard to communication and develop messages.
- Carry out an inventory of your current business processes
- Gather together these current process
- Attain validation for your current business processes
Note down any improvements along the way, so you have an updated version of your document.
Most companies will have two copies of their process—the first one encompasses the current process, while the second outlines improvements made.
Process documentation is more than just a formality. Processes can genuinely benefit your business in the long- and short-term.
With accurate documentation in place, your organization will thrive and create a better working environment for employees.
The benefits of process documentation
When your company documents its processes, you are opening it up to a whole host of benefits. With a structured process in place some of the following advantages can be attained first hand.
Process documentation serves as excellent material for training
The documents you put together will not only give you a good overview of your processes, but they can also be used as training material.
When you hire new employees or restructure your company, you can use the updated process document to help them get up to speed quickly and efficiently. This will give them the resources they need to carry out their job effectively, without taking time out from other experienced employees.
The document can also serve as a checklist or lesson for the tasks that need to be carried out on a daily basis.
This sort of training manual is invaluable for your business, as it covers every important area of their role. Your newly sourced talent can learn the ropes quickly with a well documented business process.
There is less ambiguity when processes are documented
Imagine having reduced ambiguity or no blurred lines at all when it comes to your day-to-day business operations. Whenever there are any queries or questions regarding job roles, task lists and goals, the document can be used as a reference.
Anybody should be able to look at the detailed documentation. There will be less wasted time and fewer disputes on the job when there are adequate processes in place.
Your documents will act as the font of all knowledge and should be accessible to anybody in the company when they need them.
Process documentation can be used for marketing
Your sales and marketing department can benefit from your business process documentation. The document will allow them to comprehend how the business works from the ground up.
Many marketing and sales teams never have access to this type of invaluable information, not realizing how this can help them to carry out their job more effectively.
When it comes to sales for instance, our salesforce understands the complete A-to-Z of How to sell SEO thanks to a well defined process, that gives them a leg-up on sales objections.
When your sales and marketing team understand the capabilities of the organization, their job will be easier and more effective. Equipping them with this knowledge will help them determine their pitches towards potential clients and customers.
Instead of making false or ambiguous claims, they can work from the facts within your process documentation. You want your audience to receive marketing messages and statements that are true about your business so that you can deliver every single time.
When a company doesn’t deliver a promised action, product or service, it can be disheartening to customers. This may cause them to complain, spread negativity about your brand, or you may lose them as a future customer.
Your process documentation may help reduce disappointment among your target demographic, as your sales and marketing team will have a better grasp of what the business can provide.
Your documented process is now available for in-depth analysis
When you have an accurate document with all of your processes, they can be used for in-depth analysis. As long as the documents are detailed enough, members of your team will be able to unpick the highs and lows of the current processes.
Whenever a company shake up is required, you will have unlimited access to all the information you need to create a more streamlined process.
Documenting your processes also allows you to spot inconsistencies and give more room for flexible solutions.
For instance, the management team can use the process documentation to understand why some strategies were implemented. Instead of questioning a potentially flawed process, they can analyze the documentation and assess why the company took that specific direction.
As your company evolves they can also decide whether these practises are relevant to their current state.
When your documents can be analyzed in-house, it reduces the cost of hiring a consultant to carry out this job for you. Your management team will know the company better than anyone so having them analyze the current processes is the best option.
The different versions of your process documentation can be compared
When you have a number of different versions of your documented processes, compare them. By looking at different versions of your documented processes, you can identify the exact improvements that occur over time.
Your management team will have access to an entire library of your business process history. This is invaluable information when you are looking to expand and grow your business.
As long as each document is kept up-to-date, there is no reason a certain team can’t take this up as an ongoing project with a view to improving the entire company.
With access to the previous documented processes, your management team can assess the company’s performance against each one. By looking at each of your processes side by side, they can see how certain results have been achieved.
This is an effective way of measuring the success of different business processes. Soon enough, management will start to think creatively and figure out even better ways to carry out processes within the business.
Process documentation not only provides impact for the immediate success of a company, but it is also a vital part of growth, improvement, and enhancement for everyone in the business.
A project management system that allows you to document your processes and create actionable items compliments your process documentation flow, and should be part of the core.
Combat the documentation dilemma today
Some business owners have suggested that documentation is not important to a business and that is slows down the creative flow of a company. This is certainly untrue, as process documentation opens many doors for your business.
Process documentation should not be oversimplified. It should be a detailed analysis into what your company is doing successfully and what can be improved.
Think of it this way – remote workers and freelancers won’t be able to work optimally if there are no set processes in place for your company. This is one of the many reasons you should start implementing process documentation for your business.
Effective process documentation allows you to manage tasks as and when they pop up on your to-do list. This also minimizes talent dependency.
By documenting your processes, you are setting up consistency in your operations.
In the long run, process documentation can also eliminate redundancies and manage the on-boarding of new employees. By streamlining your business processes, you are making everyday life much easier for your freelance employees, remote employees, and their managers.
If you have yet to implement process documentation for your business, now’s the right time to get started.
About The Author:
Itamar Gero is the founder of several successful online ventures including SEOReseller.com a white label SEO company. Besides being a serial entrepreneur he travels the world, meditates whenever possible and dreams in code.