Many smaller business operators don’t feel it’s necessary or appropriate to have an operations manual.
My view is that small businesses, like larger businesses, can benefit from having one.
In times gone by I have lived by them. Operations manuals should form a part of an induction process as most questions from a new staff member can often be answered by looking through them.
An operations manual simply states how your business works. It covers what to do when opening the place up in the morning, how staff should be dressed, how to deal with customer complaints, where to order various supplies and products, company policy on the private use of work facilities such as the phone, refunds policy, and just about anything else that is relevant to the day-to-day operations of the business.
Operations manuals should be updated regularly. For this reason, they are probably best kept in a folder where pages can be added or removed. The information needs to be written in very simple, plain language, preferably in list formats.
Another important part of an operations manual is the part on what to do in an emergency. What should your staff do if they come in to work in the morning and the place has been burgled? Or what is the procedure in the event of an accident. In times of crisis, step-by-step plans are great.
Operations manuals should also contain a list of contact numbers and alternatives.