If your business is still a one-person show, you are probably keeping a lot of information in your head. One of the people I interviewed recently for my book told me about how he kept the financial information for his three-partner startup in his head during the first year. True story! Amazingly, this business has survived nearly ten years. It was in good part due to the sheer force of their personalities and talents, but it was also because he got over that problem quickly.
There are a lot of good reasons to document what you’re doing. Frank Ross, another AllBusiness.com Business Advisor recently wrote Are Your Home-Based Business Procedures Documented? “Our heads are good for thinking things through, but are not very good places to store things like procedures”, he says. True enough. Here he’s talking about documenting routine procedures such as how you handle order taking and shipping. Or if you’re providing services it might be how you prepare estimates and manage projects.
If you’re the only one doing these tasks, why should you take the time to document them? Consider these very realistic scenarios:
a) Your business grows and you need to hire a part-timer to help you get things done.
b) You fall ill and a family member needs to cover the business for you while you recover.
c) Someone wants to buy the business and everything needs to be documented.
Ross points out that the documentation doesn’t need to be pretty, just readable.