Do you sometimes feel as if your small business is similar to Forrest Gump’s portrayal of a box of chocolates: You never know what you are gonna get? If so, your life can easily be filled with anxiety and frustration.
Unintended results can be a source of considerable stress. They can produce unhappy clients, unmotivated staff, and many other problems for a small business owner. Your time can be consumed as you struggle to put out fires and cope with the latest crisis. But your business doesn’t have to operate that way.
The results achieved by your company are not a result of karma. They are the consistent and natural result of the actions that you and your staff take. The nature of those actions is the cause of the problems you experience.
If you wanted to bake a pie, you would most likely follow a recipe. You know to take certain steps to create a particular result. Each step would have the identical purpose-to make a delicious pie. The steadiness with which you adhere to the recipe would govern the consistency with which you would produce scrumptious pies. The same holds true of every assignment inside your business.
No matter the product you make or the service you provide, specific steps are required to get the wanted results. When those steps are not followed, your small business is a box of chocolates-you are never certain what you are going to get. And it is seldom what you desired.
The problem gets more complicated when employees are involved. If you have made a lot of pies, you might be able to bake them with no recipe. You know the steps and follow them conscientiously. But your employees have most likely baked far fewer pies than you. They need that recipe, and they require it in writing.
With a written recipe-a procedure-your workers can bake a pie just as delicious as yours. Absent a procedure, that pie might as well be a box of chocolates, as you do not know what you are gonna get. It might be delectable, or it could better function as a ship anchor.
Written policies and procedures provide your employees with the expectations they must have to consistently bake pies, or manufacture widgets, or offer outstanding service for your customers, or any other chore in your company. Written policies and procedures provide the means by which staff will consistently create the results you want.
When every job within your business has such expectations-when you have a comprehensive operations manual-your business has a much greater possibility of providing knowable results. When you have proven policies and procedures for your business it will be a box of chocolates-a cause of pleasure and enjoyment. But it won’t resemble Forrest Gump’s claim, because you will know exactly what the results will be. And that is a good thing.