If you ask any growth or operations consultant worth their salt, “What is the first step to scalability?” their answer will be to document your processes for replicability. That is because without proper documentation, business owners can't improve their services, train staff, delegate tasks, or even hire properly. Have you ever applied for a job without a position announcement or a job description? A position description is documentation. Could you imagine if Bank of America or Apple’s staff had no documentation on how to troubleshoot a client’s problem? It would be utter chaos and the corporations you now see with thousands of employees would never have grown past five employees.
To fully understand the benefits of process documentation, let’s first address WHAT exactly is process documentation? Process documentation is any written document that describes any process. SIMPLE! When you onboarded and trained a new hire, did they take notes on what you were teaching them? That’s process documentation. When you googled “How to change my gmail password” and you found the help page that outlined the steps - that’s process documentation. Those instructions on how to build your Ikea Kallax shelves? That’s process documentation.
Process documentation makes the world go round and scalability and lower price points possible. Yet, somehow so many business owners frown upon it. And I know why - it’s because writing this out is PAINFUL! Lucky for you, this is where LVL-Up absolutely shines. However, with or without LVL-Up’s help, if you aim to grow bigger, you need process documentation, and let me tell you why.
First, process documentation allows you freedom in your business. When a business owner has guidelines and standard operating procedures (SOPs) on how tasks are carried out in their company, they are able to delegate tasks. As a result, these delegated tasks allow business owners to step away from the business to take a break! Additionally, when processes are documented, business owners are given peace of mind that there are quality standards for how services are being performed (and when they are not, there are contingency plans on how to help improve staff performance).
Secondly, process documentation allows you to analyze and improve your current processes. When an issue continues to pop up over and over in the way you deliver your services (or the way your products are produced), it’s time to analyze your workflow. In order to analyze your workflow and keep track of the intricacies of your process, they need to be written. How can you analyze and fix a problem without laying out the components? On top of that, how can you expect others who do not know your business in and out to fix problems?
Essentially, the steps to improve your services and products through process documentation are: (1) document them; (2) analyze them; (3) fix them.
Lastly, process documentation leads to operational growth that can expand your company’s capacity. Everyone knows you can’t grow your business sustainably if you’re not operationally ready to expand. This means you will always be capped at the number of teddy bears you can sell, the number of transactions you can simultaneously address, the number of clients you can take on at any given time. The next steps are typically to hire more, invest in more technology, etc. But how CAN you when you can’t outline what these new hires will be doing or determine if the technology is effective?
Process documentation is the gateway to better efficiencies, effectiveness, and eventually scalable growth in any budding company.