Here we will guide how to automate your business. This section of our site is easily one of the most important to the small
business holder. Automating your business is probably one of the most rewarding
and time-saving things a small business owner can do with the help of these
mentioned simple steps to automate there business.
Once your business is automated, the business can "run itself" to a certain
degree, allowing the business owner to concentrate on marketing and sales,
improving processes, new product development or to simply to take a "real"
vacation! Automation is key.
What is Automating a Business Mean?
By "automating your business" we don't mean having a supercomputer process
orders, do sales calls, handle accounting and handle customer service. We do
mean, however, that you should have a process
for doing these
tasks in your business.
This process should be well documented and should be
able to be understood by anyone you hire (or yourself)
for that particular task. In fact, there should be a
process for running your entire business, a "Business
Operations Manual" that we will discuss further below.
Why is Automating of a Business is Important?
The most consistently successful type of business is the franchise. You see
them all around you: McDonald's, Orkin, Pep Boys, H&R Block, 99 Cents Store,
Jiffy Lube, etc. These businesses almost always succeed no matter where they are
opened or who runs them. Why is this?
Because each of these franchises have a "franchise manual" and training
program that allows virtually anyone to learn their internal processes and
deliver a consistently good product or service. Everything you need to know to
run that particular business, from hiring employees to marketing and sales is
written down in the "franchise manual".
This is an important lesson for the small business owner. Even if you never
be going to expand to other locations or open up multiple offices, a
well-documented "Business Operations Manual" for your company can help you do
- Easier management and growth; you can focus on perfecting your product
or services and processes while employees do the day-to-day tasks.
- Hire staff with relatively little experience, they simply follow the
tasks outlined in your "Business Operations Manual".
- Focus on marketing and sales.
- Focus on "Big Picture" things instead of being overwhelmed by
repetitive daily tasks.
- Take a real vacation!
Steps To Start Automating Your Business?
We'll assume you already know how to deliver the product or service you sell.
The next step is to create a "Business Operations Manual" using the following
1. Determine How Large You Would Like Your
Business to be in the coming 1 to 3 Years.
Do you want to run a 3 person shop or have 100 employees? How big do you
think your business can grow and do you want it to grow that big? How much
revenue and how many employees? Determining how large your business will be in
the near future allows you to get an overall sense of the next step.
2. Create an Organizational Chart for Your Entire Company
With a general idea of how large you want your company
in the next few years,
create an organizational chart that details what tasks will need to be performed
on a daily basis. Examples include sales associate, marketing manager,
vice-president of sales & marketing, accounts payable and receivable clerk,
retail clerk, forklift operator, operations manager, financial manager, etc.
Once you know which tasks need to be filled, create a
detailed job description for each that lists that
job's daily, weekly and monthly tasks and
responsibilities; also include whom they report to.
With this organizational chart, you can see exactly who you need to hire and
what their job responsibilities will be. You don't necessarily need to hire for
these jobs immediately. Truth-be-told, you will probably be doing most or
all of these jobs for now. Just keep your organizational chart as an overall
vision of how you would like the company to eventually be structured.
3. Create Your Business Operations Manual
Now that you know the general structure of your business, begin creating your
"Business Operations Manual" knowing that there are specific job descriptions
for each part of your business.
Creating your Business Operations Manual can be a difficult process, and
every company's manual will be different. Remember, you want to create a manual
that will allow a complete stranger to take over the operation of your company.
Every daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly procedure must be outlined
for every employee. Every process must be detailed step-by-step including
opening and closing procedures, order handling, sales calls, customer service,
Below, we've provided a basic outline of a Business Operations Manual.
1. Introduction, Letter from the Founder
2. Organizational Chart
3. Employee Information (protocol, contact #'s, etc.)
4. Human Resources (hiring/firing, vacations, overtime, payroll, etc.)
5. Products & Services
a. The Industry
b. The Organization
c. Business Management
d. Daily Operating Procedures
e. End of Week, End of Month, End of Quarter and End of Year Procedures
6. Sales Policies and Procedures
7. Customer Service Policies and Procedures
8. Advertising & Promotion
9. Reports & Records (business reports, keeping records, etc.)
10. Safety & Security
11. Maintenance & Repair
12. Legal Matters
4. How To Use and Maintain Your Business Operations Manual
There's no use in creating a Business Operations Manual if you don't use and
maintain it properly. Make sure to update any changes in policy, processes or
actions straight away in your manual.
Also, continually work on simplifying and refining your manual to make it as
easy as possible to understand: group similar topics together, color-code
different sections, integrate procedures from computer software, fax machines,