checklistPutting documented procedures in place is vital for any business, not just events-related ones. As a small business owner, I have until recently been guilty of not having any formal, written procedures for new staff to follow – what’s the point, if it’s just me doing it – right?

When your business starts to grow and you start building a team around you, you will realise that having all the knowledge in your head, and not on paper, can become a bit tricky.

So, with much difficulty (I am a creative personality, and we dislike administration intensely), I started writing it all down, step by step, in a format that is so easy that anyone could pick up the document and understand how to carry on the process.

The theory and motivating reason behind this for me, was that if, proverbially, I “got hit by a bus” someone else would be able to pick up what I was doing and not let my clients down. Seeing it as a greater service to my clients was all the motivation I needed.

My suggestions for capturing and documenting your processes are as follows:

  • * Get someone to type while you talk – I like to pace up and down, while running through everything in my mind and organising what exactly I want to get down on paper
  • * Break it down into chunks: start with the main items, and once those are down, list the sub-items and then continue to break it down further.
  • * Use basic, simple language.
  • * Keep it short and sweet.
  • * Put together checklists (e.g. for stock packing, stock returning etc).
  • * Break down each procedure step by step.
  • * Put a Corporate Identity together – this makes it easier when doing design or printing work. Your C.I. outlines colours, fonts and the way that your brand and logo are displayed and maintained.
  • * Status sheets – I find these very effective for tracking completed tasks. Staff submit their weekly status sheets to me on Friday afternoon before 5pm. No exceptions.

Once you have outlined all the steps and procedures, get your staff to read and understand the documents, and to sign a form confirming that they have done so. In this way, should something ever be omitted, or someone claims that they didn’t know something; you can return to the signed form and prove that they said they did so no excuses!

Hand-in-hand with all of this comes the letting go. It is hard to hand your clients and their events over to someone new, when it’s been only you for two or three years. By all means, keep an eye on them in the beginning, but once you know they can do it – step back and let go of the training reins.

You have to trust your staff to run with things – this in turn allows you to focus on the things that you need to focus on: to generate more business and more income so that the company can grow and deliver.