Writing a Procedure
Do you dread writing procedures? You’d prefer to apply your creativity to the project, not the administration. Right? Even if you’re a sole trader, there’ll come a time when you realise you’re doing certain tasks over and over – even when applied to new clients or projects.
It’s time for a procedure.
You might think you can simply remember the steps you need to take but there’s nothing like forgetting something you promised a client or forgetting how to set up an e-newsletter campaign to make you realise a procedure is a good idea.
You need procedures if you have tasks you perform regularly which involve a series of steps – many of them small and which don’t require much thought.
You might find the procedure so ingrained after a while you don’t even need to refer to it anymore. Congratulations – that means you did a great job writing it in the first place.
The tasks you need a procedure for will make themselves known to you organically. Often they’ll start small and involve a few steps, and you’ll realise you need to formalise it in writing as the task (or your business) grows.
Take lots of notes and outline the steps in a bulleted list. Sometimes a numbered list is a more logical step-by-step method.
Don’t feel you’ve failed if it doesn’t work right the first time. As you do it, other necessary steps will make themselves known, or some you thought were important will turn out to be unnecessary. Let the task guide the procedure as it grows and forms.
When you have the steps outlined, commit them to a formatting schema that suits you and anyone else in your team. It might be as simple as a list in a text file. It might be a series of flowcharts, or it might be worth building a whole online system that team members can update when they’ve done their part.
A few examples of things you may do that will become much more streamlined through a formal procedure are:
End of month accounts:
- paying staff
- chasing up clients for payment
- issuing statements and receipts
- recording expenses and GST.
A new project:
- setting the client up on your system
- entering the job on your time tracking software
- setting reminders on email to ask them how the project went.
A technology task:
- publishing an update to your site through a CMS
- uploading an article of different platforms.
If you need advice or help on setting up a procedure, M.B. Secretarial Services has plenty of experience in formal procedure writing and compilation. Ask us for examples.