What Goes Into Your Company Operations Manual?

business manualLet’s face it; bad stuff happens

Of course you don’t want to admit that something could happen to you that would keep you away from your business, but you know it could. You’ve got a lot of knowledge rattling around in that brilliant head of yours, but without you, would your employees or business associates or family members know the things they’d need to know? In other words, have you planned for the unexpected?

Many of these concerns can be alleviated by creating a company operations manual and designating who will be handling the day-to-day business operations if something does happen to you.

How to create a company operations manual

Something as simple as a list created in a Word Document would suffice. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just a way to keep all this information in one place. You could also use an Excel spreadsheet to create the list. It’s a good idea to print this information off and keep it in your desk drawer or in a folder or binder on your desk—somewhere that you and your next-in-command will know where to find it.

Don’t let the word manual scare you off. It doesn’t have to be long, but it’s crucial to have some key elements (information) in your manual. These might include:

  • Business mission statement
  • Outsourcing contractors contact information
  • Insurance policies
  • Equipment Inventory
  • Financial statements, budgets, and recent tax filings
  • License numbers (if you have any)
  • Banking information
  • PayPal information
  • Critical usernames and passwords

It’s important to have this information readily available in your business manual so that if something does happen, whoever is handling your affairs can:

  • Contact your team (Virtual Assistant, webmaster, project manager, etc. – anyone on your team who helps with your business)
  • Access your bank accounts
  • Access your PayPal account
  • Stop your subscription-based payments

Details are critical

Your lists should include the following for each subscription, contractor, client or account:

  • Contact Information – name, phone number, cell phone number, email address, home address (if you have this info)
  • Relationship – who this person is (Virtual Assistant, web designer, etc.)
  • Responsibilities – what does this person do and what will you need them to do during your absence/or need them to know?
  • Money – this is a good idea to have included so that if you’re going to be gone short-term but payments will be need to be made, the person handling your affairs won’t have to go digging for this info. Include payment info for subcontractors, subscriptions, etc.
  • Payment Method – don’t forget to include how each of the above are paid. Make not if it’s with your PayPal account, business checking account, or even if it’s a subscription based payment via PayPal.
  • Dates – Again, another important thing to make note of: the date that each of the above is due.
  • Usernames and passwords where applicable to access accounts for each of these.

Another page should be created in your business manual with notes on where things such as client files or important projects can be found on your computer. Add any relevant information that will make things as easy as possible for whoever’s handling things during your absence or, in the worst-case scenario, the termination of your business.

Don’t forget to sit down and talk to the person who will handle things for you. Whether it’s a family member or business partner, this is a tough conversation that has to be done. If something does happen, they’ll know where to find the manual and know what to do and who to contact.

One last piece of advice

After you’ve gone to the trouble of creating an operations manual for your business, make sure everyone else knows where to find it!

What additional information would you put in a company operations manual? Let us know in the comments below.

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