While attending an industry conference earlier in the week, the discussion in the room ended up focusing on the importance of having an operations manual in your practice. An operations manual is important for many reasons: it allows continuity of your business, it can ensure consistency over time, it can reduce the number of errors, and it can streamline training for a new team member that is coming on board.
One of the biggest challenges with an ops manual, though, is the implementation of the operations manual. As goes the paths of many business plans, so too can an ops manual: precious time is spent crafting, revising, and tweaking the (perceived) perfect business plan or operations manual only to have it get shoved into a desk drawer and never to be seen again until either prompted or asked by a coach or after attending a conference. The following are some tips and tricks to help you create and use your operations manual in your practice.
Involve the whole team. Communicate effectively with your team what you’re trying to do and how you will all benefit from having this project completed and implemented. Rely on the strengths of your team members and enlist and empower them to do some of the heavy lifting for you. Not only may their personalities be better suited for this, but they most likely have a better handle than you on how some of the back office operations run in your business.
Make it part of your calendar. As you take time to review your business and work on the business rather than just in the business, make sure that you take the time to review your ops manual. What you’ll quickly realize is that the only quality that’s constant about an ops manual is that it’s always changing. Accept it and learn how to deal with that change in your practice. Review the efficiencies of the procedures you already have in place and contemplate whether more are needed or existing ones need to be fine-tuned.
Enlist technology to help you implement. Using a CRM like Redtail can be a huge benefit to helping you and your team implement the workflows, checklists, and procedures that typically make up an ops manual. Not only can the technology help pull you along through the process, it can also serve as a form of proactive accountability to ensure that others on the team are completing the tasks that they’re assigned while creating a compliance-documented trail that shows “who did what, when they did it, and for who.”