Tell me if these questions sound familiar?
“Hi Boss, I’ve got a customer on the phone and she’s demanding a refund – what do I do?”
“Morning Boss, I’ve entered all the supplier invoices into the computer – what do I do with the copies now?”
“Boss, I ended up with two good candidates after the interviews, which one should I hire?”
If your day is full of micro-decisions and you seem to be supervising everyone and micro-managing all the time; if you have no time to prioritise working on developing your business and instead spend the whole day working in it, then you really need to think about creating your self-running business.
So, how do you start on the path of creating a business which runs by itself, where your staff know what to do in any given situation, efficiently, with a consistent result – but without risk if breaking the business? This week I discuss the use of policies and procedures in your business.
When you have watched the video, don’t forget to download your free copy of the report on writing policies and procedures, accompanied by free templates for you to use.
Policies are guidelines on the business’ attitudes and desired behaviours in any given situation. For example you might have a policy on customer complaints, or a policy on recruitment, or a policy on service standards.
Policies tell everyone in the business what they can, and cannot, do in given circumstances.
Once you have provided the guideline for behaviour, you may need to detail the steps people need to take in order to “take care of things.” For example, if you policy on customer complaints is to provide a substitute product or a refund within a 12 month period and where the complaint can be shown to be “poor standards of service or product,” then you need to tell your staff exactly how they do that.
In this example, you might have a list of steps such as:
- Tell the customer exactly this: “I do hear what you are saying. We pride ourselves in making sure all our customers are satisfied with our service. So, please tell me in as much detail as possible what went wrong?”
- When the customer has provided the information check the date of sale and any related terms of service. If, in any way, those terms of service have been breached go to the next step.
- Ask the customer exactly this: “Indeed this does not appear to be up to our usual standards. Please accept our apologies and tell me – would you like a replacement or a refund?”
And so on.
This set of detailed step by step instructions on how to do something is called a procedure.
You should have a procedure for every activity, process and action in your business. You should have a procedure on how to answer the telephone, a procedure on invoicing, a procedure on booking a marketing event.
Having policies and procedures means that all your staff know how to behave and what to do – behaving exactly the way you would, taking exactly the steps you would have taken. In this way, if everyone does exactly the same thing, your results, service and outcomes are entirely consistent, of the same standard, and predictable. Not only that, you can attach procedures to positions so that if someone has to be replaced, you can just hand over their responsibilities with procedures attached. Imagine how much easier it would be to train a new hire in their job?
I have a great free resource for you. It includes reading on how policies and procedures work, as well as a template for you to write up your important policies, and another template to create all your procedures.
Please also be aware that policies and procedures is a module inside my online training program called “Create Your Self-Running Business” which takes you through how to create a business that can run itself – while you find time to spend with your family, time to travel without worry, and the freedom you sought when you started your business. Go to teikoh.com and check out the training program in the “Products” tab.