If you’d really like to ramp up your business and kick it into high gear — join me in one of THREE cities in the South East and Midwest, for my upcoming Kick Butt Business Bootcamp!

Are you ready to:

  • …create the business model you’ve been striving for?
  • …stop working so hard and, instead, work smarter?
  • …charge what you’re worth, and reach the levels of income you’ve dreamed of?

In order to have a thriving and successful business, you need to be strategic. You don’t have to do everything. You have to do the right things for your business!

Learn more about my Kick Butt Business Bootcamps! Here are the details:

Thursday, September 14, 2017
Hosted by the NAPO-Charleston Chapter
9:30 am – 4:30 pm
The Family Circle Tennis Center
161 Seven Farms Dr, Daniel Island, SC
Details here

————————————-

Friday, October 13, 2017
Hosted by the NAPO-Chicago Chapter
9 am – 4 pm
Belvedere Events and Banquets
1170 West Devon, Elk Grove Villiage, IL
Details here

————————————-

Thursday, October 19, 2017
Hosted by the NAPO-Michigan Chapter
9 am – 4 pm
Red Olive Restaurant
1051 W Ann Arbor Road, Plymouth, MI
Details here

During the Kick Butt Business Bootcamp, you will learn how to:

  • Go through an in-depth business building assessment to get really clear on what’s going on in your business and where YOU need to be putting your attention.
  • Make some powerful mindset shifts that will have you think and act like a 6-figure business owner.
  • Leave knowing exactly what to do, with a clear plan to take YOUR business to the next level. Topics include: Define Success/Your Role in Your Business, Passion/Unique Areas of Brilliance, Marketing/Unique Selling Proposition, Ideal Client/Target Market, Multiple Streams of Income/Leverage, Outsourcing/Delegating, Accountability Checks/Tools, Business Systems/Operations Manual.
  • Whether you’re just starting out or have been in business for years, join us for some invaluable expertise for your business!

If you are not a business owner or entrepreneur, but know someone that may be interested in improving his or her business, please share this!

Can’t make it to the bootcamp? Contact me to discuss doing some private coaching together for your business!

If you’d really like to ramp up your business and kick it into high gear — join me in Denver, Colorado for my Kick Butt Business Bootcamp!

Are you ready to:businessbootcamp

  • …create the business model you’ve been striving for?
  • …stop working so hard and, instead, work smarter?
  • …charge what you’re worth, and reach the levels of income you’ve dreamed of?

In order to have a thriving and successful business, you need to be strategic. You don’t have to do everything. You have to do the right things for your business!

Learn more at my Kick Butt Business Bootcamps! Here are the details:

The event is hosted by the NAPO-CO Chapter
Tuesday, April 5, 2016
9:00 am – 4 pm
Inn at Cherry Creek
233 Clayton Street, Denver, CO

Early Bird Rate = $149 (until March 1, 2016)
Regular Event Price = $169 (until March 22, 2016)
“It’s Not Too Late” Rate = $189 (after March 22, 2016)

Space is limited, so register early.

Go to www.KickButtBusinessBootcamp.com for more details and to register.

During the Kick Butt Business Bootcamp, you will learn how to:grow_business

  • Go through an in-depth business building assessment to get really clear on what’s going on in your business and where YOU need to be putting your attention.
  • Make some powerful mindset shifts that will have you think and act like a 6-figure business owner.
  • Leave knowing exactly what to do, with a clear plan to take YOUR business to the next level. Topics include: Define Success/Your Role in Your Business, Passion/Unique Areas of Brilliance, Marketing/Unique Selling Proposition, Ideal Client/Target Market, Multiple Streams of Income/Leverage, Outsourcing/Delegating, Accountability Checks/Tools, Business Systems/Operations Manual.
  • Whether you’re just starting out or have been in business for years, join us for some invaluable expertise for your business!

If you are not a business owner or entrepreneur, but know someone that may be interested in improving his or her business, please share this!

Can’t make it to the bootcamp? Contact me to discuss doing some private coaching together for your business!

Ready to kick your business into high gear – and take it to the next level?

businessbootcampIn order to have a thriving and successful business, you need to be strategic. You don’t have to do everything. You have to do the right things for your business!

Well…. if you are in the Atlanta or Washington DC area, come to one of my Kick Butt Business Bootcamps! Here are the details for each:

  • The Atlanta event is hosted by the NAPO-Georgia Chapter 
    Saturday, May 30th
    9:00 am – 4 pm
    Decatur Recreation Center, Decatur, GA
    Early Bird Rate = $149 (until April 30, 2015)
    Regular Event Price = $169 (until May 15, 2015)
    “It’s Not Too Late” Rate = $189 (after May 15, 2015)
    Go to www.KickButtBusinessBootcamp.com for more details and to register
  • The Washington DC event is hosted by the NAPO-Washington, DC Chapter 
    Friday, June 5, 2015
    9:00 am – 4:00 pm
    Keller Williams Realty Offices, Alexandria, VA
    Early Bird Rate = $149 (until May 5, 2015)
    Regular Event Price = $169 (until May 22, 2015)
    “It’s Not Too Late” Rate = $189 (after May 22, 2015)
    Visit www.KickButtBusinessBootcamp/NAPO-WDC to read more and to register

During the Kick Butt Business Bootcamp, you will learn how to:

  • grow_businessGo through an in-depth business building assessment to get really clear on what’s going on in your business and where YOU need to be putting your attention.
  • Make some powerful mindset shifts that will have you think and act like a 6-figure business owner.
  • Leave knowing exactly what to do, with a clear plan to take YOUR business to the next level. Topics include: Define Success/Your Role in Your Business, Passion/Unique Areas of Brilliance, Marketing/Unique Selling Proposition, Ideal Client/Target Market, Multiple Streams of Income/Leverage, Outsourcing/Delegating, Accountability Checks/Tools, Business Systems/Operations Manual.
  • Whether you’re just starting out or have been in business for years, join us for some invaluable expertise for your business!

Can’t make either bootcamp? Contact me to discuss doing some private coaching together for your business!

Lisa_Montanaro1

Are You Ready to

 …kick your business into high gear?

…create the business model you’ve been striving for?

…stop working so hard and, instead, work smarter?

…charge what you’re worth, and reach the levels of income you’ve dreamed of?

If you answered YES, then the Kick Butt Business Bootcamp is for you!

businessbootcampIn order to have a thriving and successful business, you need to be strategic. You don’t have to do everything. You have to do the right things for your business!

Stop chasing silver bullets. There’s no shortcut to creating revenue and building your business. Before you start trying “everything” and chasing bright shiny objects, slow down and think through your strategy. A tactic that’s perfect for one business owner might be the wrong move for you. Do what will work for you, based on your value proposition and your target market. Leverage your strengths and don’t waste time with ideas that simply don’t fit your business model.

Comments from a Live Bootcamp Attendee:

T Jacquie

“I’ve attended many business building seminars, teleclasses and workshops, and Kick Butt Business Boot camp was definitely one of the best! Lisa helped me to define some of the critical areas of my business that needed to be addressed and I left the boot camp with the tools I needed to succeed. Lisa’s business boot camps should be a requirement for all small business owners, whether they are new in business or a veteran! Thanks, Lisa!”

~ Jacquie Ross, CLC, CYPFC , Certified Life & Family Coach and Professional Organizer, Maryland SBA Award Winner

 

The Kick-Butt Business Bootcamp Home Study Program will help you create a plan designed to implement strategic business growth by focusing on three key elements: where your business is now, where you want to take it, and how you will get it there. Get ready to assess the strengths and weaknesses of your business, and identify the opportunities and how to act on them.

This program will provide the know-how, while also forcing you to take a cold hard look at your business, dissect it, and put it back together strategically so that it is better and stronger! If you want results and are ready to dig in and kick your business’ butt, then this is for you!

If you’re serious about creating a thriving, profitable business, the information you’ll learn in this one program will alter the course of your business forever.

You’re going to get off the merry-go-round of trying to figure things out, and get into action.

In this Kick Butt Business Bootcamp program, you will learn how to:
  • make_a_planCreate a strategic plan for growing operations
  • Determine the right business model for you
  • Determine your Unique Selling Proposition
  • Identify your Target Market and Ideal Client, and how to market to reach them
  • Be perceived as an expert in your area
  • Delegate and outsource to employees or subcontractors (including assistants, virtual assistants, etc.)
  • Create your Profit Pyramid
  • Create multiple streams of income, leverage and repurpose your content, expand your delivery methods, offer options at multiple price points, create packages and value-based pricing, and give clients a menu or suite of services
  • Develop Strategic Partnerships and engage in Joint Ventures
  • Establish a Board of Advisors
  • Draft an Operations Manual
  • Focus on your unique areas of brilliance within your business
  • Learn how to work on your business, not just in it
This program will include:
  • 3 ½ hour audio recording of the program (previously recorded from a live presentation)
  • PowerPoint slides for the whole presentation
  • Handout/Interactive Note-Taking Guide (Word document)

Are you ready to kick butt and finally create the business you were meant to? Then sign up below!

$129 ($99 promotional rate)

signuphere

SPECIAL OFFER!

Add on Private Coaching with Lisa to really ramp up and apply what you’ve learned in the Bootcamp…. $300 for a 2-hour private session (regular rate = $400)

About Lisa

Lisa MontanaroLisa Montanaro is a Productivity Consultant, Success Coach, Business Strategist, Speaker and Author who helps people live successful and passionate lives, and enjoy productive and profitable businesses.

Lisa is the author of “The Ultimate Life Organizer: An Interactive Guide to a Simpler, Less Stressful & More Organized Life” published by Peter Pauper Press. Through her work, Lisa helps people deal with the issues that block personal and professional change and growth.

Often referred to as a pint-sized power house, Lisa Montanaro is living proof that good things really do come in small packages! Drawing upon her experience as a performer, educator, mediator, and lawyer, Lisa founded LM Organizing Solutions, LLC® in 2002, and then expanded her brand to Lisa Montanaro Global Enterprises in 2012 to fully capture the holistic approach her work takes in improving personal and professional development at all levels.

A sought-after business expert due to her background as an attorney, mediator, and trainer of entrepreneurs, Lisa offers business coaching/consulting to professional organizers. Part consultant, part coach — Lisa asks probing questions helping you to dig deep, but also gives expert advice, guiding you to the answers you seek. The key is to help you focus on what you need in order to build your business, protect yourself, and enjoy your work!

For years, I have been contacted by professional organizers looking to purchase solid Done-For-You Business Foundations Templates. Well, here they are! And at special Introductory Rates that I am offering at the NAPO 2013 Conference in New Orleans and online on my website until May 31st.

These business templates are what every organizer in business needs. They provide the foundation of a well-protected business legally and financially. They make it easier to operate your business, and to sell it someday as the business is “blueprinted” through the use of these templates over time. Designed by a professional organizer, attorney, and business coach/consultant/strategist, they are field tested and will save you from having to reinvent the wheel, copy something from the internet that is not applicable and will, therefore, not hold up in court, or spend tons of money on an expensive attorney that doesn’t understand the organizing industry.

business_contractThe full package includes a Client Agreement Template, Independent Contractor Agreement Template, and Operations Manual Template, along with detailed instructions, bonus articles on key issues, two audio programs for you to go deeper into learning and customizing, and a Business Expenses Excel Spreadsheet! All templates are delivered to you digitally in PDF to preserve the formatting, and Word so you can make them your own and customize.

In addition, I am offering a special upgrade at the time of purchase only: Add on a Strategy Session with me to customize any of the templates or ask questions for only an extra $150 (that’s $50 off the regular rate of $200!).

For those going to Conference:

  • Please stop by my Marketplace Table in the Expo Hall to say hello and purchase the Business Foundations Template Package. It will be delivered to you digitally by email, so you don’t need to worry about carrying anything home with you!
  • If you think this product is a valuable contribution to our industry, please consider reflecting that by voting for it in the Organizer’s Choice Awards (ballots are due by the end of the day Thursday, April 18th!).
  • special_offerThe Package is being offered at special Introductory Rates at Conference, but for those that can’t join me live in New Orleans, you can get the same deal on my website until May 31st while the Introductory Rates are in effect. Visit https://www.lisamontanaro.com/store/products/businessfoundations/ to order online any time.
  • I will be raffling off a free 75-minute Strategy Session at Conference so be sure to drop your business card (or name and email address) in our collection pouch at my Marketplace Table to win a Kick-Butt Business Coaching Session with me (a $200 value).
  • I will be launching the Bold Business Moves 6-Month Mastermind Program for experienced entrepreneurs ready to take their business to the next level, and the 12-week Powerhouse Success Entrepreneur Group Coaching Program for newer entrepreneurs who want training and coaching at an affordable rate. More details will be available at my Marketplace Table and in the weeks following Conference, so be sure to stop by and check your inbox in the weeks after Conference for all of the details and registration, so you don’t miss out!

Looking forward to seeing many of you in person in New Orleans!

Can Your Business Run Without You?

What would happen to your business if you became ill for an extended period of time?  Could someone else man the shop for you easily?  Would you be more relaxed on vacation (or at the very least, take a vacation!) if you knew that the business could be better taken care of while you are away?  Have you ever thought about hiring an employee or assistant, but are overwhelmed with the thought of training someone in all of your business systems and processes?  Are you holding onto too many tasks that you know you could be delegating, but don’t have the infrastructure in place to effectively delegate without taking up too much of your precious time as the business owner?  If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you are in need of a business blueprint!  It’s time to create an Operations Manual.

What is an Operations Manual and Why Do I Need One For My Business?

Before you started your business and in the early stages, you probably did a lot of planning.  Most likely, you were told to draft a business plan, and you may have even done so.  Unfortunately, most small business owners rarely look at their business plan after creating it, thereby rendering it meaningless on a daily basis.  A business plan is a static document, as opposed to a living and breathing one that serves as a guide to your business systems and processes.  Developing systems and taking the extra step to document them is vital to a business running smoothly and automatically.  Unfortunately, most businesses are lacking in this area.  Business owners get caught up in the daily activities of running the business, and do not take the time to document or blueprint the systems in place.  In the E-Myth Revisited, author Michael Gerber sets forth the idea that all businesses need to be “franchised” in the sense that they can run automatically, deliver a consistent experience to customers, and can be maintained, at least to some extent, without the owner’s hands-on involvement.  While you may not literally be franchising your business, Gerber’s concept broadly translates into developing an Operations Manual for your business.

What Are the Advantages of an Operations Manual?

An Operations Manual makes it easier to delegate and run your business.  However, even if you have no employees, independent contractors, or assistants of any kind, the importance of an Operations Manual should not be overlooked.  It provides structure and clarity by helping you examine the big picture and how each part fits into the whole.  It is also a handy tool for reminding yourself of your business systems when things get busy and you are overwhelmed.  The manual serves as a central location for vital business information, making it easier for you to find what you need in one fell swoop.  In a nutshell, an Operations Manual helps promote a consistent experience for your clients, and helps you avoid reinventing the wheel.

What Format Should an Operations Manual Be Stored In?

An Operations Manual can be hand written if that is your absolute preference, but I would not recommend it.  As this document is so vitally important to your business, you should maintain it in electronic format.  It is easier to revise, send as an attachment when necessary, and be backed up to avoid loss of data.  Some clients prefer to create their Operations Manual using a 3-ring binder approach.  While this may be tempting, if that binder is destroyed or lost, there goes all of your hard work in creating an Operations Manual.  Do yourself a favor and store the manual on a computer (and back it up!) or online at a secure site.

What Should an Operations Manual Include?

An Operations Manual is the manual of all manuals.  It can be as comprehensive as you want and need it to be.  It should serve as a blueprint of your business for you, your employees, assistants (virtual or on-site), and anyone else that is on a need-to-know basis.  The Operations Manual essentially covers everything that goes on behind-the-scenes of your business.  Here are some examples of what an Operations Manual may include, but as you develop one for your business, you will undoubtedly think of many more items to include.

    • Passwords to all of your online and offline business accounts
      (be sure to give some thought to maintaining proper security measures);

List of frequently used business supplies with purchasing/ordering information;

List of business documents;

Prospects intake process;

Client intake process;

Sample email templates;

List of all team members and their contact information;

Procedures for hiring new team members and training them;

Preparing for client sessions, proposal pitches, speaking engagements, professional association meetings, etc.

Client follow-up process.

Take the time to draft an Operations Manual.  It will be time well spent, and you will reap the benefits of it long after you finish the blueprint.

Copyright © 2009 Lisa Montanaro of LM Organizing Solutions, LLC.

Want to Use This Article in Your E-zine or Website?

You can, as long as you use this complete statement:

Copyright 2009. Lisa Montanaro is a Productivity Consultant, Success Coach, Business Strategist, Speaker and Author who helps people live successful and passionate lives, and operate productive and profitable businesses. Lisa publishes the monthly “DECIDE® to be Organized” e-zine for success-minded individuals, and “Next Level Business Success” e-zine for entrepreneurs. Subscribe today at www.LMOrganizingSolutions.com. Lisa is the author of The Ultimate Life Organizer: An Interactive Guide to a Simpler, Less Stressful & More Organized Life, published by Peter Pauper Press. Lisa also publishes the DECIDE® to be Organized blog at www.DecideToBeOrganized.com. Through her work, Lisa helps people deal with the issues that block personal and professional change and growth. To explore how Lisa can help take your business to the next level, contact Lisa at (845) 988-0183 or by e-mail at .

Join me for a 3-part Teleclass Series: Bold Business Moves -Moving Your Business in the Right Direction.

The first Teleclass will be on Tuesday, May 31st titled: Blueprint Your Business: Create Business Systems & An Operations Manual
Business Systems help a business to run without you if you become ill, take a vacation or go to a business conference. They provide the infrastructure that needs to be in place to effectively delegate without taking up too much of your precious time as the business owner. Business systems make it easier to hire and train an employee or retain an independent contractor, delegate to an assistant, to yourself, or to the business itself. Business Systems and Operations Manuals will not only help you run your business more effectively, but will help you start preparing for your exit strategy. This teleclass will guide you in creating an Operations Manual and cover what it should include.

Date: Tuesday, May 31st
Time: 7:30-9:00 pm EST

  • Designed as a series, but able to be taken individually too, each teleclass is 90 minutes in length.
  • Can’t make the live call? No problem! All teleclasses will be recorded & available on MP3.

Location: From the comfort of your home or office

Investment:

  • IRIS members: $35 for each, or $89 for the 3-part series
  • Non-IRIS members: $39 for each, or $99 for the 3-part series

Register Online here.

Additional classes in the 3-Part Teleseries include:

  • June 14th: Branch Out & Mix it Up: Creating Multiple Streams of Income
  • June 28th: Don’t Go It Alone: It Takes a Village to Run a Successful Business ~ Building Your “Team”

See all class details here.

Who Should Participate:
IRIS & NAPO members, professional organizers, interior designers/redesigners, home stagers, coaches, consultants, entrepreneurs, etc.

Do you want to brainstorm with like-minded business owners, while learning from a business coach, lawyer and trainer of entrepreneurs? This series is a cost-effective way to get quality business advice at a fraction of the cost of one-on-one coaching/consulting. Come join us for a teleclass series that promises to deliver great results!

Unsure if you are getting the most out of your business?
Unclear as to whether your business is going in the right direction?
Feeling like you could use a business plan revamp?

Then get ready to make some Bold Business Moves!
Join us for a Teleclass Series

Bold Business Moves: Moving Your Business in the Right Direction

Presented by Lisa Montanaro
Certified Professional Organizer®, Business & Life Coach,
Motivational Speaker, Author

Dates: Tuesday evenings – May 31st, June 14th and June 28th
Time: 7:30-9:00 pm EST

  • Designed as a series, but able to be taken individually too, each teleclass is 90 minutes in length.
  • Can’t make the live calls? No problem! All teleclasses will be recorded & available by on MP3.

Location: From the comfort of your home or office
Investment:

  • IRIS members: $35 for each, or $89 for the 3-part series
  • Non-IRIS members: $39 for each, or $99 for the 3-part series

Register Online for all sessions here (or follow the links below to register for individual teleclasses).

Teleclass 1 – May 31st: Blueprint Your Business: Create Business Systems & An Operations Manual
blueprint businessBusiness Systems help a business to run without you if you become ill, take a vacation or go to a business conference. They provide the infrastructure that needs to be in place to effectively delegate without taking up too much of your precious time as the business owner. Business systems make it easier to hire and train an employee or retain an independent contractor, delegate to an assistant, to yourself, or to the business itself. Business Systems and Operations Manuals will not only help you run your business more effectively, but will help you start preparing for your exit strategy. This teleclass will guide you in creating an Operations Manual and cover what it should include.
Register for the May 31st session here.

Teleclass 2 – June 14th: Branch Out & Mix it Up: Creating Multiple Streams of Income
You are a solopreneur or small business owner, and you wish you could make more money, but you can’t be in more than one place at one time or clone yourself. What to do? Create multiple streams of income! Multiple streams of income help to build a business with less work by offering multiple ways for clients to access you, your company, and your services/offerings. Learn how to leverage and re-purpose your content, expand your delivery methods, offer options at multiple price points, and give clients a menu or suite of services.
Register for the June 14th session here.

Teleclass 3 – June 28th: Don’t Go It Alone: It Takes a Village to Run a Successful Business ~ Building Your “Team”
Are you a solopreneur and often find it lonely? Maybe you are you a small business owner with employees or subcontractors, but find yourself wanting to brainstorm with those outside your business? You can! Imagine a group of people that are available to bounce business ideas off of, help you make pivotal business decisions, and serve as a sounding board. Set your business up for success by enlisting the help of others. Options are plentiful, from using virtual assistants, independent contractors, and employees, to brainstorming with business colleagues, setting up a formal Board of Advisors, participating in a Mastermind group, or hiring a business coach. Studies show that business owners achieve success more frequently when they set up accountability programs. Identify different ways to partner with others to improve your business by engaging in coopetition, and learn the differences between various types of accountability tools. Determine which accountability tools are the best match for your business, and how to implement them. Hear about what other like-minded entrepreneurs are doing. Walk away with a plan to enlist the help of others in your business in a way that makes the most sense for your business model, stage, and needs. Get ready to create your village!
Register for the June 28th session here.

Who Should Participate:
IRIS & NAPO members, professional organizers, interior designers/redesigners, home stagers, coaches, consultants, entrepreneurs, etc.
Do you want to brainstorm with like-minded business owners, while learning from a business coach, lawyer and trainer of entrepreneurs? This series is a cost-effective way to get quality business advice at a fraction of the cost of one-on-one coaching/consulting. Come join us for a teleclass series that promises to deliver great results!

Rave Reviews from Past Attendees of Lisa’s Teleclasses or Workshops:

  • “She’s bright and shiny on a dreary day, she sings, she dances, she’s a Professional Organizer, oh and did I mention she’s an attorney too? She’s Lisa Montanaro, and she was one of our favorite teleclass guest experts last year. Lisa can answer all those pressing questions you have been afraid to ask or didn’t know where to turn to for the answers. What I really like about her is her approachability. Speaking to a business coach and attorney can be a little intimidating, but Lisa knows how to answer the tough questions while making sure you truly understand the answers.”
  • “You are very well-spoken and a wonderful presenter. You did a great job providing so much relevant content and without giving us that feeling of info-overload.”
  • “I went to your workshop at the NAPO Conference and just wanted to tell you how impressed I was. You are such a knowledgeable and good speaker. I have already implemented so many of your suggestions. Yours was the only CD I purchased from conference. I am sure your session will benefit me for years to come.”
  • “The level of energy and enthusiasm you bring into the training environment is truly admirable and your organizational skills certainly show proof of the amount of effort and thought you place in preparing for your workshops.”
  • “Your workshop at the NAPO National Conference was alone worth my entire investment (registration, hotel, transportation, food, etc.). Thank you so much!”

About the Presenter:
Lisa Montanaro is an inaugural Certified Professional Organizer, Business & Life Coach, Motivational Speaker, and Author. Lisa founded LM Organizing Solutions, LLC in 2002, and since then, has helped thousands of people and organizations live better lives and operate better businesses. A sought-after business expert due to her background as an attorney, mediator, and trainer of entrepreneurs, Lisa offers business coaching to professional organizers, and other entrepreneurs and small business owners. Part consultant, part coach — Lisa gives expert advice, while also guiding clients to the answers they seek. Lisa presents at national conferences, has been interviewed by television and radio hosts, is a frequent guest expert for national teleclasses and webinars, and has been widely published on the web and in print.

Continuing with my series of business articles in honor of my presentation to entrepreneurs at the IRIS Conference in Denver, below is the second article. It is all about creating an Operations Manual, an idea I will be sharing with the attendees of my workshops this afternoon. I hope it prompts you to blueprint your business soon!

Can Your Business Run Without You?
 
What would happen to your business if you became ill for an extended period of time?  Could someone else man the shop for you easily?  Would you be more relaxed on vacation (or at the very least, take a vacation!) if you knew that the business could be better taken care of while you are away?  Have you ever thought about hiring an employee or assistant, but are overwhelmed with the thought of training someone in all of your business systems and processes?  Are you holding onto too many tasks that you know you could be delegating, but don’t have the infrastructure in place to effectively delegate without taking up too much of your precious time as the business owner?  If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you are in need of a business blueprint!  It’s time to create an Operations Manual.
 
What is an Operations Manual and Why Do I Need One For My Business?
 
Before you started your business and in the early stages, you probably did a lot of planning.  Most likely, you were told to draft a business plan, and you may have even done so.  Unfortunately, most small business owners rarely look at their business plan after creating it, thereby rendering it meaningless on a daily basis.  A business plan is a static document, as opposed to a living and breathing one that serves as a guide to your business systems and processes.  Developing systems and taking the extra step to document them is vital to a business running smoothly and automatically.  Unfortunately, most businesses are lacking in this area.  Business owners get caught up in the daily activities of running the business, and do not take the time to document or blueprint the systems in place.  In the E-Myth Revisited, author Michael Gerber sets forth the idea that all businesses need to be “franchised” in the sense that they can run automatically, deliver a consistent experience to customers, and can be maintained, at least to some extent, without the owner’s hands-on involvement.  While you may not literally be franchising your business, Gerber’s concept broadly translates into developing an Operations Manual for your business.
 
What Are the Advantages of an Operations Manual?

 
An Operations Manual makes it easier to delegate and run your business.  However, even if you have no employees, independent contractors, or assistants of any kind, the importance of an Operations Manual should not be overlooked.  It provides structure and clarity by helping you examine the big picture and how each part fits into the whole.  It is also a handy tool for reminding yourself of your business systems when things get busy and you are overwhelmed.  The manual serves as a central location for vital business information, making it easier for you to find what you need in one fell swoop.  In a nutshell, an Operations Manual helps promote a consistent experience for your clients, and helps you avoid reinventing the wheel. 
 
What Format Should an Operations Manual Be Stored In?
 
An Operations Manual can be hand written if that is your absolute preference, but I would not recommend it.  As this document is so vitally important to your business, you should maintain it in electronic format.  It is easier to revise, send as an attachment when necessary, and be backed up to avoid loss of data.  Some clients prefer to create their Operations Manual using a 3-ring binder approach.  While this may be tempting, if that binder is destroyed or lost, there goes all of your hard work in creating an Operations Manual.  Do yourself a favor and store the manual on a computer (and back it up!) or online at a secure site.
 
What Should an Operations Manual Include?

 
An Operations Manual is the manual of all manuals.  It can be as comprehensive as you want and need it to be.  It should serve as a blueprint of your business for you, your employees, assistants (virtual or on-site), and anyone else that is on a need-to-know basis.  The Operations Manual essentially covers everything that goes on behind-the-scenes of your business.  Here are some examples of what an Operations Manual may include, but as you develop one for your business, you will undoubtedly think of many more items to include. 

  • Passwords to all of your online and offline business accounts
    (be sure to give some thought to maintaining proper security measures);
  • List of frequently used business supplies with purchasing/ordering information;
  • List of business documents;
  • Prospects intake process;
  • Client intake process;
  • Sample email templates;
  • List of all team members and their contact information;
  • Procedures for hiring new team members and training them;
  • Preparing for client sessions, proposal pitches, speaking engagements, professional association meetings, etc.
  • Client follow-up process.
Take the time to draft an Operations Manual.  It will be time well spent, and you will reap the benefits of it long after you finish the blueprint.