The New Year; an ideal time to ensure the essential documents which inform and steer your business are relevant, in line with current objectives and accessible.
Collating and updating essential business documents offers the best chance of setting your company in the right direction for growth in 2022.
Ten essential documents for your business
To help you get on track, I have compiled a list of ten essential business documents that every organisation will benefit from. They are not industry-specific and can be valuable to companies of all sizes.
Strategic documents: Business Plan & Goal Tracker
1. Business Plan
Your business plan is the company road map. It sets out your purpose, your objectives and the values that underpin operations. A business plan should be clear to read, easy to update and visible. Only then will it be easy to refer to in management meetings, resource allocation, staff training and more. And it doesn’t have to be a boring 50-page tome. Make it something you will want to use often.
2. Goal Tracker
When you are reviewing progress at the end of this year, what will success look like?
The growth and development of your business are dependent on setting goals and tracking progress. Setting your sights on clear objectives and mapping milestones will improve the chances of the team all working to realise this ambition. Recognise and reward when each phase is reached or look at what resources or motivators are needed if things are lagging behind schedule.
Customer documents: Client Analysis & Feedback Form
3. Client Analysis
No business has broad appeal, we are all working to serve the needs of a specific client group. So, who are your target clients and what do they want? By researching and outlining the demographics of your ideal customer, you can begin to understand them better. Client analysis documents map out the factors that drive their need for your services and what encourages or hinders interaction. It informs how you can engage with them through marketing, packaging and communication.
4. Feedback Form
How do you know if your business is delivering what customers want, need and in a manner that meets their expectations? Being proactive in requesting their feedback can provide valuable insight. Their complements can give you a boost and their comments and complaints can inform change. Being open to requesting and responding to feedback is a great way to keep your services relevant.
Team documents: Staff Handbook & Appraisal Form
5. Staff Handbook
Every member of your team brings unique skills, experience and personality to the table, so how can you ensure that they collectively work towards shared goals? The answer is to provide them with a clear, easy to read staff handbook which:
- Share the company vision and values
- Explain how roles and working practices help the company to deliver consistency
- Direct team members to relevant policies, procedures and sources of support
6. Appraisal Form
Appraisals are an opportunity to recognise achievements, discuss development opportunities and resolve issues. Based on the business plan and each individual’s part in working towards goals, it should provide a shared opportunity to connect, align and motivate.
With many team members working remotely, appraisals are more important than ever. Fortunately, I can create bespoke documents which enable the form to be simultaneously accessed and completed online by both appraiser and appraisee.
Operation documents: Process Flowchart & Cash Flow
7. Process Flowchart
Standard processes exist in every organisation. Creating flowcharts provides clarity on the order, options, timeframes and responsible person at each step of the process. This aids consistency, empowers employees and highlights potential bottlenecks to be addressed.
The more efficient the standard process, the greater the opportunity to focus on specialist or personalise support. This is where your brand can stand apart and deliver meaningful and memorable interactions.
8. Cash Flow
Cash flow issues are at the heart of many business failures. So, keeping track of the finances is crucial for business success. Using the information to forecast cash flow can ensure that you plan to restock, recruit and make other investments when it is less likely to have a detrimental effect.
3DVA will be exploring the benefits of cash flow forecasts and providing a template in the coming months.
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Management documents: Emergency Contacts & Holiday Handover
9. Emergency Contacts
Even with the best of health and good planning, the unexpected can hit. In the case of an emergency scenario, you want to know that a trusted colleague could step up and keep things ticking over. To do this, they need pre-prepared instructions:
- What needs to be done on a daily/weekly/monthly basis?
- Who should be contacted – staff, clients, suppliers and business services?
- How to access password-protected platforms & information such as the company website
Once created, review your ‘Emergency Contacts’ list regularly to ensure it is current.
10. Holiday Handover
It shouldn’t take an emergency for any member of the team to take time off, but many business owners never fully switch off. What can you put in place to ensure that others are equipped to take on responsibilities so you can relax and recharge?
What if you are unable to delegate internally? Outsourcing work to freelancers is a cost-effective way of increasing capacity during peak times and the holiday season.
“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”– Francis of Assisi
Download free business templates
My New Year gift to you is to offer you a free template of each of these essential documents; they are free to download from my template library.
Get in touch if you would like me to tailor and brand them to your business requirements. As a document specialist, I can provide you with consistent quality and efficient usability for digital and printed forms, files and records.