Manual writing can be a bit tricky, especially for growing businesses. This is designed as brief how-to guide for those interested in writing an operations manual. First off, you will need to identify the type of operations manual you will be creating and who will be reading it. Then you need to set specifications for the document. The last step is finding or hiring a writer to complete the document. This is an important step, and choosing to hire an operations manual writer from the right source can mean savings of thousands of dollars in the long run.
Step 1: Identify Your Audience
The first thing to do is to identify your target readers. If you are putting together or operating a franchise business, the readers often are the owners or managers of your individual establishments. If you are a single company, the operations manuals may be designed to tie together the policies of multiple departments or locations. In this case your target would be the managers. Many businesses also use an operations manual as a part of the hiring plan, as a way to bring new employees up to speed on the company’s current practices, making the target audience new hires with little previous background on the company.
This means you have two basic strategies:
- Write for managers/owners with background in the company
- or, write in general terms, for new hires, prospects, and managers
If you write in general terms you can normally expect the operations manual’s length to be much longer, because much more background information will be required. If you are writing for managers/owners, you may be able to assume some information is already known, which eliminates much of the general background. Some companies choose to divide their manual into sections, with some general sections developed especially for new hires, franchise owners, or other special cases.
Step 2: Operations Manual Planning and Design
Operations manuals are highly specific to each company and may range from a small 10-15 page plan to over 500 pages for large companies. In order to determine the contents you will need in your manual is helpful to make an outline of:
- Business organization, including specific instructions for employees about job descriptions, management hierarchy and responsibilities.
- Information on marketing and sales materials and plans.
- People directory, including phone numbers, emails, and other contact info.
- Technology or equipment policies and instructions.
- General employee policies.
- Company financial or capital information.
- Company mission statement.
- Confidentiality statement.
The length and depth of each of these is highly dependent on your company, but if you make a simple outline it will be much easier for a operations manual writer to translate your ideas into a finished operations manual.
Step Three: Choosing a Writer
In choosing a writer, it is important that the writer have both design, business, technical, and writing skills. Most technical writing companies will employ a team of writers that can meet to diverse needs of this type of project, as hiring multiple professionals can be very expensive. This allows your company to communicate the ideas visually and verbally, ensuring clear ideas with a clear indexing system.
Most Common Problems
The most common issues companies find with writing operations manuals is poor organization and indexing of long operations manuals. This makes the files both difficult to use for readers and hard to modify as the company grows. Technical writing companies generally index their files and save copies of each section in separate files, meaning that when the company changes a policy it is quick and easy to make the changes.
Angie Biotech can help you with your operations manual. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We have a team of experts standing by to help you, please contact us for more information.