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Creating an Operations Manual for a Small Business - a Case Study

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This case study highlights a real-life small business' (law firm) growth and the steps taken to meticulously document and flowchart all operational processes as a tool for managing growth, ensuring quality control, and monitoring employee performance. This case study is the seventh in a series of 7. Visit my profile to view the others.

Published in: Business, Technology
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Creating an Operations Manual for a Small Business - a Case Study

  1. 1. What is an Operations Manual? The collection of business processes, procedures and job aids (i.e., flowcharts, videos, templates) necessary to ensure consistent operations; primarily used as a training tool. Copyright © 2007—2016. Equilibria, Inc. This case study is based on actual facts and data. In our efforts to uphold client confidentiality, we disguise and sometimes eliminate revealing data. The Business Process ManualTM and the illustrations shown in this case study are property of Equilibria, Inc. and is intended for educational purposes only. Reproduction and distribution for-profit is prohibited. Equilibria, Inc. +1 (404-964-2978) ““
  2. 2. What is a Business Process? A sequential order of tasks or activities necessary to produce a desired result. Copyright © 2007—2016. Equilibria, Inc. This case study is based on actual facts and data. In our efforts to uphold client confidentiality, we disguise and sometimes eliminate revealing data. The Business Process ManualTM and the illustrations shown in this case study are property of Equilibria, Inc. and is intended for educational purposes only. Reproduction and distribution for-profit is prohibited. Equilibria, Inc. +1 (404-964-2978)
  3. 3. Business Process ManualTM Our Version of an Operations Manual Copyright © 2007—2016. Equilibria, Inc. This case study is based on actual facts and data. In our efforts to uphold client confidentiality, we disguise and sometimes eliminate revealing data. The Business Process ManualTM and the illustrations shown in this case study are property of Equilibria, Inc. and is intended for educational purposes only. Reproduction and distribution for-profit is prohibited. Equilibria, Inc. +1 (404-964-2978) Identifies how to do the work defined
  4. 4. The Problem Steve and Maegan have been partners in an estate planning law firm for four years. Although they have an assistant, Tracy, they recognize that they could benefit from hiring an Office Manager as combined they spend about 40% of their time on administrative tasks. Inconsistent Processes Fragmented Filing Systems Inadequate Training Procedures Missed Opportunities Copyright © 2007—2016. Equilibria, Inc. This case study is based on actual facts and data. In our efforts to uphold client confidentiality, we disguise and sometimes eliminate revealing data. The Business Process ManualTM and the illustrations shown in this case study are property of Equilibria, Inc. and is intended for educational purposes only. Reproduction and distribution for-profit is prohibited. Equilibria, Inc. +1 (404-964-2978)
  5. 5. The Problem (cont.) However, with no formal processes in place they knew it would be difficult to attract a well-qualified and competent Office Manager. There are four computers in their office suite and because there is no company network, client documents are often temporarily “saved” and transferred to other computers via flash drive, email, or CD. The lack of a company network has also caused them to miss important client meetings and even court appearances due to mishaps in calendar scheduling. And the lack of documented processes only compounds the problem in creating a consistent, high quality client experience. Steve and Maegan have worked tirelessly to build their practice and worry that they will soon burnout if they are not able to effectively disseminate the workload. FORM 8-1 SECRETARY'S CHECKLIST FOR SCHEDULING APPOINTMENTS A. GENERAL INFORMATION 1. Appointment is for:  Self  Relative  Other 2. Client is:  Single  Married. If single, does client have a partner?  Yes  No 3. Name of Client ___________________________________________________ Name of Client's Spouse or Partner (if applicable) ________________________ Street Address____________________________________________________ City______________________________ State_________ Zip______________ Home Phone No.__________________________________________________ Work Phone No._____________________________ Fax No.____________ Age of Client____________________________ Age of Spouse or Partner______ 4. Name of Contact Person (if other than client) _____________________________ Street Address______________________________________________________ City______________________________ State_________ Zip______________ Home Phone No.____________________________________________________ Work Phone No. _____________________________ Fax No. _____________ 5. Name of Referral Source _____________________________________________ Street Address______________________________________________________ City______________________________ State__________ Zip______________ Home Phone No.____________________________________________________ Work Phone No. ______________________ Fax No.____________________ Copyright © 2007—2016. Equilibria, Inc. This case study is based on actual facts and data. In our efforts to uphold client confidentiality, we disguise and sometimes eliminate revealing data. The Business Process ManualTM and the illustrations shown in this case study are property of Equilibria, Inc. and is intended for educational purposes only. Reproduction and distribution for-profit is prohibited. Equilibria, Inc. +1 (404-964-2978)
  6. 6. We created a customized Case Management Operations Manual for Steve and Maegan (over the course of 90 days) by doing the following: Observe the workflow of every one in the office; Collect all data used for each type of law practiced including checklists, template letters, and software; Develop case file nomenclature that included color-coding, acronyms and identification of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs); Provided information for I.T. vendor to properly set up a shared calendar and new network based on the departments identified in their Business Design Blueprint. How We Helped d. company newsletter e. staff introduction document 5. remember to save an electronic copy of the Welcome Letter and name the file according to: [Client’s Last Name, First Initial – Type of CaseMonthYear of Case – Document Type] Example: [Doe, J. – MED1207 – Welcome Letter] 6. place all printed documents from step #4 into a purple, laminated company folder in the following order: Left-Hand Side Right-Hand Side - Directions - Company Newsletter - Staff Introduction - Welcome Letter - Elder Law Questionnaire 7. place a business card in the folder and then place the folder into a large white mailing envelope 8. place the sealed white envelope with printed address label into the outbox bin located in the work room 9. bring all packages in the outbox bin to the post office every Tuesday and Thursday either 20 minutes before your lunch break or 20 minutes before your work day ends. Collect receipt for postage, bring back to the office, and place in Steve’s inbox. Copyright © 2007—2016. Equilibria, Inc. This case study is based on actual facts and data. In our efforts to uphold client confidentiality, we disguise and sometimes eliminate revealing data. The Business Process ManualTM and the illustrations shown in this case study are property of Equilibria, Inc. and is intended for educational purposes only. Reproduction and distribution for-profit is prohibited. Equilibria, Inc. +1 (404-964-2978)
  7. 7. How We Helped (cont.) Copyright © 2007—2016. Equilibria, Inc. This case study is based on actual facts and data. In our efforts to uphold client confidentiality, we disguise and sometimes eliminate revealing data. The Business Process ManualTM and the illustrations shown in this case study are property of Equilibria, Inc. and is intended for educational purposes only. Reproduction and distribution for-profit is prohibited. Equilibria, Inc. +1 (404-964-2978) Workflow Observation & Interviews Business Process Documentation Operational Tools Compilation & Categorization Computer Network Preparation
  8. 8. Value & Results Owner’s Equity New Hire Training Capacity Operational Capacity Time for Practice Development Copyright © 2007—2016. Equilibria, Inc. This case study is based on actual facts and data. In our efforts to uphold client confidentiality, we disguise and sometimes eliminate revealing data. The Business Process ManualTM and the illustrations shown in this case study are property of Equilibria, Inc. and is intended for educational purposes only. Reproduction and distribution for-profit is prohibited. Equilibria, Inc. +1 (404-964-2978)
  9. 9. Copyright © 2007—2016. Equilibria, Inc. This case study is based on actual facts and data. In our efforts to uphold client confidentiality, we disguise and sometimes eliminate revealing data. The Business Process ManualTM and the illustrations shown in this case study are property of Equilibria, Inc. and is intended for educational purposes only. Reproduction and distribution for-profit is prohibited. Equilibria, Inc. +1 (404-964-2978) Maegan and Steve now have a Case Management Operations Manual that houses the detailed processes for handling each type of case. Each process was accompanied with a flowchart (see page 4) as well as record-keeping procedures and passwords needed to access specialty software. We made sure to train everyone on:  How to update  Maintain their Business Process Manual  Showed them how to store it on their new computer network. Business Process Manual Contents  Table of Contents  Business Design Blueprint  Service Delivery Blueprint  Electronic Records Management System  Paper Records Management System  Work Space Logistics plan  Customized Business Processes  List of KPIs per Business Process  List of Forms, Templates & Checklists per Business Process
  10. 10. Maegan & Steve’s Business Process ManualTM enabled them to: With this Business Process Manual, Maegan and Steve were able to: • Hire and train a new Office manager 60 days after the Business Process Manual implementation, • Eliminate time conflicts with scheduling client appointments • Evaluate and monitor staff performance through well-defined and communicated KPIs, • Leverage their documented case knowledge as assets by having some of their more proprietary processes valuated and included as an intellectual property asset on their balance sheet, • Hired a new attorney a year later and opened a satellite office six months after that bringing in another $350,000 in revenue, • Take a month-long joint European family vacation without a single call from the office to handle an issue. Copyright © 2007—2016. Equilibria, Inc. This case study is based on actual facts and data. In our efforts to uphold client confidentiality, we disguise and sometimes eliminate revealing data. The Business Process ManualTM and the illustrations shown in this case study are property of Equilibria, Inc. and is intended for educational purposes only. Reproduction and distribution for-profit is prohibited. Equilibria, Inc. +1 (404-964-2978) 1 2 3 4 5 6
  11. 11. Learn More Here Information Hoarding Inconsistent Operations Dependent Staff This case study represents one portion of KasennuTM, our revolutionary model for creating sustainable business infrastructure in fast growing small businesses. Copyright © 2007—2016. Equilibria, Inc. This case study is based on actual facts and data. In our efforts to uphold client confidentiality, we disguise and sometimes eliminate revealing data. The Business Process ManualTM and the illustrations shown in this case study are property of Equilibria, Inc. and is intended for educational purposes only. Reproduction and distribution for-profit is prohibited. Equilibria, Inc. +1 (404-964-2978)
  12. 12. Contact Us for more information. www.eqbsystems.com Questions? Copyright © 2007—2016. Equilibria, Inc. This case study is based on actual facts and data. In our efforts to uphold client confidentiality, we disguise and sometimes eliminate revealing data. The Business Process ManualTM and the illustrations shown in this case study are property of Equilibria, Inc. and is intended for educational purposes only. Reproduction and distribution for-profit is prohibited. Equilibria, Inc. +1 (404-964-2978)

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