Does your small business really need a knowledge management system?
Look, you’re currently running a business without one, so technically you don’t need one. However, could your business run more smoothly with one? Definitely. Even if your company team consists of you and only you, having this setup will save you time looking for information and you will be prepared for growth.
Most small businesses have random policies written in various different forms and stored in various different locations, including the business owner’s brain. Most business owners wouldn’t know where to look for a specific piece of information. This is an extreme time management issue. Searching for files and information wastes, on average, a fifth of the work day. You may as well spend that time setting up your knowledge sharing platform.SAVE THE PDF FOR LATER
Just the time savings alone should convince you that your business needs a knowledge management system but here are some more reasons:
Adds professionalism to your business
When there’s a place for everything and everything’s in its place, your company looks like it has it together.
It makes on-boarding and orienting new employees or contractors much smoother
You and your team don’t have to waste precious brain power trying to remember how something is supposed to be done. They can just look at the checklist.
Client experience is consistent
Sometimes your clients know each other and may share their experience with your company. Also, anyone can share anything on social media at anytime.
Your team will know important details
If answers can be found easily in one place, your team won’t always have to come running to you or management with unnecessary questions.
It helps the company improve and grow
Your company should always be making progress. As stated in this article, making progress is the secret to happiness. There will be more freedom for you and your team to create and implement new ideas and systems. Customer service will improve, which will make for more satisfied customers.
Every business is unique and has different information but here is a list of what you might see in your knowledge management system:
Any insights gained through day to day work or during projects that can help fellow team members.
Policies and Procedures
Handbooks, Terms and Conditions, Agreements, Checklists
Setting up systems, Signing up clients, Training manuals, User guides
Contact information, Background, Company role
Acknowledgement for a job well done, Introducing new team members, Team milestones, Team ideas and feedback
Management, Information, Team, Milestones, Progress
Mission, Values, Character, Brand, Goals
The business plan is a living document that should be referred to often and updated regularly
Events, Announcements, Tips
Everyone in the company should know who does what and who to go to for certain tasks or issues
Your knowledge management system should be hosted digitally where you or your team can easily find them. On the company intranet or a collaborative platform. I like Trello and G Suite to share information between clients and contractors.
Just start. Set it up and let it build organically. Look at which platforms you already use. Do any of them have the capability for setting up a knowledge management system (G Suite, Trello)? Don’t sign up for another platform if you don’t need to. If you’re not sure which platform will work for you, give us a call.
Start as soon as you start your business. If you’ve been in business for a while, start today. It will be much easier to get into the habit of updating information, and once you hire a team, it will be ready to go. Update it whenever there is a new policy, procedure or piece of company information. If you leave it until you already have employees or company information and documents, the task will be a large one.
The larger your business, the more often you’ll want to update it. A lot of businesses do this backwards. However, the more employees you have, the more knowledge there is to share and the more often that knowledge will change.
If you own the business but don’t directly oversee the day to day operations, management should be creating the content for the knowledge base. They are the individuals who see first hand what is working and what isn’t, what information needs to be shared and what information is outdated.
If you are a solo-preneur or one person operation, this task will obviously fall to you. If the knowledge base is currently stored in your brain and you’re not a writer and don’t know where to start, start small. Pick your most used or most important process or piece of information and get every step, insight, tip etc, in no particular order, down on paper (or digitally if you prefer). From there you can create a template. Once you have the first document looking the way you’d like, the rest of them will be a piece of cake.
If knowledge management just isn’t your thing, or you just can’t find the time to do it, contact Focus Business Support. We can guide you through the process, set things up and offer suggestions. You will have the ultimate approval but the onerous task will become much more pleasant with some help.
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