Documentation plays a very important role in business. It includes maintaining all records that are related to the various business functions – finance, strategy, operations, sales and marketing. A web search will reveal numerous links that will detail out the various approaches for documentation, the list of items that are important to document. I have shared a few useful website links in the references section that one can scroll up and look through.
Whether it is a family business, a startup or a multinational corporation, maintaining documentation standards is important for the efficient functioning of the business. Multinational companies have the resources to maintain good documentation standards, partly to ensure the smooth flow of operations and to also ensure accountability. Most family businesses work on trust and oral agreements, it may be fine when things are going well, but in times of crisis, it becomes more complicated a problem when there is no documentation in the business. With startup’s it may seem not so important to focus on documenting in the initial stages, as the main focus is to get the business up and running profitably. However, it is ideal to still have the documentation standards in place from the early days of starting up, to ensure efficient operations, professionalism, discipline and determination. It sure adds to the impression when talking to the various stakeholders.
Putting things down on paper and maintaining them helps in strengthening the commitment to pursue the subject, as opposed to pursuing a subject through oral agreements. For example, having a paper that lists out the steps for a particular business process, becomes a guidebook for everyone in the company to follow, and will avoid any variations in executions across the company. Imagine the same thing as an oral agreement or guidelines and it will have as many variations as the number of people in the company, hence leading to no standard procedures and the risk of endless stress.
Technology implementations into businesses has further raised the importance of digital documentation and made the maintenance and sharing of physical or hard copy records. Technology ensures everything important is written down easily on an app in a phone, tablet or a laptop, saved and made available at any time later for referencing or to continue to work on or share it with stakeholders.
Documentation in business enables smooth flow of business operations amongst existing and new resources in the business. In times of dispute, it helps in resolving the situation by refereeing to the specific rule book.