There is an old saying: “if it is not written down, it did not happen.” And no where is this more true than for service professionals, who by definition work in the world of intangibles.
So when people ask me what they can do to both protect and grow their service business, it’s an easy response: Document everything!
Now I understand that for some people, documenting can feel like a real pain. And to be honest…it can be.
But what can also be a (more formidable pain) is what happens when you DON’T document.
I’m talking about what happens to business relationships when you don’t document.
What happens to key business contacts and service agreements?
What happens to your business when you engage in a transaction when you think one thing and the other person is equally sure it was something else?
So while “documenting everything” might not be what every service professional wants to here, it can have a huge impact on the growth (and protection) of your business in the long run.
So with that said, let’s talk about a couple instances where documentation is a good idea.
Corporate Formalities: If you did not follow all of the corporate formalities discussed above when creating your business entity, then you need to create documentation that ratifies all of the acts that your entity has done to date. Once everything is brought up to date, your business needs to do the following:
- Hold an annual meeting
- Prepare and execute a Waiver of Notice
- Prepare Meeting Minutes or Unanimous Written Consent for owners and/or directors to sign, depending upon your form of business
- Place these documents into your companies records (usually a binder)
Once you’ve done all of that, you will be in good shape as it relates your corporate “structure” and formalities.
Correspondence: Correspondence covers all written messages – emails, faxes and letters – sent by or received by your company. This category includes internal as well as external correspondence. Generally, external correspondence is with clients and vendors.
It is a good idea to save all correspondence with these individuals in their corresponding files so that if there is a question later as to what was requested, you can refer back to that message. Similarly, it is wise to save internal correspondence, or internal communications between employees. Saving these messages will help keep your employees accountable for the tasks they are assigned and the agreements they make with clients and vendors.
So there you have it: A couple of places you can start documenting right away, and protecting yourself and your business in the process!