In a nutshell, proper documentation and record-keeping will instill confidence in your stakeholders—business partners, investors, employees, and customers. The knowledge that you know exactly what happened, what’s happening, and what might happen in your company will satisfy the concerns of your stakeholders. Simply put, they know you’ve got your eyes and ears on the business. They also know you have a grip on things, and nothing will put things in jeopardy that you know nothing about.
Not many people understand that this is important in a business; that confidence and assurance are the two things stakeholders care about. They could also be the most challenging for businesses. Documentation helps businesses be in control more. It helps businesses understand how and why they started and what journey they need to take to get to where they want to go.
Contracts open new opportunities for businesses. Global companies find that they need to be compliant with international standards. Paperwork validates your position in the industry—are you an expert or an amateur? Documentation isn’t just about keeping contracts, employment histories, meetings, purchases, taxes, and the like. It’s about maintaining such records to review a previous policy or come up with better marketing strategies.
Are you on the fence about how much documentation you need to do for your business? Don’t be. Do it for government compliance, if not for anything else. Government agencies are very strict about documentation since investigations into the company’s activities will lead to these documents. If you are in the financial industry, all the more that you have to keep records. The FCA record-keeping policies are clear about what they expect from financial lenders and institutions. They demand that online data from webpages, social media posts, mobile text messages, and conversations be kept and documented properly.
You need to store such data securely and make access to it easy. The FCA chooses companies to audit. This is when documentation and record-keeping become essential. The FCA will demand to see records of how a company communicated with its clients. If you did not do proper documentation, that in itself is a violation of the rules.
More than government compliance, documentation will also help you understand your customers better. Businessowners can revisit past policies and campaigns. They can look at the figures of how much these campaigns have generated in terms of revenues. They can then use this information to create more impactful and meaningful marketing campaigns that will target the right market.
The way to more opportunities for business growth is to project an excellent image of the company. Flawless paperwork can do that. Imagine a customer calling you asking for a copy of an invoice that you cannot produce because you misplaced it. What does that tell your customer?
Keeping an accurate record of your communications, marketing strategies, contracts, tax returns, etc. will represent your company in the best light. It will demonstrate your competitiveness and drive. Boosting your reputation this way is essential to the public image you want to project.
Multinational companies—and even small businesses—are scrutinized. Their mistakes will be magnified for all the world to see. If they are not compliant with government regulations, there will be hell to pay. Their market will cancel them on social media, and it will be harder to gain back that trust because competitors will pounce on that opportunity.
When you take the time to document a process or procedure, it becomes easier to replicate it. For example, a training session you did a year ago proved to be effective to your employees. You could follow the same procedure if you documented it. With a tweak here and there, you can effectively combine the old and new rules. And if some rules are unclear, you can check the record to clear any misunderstanding.
Point of Comparison
How can businesses improve if they cannot revisit past policies and campaigns? Documentation provides a point of comparison. It allows a business to create new procedures based on what they learned from the past. But to accurately do this, businesses need to depend on records and documents. Think about how your computer’s operating system works. Your computer stores a record of a past operating system, so you can revert to that if the new upgrade doesn’t suit you. That’s how documentation works for a business.
Growing a business demands owners to be responsible—from documenting every business deal to adapting to the changes in the market. A good entrepreneur has his eyes on every aspect of the business. Yes, that includes documentation and record-keeping since a lot of things are hinged on those two.