Hi readers :-)
Welcome to installment two of my business non-negotiable's.
This week I'm going to give you some simple tips on how to document your intellectual property.
When you run your own business it can be easy to keep all of your information in your head, from your passwords to all of your accounts to your daily/weekly/monthly to-do lists and any procedures you have in place.
It's extremely important to make sure that we have all of these things documented somewhere as it allows for easier delegation as well as peace of mind should an unforeseen event happen that results in you not being able to work. Put simply, if you were suddenly not able to work at all would a staff member (or family member if you have no staff) be able to pick up where you left off to ensure your business continued? Or would they be left sorting through pages of old diary's and notebooks trying to piece everything together?
In this day and age we are actually very spoilt for choice with how we go about documenting this with all of the different cloud based programs available, most being free. A personal favourite of mine, and one I have been using for years is Microsoft's OneNote, but you might find another program that suits you better. Visually, Microsoft's OneNote looks like a binder folder where you can have separate sections and then multiple pages within said sections. For example, you might call a section "Weekly checklist" and then have a page for each day.
Here are my top tips when it comes to documenting your IP:
1. When looking for a program that is the right fit for your business think of the below:
· Is this easy to use?
· Can I protect my account with a password?
· Can I access it from any computer by logging in (ie. Cloud based saving vs. Computer hard drive saving)
· Can I create multiple users and/OR share with multiple users (once again, depending on the size of your business).
· Can I store any type of files I require (for eg. OneNote even allows you to record meetings via your laptop/computer microphone and saves the file to your account)
· Does it have a search function (for those times when you're after a particular piece of information but not sure what page you've stored it on).
· Does it auto-save as I type
· *add any other requirements that you need here*
2. Would someone else be able to read this and make sense of it? Make sure you have covered every single step required.
3. Make sure the information stays updated (implement a 6-12 month review, depending on how much change occurs in your business).
4. If this is new to you, don't feel overwhelmed about documenting everything all in one day. Make a list of the things you need to document as you go about your day and work on one-by-one.
5. Make sure you use it and refer back to it when needed. Not only will documenting your IP give you peace of mind, it also provides a consistent way of doing things for the people in your team. And who knows, it may even free up time in your work day that was normally spent tracking down a process or password.
Now off you go and put this into action, and remember that I am here to help you out with this, just give me a call.
Have a great day :-)
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