If you’re not familiar, a knowledge base is simply a repository for all the information you need to run your business. Onboarding a new client? Hiring a new receptionist? Finishing up a project and need to review everything that was completed? As business owners, these types of scenarios are extremely common and they can eat up a ton of your time. Most of this knowledge is stored in your brain and is theoretically available any time you need it. But what happens when you need someone else to share to load? Or worse, what happens when you bring on a new client and halfway through the project realize you forgot a crucial step?
Mistakes happen. Heck, if you’re building a successful business you’re bound to make more mistakes than wins. Instead of spending your time searching through your sent items for the latest client onboarding email, why not have a central depository where all this information is stored for when you need it? With a few simple steps, you can set yourself up to create your knowledge base and gradually add to it over time.
Choose your weapon: G-Suite (Google) is an obvious choice because it’s free, accessible from anywhere and has a ton of functionality. Office 360, Apple iCloud, CRM programs, Trello, Asana, Slack, Wikis or intranet site are all great options as well. The trick is, pick something that you use almost every day to begin with. If you’re not using it currently or have no future plans to incorporate it into your workflow, chances are…you won’t succeed.
Brainstorm your Structure: This doesn’t have to be a time suck. Just take a few minutes to think about the things that drive you crazy or take up the most amount of time. Email templates, Checklists for common projects/tasks, Customer Interactions/Upselling, Marking/Promotional Material, Employee Job Descriptions/Manuals to name a few. Chances are, if you’ve been in business for a little while, you already have working versions of many of these. Make a list of the overarching categories and create some folders to correspond to these. Don’t worry too much, this can evolve over time as needs change or you learn more about how you want things organized.
Add your Content: If you can dedicate some time to this at the beginning, amazing. If not, don’t panic. Just add as you go. The trick is, setting yourself some sort of trigger so that you remember to add the content when you’re finished with it and happy with the end product. Sent an awesome customer welcome letter? Add to your Email Template folder. Whether you do this in the moment or set a reminder for yourself at the end of your work session to review, it doesn’t matter. Just keep on reminding yourself to check in with your knowledge base and keep it current.
Reap the Time Savings: There’s no question that good organization can be a huge time saver. When you’re running the business, you want to spend the least amount of time on the busy work and get back to doing what you love. Whether that’s speaking directly to clients or spending time with your family, the better your knowledge base the easier those goals will be to achieve. Then, the next time you’re wondering how you vetted your last vendor you can pull up your handy checklist and be confident you have all the questions you need answered at your fingertips.
I’m not going to lie. This process can be somewhat time consuming. Yet, not only will you save yourself time in the long run, you’ll also be unconsciously honing your business practices and finding ways to better your business thriving and your customers coming back for more.