you ever stopped into a local business that has changed owners? Well, I
did this weekend and it was a great experience at the Quilt Foundry.
The layout was changed slightly, the marketing was now email and web
based but the new owners and new staff were helpful, friendly and in a
short period of time I was ready to sign up of another class – old
customer who felt welcomed and was easily converted to the new

Sometimes ownership
transfer is very successful and the new owner actually sparks a fresh
excitement into the business as I saw on Saturday. Others, we become
very aware that this business won’t be around long. Beyond the obvious
(new owner was not the best fit), sometimes the business wasn’t prepared to be sold. Unless you buy a franchise, most
business owners have to create their own policy and procedures manual
AND this document is a vital piece of “proprietary information
” that a prospective owner could use to ease the customers, the life blood of any business, into the new ownership.

Setting business policies and procedures means thinking about what needs to be done before you have that awkward situation.
Think ahead. Establish policies before you need them. Get input from
key employees, as well as from members of your advisory board, your
board of directors, and your professional advisors. Once established,
communicate the particulars (location) of the manual to everyone in your
business – especially changes. Often, in retail situations – not all
staff are on-site all the time and developing a reliable communication
method is key.

Review policies and
procedures on a regular basis-once a year, for example-and revise them
as necessary. Oh yes, what exactly is a policy & procedure manual?
Well, a good one is your source for treating all situations similarly
including employment, operations, customer and financial. Think of this
as the “instruction manual” for your business and it will serve your process of getting from Here to There.