You say “why do I want to write an operations manual when I am just starting a painting business?” Although your entire management team is you, it is wise to write this manual now, with an eye to future growth. Writing this manual is your first step in hiring people who will help in running the business and give you more free time. It doesn’t matter where you start, just get started. No matter where you begin, you will put the chapters in a certain order.
The chapters in an Operations Manual are the individual systems that all come together to create and support your painting company. Imagine your company with you as President with different departments all working together. You as the force that holds it all together as the manager, then begin to write an Operations Manual by creating within the company individual systems. These individual systems, such as marketing, sales, estimating, human resources, production, and accounting all are interrelated and support one another. For example, marketing without sales makes no sense, and a sales system without a marketing system, has no leads to sell, the same goes for sales without estimating and estimating without salesmore info.
To be sure, this might seem like an exercise with no real function, but I assure you that even though you are the one doing all or most of the work within these systems, you probably won’t do all of the work, even from the beginning. Unless you are a strictly one man shop, you will not do all of the production work, and at least, at tax time you will turn over some of the accounting work to a professional accountant.
Imagine how things flow through the company, from Marketing comes leads, the leads go to Sales, Sales turns leads into jobs, Production completes jobs, and Accounting turns completed jobs into money. So what you want to do is create a system for each department.