9 Steps to Make a Manual

Nine easy-to-follow ideas to formulate a Manual

MAKE A MANUAL

Here, we will give you some ideas for startups on how to make a Manual. In nine simple steps, you can get concepts to start making Manuals today.

1. Define the purpose of the Manual by using 5W, 2H

Manual is for beginners
-Make it basic, not too technical
-Use 5Ws & 2H: Who, What, When, Where, Why and How, How Much
-Think about schedule and budget
-Consider the effects towards customers
-Step into the shoes of the target user; consider how do customers use your product and services? How do they use it for and how they can understand it

2. Collect Information from the Experts

Collect and gather information for the making of the Manual. Interview the specialists or experts for that field or in that specific department. Get relevant information on how to make the products, what are the processes, how to use the products, install and troubleshoot the products and the like.

After which, you need to break the technical information down and explain it in simple words. Make the Manual as basic as possible.

3. Classify and organize the information

In the process of making the Manual, organize the information in order of priority. Organize the content in a logical and coherent manner.
Make an outline of the Manual. Then, write the details for each topic in the manual.

4. Decide on the appropriate design for the Manual

Use basic color such as black or blue since there are people who cannot distinguish colors. Make it look professional and business- like.

5. Make a Script

Imagine the situation or the need of customers who are reading the manual;
Write it with the users’ perspective in mind;
Use appropriate expressions;
One sentence; one meaning;
Avoid vague expressions; Be clear and concise;
Read aloud the Manual to check whether it’s readable and understandable;
Avoid using terms that portray discrimination to any race, color, religion, gender, etc.;
Avoid plagiarism, put references and annotations; use APA style;
Use the common words example so that it will be easy to read and understand.

6. Write the Manual

After organizing the data, put it on writing. You don’t need to make it perfect; you just need to write.

List the information needed in the Manual. Put all details as necessary. Make it logical, simple and easy-to-read.

7. Show it to the staff

Let the staff read and check out the manual. We recommend that you get feedback from three to five staff. Even those who are not experts or knowledgeable of that field can give their response or feedback to the Manual. Since they do not have prior knowledge of that field of work, they can give feedback whether they understood the Manual.

8. Publish the Manual

After doing appropriate checks and revisions, publish the manual within the company. You can also distribute the Manual to partners, clients, shareholders and investors.

9. Revise the Manual

After publishing the Manual, you might find errors on the data, grammar or sentence construction. Don’t forget to revise the Manual whenever possible.

Since startup businesses are still growing and expanding, you would need to update the Manual every now and then. It’s necessary that information contained in the Manual are fresh, new and up-to-date.

Now, it’s time for you to start making your Manual.

Technical Writer / Contributor
Have been working as a Technical Writer for 17 years, creating more than 200 instruction manuals for products and services offered by business-to-consumer companies, including consumer electronics, motorcycles, automobiles, construction equipment, video game consoles, and medical devices. Currently working as a freelance technical writer to create various instruction manuals, as an Information Architect (“Joho Oyakata” in Japanese) to teach small and medium-sized businesses how to write instruction manuals, and as a GoogleApps deployment specialist to improve operational efficiency and facilitate collaboration among business groups by providing communication tools.

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