Why Your Business Needs Checklists (and 20 Powerful Checklists to Create Today) » Small Business Bonfire

Checklists are a simple yet incredible organization tool that takes the guesswork from business processes and repetitive tasks. They’re meant to free your mind of regulatory compliances, but not all business owners use them. However, there are many reasons to create checklists.

How to Create a Checklist

If you already have a checklist, you could try modifying it first. There are probably a lot of great ideas on your checklist you’ll want to save. Plus, half the work is already done for you.

For example, this real estate transaction coordinator checklist is likely more organized because it automatically helps you focus on only the most critical tasks. It’s also short and relatively easy to use, which is essential for any business leader who wants to simplify their day.

Even if you’re starting from scratch, you can create a checklist in 4 steps:

  1. Start your list with areas of your business you’re experiencing issues with.
  2. Make sure your checklist focuses on the most important things.
  3. Each item on the list should be non-negotiable and be your focus of attention.
  4. Test checklists to ensure it delivers the desired outcomes.

As stated, checklists should be short, to the point, and one page, if possible. Include checkboxes or leave space to mark off items. Pause points (spaces where the person has to stop and think before initiating the task) can be included, but don’t stuff your list with them.

There are two types of checklists: read-do and do-confirm. Read-do involves reading each step of the tasks, then performing them in order. Do-confirm requires you to go through the checklist in an ordered list until you reach a pause point. Then, you have to confirm each step.

How many times have you accidentally skipped steps or forgotten key information about your business? By using checklists, your business saves time, money, and possibly, lives.

1. Checklists Keep You Productive

When you use checklists, you will make fewer or no mistakes. Plus, you’ll complete repetitive tasks quickly. With all the time you save, you’ll be able to accomplish more important tasks throughout the day and become more productive, efficient, and orderly as a result.

2. Checklists Help You Delegate

Since checklists require an extensive breakdown of major tasks, employers and managers can delegate more efficiently. When your workday can be divided into a group of small tasks, you’ll feel more comfortable and confident that projects will be completed correctly and on time. 

3. Checklist Are Motivating

When you check an item on a list, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment. Even if you’ve done the task a million times, checking off a process can motivate you to keep up the good work. Small wins can lead to bigger accomplishments. It’s why people make their bed in the morning!

4. Checklists Foster Creativity

Keeping every repetitive, tedious task in your head all day can affect your focus and brainpower. When you use a well-made checklist, you’ll become less stressed and on edge throughout the day, meaning you’ll be able to think more clearly and be more creative.

5. Checklist Keep You Organized

Checklists were designed to keep you organized because it guarantees that no step in the process will be forgotten or skipped. Since checklists are easy to use and follow, the whole team can use them to manage various tasks, especially if they’re positioned by their workstation.

6. Checklist Literally Save Lives

If you want to know how important checklists are to compliance and safety, just look at Boeing. After Boeing created their preflight checklist in World War II, the fatality rate for pilots went down significantly. Following a safety checklist can literally save the lives of your employees.

Checklists Your Business Needs to Use

Even if your business isn’t handling radioactive material or dangerous equipment, checklists are pretty essential. Here are some checklists you should use to outline your business processes:

  1. Hiring and onboarding process
  2. Email marketing or creation process
  3. Event preparation checklist
  4. Complete marketing funnel
  5. Social media marketing checklist
  6. Run of the show for an event
  7. Prospecting call checklist
  8. New vendor onboarding checklist
  9. New client onboarding checklist
  10. Relocation checklist
  11. Product or service refund checklist
  12. New business checklist
  13. Employee duties checklist
  14. Day-to-day operational checklist
  15. Opening and closing checklist
  16. Cleaning checklist
  17. Sick leave or sick day checklist
  18. Blog style guide checklist
  19. Transitioning to remote worklist
  20. Technology requirement checklists

Checklists are used in a wide variety of businesses. NASA famously uses a list that can be heard when you watch a shuttle launch. Controllers will painstakingly go through each step to ensure each part of mission control is ready before the rocket launches into space.

Recognized as one of the most important business tools, checklists are invaluable to businesses. From the simplest of tasks to the most complicated, you can complete audits, steps, and inspections more effectively simply by using traditional pen-to-paper lists.

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