Build and Manage a Knowledge Base in a Small Business

A knowledge base is for internal purposes, for the business team, but in some industries, an external KB for clients and customers use is crucial

Book and glasses - Knowledge Base in a Small Business

Small businesses do need a supervised knowledge base and should make it simple

Do small businesses need a knowledge base? The answer is – you’ll not be surprised to hear – YES. The two main reasons are that a knowledge base (KB) saves money and supports sales.

The benefits of a knowledge base are mutual for micro, small, medium and large businesses, though the solutions are, of course, different.

Main benefits of a well-managed knowledge base:

  1. Preserving precious and useful information
  2. Accelerating customer service responses
  3. Optimizing marketing efforts
  4. Shortening sales procedures
  5. Quickening the on-boarding process for new team members

The most important use is for internal purposes, for the business team, but in some industries, an external KB for clients and customers use might be crucial. The principles are the same.

The principles of a knowledge base

  1. Everything in one place – A KB is the go-to place for all team members to get answers and guidance. The way the information is organized depends on the subjects and the tool used.
  2. Approachable – Each team member should be able to reach the information, either independently or with the help of others, depends on his\hers permission.
  3. Permissions – Some of the information stored in the KB is open to everybody on the team, some of it is classified.
  4. Notes & discussion – The knowledge is ever-changing. Thus a knowledge base system must have the features to let you and your team improve and cultivate the knowledge – writing notes, discussing issues and of course, updating.
  5. Rich content – Images, embedded videos, links. A knowledge base tool is a writing tool.
  6. Attachments – Documents in various formats.
  7. Re-ordering – some knowledge in more sought after. The ability to re-arrange things is important.
  8. Search – Does this should even be explained? The quick finding of needed knowledge is basic.
  9. Ease of use – Creating, uploading, curating, utilizing and more should be intuitive.

Above all, the knowledge base must be managed

In order to be effective and useful, a knowledge base has to be under supervision with at least one person in charge.

Maintain your knowledge: Knowledge is an advantage you can lose without even knowing. Maintain your knowledge to keep your edge. Use curation tools to get updates on your interests of knowledge and to retain what’s important.

Examples: Topics you might want \ need in your knowledge base

  • Sales conventions and procedures – for the sales team
  • Product information: Specs, manuals, updates and more – for R&D team and support team
  • Welcome on-board – Guidance for new members on your team
  • Brand guidelines – for marketing and advertising teams
  • Known issues: Answers to common customer questions and dilemmas – for customer service staff
  • Admin guides: How to use the business tools – for all employees

And more…

The basic and simple architecture of a KB in a small business

Each information item in a KB has two phases – the short and handy and the long and detailed, i.e., with the usability of a quick answer tool and a learning tool.

For a KB to work you will need 3 modules:

  1. Front End – Where users can view and navigate
  2. Back End – Where admin can add and edit stuff
  3. Storage

The simplest way to set and operate a KB is by a dedicated drive or a designated instance in the task management environment.

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