Starting a knowledge base

Starting a knowledge base

For the successful startup, there’ll come a time when you need to stop doing everything and hire dedicated support staff. You’ll get busy, then you’ll become stressed, and you’ll get even busier.

When you first hire someone for customer success, they’ll come with the skills you’ll need, but inside your head, as the founder, is all the knowledge you already have of how your business works and what your customers need. Trust me, your new staff will be asking you questions, interrupting your mojo, and then asking the same question a few weeks later when that thing happens again.

How Derek Sivers did it

There’s a great blog post from Derek Sivers, the founder of CD Baby, on this exact topic. Here’s the process he took for creating a manual:

  1. Gather everybody around.
  2. Answer the question, and explain the philosophy (or the why).
  3. Make sure everyone understands the thought process.
  4. Ask one person to write it in the manual.
  5. Let them know they can decide this without you next time.


Derek goes on to say “after two months of this, there were no more questions.”

Creating the manual, or knowledge base, for your business is a small investment of time that can double as on-the-job training.  Imagine a fast-growing customer success team that can instantly handle any enquiry just by searching the knowledge base for the answer, without little-to-none of your intervention.