The following blog is from Amy Kinnaird, a guest of McBride For Business, LLC.
Nearly everything you do in your business is a process or set of tasks. And if there’s a process, you can document the steps needed to accomplish that task. Both individuals and organizations benefit from having well documented systems in place. Everything runs smoother with systems in place. A high level of consistency and customer satisfaction is at stake!
Here are a couple of simple examples. First, your billing system. What are all of the steps involved in getting the bill to the client? Document the process, including how to access the files, where data is stored, what are the logins, etc. Another example is your social media. What content are you going to post, when and where? Who is going to create the content, who is going to post, and what are all of the steps involved?
Some businesses send out a periodic newsletter. Document who does each step, when each piece is due, where do they go to find content and what are the logins for everything. Your system could be just a simple list of ten steps or it could be a much more detailed document. I personally prefer something simple, but the application may dictate a different level of complexity.
If you are a retail organization, you’ll have systems for receiving product and getting it to the floor. If you are in manufacturing, you’ll have systems around the processes involved with creating the products. Plus, everyone should have some customer or client follow up systems in place. These are just a few areas that need documentation.
Why document your systems? Some of the major benefits are:
- It’s hard to remember everything you have to do, especially if it’s something you do infrequently. Documented processes get it out of your head and onto paper so you can just read and follow the steps. Free up that big ol’ noggin for more important things. It’s more time efficient.
- Documented systems ensure that the process works the same, each time. It improves the quality of that system. Anyone and everyone can follow the same steps and deliver a consistent product, which could lead to better customer satisfaction. Every step is identified and will be taken each time and in the right order.
- Once a process is documented, it makes it much easier to delegate the process to someone else. All they have to do is follow each of the steps outlined. Go ahead! Delegate to someone, whether outsourcing to a contract worker or passing along to another employee. On-boarding new personnel is easier with documented systems in place to follow.
How to document your systems:
The simplest solution is to create a Word document or something similar with a list of steps that need to be taken to get a task done. This works well for linear jobs. Step 1, Step 2, Step 3… If, however, the job isn’t really linear, you could use a variety of mind mapping software products for the “If this, then that” kind of scenarios. Once you have created the document, put it through a thorough test yourself and then pass the system along for someone else to try. Your goal is to see where the holes are and then go back and fill in the holes of your documented process. Include any relevant screen shots or photos identifying where things are located and what to do.
One of my clients wants to create a whole binder of all of their documented systems. This could be hard copy or it could be in a file on your server that everyone has access to.
My challenge to you is to document a process you are currently doing that doesn’t have to be done by you personally. Get all of the steps down on paper and then print this out, stick in a plastic page protector and put it in a safe place for next time. Maybe this is the right time to delegate it to a new hire or contract employee like a Virtual Assistant.
Your business will grow faster when you let go of doing it all yourself!
About the Author
Amy Kinnaird works with small business CEO’s and their teams to find the holes in their businesses and see where processes are broken or need implementing. Then she’ll strategize ways to plug the holes and work with you to move your company to the next level.
She helps you see the possibilities.
www.AmyKinnaird.com | (318) 795-0520 | @amykinnaird
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This posting is intended to be a tool to familiarize readers with some of the issues discussed herein. This is not meant to be a comprehensive discussion and additional details should be discussed with your attorneys, accountants, consultants, bankers and other business planners who can provide advice for your circumstances. This article should not be treated as legal advice to any person or entity.
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