How to Systemize Your Business and Document Your ProcessesOctober 20, 2021 - 8 minutes read
Business owners are an integral part of their operations. Your business may run smoothly when you’re in the office handling internal operations, but if you don’t systemize your business, processes will not remain the same in your absence.
Even small tasks, such as filing invoices or answering client requests, can fall off track if you don’t document your processes. And since 82% of business failure is cash flow-related, even small delays in invoices can have a drastic impact on your business’s functions.
As a business owner, you don’t want the business to collapse when you’re not around. If you learn how to systemize your business, you and your clients can expect consistency when you’re not there “running the show.”
What It Means to Systemize Your Business Processes
Do you have Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in place for your business? If not, it’s time for you to systemize your operations. If you’re concerned that this will be too technical, don’t worry! There are some simple ways to do this.
In short, if you’re systemizing and documenting process, you’re:
- Documenting key, integral functions of your business
- Creating SOPs
Business owners are likely focused on tax planning and saving money, which is great. However, it’s just as important to realize a threat to their business is not having SOPs to follow.
Benefits of Systemizing Your Business
When resources are limited, you only want to focus on beneficial processes. A few of the many benefits from systemization include:
- Scaling. If you plan to scale a business without systemization, you will likely find it very challenging. Adding systems and documenting processes allows you the freedom to scale your business with much greater ease on internal operations.
- Create repetition. Consistency and repetition are good when they involve your business processes. When you systemize your business, you create repetition that can continue building on your success.
- Enable easier hiring. Simplify the hiring process through solid documentation. When the business processes are documented, you can hire workers with greater ease.
- Easier time selling your business. Just because people love your business doesn’t mean potential buyers will. Businesses with systems in place are easier to sell because, if documented properly, the new owner(s) can step right into the business without interrupting operations.
- Less reliance on the owner (you). Do you want to go on vacation or take a lengthy leave of absence? As an owner, you should be able to do this, but over 50% of SMBs don’t take vacations. When you document processes, you can take a break and walk back into a thriving business without fear that everything will fall apart in your absence.
If you want to begin enjoying the benefits we’ve outlined above, all it will take is five easy steps to begin.
How to Systemize Your Business in 5 Easy Steps
1. Catalog Your Recurring Tasks
First, you need to list the recurring tasks that your business relies on. You should sit down and write down:
- Daily tasks
- Weekly tasks
- Monthly tasks
Write down each task into a neat list and then jot down the amount of time it takes to complete a task. This list is a good starting point to generate your list of recurring tasks. Some of the tasks you can delegate already, but others may require specific processes to be done correctly.
You want to focus on the latter tasks that others can’t complete because the right documentation isn’t in place.
2. Develop a Structure
You can create your documentation for these tasks anywhere you want: internal databases, Google Docs – anywhere. However, you must have some form of a hierarchy so that if someone else views the documented processes, they can easily make sense of it.
For example, you may have main categories for:
- Customer Inquiries
Inside of these categories may be a plethora of subcategories and processes that are documented. It’s essential that the structure you develop remains consistent across all SOPs and can be followed by others.
3. Document the Processes
Now that your structure is in place, it’s time to begin documenting all of your processes. Documenting is a time-consuming process, but it’s worth the time and effort. Ideally, you’ll want to:
- Outline the process
- Create a step-by-step structure
- Leave no room for error
Following your written word isn’t enough to reduce errors. When possible, add screenshots or videos to walk the person reading the SOPs through every process you’ve outlined.
You’ll want to provide actionable steps that someone can follow to complete tasks within your SOPs guidelines.
4. Have Someone Test-Drive the System
Once you have SOPs in place, it’s time to have a colleague follow the instructions and processes that you’ve provided to test them out. You’ll want to ask the person who is most likely to complete the task to do it, and then you’ll ask for:
- Answer questions
- Adapt your SOPs
You can even record the task processes as the person is doing it to find sticking points and areas to improve. The goal is to ensure that anyone with the right experience and education can complete the tasks in the SOPs.
5. Refine and Improve the System Over Time
Finally, as your processes change or steps are added, you’ll need to continue improving the SOPs. Consider test driving the first draft of your processes and refining them based on the feedback gathered in the previous step.
You may find that you need to add additional steps to the documentation, or you might need to remove steps.
Removing steps is an excellent opportunity to make following SOPs easier today and in the future.
Once you learn how to systemize your business and have documented processes in place, it will be easier for you to scale your business. The initial time it takes to put the right systems in place will be overshadowed by the increase in overall efficiency.
Plus, since the processes are documented, others can step into critical positions without interrupting your business’s workflow.
Systemizing your business is a long-term strategy for success that will propel your company forward today and in the future.
If you need help trying to systemize, scale, or grow your business, book a call with us.