Several weeks ago, I went over to Docstoc‘s offices and did a bunch of videos for their small business advice video series. While you can check them out here (search “justin hong”, I also thought I’d take this opportunity to post each of the videos individually on my blog and elaborate on the strategies, tactics, and themes that I discussed. (If you’re looking to do corporate video productions for your business, I definitely recommend that you check out the way Docstoc did these videos — they are excellent.)
The first video that I’d like to talk more about is “How to Build Systems & Processes.” While not the sexiest of all business topics, it’s arguably one of the most crucial aspects of building a business. Here’s the video:
Building systems and processes for your business is important because they allow you to free up your time and energy to work on more important tasks, and in addition, they help your business produce a consistently excellent product or service.
Before you start building your processes and systems, here are four tips that I have:
1. Do it yourself first. Before you go about typing up documentation for your processes, I encourage you and your team to do everything yourselves first. This way, you can figure out the most important action items of a particular process to include as well as the things that you don’t need to do.
For example, if you would like to create a standard sales process for your company, it’d be a good idea for you to close a deal with a prospect before you try to write up a sales process that you think you will follow. While there are many books on sales that can provide a framework for your process, each business is different, and you’ll have your own unique additions that you’ll want to add to your unique sales process.
2. Document any process that you do more than once. A good rule of thumb is that if you do anything more than one time, you should create a process for it so that you perform that process consistently.
There’s different ways that you can document your processes. You can list out the steps of a process on a Word doc. You could create checklists. You could use spreadsheets. You could write them in a notebook. You could create videos. Pick whatever method is most useful for you.
3. Keep your documentation in one central location. All of the documentation of your processes and systems should be kept in one, central location that the people on your team have easy access to. You want people to use them, so have to make it as easy as possible for them to access.
Like I mention in the video, my company keeps our systems and processes in our own online Wiki. If you want to print everything out, you could also create your own “Operations Manual” that you could hand out to all of your employees. Another place you could store all of your processes is in Google docs.
4. Continue to refine and improve your processes and systems. Business strategies and tactics constantly change, and your processes and systems should reflect the changes that you make within your business. You always want to try and improve your business, and subsequently, you should try to improve your processes and systems as well in order to make them more effective and efficient.
What tips do you have when building systems and processes?