Do you ever wonder how to keep things from slipping through the cracks in your business? Today I want to share with you my process for doing just that!
You might know me as a bit of a systems-and-processes junkie. I really like documentation, and I talk about it a lot with my students and clients.
This is why. Sure, we can hire amazing people (and if you want to know how, click here to read my tips for hiring an incredible assistant). But the truth is, we’re all human. We all make mistakes – even incredible assistants do, from time to time.
That’s why I like processes. When you optimize processes, you minimize mistakes.
Even the tiniest mistake can create massive complications in your business. Imagine being a surgeon and forgetting one of the steps in your job – just a “little thing” – like, say, washing your hands before starting to operate. That “little” oversight would end up being a huge deal! That’s why surgeons and other professionals with high-stakes jobs depend on procedures and checklists.
So, how does this apply to your business?
Make a checklist.
It really is that simple. Making a checklist for your business procedures might seem a bit unsophisticated, but I promise you’ll be surprised at how helpful it can be.
In my business, this looks like making a company manual. A company manual is simply a record of the steps and processes you follow for every single task in your business.
If you sat down to make your company manual in one go, it could take several weeks to create. But there is a way you can do this in blocks of only 5 minutes at a time – which is exactly how I did it when I was first starting out!
There are two versions of this 5-minute-at-a-time process. We’ll call the first one “Company Manual Lite”. This one’s for you if you’re solopreneur who doesn’t have an assistant yet or who just made your first hire.
When you’re hiring someone, you want to be able to hand them your brain as completely as possible. Your new assistants are not mind readers. You, as the boss, need to be able to list out how you like things done.
How do you get started doing this?
Option 1 – Company Manual “Lite”
Start screen recording.
It’s as simple as that!
If your tasks are on the computer (as they probably are if you’re running an online business), all you have to do is download a free program like QuickTime and start recording your online tasks.
From now on, when you’re about to do a business task, pause and ask yourself: “Is this something only I can do, or could my assistant help take care of it for me?” If it’s a task you can delegate (and, spoiler alert, about 80% of what you work on can be delegated), just click the button to start the recorder, slow yourself down, and narrate what you’re doing and why. Imagine someone is completely new to this program and you’re explaining to them why you follow these steps in this order.
If you don’t have an assistant yet, no problem: simply record the video, title it, and throw it in a Dropbox folder for later. When you eventually do make a hire, imagine how thankful you’ll be to have 10-15 videos to hand over to them immediately!
If you’re not hiring for another 6 months, a couple of your videos may become irrelevant. That’s ok. The amount of time you’ll save on employee training later will still make this process totally worth it.
Now, I prefer to narrate the video as I record it, since narration is such a clear form of communication. But if you don’t like screen recording and talking at the same time, you can always opt to create a written checklist instead. It might seem overwhelming to create a written list in one shot, so just start with simple bullet points for your first draft. The next time you go through the checklist, fill it out a bit more. Remember, you can do this process just 5 minutes at a time. (Just make sure you start taking those 5 minutes now!)
That’s the simple “no excuse” way that I recommend you do at a minimum. Or you can do a more comprehensive approach
Option 2 – Create a company wiki
This is what I do now in my business. I have an assistant who takes my screen-recorded videos, embeds them in a page on our company wiki, and then transcribes the video to create a written step-by-step list of how to complete that task. At the bottom of the page, we create a small checklist of 4 or 5 steps that need to happen for that task.
Let’s face it, when we’ve done a process a million times before, it’s easy to make those “little” mistakes. For example, let’s say my assistant sends newsletters out all the time. I write them in a Google doc, she takes them and formats them into our CRM, and then sends them out. There’s a process that we follow for this, and there are a few things that are really important that we not forget. If instead of having to go back and re-watch the video, we have a checklist with just 4 main things to double-check, then 99% of the time we won’t make mistakes on this repeatable process.
Having a company manual will be incredibly helpful to you in your business. You won’t have to explain processes a hundred times. You’ll be ready any time to bring on new team members or replace old ones if you need to. And if someone on your team has a sick day and you need to do a task you haven’t done in a year, your company manual has got your back.
Want a peek into my company manual? Click the button below to get instant access.
To see what a company manual page looks like in real life, just click the button below to get instant access to a sample procedure I use in my business for you to use as a template, totally FREE. Duplicate this template and start filling it out for your company’s procedures and you’re well on your way to stopping anything from falling through the cracks in your business.
I hope this has been helpful for you! I’d love to hear in the comments below: Do you have systems in your business? Do you follow processes? Do you have a company manual, and if so, how do you use it?
8 thoughts on “How to Keep Things from Slipping through the Cracks in Your Business”
I love your videos, Sylvie!
A few weeks ago I actually moved my company wiki from a master Google doc to a wiki site (using Google sites), and using a lot of video tutorials and having my assistant go through it and write out the instructions and checklists. I wish I would have started doing this years ago, it makes such a big difference when building a team.
That’s awesome Edurne! I’m so glad you’re setting this up. Thanks for commenting lovely <3
Sylvie you are the gift that keeps on giving.
I really thought this was great.
Thank you Debra!! You’re a joy 🙂
This is GOLD Sylvie. THANK YOU! The sample template leaves my no excuses for starting my “Company Manual” now!
Glad it’s helpful Holly!!
Great tips Sylvie! I really enjoy your short video clips. In our store front businesses my partner and I have created policy manuals which is a collection of typed procedures on the different tasks of our businesses. We are strong believers in implementing policies and procedures. But my new online business is a whole different ball game. The information you shared using online tools to create and implement to your team is awesome! Thanks for the support.
Awesome Lacee! Glad to hear you’re a fan of documentation as well. 🙂