When solo entrepreneurs and small business owners hear business systems and processes they imagine something complex. Consequently, they quickly conclude; “it’s for big enterprises.” This conclusion is absolutely incorrect because every business — big or small — runs already on systems and processes.
Every business ought to have their systems and processes documented. This article will walk you through simple steps to creating a systems and processes document for your business.
What is a Systems and Processes Document?
Michael Gerber in his classic, E-Myth Revisited defined Systems as a set of things, actions, ideas, and information that interact With each other, and in so doing, alter other systems. And of course a document is a writing that provides information about anything.
Consider a systems and processes document as that document that explains how you run your business — your routine activities — effectively and efficiently.
As a solo entrepreneur or a small business owner you should have your business systems documented. Furthermore, while at it do it as if you have all the staff strength you need already. Done that way, you are building a solid foundation for your business. Furthermore, you are building a business that your employees can run seamlessly in your absence. This document can also be used to train and facilitate orientation during the onboarding process for new employees.
Four Steps to Creating a Systems and Processes Document for Your Business
Creating a very effective systems and processes document will certainly require diligence. You must do it painstakingly because the quality of the document will affect your business’ productivity.
So here are 4 simple steps you can follow to develop your systems and processes document.
Either on a paper or in your notebook, write down your Value Proposition. State clearly the result you get for others in your business. Whether you are a service business or a product company, it doesn’t matter. What exactly do you do for your customers?
E.g. As a Coach, I help Entrepreneurs and Start-ups build profitable businesses.
Write out how you get the result stated in step one. Do an exhaustive breakdown of the entire process leaving nothing out.
For an example of a Cake and Pastries Company this segment will look something like;
-purchase ingredients from XYZ
-mix the materials and leave for XYZ no of minutes/hours.
State the quantity of every ingredient.
-List out all the other processes. Be super detailed. This document will be needed to train your staff or by whoever is in charge of the business while you are away.
This step will not just contain the production process, but also your marketing, sales and so on. Every thing you do in your business must be listed.
Having listed everything you do in step two that gives you the result in number one. It’s time to assign tasks.
Here you assign a name to every task highlighted. Even if you are a solo business do this step three as though you are a standard business with enough staff. It is advisable to create an organogram stating people’s portfolio and their specific duties/responsibilities.
Now that we have the tasks to do, who does what, it’s time to detail when the tasks are to be carried out if the results you desire must be gotten.
P.S: Also list who each person is accountable to; i.e who ensures that the tasks are done as at when due and according to specification.
There you have your systems and processes documented.
If you are a solo entrepreneur, you surely will be the only one doing all of the tasks. However, as soon as you begin to get hands on board, you only need to slot in names to tasks, then during the onboarding process familiarize your staff with what needs to be done, how it should be done, when it should be done.
Very importantly the document and your orientation must explain what vision you are driving at in the business and why you do what you do, the way you do it.
This is so that every team member shares the vision and have a motivation to do things right.
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