What’s stopping you from taking your business up to the next level? Are you so busy doing the work that you don’t have time to promote your business, hire more staff or work on that new idea? Which of the following business processes do you need to document?
Doing the work is admirable, but if you want to grow your business and move up to the next level, you need to put systems in place. And yes, that means creating business processes.
Most people put up a fight when they’re told this. Everyone hates the idea of documenting business processes.
What’s your “rationale” for not doing them? You’re not ready? You’re too busy putting out fires? You don’t really have processes in place to document? You don’t have someone else to do the work yet? I understand. I hate writing up processes as well. But I’ve realised, I’m FAR more productive when I do have a process to follow – even if it’s just for me. Business processes really are the key to allowing your business to grow. And it’s amazing, somehow once you’re organized with systems in place, you’ll find ways to make use of them.
Wondering what kinds of processes you might need to document? Obviously each business differs greatly but here’s a generic list of processes most small businesses should have in place…
Which of the Following Business Processes Does Your Business Need To Document?
- Enter an invoice
- Send out customer invoices
- Enter customer payments
- Chase overdue accounts
- Issue a credit note
- Reconcile the bank account
- Enter purchases
- Claim personal expenses
- Run payroll
- Prepare the quarterly tax statements (eg BAS)
- Prepare end of year tax returns
- Capture leads
- Organise meetings / phone demonstrations / etc
- Prepare proposals
- Handle objections
- Follow up sales leads
- Accept a new sale
- Prepare sales reports
Customer Service / Account Management Processes
- Respond to questions
- Respond to complaints
- Follow-up after a sale
- Request reviews / testimonials / case studies
- Request referrals
- Create a newsletter / blog & send to mailing list
- Update social media accounts
- Review and tweak ads
- Run a split test
- Run a new promotion
- Attend networking events
- Run a customer event
- Reward customer referrals
- Content management schedule
Production / Service Delivery / Operations Processes
- Order more stock
- Schedule works
- Manage a project
- Project communication
- Project reporting
Admin / Office Management Processes
- Order stationery
- Office Maintenance
- List of suppliers
Is that it? Did we miss any?
How to Document Your Processes
If you’re like me, you might have avoided writing up your processes because it seems like such a big job.
Side note: I used to work in consulting and we’d produce process documentation that looked like this. Unless you’re a huge corporate, I do NOT recommend this style!
For most small businesses, you don’t need to do anything complicated at all. Don’t overthink it, just get started and you’ll see it’s not so hard.
Start with one of your processes. One that’s not too difficult, but does have a few steps. As you’re doing this process, just note down in bullet points, all the things you do and the things you’re taking into consideration.
For example, the image on the left below is a copy of the process my last business used for creating a new blog post (on a custom system)…
As you can see, it’s not a complicated document. Instead, it just lists out, step-by-step what the user should do. If there are any settings, it includes these here. If there are any things to check, they’re also included.
You can do this in any word processor but in my opinion, the best way for small businesses to document their processes is on Google Drive. This allows you to create links to your document that everyone in your team can easily access (and no-one outside your team).
How To Create An Index For Your Business Processes
Once you’ve created a couple of process documents, create an index for your business processes. This is as easy as creating a list of all of your processes. Again, use Google Docs (in Google Drive) and it becomes very accessible. You might want to even list out the processes you haven’t yet documented and do them as you get time.
Once you have a Business Process Index, get everyone to create a shortcut or bookmark to this document – and now everyone on your team has easy access to all of your business processes.
See, that wasn’t so hard! And now, your business is ready for expansion 🙂