Sounds really complicated if you think about it. But it really is not.
Everything starts being complicated if you learn and leave it all in your head! To be organized, you have to play organization! Write them all down!
It is time consuming, yes.
It's migraine waiting to happen, yes.
It requires a lot of understanding and retention, yes.
It's overwhelming, yes.
It's a lot to take in, yes!
So maybe, it really is complicated?
But what isn't?
How do you make the complicated into something very simple? Get ORGANIZED! Create that Operations Manual!
How about I share with you some of the steps I follow when creating systems and procedures?
I go for SOFTWARE first!
Example: The CRM!
Always know the "WHY", "WHAT", "HOW" and lastly, the "WHAT ELSE".
WHY DO YOU NEED THIS TOOL? Answer: You need to organize leads/contacts first to be able to manage them properly. This will also help you prioritize what you need to learn and master first, at the same time, eliminating the feeling of being overwhelmed when looking at everything you need to learn and consider when learning the software.
WHAT IMPORTANT ELEMENTS DO I NEED AND HOW DO I MANAGE THESE ELEMENTS?
Dashboard - The home page and what it shows. Navigation of basic and important functions.
Contacts - How do you create contacts in the system?
Notes - How do you make notes and when?
Pipeline - Status stages and what they mean in your company and lead qualification.
Calendar - Call schedules, list of who to call and when to follow up and through.
Reports - What reports does it provide, how to interpret, what solutions and how to manage solutions to get the performance on reports you want, how to print reports, how to send them out.
Action plans - How to create and then implement.
Drip Campaigns and Email campaigns - Creating and sending out to what groups and why.
Now that you know how all those basic elements and how they work, "WHAT ELSE?". After learning all the basic elements, I know are reasons for having this software, what other features does this particular CRM offer? It's time to start navigating and digging deeper to maximize the use of your software.
Create the manual or steps for each of the mentioned "important feature" and “added feature and then "IMPLEMENT" to understand, learn and master.
As a result, you may find out that your CRM offers a feature overlapping with your other software. You can then consider eliminating other tools you are using and just utilize your CRM for those needed features. This can cut down expenses and make your company process simpler.
You do the same for all the other tools you use running your business.
Then I start going for the OPERATIONS MANUAL:
-How do you create this manual as you're starting out?
Here are FIVE steps to help you!
FIRST: Create your “COMPANY FLOW”. What goes on from start to finish in the complete company process?
SECOND: What does your company require from each step in the process? This step will be when you create your "CHECKLISTS" so not one person who works on these will miss out on anything.
THIRD: After you get all requirements, what are the tasks you need to complete under each step on the flow?
FOURTH: This is when you create the “STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES (SOP)” for each task. Note that everything should be step by step, complete with screenshots or images. Start noting each step as you complete a task. Do this for all the tasks you are working on moving forward.
What do you need to incorporate in your SOPs?
-What are the requirements?
-Where they are found?
-How requirements are completed?
-How do I incorporate the completed requirements to complete the tasks?
-What software do I use to complete the task if any?
-Where do these completed task go or how are they submitted?
FIFTH: Who completes requirements and tasks. Being very clear on whose "ROLES" each of what you have on your SOPs is very important to stay organized and to teach each member accountability.
Completing all steps, documenting everything and summarized in the most detailed way possible would be you completing your raw OPERATIONS MANUAL! That is your end goal!
Software Modules, Company Flow, Checklists, Roles (Job Titles) and Standard Operating Procedures are all important when running a business or aiming for an organized and well oiled business!
What others do not realize is these are the pieces that will create your completed and well organized Operations Manual!
How complicated is that? You just need to play organization to start organizing!
It’s simple! Don’t leave it all in your head! Open that document and start typing!
About the author: Bernadette Canero holds a Bachelor's degree in Industrial Engineering. She is one of the founders and owners of Summit VA Solutions. Ms Canero is Summit VA Solutions' Vice President and Chief Operating Officer and Virtual Assistant Trainer.