When you think about systemizing your business (which is all the rage in the Facebook groups I’m a part of right now), what does that look like? For a lot of creative online business owners, that can be a very daunting subject -- after all, if you don’t know what isn’t systemized how do you know how to improve things?
As someone who works regularly with business owners just like you who want to create simple systems in their business, I’ve come to believe that there is one thing you can do that is more important than anything else: creating your business’ procedures manual.
What is a procedures manual? I believe the book the E-Myth explains it best (and if you haven’t read that book yet, I’d highly recommend it!):
At the heart of a systems-driven business is your company’s operations manual. The operations manual is the authoritative guidebook of how things are done in your business. It gives you an effective way of communicating policy and procedures, and gives your employees the independence and security they need to operate in their jobs for maximum results.
I believe there are three key reasons why you need a procedures manual for your business.
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel
When you go to do something like publish a blog post, are you going about it a different way each time? Do you always feel like you’re missing steps, or things aren’t being consistently added to your posts?
That’s because you’re reinventing the wheel every time you go to do that particular task.
And that means you are using your precious, brilliant gray matter to re-think something you do on a regular basis, as opposed to using that decision making power on things like creating a new product, service or program.
But when you have a procedures manual for your business, you are able to have a checklist that walks you through every single thing you need to do -- that means no more second-guessing yourself or re-tooling your methods.
Everything is done consistently
In the same vein as not having to reinvent the wheel, when you have a procedures manual things are done the same way every single time.
This means that no matter who is doing the task in your business, the results will always be the same because you are giving that person a clear roadmap.
So things like publishing a blog post, scheduling a YouTube video, or customer service always have the same outcomes because you have already thought through the entire process.
I know that you might not have a team right now, and you’re doing everything yourself. But this can still help you, solopreneur!
Imagine knowing exactly how to do everything in your business and not having to worry if it will turn out the way you want it. That’s what a procedures manual gives you!
And when you get to the point of having a VA or a project manager, you can give them the procedures manual and rest easy knowing that those things will be done exactly as if you were doing them yourself.
Someone can take over at a moment’s notice
As much as we like to be in control of our schedules, sometimes life just happens. For example, I have been sick on and off for the past month -- but a couple of weeks ago I was in the emergency room and found out that I had bronchitis. And the doctor told me to rest, which meant no working.
Because I had taken the time to create various procedure manuals (including an emergency out of office document), I was able to confidently hand off things to my project manager and know that things would be done exactly as if I was doing them myself.
This eased a lot of stress because I had already put together what she would have to do -- I could step out when I needed to (on doctor’s orders) and she could step up without either of us feeling worried about how things were going to get done.
So as much as we’d like to imagine that this kind of thing never happens, it pays to be prepared by creating your procedures manual now.
Do you have more questions around procedure manuals? Join me and Laura Neff on the Digital Boss Round Table (hosted by my friend Nevica Vazquez) this Wednesday, where Laura and I will talk all things procedure manuals!
Are you feeling inspired to create your own procedures manual? Let me know in the comments!