Systems Aren’t Sexy, But Freedom Is. Why Documentation is Critical for Growth.

Hand drawing a black process diagamYour business is expanding, which is a wonderful thing, but the more you expand the more you find your time being taken up by training and answering questions. This defeats the purpose of expanding in the first place, doesn’t it? Wasn’t the point to bring in help in order to free up your time to work on the business?

Before you go blaming the poor person you hired for this, take a step back and look at the systems you have in place. Do you have a shared calendar where they can see you have blocks of time booked off for focus work? Do you have a task management system in place where everyone knows what they are responsible for and when it is due? Do you have documentation available to show rules of engagement, processes, procedures, and templates?

Systems aren’t sexy, and taking the time to put them in place isn’t a whole lot of fun, but in the end, freeing up your time is well worth it. In fact, it’s critical if you want to keep you business growing.

Here are 9 steps you can take towards documenting your important business procedures:

  1. Create flowcharts to show how a process should sequentially flow in order to reach an endpoint
  2. Implement checklists to ensure all steps of a procedure are taken
  3. Use screenshots where possible in order to give the person a visual representation of what is asked of them
  4. Keep text in documentation short and to the point
  5. Involve others in your office in the development of this documentation, in case they have suggestions or improvements
  6. Clearly explain why they need to follow the process and what may happen if they do not
  7. Keep all documentation in a central, accessible place so that people don’t have to search for it
  8. Create a clear folder / taxonomy structure so that finding documentation is intuitive and quick
  9. Review documentation at least once a year to ensure it is still relevant and up to date

In the end, the better the documentation you have in place, the less questions that will be asked of you, and the more time you will be able to spend on continuing to grow your business. Just think short-term pain for long-term gain, and believe that in the end, freeing up your time is worth it!