Need help taking your business to the next level? Outsourcing Angel’s co-founder, Charles Valher, has researched and decided to share exactly how with you. This is about how he makes systems for outsourcing and working with VAs with all the necessary steps from planning and documenting through to what you'll need to have them up and running in your business.
This is your ticket to freedom. When your business starts turning things into systems, this is when you can really take a step back and let others work. When I first start out in business, someone said something to me that was really important called the Noah’s Arc principle, which was two of everything. If a business relies one person doing something, only that person can do it. They will be tied to it, and the business will end in a bottleneck or a trap. If that person is away, then you're going to fall into real trouble.
Multiple people can do certain things in your business. And the SYSTEM is the answer. When I first came across systems I was doing an AdWord business, and I just hired my first employee, Martin. And what happened was that I was managing AdWords accounts in one way, and him in an other – so there were lots of conflicts in between. When we brought the system into the business, we were able to work together more efficiently. It allowed us to get more work done quicker, in a high quality, and it was something that we could replicate. Systems are very powerful and are the key to scaling a business really well.
What Is The Purpose of a System?
This is the thing that I think people get a little bit lost on. The purpose of a system is to create a set of instructions that someone can follow to get something done in your business done as you want it done, or as you want to see it done. It's really powerful if you plan on selling your business as well, because if the systems become HOW to run the business, HOW to do everything without you having to do it.
Systems are also powerful if you're looking to hire someone else. If for whatever reason a team member leaves, a new hire can come in and use the systems to begin work at the quality that the previous employee did. Often for small businesses, if a key team member leaves or is just away – the way the business operates becomes different. That shouldn't be the case and you should have systems in place to operate on this level.
Why Most Struggle?
- Systems are an Overwhelming Topic
When we start talking about systems we start to realise just how many we need, or how big they are, or how long they're going to take. It's easy for them to feel overwhelming and this can be off-putting.
- Confusing the Purpose of Systems
It's easy to confuse the purpose of a system. Some people assume that systems are just sets of notes on a topic. They're not done with the intent of being an instruction manual for someone else and haven't been done with the intent of being usable for someone else to do the tasks or run the section of the business.
Things You Will Need
There are a couple of things you'll need before you even get started on making your systems.
- A video camera or screen recording tool like the one I’m using now (in the video). You'll need it to document or record the systems you're using.
- An Office processing tool – like Microsoft Word, or Google Sheets, or Google Drive or anything similar. This way, you can actually make notes and put things in.
- Google Sites. There’s a ton of good ones out there. I personally just found that Google Sites is a really good option.
If you have some better ideas or you want to add your own to this list, there is no one size fits all. But the way I do it, they are the main three things you’ll need.
Record It Being Done and Talk About It.
If you're doing something that can be done on your computer – simply:
- Switch on the screen recorder
- Do the task, and
- Talk about what you're doing, and why you're doing it.
If the task isn't on the computer, pull out your phone or video recorder and record the actual task being done, and again with some voice over by yourself or whoever is doing it.
Watch the Video and Break It Into Steps.
After taking that first recording, simply watch back over the video and break it down into individual steps. Record in on a Microsoft Word document or take notes however you'd like and determine step 1, 2, 3, 4 and any bullet points you need to remember in each section. This becomes a checklist down the road. It'll take a little while to pick up which steps are and aren't necessary but the most important thing is that you start (and that you have a recording of them being completed).
List Anything Someone Would Need To Do This Task.
The Important Ones
- Make sure that if you have tasks to do online that the person that needs to do the task has the logins for the website. The system gets broken if someone needs to ask you for the logins every time so it's crucial to store the logins somewhere securely or at least provide the specific individual with them already.If you’re doing something online and someone that needs to login on the website to be able to do the task you need to make sure you’ve got the logins there so that person can do it. The systems kind to get broken if that have to ask you for logins every time, they need that. Really crucial thing to do here maybe is to restore the login in this point or make sure this person has already the login who is doing the task.
- Always include links to the sites or programs that you need to use. Let's say you need to use Canva (an imaging tool) – if you don't provide the exact URL, the next person may go to the wrong site or have to hassle you again for information. Always include exact URLs to eliminate chances of mistakes or any hassles.
- Templates are King. For example, think of an on boarding process where your business might send a welcome email for every new client or customer. You should have a template for that email for the person assigned with the task to easily send out as part of your system. If you DON'T have a template, that in itself is something for you to work on. But if you do and you've recorded yourself doing this task, the template email you'll need is already available (but you'll need to store that too!).
What 'Finished' Looks Like.
You should always include an example of the completed task so that it's clear what the end of the system looks like. You can show the task at the end of the video, or if it's the task in the real world (such as stacking shelves), include a photo of it. This way, the next person coming in will be able to match their own finished product against the properly completed sample and correct themselves. It gives them a chance to do a bit of Q&A of 'Does this match up?' 'Why is it different?' and 'This is how I should fix it'. Instead of you later correcting them or them having to constantly ask you, you'll save plenty of time this way.
This is essentially the template of what we put these things above into and in what order. Take a Word document and what you should include first are:
- Clear Headline– clearly state what your system is
- What You Will Need – putting this first makes sure that the person doing the task will have the things they need before they get started.
- Checklist of the Steps – this can be printed off or they can have it in front of them to tick off as they go along.
- Video of it Being Done – this is the commentated video that you would've recorded earlier
- What “Finished" Looks Like– simply highlight what the finished outcome of the system is.
From experience, if you follow this method these should be a great set of instructions that will let someone get the work done quickly. They should also be less likely to veer off and make mistakes.
Storage – Google Sites.
This is the crucial storage part. You'll need to have a place to store your business' stuff so that the people who need to work can access it. My personal preference is Google Sites, which is a tool included in the Google Business Suite, though you can get it through some other options as well. It's a great tool that's as easy to use as a Word Document. It's essentially an internal website for your business, and a great place to store your systems. Another fantastic feature is that you can allow access to specific people for certain pages, or let specific team members update the system if something changes. You can also upload your video to YouTube via a private link and include that to the template page.
By this stage, you've basically completed the system but you're not quite done.
Test Your System.
Once you've completed the system, give it to someone else to do it. A couple of things to look at here are:
- Immediate feedback – you'll know straight away whether your system is good or not or what you've missed so you know how to fix it before you put it in place.
- Training up members – in general, this testing stage is a fantastic way to implement the Noah's Arc Princple and train people for the system and have more people able to do the tasks.
- Confirmation or Change – by having someone else test it out you'll be able to see if the product is the same as yours or the same as your expectations. If that's so, then great! You've confirmed the quality of your system and you can put it up. If the results weren't great, that's when you need to talk to the person and find out where it went wrong, what you need to change, and update the system accordingly. You might need to test it again until you've fixed the issue but it's a small investment for better results.
Keeping Your Systems Up To Date.
Some systems stay very stable for a long time, and others need to be updated often. For example, social media platforms like Facebook change all the time and you'll need to keep up to date and change your system to match it. What I like to do is to give permission on Google Sites to update the system to the person who's doing the system day in and day out. It becomes their responsibility to do this at least every few months or whenever they notice changes and I'll just check over it every once it a while. Getting other people in your business doing your systems, keeping them up to date, and expanding them becomes a really important asset for your business.
If you have any questions or would like a hand setting up the system in your business, let myself or the Outsourcing Angel team know. I'd be more than happy for you to contact me again, especially if you're going to be working with Outsourcing Angel because it will be helping us to help you!