One of the most common questions I get from solopreneurs is whether it makes sense to document business processes before they’re ready to hand them off.
The answer is always a resounding yes!
There are far more reasons to document business processes than simply handing them to a team member.
Document Business Processes to Reduce Decision Fatigue
One of the biggest energy sucks I find in running a business is the decision fatigue that comes from the endless micro and macro decisions we make day in and day out. When you document business processes, you’re able to reduce this dramatically because you spend some front-end time making those decisions ONCE. You can then follow the process every subsequent time rather than reinvent it each time.
This frees up energy and brain space to focus on more important things that are less able to be documented.
Let’s look at some examples!
- Creating a scheduling system where you document your work hours, call availability, etc. means you think through all these micro decisions one time rather than every single day.
- Consider a travel system if you regularly globetrot for your business! If you decide things like which airports you like or dislike, which hotel chains you prefer, when you need to book a car, and what time you like to fly in or out for trips, you can do a lot of the heavy lifting in advance of your actual travel bookings. Whether you do the booking yourself or outsource it, this type of system will serve you well when you get ready to book your next trip.
- Document your testimonial interview process so you don’t have to decide what to ask each time. You can also set up a central collection place for images and blurbs so that you don’t have to decide over and over what to do with them when they come in!
Document Business Processes To Be More Intentional
When you take the time to document business processes, it allows you to take your time and be more intentional around how you want to complete the task. When you’re constantly tackling things on the fly and in the heat of the moment, you may not always make the most strategic decisions.
But, when you document business processes you can more intentionally decide how and why you want to do things. You can also better address the potential roadblocks that may impact completing the task in real time. A process is also a changeable document so when something new pops up, you can update your documentation to make it more complete.
There’s a ton of ways you can do this in your business but I like to start with things that are directly tied to generating revenue.
So, if you work with clients a good place to start is building a lead follow up system so you can close more business. Next, tackle client onboarding so you can ensure the start of a new client relationship goes smoothly.
Similarly, building a system around invoicing can be helpful because it ensures you bill accurately and on time – and who doesn’t want that? Because cashflow, right? For more on these starter client systems, check out this post.
If you create content for your business, building systems around your creation process is absolutely worth the time you’ll invest. In nearly every business I’ve worked with, content creation is a multi-step process that involves several team members. Without the proper systems in place, getting content out consistently becomes a bit of a nightmare. Start with things like an editorial calendar and documenting the basic steps of what goes into creating and publishing your regular content. For more on this, go here.
Don’t forget about a newsletter system if you have regular email marketing in place! Having a documented system in place for your likes and dislikes around email marketing is essential to streamlining the process as discussed here.
Documenting Business Processes For Later
Even if you’re not ready to hand something off now doesn’t mean you never will be. By taking the time to document business processes now, you’re making it easier and faster to hand things off when you are ready. I’ve had so many clients and colleagues struggle to effectively use a VA because they had nothing documented in the business. This makes it stressful and slow to start passing things off when the “rules” and details are only trapped in your head.
Your future self will absolutely thank you for documenting business processes a little bit at a time so you have a solid playbook to help onboard help when you’re ready.
In this same vein, documenting business processes is building a contingency plan for later. By having them in place, you make it easier to get help should you need it due to illness, injury or some other expected issue that takes you out of the business with little to no notice. One of my very first exposures to online business was stepping in to support a friend when her family member passed away suddenly. I had zero experience in her business but because she had documented key processes in her business, I was able to keep things flowing for a short time so she could step away and be with her family.
It’s not always pleasant to think about things like this but documenting business processes allows things to carry on without your direct intervention for at least a short time. The last thing you want to worry about is getting invoices out when you’re in the midst of an unexpected event or issue.
So, as you can see, there are a variety of reasons to document business processes besides an immediate need to pass them off to someone else! What can you start documenting in your business?
Not sure where to start? Check out my Smart Systems Guide to learn all about how you can use strategic planning and smart systems to grow your business.