Documenting your business systems seems like a daunting task. YOU know what you need to do to get something done, and so far its been working really well. Systems can seem rigid, lacking the flexibility that your clients have come to expect and enjoy. But systems don't need to be strict and rigid.

Documenting the processes that keep your business running accomplishes several goals:

1. It's a basis for training new team members

2. A good set of systems can help reduce the risk of error

3. It can be a way to review the steps, hence creating timelines and assigning tasks, that make up your individual business goals

4. It identifies opportunities for delegation

5. It allows you to step away from aspects of the business (think vacation, or just an afternoon off), and get out of the weeds

Let me share a story of a client of ours, who provided weekly online live training to its membership base, with alternating weekly speakers.

1. One team member would work with the speakers to coordinate content and scheduling. Some speakers needed to be invoiced, and some were given complimentary opportunities. This created two streams of paid/free content for the members.

2. For the paying speakers, an invoice had to be generated, and payment received before the webinar training was announced. So time needed to be built into planning to allow enough time to promote the session and receive payment.

3. For each weekly webinar,

a. The opportunity is posted to a shared calendar for the membership base

b. A separate announcement is made to the community forum

c. An email is sent out the day of the presentation as a reminder

d. An email is sent out in an "education digest" email blast weekly

Additionally,

a. The webinar content needed to be approved

b. The speakers need to be prepped and provided with a base slide deck as an outline

c. A moderator for the webinar needs to be arranged

d. Advance questions and/or leading questions need to be collected and provided to the session moderator

e. Webinar sessions need to be recorded and posted to the community forum within 24 hours with any additional materials relevant to the presentation.

Quite a process!

If any one of these steps is missed, it can impact the success of the session. To safeguard the process, we implemented:

Milestone tracking in our team calendar to keep everyone reminded of their upcoming tasks
Templates for the slide decks, as well as the email blasts.
We let everyone "own" their task, providing regular feedback on how the process can be improved.

We have now successfully run this program for ten years, with approximately 450 webinars. The process works, and documenting it allowed us to change team members over the years without sacrificing the program.
It became seamless. Yes, there were bumps in the road as processes were refined, we accepted that this would be part of it. Processes work. And they work much better when everyone knows what they are, their role within them, and how each step connects to the big picture.

By Peggy Murrah, Founder of PMA Web Services

Author's Bio: 

Peggy Murrah is a unique combination of web and marketing savvy, along with dependability and resourcefulness. These qualities have been instrumental in her building a successful business that serves clientele across five continents. PMA Web Services provides marketing direction and strategies for entrepreneurs through mentoring, social media marketing, list building and management, and development/maintenance of their online presence.