Ready to implement systems? Process Map it first!
Systems are the the way you do what you do. It’s the step by step process that you follow to do your work, to function within your zone of genius, to make money on your core touch tasks. It’s easy to think that the newest app or piece of software will streamline what you do and how you do it, and while this systems nerd will nod her head in agreement, it’s important to know what the heck you’re streamlining in the first place.
Clients come to me from a bunch of different industries. Get organized is on their to-do list, but like all detail oriented people know, without digging into what it is that we’re getting organized there is no way to effectively implement new systems to ensure that streamlining actually happens. When it comes time to take on that superstar VA, how will you know what to delegate? How can you train your assistant to fully support you to the best of their abilities without giving them a clear guide as to what shape that support takes?
I take my clients through what I call their Process Map. We look at each of their workflows as they are right now to identify where they’re double handling tasks, where things are clunky and where they’re leaving themselves wide open to missed deadlines or big gusts of that ol’ unorganized wind etc.
To create a Process Map for yourself, follow these four steps:
1. Choose a workflow that you complete regularly.
It could be your client on-boarding process, content creation procedure, project management etc. Choose something meaty that can take a little time or passes over a few hands in the process.
2. Write out the very first step in that procedure.
If you’ve chosen your on-boarding procedure for example, how does that client find you? Via a contact form on your website? Then your first step would be: receive email from lead via contact form on website.
3. Use the “and then” method to map your process.
After your initial point of contact via that first email, how do you move through the workflow. Get intricate and detailed through this process. If you need to switch browsers during your process, that’s a step. Every email exchanged between you and your lead is a single step in itself. Continue on until you’ve completed your handover of your project or task.
4. Review your Process Map.
Follow back through your process and identify the steps where you’re repeating yourself, creating more work for yourself or potentially creating more work for a team member further down the workflow chain. Where can you automate? Implement new policies? Combine steps? Delegate?
Does it take time to run through this for every process you complete? Sure.
Will it repay you in time saved further down the track? Absolutely.
Jess May is an operations & systems consultant, working with businesses to implement systems, policies and procedures to streamline what they do and how they do it. Her favorite people to do work with? Innovative business owners making their living in beautiful places.
She lives in an introvert’s paradise surrounded by state forest and spends her days in front of her log fire with her fiancé, feeding her sheep or teaching herself how to use yet another piece of software.