Two core components of building a business that works without you include: your project management system and your documentation management system. The project management is about managing and getting the task done. The documentation side of things is about where your standard operating procedures are stored and how they can be shared freely online and improved among your team.
Once you start to document this, online tools like systemHUB will help you build a profitable business that works without you by allowing you to start plugging other team members in behind you. Watch the video below to see how the two work together.
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We’ve set up quite a few businesses. My most recent business is Melbourne Video Production. Every time we set up a business, I get smarter and smarter. I take all of the learning that I’ve got from all the other businesses and I apply it to the new one. This is probably one of the first businesses that I’ve been involved in that works largely without me. It’s built off that systems methodology and that systems mindset.
With the SEO business, I still get pulled into it. I get on tools because it is a constantly changing industry. I’m the face of the company. However, for Melbourne Video Production, we have the processes and procedures nailed. Hopefully that gets you a bit excited about systems. There are one or two of you sitting on the edge of your seat, I can tell. It’s very exciting.
I want to talk now about how you can take some of these concepts and how do you actually implement it into your business? I think there are two main components. There is project management and also documentation. Some people try to get the two together. It’s not so much about what tools you use. It does’nt really matter what tool you use, as long as you have something in place for each of these core components.
We use Asana, our project management tool. We used to use Basecamp. I know Mike, Steve and Charles swear by Podio, and there are all these other tools available. It does’nt really matter what project management tool you’ve got, as long as you have something in place. The second component is the documentation side of things. They serve different functions.
The project management is about managing and getting the task done. The documentation side of things is about where your standard operating procedures are stored. It is how they can be shared freely and improved among your team.
Initially we used Dropbox. That can be a great place to start and store it all, it’s centrally located. That’s where we got started. This is a snap shot, opening the kimono, showing you what it looks like behind the scenes.
This is inside our Asana. On the left hand side, are all the products and services in our business. These are master templates. We have all the products and services that we sell there. Anytime we make a sale, one of the team will go ahead and duplicate one of these tasks. On the right hand side, which you can see over here, are the steps involved in getting that project completed.
It doesn’t go into painstaking detail exactly how it is done, but rather the steps involved in getting it done. That way, it can be assigned to a team member. You can set a due date. You can have a bit of a water flow effect as well. One member does the task and then part of them finishing the task is to then assign the next task to the next person. That’s how it starts to happen a little bit more hands off from you.
Up the top there, in these master projects, that is where we link across to our documentation. We use a system called systemHUB which I’ll tell you a little bit more about. Whether that is Dropbox or whatever within those projects, it doesn’t really matter. That way, when you’ve got a new team member coming on board, they know where to go to get further information. If they’ve got questions, they can ask team members. That’s what it looks like.
We’ve done this for all aspects in our business. It’s not just about the services we sell, but also hiring staff, as Troy talked about. We use it for things like staff on boarding as well. You want to try to document all of the processes and procedures inside your business.
Then we’ve got the documentation side of things. For the documentation, we used to use Dropbox. This is what Dropbox looks like. You’ll notice on the left hand side are directories that link back to those products and services that we sell. On the right hand side you can see what is in those directories. There is the video process, different email templates, supporting documents and so on.
Just like a pilot has his check list of what needs to be done, everything is laid out here.
This is useful for a new team member, or someone who has been with us for a while. A team member can come in if they’re not quite sure and they’ll drill down and get very specific steps on how they can complete a particular task.
We’ve been working at this for quite some time. When you do get this, this does become the business utopia. That is particularly for the start up entrepreneur, the person who is doing everything within the business. Once you start to document this, it’s very easy to start plugging other team members in behind you. This is the way you build a profitable business that works without you. That should be your goal as a business owner. Is this making good sense?
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Awesome, this is exciting stuff, I need to do more documenting! I currently use screen mailer to record my screen then my assistant documents it. We don’t have any particularly good system for organising then resulting process though.
With the screenshots, any chance of a readable version? An example of how you lay out the process steps would be really good 🙂
Nice… thanks Simon!
Did you see the system for creating systems? That’ll have a readable version of one of our systems in the PDF download. I’m thinking that might be a good place to start for you!