What is a workflow?
A workflow simply refers to the sequence of steps which take a job from start to completion. Take for example invoicing a client. Under the heading “invoicing” you might have a series of smaller tasks e.g. Check the amount owning – create an invoice – Send to the client – set follow up reminder. That, in a nutshell, is a workflow. In every business you will have lots of these which you probably do without even really thinking about them. This worksheet is going to give you a framework to record those workflows and get them out of your head. Now let me explain why I think it’s vital that you do this for your business ……
Why should I document my business processes?
OK I admit it might not seem like the most exciting thing you will do for your business this week, but documenting your workflows is a vital step in the process of growing your business and taking it to the next level. There are 3 great reasons why it’s important to get all your business processes out of your head and down on to paper:
1) Identifying inefficient processes – documenting your workflows will force you to take a step back and look objectively at your processes. Taking the birds eye view will help you to identify areas where you can employ technology to automate elements or even entire workflows.
2) Outsourcing is easier – getting your processes down on paper will help you to identify parts of your work which can be outsourced. It will also make the process of outsourcing easier and smoother. Often business owners don’t outsource until they are at capacity. At that point bringing someone in to help might feel like more trouble than it’s worth so they power through and burn themselves out. If you have your workflows documented in advance you have the basis of a training document already. Clear communication between you and the person you are outsourcing to builds trust. Everyone will know exactly what is required of them.
3) Your business is safer – Have you ever considered what would happen if you were unable to run your business for a period due to an illness or some other unforeseen event? If you have documented workflows it will be much easier for someone who is not you to step in and hold the fort while you are away.
It’s always good too, to reduce the number of things you need to remember. Having a written record of your processes reduces the amount of things you need to keep in your head. Say goodbye to wasting time figuring out how you did it last time – it’s all documented.
Boring? Perhaps. But necessary? Absolutely.
Getting a clear picture of what can be automated and what should be outsourced is something that I know a lot of business owners struggle to do on their own. I’ve created this worksheet to give you a framework to get started. I hope you find it helpful.
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