Starting a new business is exciting; but it can also be hectic and at times even a bit frustrating. If you
can master five basic process management, systems and organization tools, it will make things a lot easier for you. Remember that investing time and energy into developing and maintaining sustainable business processes and systems that keep your day-to-day activities organized sets you up for success.
Start by developing your Business Operations Manual. Make a comprehensive list of your administrative and operational procedures; and then outline what is required to carry out each procedure. Include tasks and information on topics such as client intake, marketing strategy (both traditional and social media activity), networking, billing, time keeping, systems,
backup (detail on this to follow), vendors and suppliers. Ideally if you were to hand the manual to someone, he or she could select any process and carry it out from start to finish based on your documentation, so don’t leave anything out.
Once you have your systems and procedures documented, you need to formulate business documents and templates to support them. For example, contracts/agreements, invoices, and time tracking forms should be ready before you have your first client
interaction. As you take on clients, your documents should also include step-by-step guides for the support services you provide those clients. Having documented steps and templates to reference when it comes time to work on a task will ensure you don’t miss anything, which not only saves time but can help you to avoid errors.
Business resources are just as important as business documents. Create and maintain a database to track your system access, memberships, affiliate programs and passwords. Be sure to include the name of the system/organization, URL, login, password, costs and expiration date. For security reasons it is a good idea to password protect this file.
Your business documents and templates are essential for managing your business; therefore you need to ensure that you back them up regularly. The system for this does not need to be complicated – a disc with everything on it is an easy solution, but does require you to set a schedule and hold yourself accountable for getting it done. You also might want to look into
automatic backup software or cloud storage. Regardless of what solution works best for you, just remember that losing your important data means losing billable time for clients as you recreate those critical documents.
Lastly, be sure to re-visit and update your systems and processes regularly. In the beginning, quarterly reviews are recommended but once your business is up and running smoothly, yearly reviews are sufficient. Set a reminder on your calendar if you need to. With any luck you will create systems and processes from the beginning that can sustain growth and only need tweaking as your business grows.
One final thought. We all get caught up working “in” our business rather than working “on” it, but developing tools to keep your business organized will not only eliminate some of that tendency, but serve as a skill to attract new clients. Creating systems and processes that are easily repeatable and sustainable as business increases should become a top priority and a best practice.
Are you a virtual assistant needing to set up your business processes so your day-to-day operations are efficient and not overly time-consuming? The VA Resource (thevaresource.com) is where you can find Professional, Customizable, and of course Affordable business templates, documents and tools that are exactly what you need in order to dedicate your time to prospecting and managing billable client projects. The clock is ticking so don’t lose another minute!