The following is a guest post from my friend Aaron Lynn. I have received email inquiries over the years about how systems can be implemented in companies. He is one of the best who explains this topic.
Everyone likes to talk about standard work instructions (SOPs) and systems, but it's different from the idea of having them to actually working on them.
As Charles told me:
"My readers LOVE the idea of adding systems to their companies. They know that they are their own growth bottleneck. However, there is a huge gap between knowing what systems are and being able to implement them.
Most systems thinking books are too theoretical. I wonder if we can create a framework that is so simple that people can put it into practice. "
One of my previous companies was a consulting firm with about 30 employees. They had no systems when I arrived. There was always a desire to systematize things, but they lacked the know-how and a specific process for it.
Within a few years we have systematized everything – daily operations, marketing, accounting and everything in between.
And more importantly, we have a Systematization machine for permanent creation, management and updating of SOPs and systems.
After this guide, you can do the same in your own company.
What are systems and why do they interfere?
Most companies only start with you. They are the marketing department, finance department and the person who deals with customer complaints.
As the business grows, you will experience growing pain because you cannot do everything yourself. Hiring employees is not automatically the perfect solution.
Suppose you are building an e-commerce business. You will need a customer service representative to answer emails at some point.
- The CS employee is afraid to make decisions. They constantly bother you with questions about what to do.
- The CS employee answers more than 50 emails individually each day. It takes 2.5 hours.
- You have constant sales. Every time you hire a new CS employee, you have to spend two weeks training them.
- The CS Rep knows your decision-making process. During the 4-hour week, Tim Ferriss informed his employees that they could make any decision that would cost less than $ 100.
- All of your employees know what the most common questions are. The company has created templates to speed up the process. The 2.5 hours for answering emails is one hour.
- You have constant sales. Now, however, it only takes days to train new CS employees. The previous CS employees created SOPs and screencasts that your new employee can study.
Can you see the difference that systems and SOPs can make in your company?
Think of them as steroids for your employees.
Creation of a systematization machine
As Charles mentioned, most people lack a simple framework for implementing systems and SOPs in their company.
I call this frame that Systematization machine and it looks like this:
The systematization machine
The five parts are:
- The systematization mindset.
- SOP list.
- SOP creation process.
- Fuel and maintenance.
Let us deconstruct each of these parts and see how you can implement them in your company.
1. The systematization mindset
Photo by Dollar Gill.
As with almost everything in your company, systematization begins with she.
Your mindset and attitude distort the likelihood of actually implementing systems in your company … or not.
This is 90% of the battle and the process. The rest is just technical implementation.
By sorting your way of thinking first, you switch from desired mode to implementation mode.
Make the decision to systematize
The decision to systematize your company is like any other decision. They decide to make a change and then back it up with reasonable reasons and sufficient emotional content until the change occurs.
The systematization of your company works on Your company instead of just working in your company.
It is closer than ever to a “one-off” business. You set up a system, set up an SOP, and then let your technology and team do it for you.
The easiest way to find enough reasons to move from the desired systematization to implementation is to create a list of advantages, such as:
- Always do the little technical things right – for example certain pixel sizes or file formats.
- Reduce errors.
- Increase accuracy.
- Accelerate processes.
- Eliminate unnecessary processes.
- Automate manual processes.
- Everything is going better.
- Less stress.
- More personal time.
- More money.
Recognize what is possible with systematization
If you need other reasons to support your decision to systematize, here are some from my own experience and that of customers over the years.
The first is that it only makes sense rationally. (If there is a human endeavor that requires rationality, it is your concern.) You want Better, faster, stronger business, and systems are the way to get there.
The second is that Once you've turned something into a system and created an SOP for it, you can improve it and outsource it.
The third is that you are Structure of scalability.
You read this on Charles Ngo's blog, which means you're already a marketing fan.
You have optimized your campaigns, motifs and copies and are probably working harder than a teenager trying to get their first makeup session.
You've invested hours and effort, but the ever elusive "scaling" doesn't seem to be within reach, as if an invisible cap is hindering your progress.
This invisible ceiling is the ability to scale – you simply lack the systems to make progress.
Ask yourself wherever your company is – if I put 10 times the advertising, traffic, or input into the company, would the system be able to handle it?
If not, you have to systematize.
The fourth reason is that you will be systematized have a basis for implementing new things that you learn.
I've always seen this as one of the coolest things about systems. You can learn about the amazing tools, techniques, and strategies that someone like Charles Ngo or Dan Kennedy uses … and then you can see exactly how they fit into your existing systems.
If you don't have systems, this won't work. You end up having trouble figuring out what you're doing and whether this new thing is replacing or duplicating it or otherwise.
The final reason is Systematization is fun.
OK, maybe that's just me.
However, if you implement this framework in your company, you will create a competitive advantage over time.
After we have clarified our way of thinking, everything else is just technical details and practical implementation. Let's start.
2. Your SOP list: Work out what you need to systematize and write SOPs for
Photo by Todd Quackenbush.
To systematize, we need to know what we want to systematize. We can do this by:
- Make a list of things to be systematized.
- Filter this list.
- Prioritize this list.
Make a list of things to be systematized
You can start by making your list of things to systematize start with you.
Write down all the business things you do every day of the week – everything you do on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc.
Then remove all duplicates and group your list.
Let your employees do the same.
Next one Think of all the things you do regularly to run the business that don't happen weekly. For example, monthly reports or review of the profit and loss account (P&L).
For example, you might get a daily list with:
- Check the statistics.
- Campaign optimization.
- Development work for new campaigns.
- Communicate with employees.
- Communicate with affiliate managers and partners.
And a monthly / irregular list of:
Filter your list
Once you have a list similar to the one above, you need to filter it, as not everything has to be systematized immediately.
When we create efficient systems, we usually do one of four things with it:
Remove, If you do something that you don't have to do, just stop – saving yourself time and resources.
Simplify, means that you create an SOP and then rationalize and remove redundant steps.
Automate, means that you are turning a manual process (SOP) into an automated process that is performed by software, not humans.
Delegate, means that you hand over a process (SOP) to your employees and let them do it for you.
Systematization begins with simplification. Things that can be eliminated don't have to be systematized, you just have to stop doing them.
So take your list and filter it. When you first create SOPs and systems, you focus on things that can be simplified.
Prioritize your SOP list
Now you have a filtered list of things you want to convert to SOPs.
So what do you do first?
When we think about efficiency, we want to systematize the things that cost us the most money to get our efforts going.
Your high priority SOPs are:
- The things you hate the most.
- The things that you can easily systematize (within 1 day).
- SOPs can get complex, and some of them can take days or even a week to put together.
- The things you can teach your existing team are instantly based on current skills.
- i.e. minimal time required for training.
Your medium priority SOPs are:
- Everything you need to do every day.
- So that you can speed up the execution of these daily tasks and save time.
- Everything that is regularly urgent.
Your low priority SOPS is:
- Everything that is not urgent.
- Everything that's left.
When you start creating your SOPs, you will start and clear all the highs, then the media, and then the lows.
3. Infrastructure for SOPs: apps and tools
After you are ready to systematize and know what to systematize, you need to set up a basic infrastructure.
Many business people who are not yet familiar with systems (and some who are not yet so new) make the mistake of managing everything in Word documents or Google Docs.
This is a mistake.
You must use an appropriate tool for this purpose, and this tool is a Company wiki or Knowledge management system.
And the good news is that at a basic level, all the big wikis available today are there free.
Basically, all options are the same. It's just a matter of user interface and appearance preference.
Wikis can be used for many purposes. However, this guide explains how to use them to manage our SOPs.
Record and capture apps
In addition to a wiki, you also need some recording and recording apps for screenshots, annotations and screen recordings.
You need a screen capture tool like:
You'll also need a static screenshot tool like:
- The integrated MacOS screenshot tool or Windows snipping tool.
- Cleanshot X.
After you have a wiki and some collection tools, you need to prepare a folder structure for storing your SOPs.
I recommend creating a single section on your wiki called Standard Operating Procedures.
Note: Different wikis call their top-level containers different things:
- Confluence = space.
- Tettra = category.
- GetGuru = collection.
Within this area you would like the following pages or subcategories:
- Education. This includes basic business practices and the use of certain apps.
- Organizational data. This is a place for your cultural, mission and strategic planning documents.
- Business specific areas.
Business-specific areas are well company-specific.
If you are an affiliate marketer, you may have one area per traffic source (e.g. Facebook ads or Google ads) and a reporting area.
If you are a consultant, you may have one area for advice and another for customer service.
If you are an e-commerce business, you may have one area for product design and one for compliance procedures.
4. Step-by-step SOP creation
Step 4 is the core of the process – how to actually write standard operating instructions (SOPs).
This can be daunting for anyone who is not familiar with the process, however it shouldn't be complicated.
Writing SOPs is really just about sitting down, thinking about it, and writing. You often come to the end and think "… is that it?"
And mostly it is.
A template for SOPS
Here is a template you can use:
- Title. Give your SOP a name, e.g. B. "Daily adjustments in Facebook ads".
- WHO. Specify who can run the SOP.
- What. Give a general description of the SOP with 1-2 sentences. This is for the benefit of other people who will read it.
- When. Specify whether to run daily, weekly, monthly, or based on a trigger.
- Process. Provide the numbered, sequential steps that are required to complete the process. This should include both the mindset and the actions to be taken.
- Results. Provide a checklist of things an examiner should review to ensure that the process was done correctly.
Some tips for writing the process:
- Use bullets and numbered lists.
- Use both text and screenshots with annotations.
- You can insert a video if you want, but you can also write down the steps in the text so you don't have to watch the video every time.
- Do not use audio.
- Use headings and subheadings generously.
- The link to other SOPs may be your wiki.
- If necessary, link to external training sources.
I strongly recommend creating this as a global template in your wiki system so that you can quickly select and populate your SOP.
An example SOP
Here is a sample SOP that shows you how the template works:
Processing incoming chat or phone requests.
Whoever answers the phone. This is usually a sales person.
This process describes how an incoming customer request is processed by phone or via a direct message channel (WeChat, WhatsApp, Facebook, etc.).
Whenever a prospect or customer contacts us first.
- Answer the phone / message.
- Ask how we can help you.
- Write down the details and what we can help you in short form on paper, in a notebook, on a post-it or in some other way.
- If it is a new prospect, you will receive their full name, telephone number and email address.
- Tell the prospect / customer exactly what we will do for them and what they have to do next (if any). e.g.,
- Call them back with the information.
- Follow-up in a week.
- Update their information for them.
- Record the interaction in CRM.
- If necessary, create a new prospect record.
- Create a file note for the customer record.
- Create a next action and task.
- Assign this next action and task to the person concerned
- Client record created or updated in CRM. If it wasn't written down, it didn't happen.
- Next action noted and assigned.
As you can see, creating SOPs is not complicated. Most people rethink and complicate them. All you really have to do is write them down.
Advanced: Create SOPs like a boss
Once you get the hang of creating SOPs, you can raise that level.
There are two ways to do this:
Record and assign
In the first variant, you carry out the process that you systematize yourself and record it with audio commentary.
You then assign this to an employee from whom he can listen to and write an SOP.
Train and assign
The second variant is to conduct training for the employees who carry out the process and to record it in front of the camera or by screen recording.
You then assign this to an employee and let him look at it and write an SOP of.
This is my preferred method because I am forced to think a little bit about the process before teaching, which usually leads to a better quality SOP.
I've done this a lot in my previous business – planning a training session, reading a mind map, recording the whole thing on camera, and then handing over the mind map and recording to a team member to write the SOP.
5. Fuel and maintenance
Photo by Vincent Ghilione.
How much time it takes to run your SOP list for the first time depends on the complexity of your company. It can take a few weeks, months, or even up to a year.
But when that's done and out of the way, what then?
What you have to do is too refuel and maintain Your systematization machine.
And here it is very simple:
- Repeat step 4 (SOP creation) for all new processes.
- Keep your SOP area organized.
- Let the team members update the processes with new information and explanations. This is the main mechanism for improving and streamlining your SOPs over time.
You don't have to clean your SOP area regularly unless you want to. If your team members are working properly, each wiki update will be automatically timestamped and versioned by your wiki software so you know what changes have been made.
What do you do next?
I want to end my guides with a few actionable steps that you can immediately apply to your company.
The first is actually Use the Systemization Machine – It is effective and tested and works.
The second one is closed learn from the SOPs of others. Here are some SOPs that Charles previously shared on his website:
- 10-step blueprint for profitable campaigns.
- Profitable heading formulas.
The third is closed Download my Standard Operating Procedure SOP and upload it to your wiki.
DOWNLOAD SOP TEMPLATE
This is something that I give to my consulting clients and that describes how to write an SOP. You can refer to it yourself or train your team.
And for Charles & # 39; blog readers, I'm giving it away 100% free.
The last is if you have questions about systematization, SOPs or anything else. Ask in the comments – I'll be there to answer them.
About the guest author
Aaron Lynn is a writer and thinker. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand, and writes about using systems and strategies to live a better life.
You can connect to him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Cover picture by Denys Nevozhai.