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The team here at Complete Online Business Management produce new processes and systems for our clients on a daily basis.  And although there’s a lot that goes into it, I thought I could share the 10 steps that I take in developing systems in no time.

For reference, you’ll want to see the process mindmap located at the bottom of this post, as it pertains to the explanations within the article below.  You can enlarge it by clicking on it.  It also provides a sense of direction in how the end vision will look.

Some people prefer a more linear version, in a list format. Which is great for planning.  However when it comes to plugging it into the software, I find it very useful to have the mindmap handy.

Step 1: Take it Slow, Focus on one Step at a Time

Although it doesn’t hurt to have a scratchpad beside you to mark down the key areas you want to accomplish in the process, there’s no reason to worry about the big picture all at once.

I open the mindmapping software I like to use.  It’s xmind.net.  I have a scratchpad in front of me with the key points I need to resolve in this process.

For the example in this mindmap I knew I had to cover these key stages:

  • sales,
  • profile submission and reminders,
  • onboarding,
  • attrition,
  • fulfillment,
  • commissions,
  • upsells,
  • accountability,
  • a monthly conversion report

Once I had my goals on a scratchpad, I started at the beginning of the process and didn’t worry about what came next – well, not until I needed to worry about it.

And most importantly, do not worry about “how” you’re going to do this, or which technology you’ll require.  This seems to always be a hangup for many of the clients I’ve consulted over the years.

Technology and “how” are not an issue at this point.  You can’t even begin to solve that question until you know what you’re doing, so scratch that from your worries right now.

Step 2: The One Big Question to Ask Yourself As You Map Things Out

Ultimately your goal is to account for all decision points of the process.  So you are going to constantly be asking yourself the big question: What If?  Simply put, “what if this step doesn’t happen – what should come next then?”

i.e. The buyer was sent a profile submission form.  When they submit it, they go into the on-boarding process.  “But what happens if they don’t submit it?”  You need to cover that decision factor in your process.

Of course this does build into added branches, and your process that you first thought would be simple is escalated into a series of further decision making points.  But without those further decision making points, you’ll be leaving holes in the process which will lead to lost resources, or worst yet, revenue.

You may feel that you’re overthinking things, and that’s good!

Step 3: Step Away & Rest the Mind

This of course holds true to more than just mindmapping and designing a process, but I have found it so useful to take breaks as needed.  Even if it’s just 5-minutes.  It rests your eyes, and it brings your mind back to focus.

It’s during these breaks where the ah-ha moment is captured.

Step 4: Close the Circles

When you run out of “what if” questions, and there’s no other decision making factors to put into consideration, you’ve closed all your circles.

Triple check them though!  After you step away and take that rest for your mind, of course.

Step 5: Determining The Relevant Technology

Okay, now it’s time to determine the technology.  If you’re one of the many who has yet to befriend technology, now would be a good time to hand this over to a professional systems programmer.

If you like to get your hands dirty (and it’s not taking you from other important revenue generating tasks), then by all means, have some fun.

The mindmap I attached above as a reference was programmed using the following technology:

  • Infusionsoft,
  • Zapier,
  • Google Spreadsheets,
  • and a task management (aka project management) platform

If you’re unfamiliar with Infusionsoft, and you really want to develop some awesome systems with automation, then you’ll want to connect with an Infusionsoft Certified Partner who can get you setup with it’s robust capabilities.  (That’s me!)

I find it nearly impossible to manage a small business without it.

Step 6: Put The Team in Place

You know what you’re doing.

You know how you’re doing it.

Now it’s time to integrate who is going to do it.

Perhaps you have an onsite team or a virtual assistant.  Or maybe you’re still in the DIY stage of your business.  It’s all good.  Just make sure you got it covered.

If you need help setting up the team, let us know, we’ll have some excellent pointers for you.

Step 7: Sleep on it!

It’s time to do the final review and ensure all circles have been closed.  Sleep on it. Your mind will thank you, and so will your business operations when you save time and plug that sexy thing in place.

Look over the process, follow it through, double-check that your circles are fully closed, and that you’ve accounted for all the “what if’s” that might be lurking in the dark corners.

Step 8: Program, Test, and Train

Especially if it’s a big system, like the one I have attached above, it’s best to test it before it goes live.  Get it programmed, and then run a test on it.  Depending on the software you’re using you can sometimes trigger certain stages of it to get the test to run very quickly.  Other times you may have to wait it out.

If you have something that has a 5-day hold within the process, and you want to run it, you can certainly go live before your testing phase has completed.  Just be sure your test is running a couple days ahead of you so you have time to fix any loose ends that you spy during the test phase.  If you’re first in the system, you’ll see everything first.

Of course, during the testing phase, is a great time to train the team members on their new, more streamlined and organized, duties.

Step 9: Launch It!

It’s programmed, it’s tested, the team is trained.

Great.

It’s time to go live!  You did it, congratulations!

Step 10: Further Review

It never hurts to put a tickler in your task system to periodically review it.  Talk to the team during the review times, and see how the system is working for them.

Did it streamline the tasks like you had hoped?

Did you miss anything?
What can you change or tweak to make it even better?

 

Trainer Processes

 

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