When you’re pulled in a million different directions – business, kids, household duties – it seems like there’s no time for anything.
No time to grow the business. No time to spend with family. And certainly no time for yourself.
Listen closely. I’m going to share a secret that big companies use that will help you have more time. Documenting procedures.
Documenting procedures makes any business, big or small, as efficient as possible. With outlined procedures, you know exactly what to do, how to do it, and when to do it, which eliminates wasted time in your daily routine.
In this post, I’m going to show you seven ways that documenting procedures can make you a better mom and help you build a better business.
7 Ways Documenting Business Procedures Can Make You A Better Mom
1. Documenting Procedures Opens Your Eyes To The Unnecessary
Take a quick mental note of the businesses tasks you perform each day.
For example, you use social media to promote your business. Document the steps you take to update each of the social media sites you use.
As you document this business procedure you’ll think about the results you’re getting from each and you’ll see how much time it takes to get those results.
Let’s say you get traffic and interaction on Facebook, Pinterest and Google+, but not much from Twitter.
Each day you notice it takes you one hour to create updates on Twitter and to respond and interact with followers. You do all this, but it provides little or no value.
Take Action: Eliminate unnecessary tasks. That hour you spend on Twitter can be saved for more important businesses tasks or for a much-needed break for yourself.
2. Documenting Procedures Leads To The Discovery Of Better Processes
It’s nearly impossible to run a successful business today without being active in social media, especially for mom entrepreneurs.
In the first point we looked at how documenting your social media procedures can lead to the discovery that you may not need to be active on every social media channel.
By documenting your social media procedures you may also discover tools that allow you to handle each step in the process quicker.
Tools like Hootsuite can make your social media process much faster. It cuts down on the amount of time you spend working giving you more time to spend with family.
Take Action: Find tools to replace the work you do. Use Hootsuite as mentioned above and find other tools that can save you time. You can justify the cost by doing other tasks that allow you to make more money or by the extra time you get to spend being a mom.
3. Documenting Procedures Takes Thinking Out Of Repetitive Tasks (Saving You Time)
Each business has repetitive tasks that are vital to success. Many of these tasks can be documented with procedures in a way that eliminates thinking allowing you to do the task from memory. Doing this allows you to complete the task by following the exact procedure that is most efficient. You don’t have to think and you fly through the task without error.
Selling items on eBay has become a popular business for many people over the last ten years including mom entrepreneurs.
A vital task for selling on eBay is creating the listing title. By documenting the procedure for creating each listing title the business owner can eliminate deep thinking.
Instead of thinking, “How should I do this?” they are able to following the formula such as:
[Brand Name] [Product Name] [Product Category]
Ex: KitchenAid K45SS Stand Mixer
When you replace the thought involved in repetitive tasks with a procedure, you save yourself time and brainpower for tasks that require it.
As with many of these tasks, the time you save can be used to spend with your family. You’ll also save that brainpower so you can be fully present when spending time with your children.
Take Action: Find tasks where procedures would take thinking out of your daily routine. A task might be responding to email, creating titles for your eBay products, creating titles for blog posts or anything else that is repetitive, but doesn’t need thinking beyond creating the initial formula.
4. Documenting Procedures Makes You More Efficient
We started to mention this in the previous point when we discussed eliminating mistakes, but documenting procedures also saves you time by giving you a template for exactly how to do something.
If you’re creating blog posts each day you might be coming up with titles, writing, editing and publishing all in the same day.
By documenting each step in the process for posting a blog you can add information to the procedure that saves you time.
For example, you can include a link to your blogging calendar where you keep your list of ideas. You can also include a link to your stock photo site where you can quickly grab photos. You might even have a link to a search result for certain types of photos.
Including items like this in your procedure makes you more efficient.
By being more efficient you’ll save time so you have time to spend with family. When you add up all the efficiencies you gain with business procedures you will find that you can gain hours each day, which is a lot of time to spend with the ones you care about the most.
Take Action: Create a blogging procedure that includes links to documents, files and online resources where you can quickly come up with title ideas, research resources, photos and more. This will make you efficient at creating blog posts and once you’ve perfected the process you can move on to creating procedures for other tasks.
5. Documenting Procedures Scales Your Business
Many mom entrepreneurs start out as freelancers. This type of business often requires you to sell your time, which is a finite resource. You can raise your prices, but you can’t get more time.
Designers often sell their time to businesses. You might work for a small business that requires you to work a set number of hours each week working on email designs, website images and other items.
To set your business up to scale, you can create procedures for each of the things you do for the business and turn the deliverables into the product you sell.
Rather than giving 10 hours each week to the business you sell them 5 email designs, 5 website images and 5 social media images.
By following your procedures you can create these items at any time giving you more freedom to spend time with family for certain events.
Take Action: Selling time works fine for many freelancers, but if you’re struggling with free time you will benefit from creating procedures for each task you perform. It allows you to easily finish each task and you can start selling the deliverable instead of your time.
6. Documenting Procedures Makes It Easy For Someone To Fill In For You (More Time To Get Away with your Family)
Mom entrepreneurs often go into business to earn financial freedom so they can do things like vacation with the family.
Documenting your procedures allows you to create systems that others can perform for you. This is how businesses create systems, which is how the business makes money. When you do this you open up the opportunity to scale beyond your own capabilities freeing you up to live the life you want with your family.
You might not be ready to outsource your work full-time quite yet, but you can try it out for a week or so when you wan to go on vacation.
Documenting your procedures will allow someone else – a friend, colleague or freelancer – to take over the task in the short-term until you get back.
The designer can document her exact procedure for creating a design and sending it to the client making it easy for another person to do in the short-term.
Take Action: If you want to take some time off you can document your various business procedures including the design process to make it easy for someone to fill in for you while you are gone.
7. Documenting Procedures Allows You To Outsource
Now let’s say you are ready to outsource your key tasks.
The mom that creates emails for small businesses will document her exact design process so she can hire freelance designers to follow her email design procedure and complete the work for her.
By doing this she ensures the work is done correctly and the business scales.
Take Action: Turn your freelance business into something that can be scaled. Turn your important tasks like email design into procedures and look to outsource the work to capable people. It allows you to scale and grow beyond being a freelancer.
If you’re like other mom entrepreneurs, you are busy with your daily business tasks. Sometimes those tasks take away the time you get to spend enjoying your life as a mom.
By using the “take action” steps above, you can use business procedures to make your business more efficient, more profitable and more self-sustainable.
Do this and it will leave you with more time to spend with family, which is likely the reason you started your own business in the first place.
Have you used business procedures before? What has your experience been?
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