Cheat Sheet:
How To Eliminate Chaos in Your Business Using Systems

Posted on Mar 12, 2012 - 10:27 AM PST


Written by Chiara Fucarino, based on Mixergy’s interview with Kelly Azevedo.

After her client discovered that her company was thrown into chaos whenever an employee left, Kelly Azevedo coached her into documenting everything and keeping her business running smoothly no matter what. It was all done by creating simple systems to delegate more work, so we invited her to teach you how to do it.

Kelly is a systems engineer who helps entrepreneurs grow their businesses by improving their business operations.

Here are the actionable highlights from the interview.

1. Define your goal

Benefit
Setting a goal will help you figure out where to start.
How
Identify your goal, then figure out which tasks need to be delegated or documented to achieve it.
Example
Kelly’s client wanted his business to run without him while he traveled for a few months, so she helped him create systems to delegate the tasks he used to do while on vacation.


2. Document your tasks

Benefit
If you give your employees detailed instructions, they will complete the task exactly the way you want them to, and free you from having to do it yourself.
How
List all the jobs you do on a regular basis, create specific step-by-step instructions for each one, and include screenshots if necessary.
Example
Kelly had a client who documented how to create a blog post by specifying where to place the photo, which tags to use, and how to schedule the post.


3. Review instructions with employees

Benefit
By having your employees point out confusing steps, you will be able to fine-tune the instructions to prevent future errors.
How
Sit down with them, go over the instructions, take note of any questions they may have about the process, and respond by filling in the gaps with more detailed steps.
Example
By asking one of her clients why she hadn’t received any of their emails, Kelly helped them realize that they had overlooked the small step of telling her about her new email account.


4. Identify and correct problems

Benefit
If you document workarounds for the obstacles your employees run into, you won’t have to deal with that problem ever again.
How
Listen to any complaints your employees may have about the process, fix the problem, and revise the documentation to include the new and improved method.
Example
One of Kelly’s team members found a solution for a coworker who had trouble logging into multiple Gmail accounts at once, and Kelly used the opportunity to update the instructions in case a future employee ran into the same situation.


5. Outsource jobs where appropriate

Benefit
You will have more time to focus on your key responsibilities if you delegate the tasks that don’t require your involvement.
How
Identify the tasks that can be outsourced, and appoint a team member to take over or hire an outside company if necessary.
Example
One of Kelly’s clients had all the employees clean the office instead of hiring a cleaning company, and as a result, the employees were distracted and couldn’t focus on the core business.


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6. Measure and review regularly

Benefit
If you measure the quantity and quality of your team’s output, you can relax when you’re hitting your metrics, and step it up when you’re not.
How
Create a spreadsheet that lists each task along with its due date and the person responsible for it, then use it to record whether or not a task has been carried out effectively.
Example
Kelly says that by using this tactic, you will be able to avoid a mistake made by one of her clients, whose business suffered because he neglected to monitor his team’s progress before going on a vacation.


7. Expand the team

Benefit
Once you have a system that works, you can hire more people to run your system and hit new stretch goals.
How
With a successful system in place, hire more people and delegate accordingly or tweak your system to increase the cash flow.
Example
One of Kelly’s clients had a very successful launch because he hired an affiliate manager to handle the company’s online presence while he focused solely on serving his clients.


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