Systemizing Your Operations for Fun and Profit

Being one of the early “virtual companies” starting in the 1980s, I had to figure out a new way to do a business selling products made just for us, after out-sourcing all aspects of business except our core competencies (marketing and product development).

One effective tool was to systemize all of the tasks for running the company on a day-to-day basis, an Operations Manual documenting each as if we were going to franchise the business. How to do each task step-by-step, how long it takes, what it looks like when completed successfully, etc. Once that was done, we had binders full.

That made it easy to train new employees, and to cross-train existing staff. Employees liked it because they knew exactly what was expected of them, and knew exactly how to do their job which reduced anxiety and improved performance. Every single task was included, such as how to take voice mails, prepare an invoice, pay bills, make a deposit, reconcile inventory, etc.

As part of that, we delineated who did which tasks, that’s this image. Everybody knew who did what, there was no confusion. That also helped reduce anxiety, and as a result we had a very low turnover.

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