Are you like me, setting up a new business? If you are then you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed with how much you have to get on top of. And it is easy to get caught up in the more creative side of things like creating new products, designing logos. working with web designers etc. Often the administrative side of things gets forgotten and pushed to the bottom of that huge to do list.

But here are my top five reasons why you should get on top of setting up admin systems and documenting them:

One: Stop Reinventing the Wheel

Most admin tasks you are going to have to do again. For each new sale, you are going to have to issue an invoice, for each purchase you make for your business you are going to want to keep the receipt safe (the alternative being to pay too much tax because you can’t substantiate expenses) and so on. If you don’t create a template invoice for yourself then you are going to be wasting time creating a new one every time, time that could be better spent elsewhere.

Two: It will help you look professional

What if your client hasn’t paid you? You chase them up and they say they never received your invoice, could you send it again? You then spend the next couple of hours trying to track down where you saved that invoice on your computer. Again, not only a time waster but if you are following up with a client and then can’t immediately produce the invoice, it is not such a good look. And it is not just about after the sales process. Looking organised and professional is all part of the sales process. If you have systems and documents in place to respond quickly and professionally you are already ahead of the game.

Three: Getting ready to outsource

Administrative tasks are often the first tasks that people look to outsource to virtual assistants and bookkeepers.  Bringing people on board will go a lot smoother if you are able to hand over ready prepared documentation that you want them to follow. New people will still need training but well documented systems will cut down on the training time required and get people up and running much quicker – saving you money and ensuring your expectations are met. All going well it should also mean that if they stop working for you, information has been kept in a logical manner and you are able to find it quickly and easily.

Four: Complying with laws

As part of running a business you are going to have to comply with certain legislation. To comply you need to have good accurate records which really only come with good systems. Yes you can probably pull things together at tax time but once you start hiring employees they are going to expect things like payslips on a regular basis and at least here in Australia, you have a legal requirement to provide them.

Five: They won’t happen if they aren’t planned

I definitely suffer from this one. If I don’t have a regular time for doing administrative tasks, they don’t happen. There is always going to be something else that is more important (and by more important I may mean more fun).  By setting aside a regular time to do administrative tasks they are going to get done. This will also mean you aren’t in panic mode come tax time when you have to collect everything together.

The added bonus of starting while your business is simple is that the task of establishing systems won’t be so onerous.  Start doing it when you are bringing others on board and it will be more confusing and time consuming.   It will be easier to grow the systems with your staff than trying to start from scratch.

There are lots of ways to document processes. But things to think about are that different people like things presented in different ways. Some people like words, others diagrams, so if possible incorporate a mix in your processes. Checklists are often a good tool to incorporate regardless of preferences.  And if you are talking about processes that include using a computer, screenshots with instructions are a great way to explain things or get fancy and record a video!

What are your tips for documenting systems?

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