Want to create a business that can run in your sleep? With these 5, free, easy-to-use tools you can set the foundation. As I said in my last blog post, you just need to capture all the ideas that are in your head about your business and put them in a central place that is easy to access. I suggested google drive, which is completely free and showed you how to create your business folder in my last post.
So, what goes in your business folder?
Well, since you have the folder created, now you just need to upload all the information in your brain about your business and put it on paper, inside that folder. Then you will have literally put your business in a box. It sounds simple right? That’s because it is!!! But the truth is, most business owners never take the time to do this one simple thing and because of that, they are never free from their business. It makes sense doesn’t it? If all the important knowledge about your business is trapped inside of your head, the second you aren’t around your business is going to fall apart. By putting it all down on paper, you’ve instantly taken the pressure off of yourself. Now, your business is in the cloud and that’s pretty awesome!
The best ways to upload what’s in your brain into the folder are:
-Simple explainer documents
-To Do Lists
My 5 FREE Super Tools:
At my company, I like to use the following 5 tools to stay organized and document all the parts of my business. They are easy to use and best of all, they are totally free.
1) Quicktime Screen Recording
If you have a mac, then you’ll have Quicktime in your applications folder. (If you don’t have a mac, you can find PC screencast software for free online with a quick google search).
Simply open up quicktime and you can launch a screen recording:
Anytime I do a complex task for my business, I take a screen cast. I just record myself doing the task and explain out loud as I do it. I try to keep my videos under 5 minutes long, so sometimes I need to do 1 or 2 practice runs through first. It only takes a little bit of extra time, but it allows me to capture everything I do.
Once I’ve recorded the screencast, I upload the videos to youtube. You can get a free youtube account and sign in using your gmail email (the one I suggested earlier). Then, I carefully label the video, and upload it. I make sure to mark it as unlisted as shown below:
(Not the most flattering capture of my face, but like I said, this is for training, not public facing and perfection is not the goal, you are just trying to capture the information. Also notice the duration, I kept it short at under 4 minutes to make it quick to watch and reference later).
Recording videos and uploading them is great for remembering how to do difficult things but it also has hidden benefits. When you record yourself working, you’ll spot inefficiencies and notice things that are unclear. It also enables you to train others fast. In fact, I used to spend hours every time I trained a DJ just talking about the company and our history etc. Now, I have recorded all of those videos and I simply give them access when they start with our team.
Asana is a great tool for staying organized and working with a team, but I use it a little differently. If you look at the screenshot above, you can see several categories under Projects.
-Info We Need From Bob
-Great Ideas For Later
-Video Training To Make
Basically I use Asana to keep track of the training I want to make.
“Info We Need From Bob” is where I put questions team members or customers have, when the answers are trapped in my head. I then can make documents, videos and checklists explaining how to do them later.
“Great Ideas For Later” is where I write down all the big ideas I have. If you are like me, you have so many new ideas. The problem is, the more new ideas you have, the less you can systemize your business because it turns your business into a moving target. It’s better to just put the ideas down in Asana and do them later, once you’ve systemized all of the parts of your CURRENT business.
“Video Training To Make” is just a list of all the training videos I want to record and upload.
4. Printable Checklist (http://printablechecklist.org/)
This is a great site where you can turn any process into a checklist, and print it out, or save it as a PDF and put into your google drive folder. Best of all, it’s totally free. Since I like to keep things simple, I’ll often create a simple 10-step checklist instead of writing a big document. Make sure you label your checklist clearly.
I like to include the following on each of my checklists:
-Who does the task
-When it should be done (IE: 14 days before the event, or every month on the 1st)
-What the steps of the task are (in the correct order)
-What tools are used to do the task (if it’s software, list the website, username and password)
-I also try to keep the checklist down to 10 items or less.
Sometimes you may want a checklist that you can check off live, every time you do it. For that I recommend using an Asana re-usable checklist template, a google drive template, or a software tool like Process Street.
I recommend starting with printable checklist, since it’s free, very straightforward and easy to setup.
5. Google Doc SOP (Standard Operating Procedure)
The formal term for writing a how-to-guide on a specific task is called an SOP or a Standard Operating Procedure. The goal when writing these is to keep it simple. There’s nothing fancy or special about writing these.
You just answer following:
-Who does the task?
-When is it done?
-How is it done?
-Where is it done (if applicable)?
-What tools are used (and login info)
-Include any screenshots or videos of how to do it
And that’s it!
So what should you create training on?
I recommend writing training on the following:
-How to use software you use
-How to update your website
-How to do social media and other various marketing you do
-How you do sales
-How you do your financials
-How you hire
-The steps you take when performing your service
-How you handle complaints
-How you handle payments
Whoaaaa, that’s a lot of stuff, Bob!
Again, if you feel intimidated, don’t. Today, it’s enough that you are simply aware of how to capture the processes you do in your day-to-day life. In the next blog, I’ll teach you how to make a list of all the tasks you need to create training on.
Remember, I’ve run my business for nearly 10 years and we have an internal team, about 50 DJs, and it’s a large company. Plus, I am always changing things with my new ideas. If I can do it, so can you. I had about 50 things to create training on and I did it over the course of a year. That’s 1 little video, checklist or document a week, for a much larger than average wedding venue business.
If you do it too, it will change your life. The best part is, I’m going to share a lot of my procedures with you and save you the work as well.