Pivot to Profit Week 2 Day 3: Task Organization & Systems

You are halfway through Week 2: woot woot! Hopefully this challenge is getting you pumped and ready for whatever happens next in your business.

Since this is the week of organizing, today we are going to dive into getting your business tasks organized.

 

This is something that I personally struggle with: I am definitely a more creative brain, and getting tasks organized and mapped out is something that has always been difficult for me.

 


 

There are several different names for organizing the “business” part of your business: “systems”, “SOPs” (which stands for Standard Operating Procedures), “processes”, “process documents”, “workflows” or even a “playbook”. For the purposes of this post, I’m going to use the word “systems”.

 

Now if that just made you glaze over and stare off into space...come back to me! I know that feeling...just read through this and keep it in your back pocket if you aren’t ready for it *quite* yet. 

Now if you already knew what these were, then you are way ahead of the pack my friend! It took me a LONG time to realize that all of these are just fancy ways of saying:

 

“a document that describes the steps of what you do”. 

 

That’s pretty much it.

 

So, ok, why would someone want that? Why can’t you just do your thing? After all, you are the one who runs everything...so isn’t this just busy work? 

 


 

It turns out that having set systems not only helps you to be more consistent, but it actually sets you up to be able to scale (exponentially grow) your business. While that might not be on your radar right now, it is absolutely something that could happen in the future. 

 

BELIEVE ME, you are so much better served to create your systems now than to try to go back and create them all somewhere down the road. 

 


 

I did not create my business systems when I started because I had no idea that someday I’d have a 6 figure craft business...but here I am. It’s well within your reach.

 

Now as a handmade business owner, your systems (documents) will look a little different than that of a more mainstream business. Some things that you can make systems for include:

 

  • What you pack for a show
  • How you set up your booth
  • How you package your products when you ship them out
  • Production details for how you make a product (a separate doc/process for each product, which can include a video of you making your item if it’s more efficient)
  • A wording “swipe file” with standard answers you give to frequently asked questions (a “swipe file” is a document with a collection of wording that you can quickly copy/paste into an email or other document)

 

Just the act of writing out the system can open your eyes to opportunities to save time or money. Mapping these routine business tasks out allows you to focus your attention and energy on the more creative tasks in your business, because there’s no longer any need to think about the steps involved in that particular routine task. 

 

The point is, you are creating a standard way of doing things and documenting it

 


 

Let's say that someday, your business grows and you want to hand off the clerical tasks to a virtual assistant (which is something that happens regularly...it’s not far-fetched!): you will be able to easily share your systems with your assistant and get him/her up to speed.

How do you set up your systems/process documents?

As with all of the organizational tasks we are talking about in this challenge, you will have to tweak and try different things until you find what works best for you. My best advice is that, once you find something that works, be consistent and stick with it. 

 

This means:

    1. File naming: be consistent with how you name your documents and files so that you can easily find or search for them
    2. File storage: choose one central place to store your files.
      1. Ideally, you will use an online or “cloud-based” storage system. This will allow you to access your files from any location (as opposed to storing your files on a computer hard drive or a flash drive).
      2. Google Drive is a great place to create and store documents and spreadsheets. You can create individual files, much like you would on your computer drive. The benefit of using Google Drive instead of your computer is the universal access. 
      3. Google also has a suite of document creation tools, including Google Docs and Google Sheets. Google Docs is similar to Microsoft Word, and Google Sheets is similar to Microsoft Excel.
      4. Dropbox is a great place to store images, videos, files, and documents (once they’ve been created).
    3. File sorting
      1. Decide on how you want to create and sort files. You might want to create one folder that contains all of your systems documents, one folder that contains all of your product images, one folder that contains all of your blog posts (drafted in a document), etc.
      2. Remember, digital files aren’t “stuck” once you create them: you can move things from one file to another just as you can move something from one pile to another on your desk. I have “temporary” and “in process” folders that I like to move documents in and out of as I complete projects. 

 

There is no one right way to set up your systems: only that you should create something that is useful and workable for you. 

 

This isn’t something that is meant to be overwhelming or tedious: setting up your business systems is another brick laid in the foundation of a strong, sustainable, scalable business. 


Today’s task:

Take a look at how you are currently creating and storing your online documents. Do you have any systems created already?

 

Start by creating just one system document: make it an easy one like a show packing list or an outline of how you pack your orders for shipping (spoiler alert: this will come in handy for tomorrow’s topic, production & shipping organization!). I have included a template to get you started in the challenge workbook. 

 

As you are writing it, think “if I gave this to someone who doesn’t know my business, would they be able to follow it and get the same result I get?”. 

 

If you are willing to, come on into the group and post your system (or you can email it to me if you want me to take a look!).



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