Terminology of Systemization is tough to navigate because people mistakenly use words for multiple definitions, especially “process” and “procedure”.
Often when I’m talking about writing your processes people come back with, “YES! I totally need to get my SOPs together!” (Standard Operating Procedures)
And while I’m grateful they think that, considering a process the same as a procedure adds so much to what a process really is that it causes anxiety, stress, and overwhelm.
Term sounds similar, but is totally different
That’s because a Procedure includes all the details on HOW to complete a task. The intricate steps involved with getting something done. And, yes, eventually this is something a business needs to think about (but NOT for everything), but it is NOT the first thing to complete.
Your business needs to know WHAT it’s doing FIRST! And that’s where Processes fit in. They are the step between chaos and ultimate automation.
A process is a high level look at what tasks are to be completed to achieve a particular outcome.
Terminology determines the level of detail
Think about it as a tiered way of looking at your business. You start at the 100,000-foot level, getting a clear picture of the path your customers find, engage, and join your world.
Then you step down to the 50,000-foot level into looking at what it takes to have your customers move through that process, starting with a particular product. Defining what departments in your business take care of those steps:
- Marketing finds your potential customers
- Sales engages those potential customers
- Finance deals with money exchange
- Customer Service helps to onboard and deliver the product or service
Then you’re able to move down to the 25,000-foot level and look at what are the main tasks each department does. And then down to the 10,000-foot level of what the teams within each department does
Each level of documentation is needed in order to create a full overview of your business. And each level of documentation creates more clarity than the level before.
Eventually, after getting these initial tiers completed, you hit the ground level in which you will find that certain tasks require a procedure…that in depth, step by step, click by click instruction needed to complete the task.
I was recently explaining this concept to someone, and I used the analogy of looking at the earth from space (process).
When you look at the earth from space, you see a round sphere with continents. You then make a decision to look at one specific continent…let’s say South America, so you zoom into that continent (your product). That’s when you see that each continent is made up of different countries (or departments).
Then you start looking at how each country works with the other countries to make the adventure fun and interesting (attracting and engaging new clients, making the offer, and delivering).
Could you go more granular (procedure)? Sure! But you don’t want to start at the house level and move your way out to the neighborhood, city, county, state/province, etc.
Whether you have a team surrounding you or you are the solopreneur doing it all yourself, documenting your processes and systemizing your business is key to growing your business to a level that will sustain you and provide the lifestyle you dreamed of when you started on the great adventure called owning your own business!
If you’re ready to take that first step towards systemizing your business, download the 3 Easy Steps to Identify Your First Process and learn how to start on that 100,000-foot view of your business!