How Shareable Is Your System?

from Lynette Chandler 

Reading over fellow IBmoms expert blogger Alice Seba’s posts, I found one particularly interesting…

How Outsourcing Can Affect Your Retirement

That certainly caught my eye. As a business owner, I love what I do and the thought of retirement only crosses my mind once in a blue moon. It is unrealistic I know for me to expect to work forever. There will come a point when I am unable to work. That’s why I’ve started putting ’systems’ in place for the last year.

In doing so, I’ve also discovered a problem with my systems. I love to write in my Word Processor. I like the thought of nicely formatted documents, neatly printed and binded where I can refer to regularly. Yes, I still do a lot of things on paper. Especially reference documents. I like them printed because it sucks having to follow directions with two open windows. But paper also means my system is not shareable.

This realization hit me hard when I had to instruct my assistant who lives only 50 miles from me. Not a short distance but far enough I cannot have her in my office everyday or even once a week. It needs to be online. Why not just PDF the document. Tried that. It only generated more work. Making the PDF and uploading is not the problem but keeping track of all the PDF’s and referring to them was beginning to be a problem. My instructions also sometimes come in video format. I could of course create a page to list all the links out but if I was going to do that why not just create the whole system online? It’ll…

  • Save me from keeping copies up to date
  • Save me from doing work twice – enter information once and everything is there to share

I tried many ways and almost built a WordPress powered staff only site just to manage all this which is not a bad idea. That may be the next one I’ll try if this one doesn’t pan out but right now, I believe a wiki will work best for me because:

  • Wikis are editable if I give users the ability to. If an assistant changes a password they can just enter it there and I or anyone else on the team can pick it up without constantly emailing each other.
  • It is easy to link to different Wiki pages
  • Wikis are pretty easy to use
  • Staff can add, update or contribute information to the wiki. I can get them to help me create the systems by documenting the work they do work for me. When they leave to pursue bigger and better things, I already have documentation in place to pass on to new recruits.

If you’re interested to try out wikis to manage and share your systems internally, here are some places you can get started.

You can also run them on your web host – I prefer not to do this because I’ll have (yet) another web site and script to manage.

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