Episode # 106 - Having My Systems Tested
If you’ve been around here for a minute, you’ll know I love to talk about systems and having things run well. It’s been our focus over the last 6½ years as we help small businesses get organized and run better.
Throughout that time I’ve been a broken record that you need good systems to run things well. Maybe over the last few years you’ve wondered if it’s true. So I wanted to share two stories of how I had my systems tested just to show you that yes, it works.
Welcome to the Get Your Act Together podcast. I'm your host, Kelly Reynolds. And if you've been around here for more than a minute, you will know that one of my favorite things to talk about is systems, systems operations, and making sure that things run well. It has been our focus at Reynolds OBM for the last six and a half years, to help small businesses run their businesses better. And that is manifested in a couple of different ways. Over the years, things have changed, we started out, it was just me by myself as a virtual assistant, using kind of the Wall Street corporate skills that I had coming here and doing it for myself. And then moving on over the years, like through different iterations being an OBM and a director of operations. And then all the way to the other kind of the other end of the spectrum, I think, is like coaching other people on how to grow their small businesses, how to build their agencies. So there have been different ways that I've done things. But the message has been clear. I've been talking systems and operations the entire time, because it's what I love, I mean, total Ops nerd here. And throughout all of this time, I, you may have thought I was a broken record, that just talking over and over again about how good systems are essential to running your business well. And maybe over the last few years, you have been listening to me say this over and over again, drilling this into your head. And you have wondered if this is true? Like, is she right? Do you really need systems? Do you really need them to run your business better? And I will emphatically say, Yes, you do. So I wanted to share two different stories today with you about how systems were completely crucial to a major life business change. These are examples of me and my clients working together to make their businesses run better. So first, we have the story of when my team member left they, I have a team, they deal directly with my clients their client facing. And in this case, one person was handling one client. It was an old client of mine that I handed off to my team, they ran the account, and they were leaving. Very nice. Like they gave notice and prepared and all of that kind of stuff. But all of a sudden, this person that have been doing all this work up until now was leaving. And at this point, we were running very lean for a number of reasons. But there wasn't a lot of given the system with anyone else. So I was going to just take on the work for a little while until I figured out like where I was going to rearrange things or how I was going to do it. It's a long story about why but that was a decision I made on purpose that I was going to take on this work. And it'd been my client a long time ago. But what I can tell you is I had not done that work in a very long time. And I was actually really nervous that I was gonna mess it up. Because up until now the person who was on my team, the VA had been doing a fantastic job. And I didn't want to take over this client work, even if it was for the short term and mess it all up. One that's just embarrassing. But too, I'd also just don't want to give my client any bad service, right? I want to make sure everything was working for him. So she gave notice. And then there was like a due date, right? Like, this will be my last day. And then the next day I was going to take over and she was going to be on. And that was one of the first times where I was like brought to the mat. Okay, is this gonna work? You've been preaching these systems for forever? Is this going to work? And I woke up that morning, knowing full well that everything was documented. Everything was there's an SOP, or a video or a dashboard or a link, or this, everything was organized. And it had been it wasn't like a big cram, like she gave us you know, some notice. And then she left. And like had before, you know, she wasn't cramming all this stuff in like, Oh, I've got to make 1000 videos before I leave. This had been going on this whole time, especially since this was right in the beginning of COVID. So we were extra extra vigilant that God forbid anybody got sick and was going to be you know, out for a couple weeks. We needed to make sure that someone else could come in to pick it up. So I woke up that morning. And I was super nervous in a nerd way because I totally could handle this but at the same time like you just haven't done it in a while you get nervous. And the systems were tested. He the client needed a whole bunch of things. And I couldn't remember how to do any of it. So I had to go into the systems. I had to look at the SOPs, I have to look at the checklist the find the dashboard, what's the link to this? Where do we go from here? And it was all there. And it was like one of those things where, I mean, I had been doing this work a long time ago. So most of it was a refresher, I had to go in and be like, Okay, how do I do this? Again? What are all the steps? I don't want to forget anything. We'd go in there. And I looked at the checklist, so the SOP, and I did the work. And he didn't notice any problems. There was no problems, it was a smooth, super-smooth transition. So I had my systems tested the way that we have been creating them all along, they were tested really hard, really hard. And then that was that they were they were great. Everything worked. So if I had not had those systems, one, I would have no idea what's going on, I would have panicked because I would want to know what's going on. So then I would have panic that we had to prepare, and what would have gotten, you know, lockdown mode or something. But instead, we have been creating these systems all along. So there wasn't, you know, 75 hours worth of work to do before a transition. There also wasn't like, god forbid it, like this was a pleasant transition, right, she gave us notice. And she moved on to great things. But what if instead, she had gotten sick, or had gotten to a car accident, there wouldn't have been that chance to have 75 hours worth of work to prep or cram in, like, you would have just had to do it today. So keeping those systems up all along is that's when it's important, when you don't know you're going to need them. And I was super proud of us was super proud of us in the team to be able to have that kind of continuity without the client even noticing. So the second one is a little more complicated. If you guys have listened to Episode 87, the wrecking ball, I told you the story about my biggest long term client, and about how they told me in May, that they were selling their business. I thought I was gonna this really nice, easy summer. And right before Memorial Day, I got notice like, hey, so your life's gonna go into crazy crazy overdrive for a couple of months. Actually, I thought it was gonna be like six weeks. It was not. It is November, and it's still, it's still not all the way calm down. So they were selling their business and other company was coming in to buy them. And that process, you have to go through due diligence, which is basically the other people asking a billion questions to see if see what's going on the business, see what kind of things are walking into what kind of problems they may be having. And it is long, long list of questions. There's an enormous amount of requirements. And we had 45 days due diligence to get them everything they needed to say, yes, we're gonna buy this, here's the money. So we had, I don't know how many systems testing, I was trying to like, be think of this before I started to record this. And I tried to think of all the different systems we had tested, but it was just like, everything, everything was tested. So when you go through that process, a lawyer sends over a list of questions, and you answer that, and then there's another list, and then there's a spreadsheet. And then there's this. So they wanted everything. Policies, what's the PTO policy, there's there about 100 employees in this company? What is the PTO policy? What? When do you pay payroll? Like all the little things I had to ask every single question. They needed financials, we handle the HR and financial side of things, the operation side of it, we didn't do any of the hiring, but where all the files were all the links to things, how do you do things. So we had to make copies of HR folders for everyone that's ever worked there. Everyone who's ever worked there, and they wanted specific things in there. So we couldn't just copy whatever we had, they only wanted specific things in those folders, little things, little things to be able to say, Okay, we know where all that is. We can pull all that. Yeah, it's going to take us a ton of time to make a copy and put it in there and track it because we had to have a tracking system so that we knew what we made copies of and what we hadn't. And we created those instantly. My team was fantastic. They knew exactly how to do that. And get it all done. folders were made copies, lots and lots of copies were made, the financials, the links to everything, you know, all of the information that they wanted, we had, it took us a while to like, make a copy and make folders and hand it over and all that but like we knew where it all was. We know how to get it all. We knew how to organize it all. And it was already which super proud of super proud of because in that case we had 45 days to give them everything. And if we hadn't been at least partly ready if our folders hadn't been right. If our documentation hadn't been right, that would have been a pure disaster, disaster. And then the second part of this is, well, now they bought the company, this was July. Now they want to transition, you know, to take it over. So that has been transitioning not only the employees over to the new company, but also transitioning us out, we are contractors there, and they are bringing everything in house. So we've not only had to like, you know, get a new email address and have a migration with Gmail, but also teach how to do everything we do and move it into the in house. Where is everything? And that seems really easy until you get to questions of like, What day do you have to pay payroll? What day? Do you have to move money? Over? What day? Do you have to do this? What do you have to process 401k, so that the government doesn't yell you. Because they do that? The government really likes 401k, to be honest, is just a really specific schedule. So all of these things that we had to transition over, we already had a ton a ton in place. We have dashboards, I've talked about this in the podcast before, this is a huge part of like, what we do here, this operating system that we create in businesses is this dashboard, this hub with all of his information in it so that you can go there first and find out where everything is. There were SOPs, there were videos, there were tracking sheets, there were guidelines, there were all these things that when someone had a question about how, whatever the 401k was run, I could send them a sheet that we had created with all the facts that they might need right on there, that we created that three years ago, because I can never remember what the matching was on something. So a lot of these documents we created just for us to be able to run things better. But when someone else came in to buy the business, that information was already made, it was already there, it was already prepped. So when we want to train someone, or we wanted to, you know, transition us out of there, we could hand them this dashboard and say, Here you go, here's a whole bunch of stuff. Now, of course, they're gonna want to know different things, or there may have been something that we didn't think we had, you know, teach anyone because it was an internal thing, but I guess we do, so we can make another video for it. But when you're there, and you're making a video or a couple of the SOPs, but everything else is created, it's just like, adding on a little thing here, there. It is way easier, way easier, because most of that is already been done. Most of it has already been taken care of, you're not having to start from scratch. And I will say if you wanted to sell your business, and you had to start from scratch, I have no idea how you would do it. Like if you had nothing written down and you're like here, I want to sell my business. One, the new company, they don't want to take on a business that isn't documented, because they don't want to buy what's in people's heads. They want to buy a business that's repeatable, and runnable. Even if those people leave, even if the old people leave, they are still buying a business, they want to know how it runs. So having all that information is super important. Okay. And starting from scratch, when you think that you're going to need something, you're already you're already behind. It takes forever, it can really take a long time, especially if you're doing it in house when and if you have time. Or if you have no system to create the systems, which is you know, really important, where does it all live, all that kind of stuff. And it can take a while to get things to actually just documented, you know, collating that's a word anymore. But gathering all this information together, like not even just to sell your business, like even if you just want to get out of the day to day running of your business, so your ops person could do it, you've gotten to a place where you're like, Oh, I hired an ops person. And now I'd like them to help me and I need that stuff out of my head, so that they can help. Or you just want to go on vacation. You want to go on vacation for a week, maybe two, and you do not want to get yelled at by your spouse once again for being your laptop and working the whole time. That could be it like maybe you want to sell your business, or maybe you just want to go on vacation. So having these systems in place, when you having them already in place when you need them is going to be huge. And I know that I know that the idea of this is overwhelming to a lot of people, especially at the burden of on like the team's time. If you have a team trying to write out SOPs, it seems like alright, we'll get to it. I'll get to it. We'll get to it someday. But like I'm saying, These are the times we're Like, Oh, someone quit, I've two weeks or someone's got into a car accident, I have no time, or I want to sell my business and I need everything documented today need to get that started ahead of time. And it can really, it can be really hard, especially when your team is already stretched. And you are trying to get all that kind of stuff done. And you don't have the bandwidth to bog down the entire team. Get all that stuff out of their head. But it is important to keep your business going. When someone gets sick when someone needs to leave, get out of the day to day chaos, or sell your business eventually. So if that seems like a lot, Well, number one totally. Especially to people who are not ops nerds, like I love this, like I have said before, I love writing SOPs like I'm that weird person who like gets excited to like, make a whole pretty spreadsheet for it. But I know a lot of people out there are not weird like me, and they don't like that. So if this is a thing that you you understand is a really important thing for your business. But you don't see the bandwidth, or you just do not want to do it, then reach out to us, we can help you. Systems are totally our jam. And we can help without taking you out of the out of your business. Because you probably have really good things to do that are not writing SOPs, and I think your team probably does too. So we can help you without bogging down your team and taking all your time. So if that's something you need, reach out to us go to Reynolds opm.com. Schedule a call. And yeah, you need systems. Trust me. We've been tested. These are just two examples of being tested with systems but I thought they were good examples of clear things that all of a sudden you need everything done and be good to have them done. All right. I'll see you next week. Thank you so much for joining me this week. 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