We’ve made a relatively recent shift in our service to focus entirely on business processing and executing “ongoing work” – that is, tasks that are scheduled, repeated, and don’t require a ton of input from our clients. It was a scary move, to say the least, because so much of what we’ve done in the past has been one-off projects…
But to really pin down what’s best for our clients AND our employees, it seemed like the right thing to do.
The major factor here is repetition… A while back, we wrote about the wrong way to work with a VA, that delegating work isn’t enough. Clients have to delegate responsibility if they really want to make the most out of a Virtual Assistant, and this newly minted “ongoing” model is a way of prompting clients to do just that.
See, the whole point is to save our clients time and effort (and by doing so, hopefully help them earn more money – since they can use their time more effectively) – but a loosely defined, one-time task doesn’t do that. While it might save a little bit of time in actual “boots on the ground” work like research, editing, copy writing, etc., it still needs a ton of involvement from the client. We may need guidance, we may have questions during the process, there might be feedback and changes necessary, and so on…
With business processing, there’s still some setup time and potential for questions, but once it’s set – IT’S SET. It becomes a fully delegated responsibility that our clients can trust us to execute time and time again.
As part of this shift to business processing, we created a new role within our company, as well as a new model of laying out instructions for the tasks we complete. We call it BPS – Business Processing Service (or Specialist, for the employee) – and it’s all about fine detailed, explicit instructions for whatever repeatable, ongoing task we’ve taken on.
We keep a thorough business process in our project management system for each and every ongoing task we do, complete with step-by-step instructions from start to finish, the deliverable product, screenshots of software (if necessary), and even potential snags to watch out for. It’s sometimes a painstaking level of detail, but it’s all worth it.
If something about the task changes, we update the process. If a step gets added, we update the process. If an employee discovers a more efficient way to complete the task, finds a new issue, gains new insight, notices a fine detail… We update the process.
These documents outline every single thing needed to complete a given task, and that means that even if we’re short staffed, someone’s out, or unforeseen circumstances arise, anyone in our office can review the process and complete the task at hand.
For the clients who hire us, the Business Processing Service adds a layer of assurance, preventing the success of any one task hinging on the presence of a particular employee. It also brings the idea of “hands off” delegation to another level. If a task is done properly, closely following the process we’ve created, our clients can rest easy that it will be completed in the same way each and every time.
This is truly “set it and forget it” for our clients, especially for the tasks that don’t require any input or action on their end. We get everything clearly organized at the beginning, and once we’re rolling, you don’t have to give the task as much as second though – and that means being able to spend your time and energy on the areas of the business that do require constant attention.
It’s a way of working smarter, not harder. This is our way of tightening the ship for everyone involved. It clarifies expectations, it leads to consistency, and has tangible benefits for both our clients and staff… A true win/win for all of us!