Documenting Your Systems Easily

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Documenting systems used to be very difficult and time consuming.One of the key system documents I produced for my business is called “The Life of a Tax Return.”  This is a seven-page MS Word document outlining the various steps we follow to prepare a tax return.  It was time-consuming to put together and would be difficult to change.

That is why very few businesses actually document the key components of their business.

But the decreasing costs of technology and the improvements to the Internet have made it so much easier to document your systems.  Here are some ideas to get started:

  1. I use Snagit 11 to document any steps that occur on the computer.  It’s an easy-to-use and a relatively inexpensive screen capture program.  It downloads for $48.95.  I have also used Jing, which can be downloaded free, but you are limited to videos of five minutes or less.
  2. Get a low-cost video camera with HD video capability.  You can get a good quality one for around $200.  Use it to record the manual parts of your systems, such as how you want your product packed for shipping, how to assemble a product, or any other processes that don’t require a computer.
  3. Store your videos locally on your computer or on YouTube.  Don’t forget that you can set privacy settings for each video to Public, Unlisted, or Private in order to control who sees them.
  4. As your company grows and your systems become more complex, you may even want to invest in a program to host your systems.

Watch the screen capture below for an example of each of these tools.