One of the most common complaints I receive from small business owners who outsource work is related to the amount of time it takes to get the new contractor on-board with how the small business owner wants things done. The reality is that there is definitely some lag time that takes place when hiring someone new. Hopefully, the newly contracted help will eventually get up to speed if they possess the skills and experience necessary to complete the task but even still, there is a time investment you, as the business owner, will need to take in order to make that happen.
You can cut down on the time needed to indoctrinate your new contractor by providing them with detailed instructions. Ignoring this step is almost a guarantee for undesirable results in the quality of work produced by your hire.
I know, you want to save time… and how are you saving time by spending it creating detailed instructions? The answer is you’re saving time by taking time in the beginning to avoid confusion and wasting time during the project and at the end when it needs to be redone or constantly revised because it’s not what you want. Contractors, freelancers and employees are not mind readers and will not know what you want unless you tell them — that’s the bottom line.
If you take the time in the beginning to lay out clear instructions, you can use those same instructions over and over again. No need to re-create… that equals time saved. 🙂
But what about when aspects of the job change?
Simple… You just revise the instructions where needed. For example, if you have a blogging guide for your writers, you can give the same guide to each writer. There’s no need to make unique instructions for each job. Whenever someone you hires asks a question about how to perform a specific task, keep a log of it and the answer to provide for future use.
Here are the things you need for your instruction sheet:
The Purpose of the Job
Your instruction sheet should include the purpose of the job you are hiring for and how it fits into the big picture. Don’t give them all of the intricate details and strategy of your business. Do give them what they need to know to complete their job and a basic understanding of the part they play in the scheme of things. This section should be a brief, short overview.
Your step-by-step instructions should be extremely detailed. Try to anticipate any question your hire might ask and make sure it’s answered. As you write the instructions, imagine that they know nothing at all about the job. It’s better for the instructions to be too detailed than to leave something out. The more specific and detailed you are, the better results and quality you will receive.
You should include a troubleshooting guide for complex tasks. Start by listing the potential problems, the possible causes and the solutions. This will be helpful to you because if your hire runs into a problem, they can first refer to the troubleshooting guide before bothering you.
Samples are always best, especially if the project involves creative work. This allows your hire to get an idea of what you want as opposed to spending too much time guessing. For a web design job, include a few links or screenshots of sites you like. Provide writing samples for writers so they can get an idea of the tone they need to shoot for. These samples help them stay on track with what you want.
If possible, create videos and take screenshots of the the task so that they can visually see how they should complete it and the steps they need to take.
A Work in Progress
Your instruction sheet should be looked at as a work in progress. As you progress along, you should be revising it, adding to it and omitting things are are unnecessary or confusing. Audit your instruction sheets on a regular basis to make sure the instructions are still valid and that nothing has changed.
If you follow these steps, you will be well on your way to having a successful and productive outsourcing experience. If you need help hiring members of your team or have questions regarding outsourcing, set up a discovery call today ⇒ https://calendly.com/tiffanymichelleco/freeconsultation.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tiffany Michelle Patterson is an Online Business Manager and the Founder of Tiffany Michelle & Co., a business support service that provides consulting and implementation of administrative and marketing solutions to small businesses with BIG ideas. Prior to her role at Tiffany Michelle & Co., Tiffany provided administrative support to attorneys and executives in law firms and fortune 500 companies for a 18-year span. Being true to her entrepreneurial spirit, Tiffany was also a real estate sales consultant who enjoyed assisting homeowners and home buyers with the sale and purchase of residential property. Because of Tiffany’s background in administration, law and real estate, and her passion for creative writing and the arts, Tiffany has blended a unique set of services to offer her clients.