How Documenting Your Business Processes Can Make Onboarding and Training Easier

How Documenting Your Business Processes Can Make Onboarding and Training Easier


At the core of every business is the processes that you use. You perform these every single day, but have you ever taken the time to actually map them out and document them? Representing your workflow in this way offers a number of benefits for your business. One key benefit is that onboarding and training new employees becomes so much easier.

Representing Your Business Processes Visually

The best way to document your business processes is to do it visually. It’s much easier for a new staff member to understand the workflow from a diagram representation than a piece of text content. Business processes are basically mapped out in flow charts or variations of flow chart. A flow chart shows each step of a process in a square or other shape connected by lines or arrows. They illustrate how the task moves from start to finish.

Beyond the Flow Chart

Flow charts offer the most basic visual representation, but there are a few variations on this type of diagram that are useful for business processes.

  • The Swimlane Diagram. A Swimlane diagram shows a process from start to finish but divides it into “lanes.” These are columns for different stakeholders, facilities, departments, or resources. It shows more clearly who is responsible for which part of a task.
  • Value Stream Map. A value stream map is a more complicated diagram where the work doesn’t just flow one way but in all directions. It’s useful for complex tasks that require multiple departments and stages, or that might be modular.


Having a mix of videos amongst your documented processes can clearly explain the workflow when using certain software.  This can also speed up some of the smaller steps and extra information that needs to be included in each process.

Seek Feedback

Don’t document your business processes all alone. Seek the advice and feedback of other colleagues, especially if they’re the ones that are usually in charge of the process. You’ll also want feedback after documentation to make sure it’s clear and easy to understand.

Start with the Big Picture

When teaching new team members a process, you have to start by giving them the big picture view of the task. Explain where this task fits into your overall business and what specific goal it’s meant to achieve. At the beginning of the process, give them the resources and tools they need and what other preparations there are, if any. For your documentation, you may start with a brief summary that explains this.

Create an Archive of Resources

Create a manual of all your business processes and make it available to team members. Encourage them to refer to these protocols as they learn. It will take some time before the job becomes second nature to them.

Why You Should Document Your Business Processes

Documenting your business processes helps you to train new team members. But it can also help in other ways. By investigating each process closely, you can look at ways to streamline and improve, making your business more efficient. You can also look for ways to standardise, delegate, outsource, or automate, saving you more time and making life easier for everyone in your organisation.

Do you want to learn more about streamlining your business processes?

Book in a call today!

A Virtual Assistant vs an Online Business Manager

A Virtual Assistant vs an Online Business Manager

So you have decided that you need help in your business but what sort of help do you really need?  Are you after basic administration assistance or do you need someone to assist running your whole business.

An Online Business Manager and Virtual Assistant are very similar in nature.  Although, there are a few differences and understanding these differences will help determine who will be able to most assist your business.


The big picture

Understands the big picture and works with the business owner to outline & oversee the steps necessary to get there.


Responsible for ensuring the business runs smoothly, by creating operation manuals, training assistants, managing assignments, schedules and staff.

 Achieving success

Success is achieved when the business is operating efficiently & the entire team is happy. To build long-term, trusting relationships with business owners who value the working relationship and compensate accordingly.

Overall goal

To build long-term, trusting relationships with business owners who value the working relationship and compensate accordingly.

Why hire?

OBMs are hired when business owners have grown beyond the startup phase. They simply cannot manage everything and still continue to grow; or perhaps, they’ve grown tired of managing the day-to-day operations.


The big picture

Typically aren’t concerned about the big picture; instead they focus on doing the tasks.


Responsible for completing tasks assigned to them –  i.e. formatting ebooks, conducting research, sending newsletters, working in shopping carts.

Achieving success

Success is achieved when the work is completed & delivered in a timely manner

Overall goal

To increase their work hours, thus income, for each client without having the added responsibility of managing others.

Why hire?

VAs are typically hired during the early stages of business. They help set up websites & shopping carts, create mailing lists, and so forth. Once the business is going, they continue to work on individual tasks.


So after looking at these differences, you might actually decide that you need to hire both an Online Business Manager as well as a Virtual Assistant to handle different tasks.  This is also a great way to build a virtual team.

If you would like to understand more, download our Free Guide ‘What an Online Business Manager Can do for your Business

How to Work With a Virtual Assistant in 4 Easy Steps

How to Work With a Virtual Assistant in 4 Easy Steps

If you are looking to free up your schedule of office tasks that are taking you away from your business, you might consider hiring a virtual assistant. There are different types of virtual assistants that you can choose from, which allows you to make a selection based on the specific needs of your business. Working with a virtual assistant can be made easier if you follow a few helpful tips.

1. Communicate with Your Virtual Assistant
The only way that you will be confident and comfortable in working with a virtual assistant is if you build a relationship with your virtual assistant. The first step to trusting someone with important details of your business is communicating with them. You can check their testimonials and look through references to give you some background. Peace of mind comes with knowing more.

The most important part in maintaining a great working relationship with your virtual assistant is to make communication a priority. You need to communicate your expectations clearly and leave no room for confusion, because this is the only way to get the best results. Schedule in meetings with your Virtual Assistant, whether via telephone, zoom, skype or face to face (depending on location).

Regular communication will ensure that you build a fantastic relationship with your virtual assistant. It will also ensure that they become an extension of you and your business. By becoming an extension of your business, the virtual assistant will be able to reply to emails and telephone messages on your behalf which will in turn save you further time.

2. Understand Your Business
Once you know your virtual assistant, you need to make sure that they know your business. This means that your virtual assistant needs to completely understand how your business functions exactly and how their tasks make an impact. Hiring a virtual assistant with experience in your industry is often preferred, however some induction notes will also help as well. You can include the following in an induction pack or your Virtual Assistant can compile this for you as one of their first tasks:

  • A couple of paragraphs about your business
    – Who you are
    – What services or products that you provide
    – Your target market
    – Office hours or times that you prefer to work
    – Best contact numbers and times that you can be reached for questions
  • A couple of tasks to get the Virtual Assistant started
    – Include usernames and passwords
    – A basic procedure that the virtual assistant can build upon
    – Any key phrases or terms that you like to use in your correspondence
    – Scripting for phone calls
    – Deadline

3. Discuss About Compensation Upfront

Making payment arrangements upfront and sticking to them will ease a lot of tension in your working relationship with your virtual assistant. You can choose to pay hourly or based on tasks completed, but just be sure to work out the details before you begin working together. Money has the ability to get in the way of your working relationship, so always make sure that you stick to your payment arrangement no matter what.  If you have a budget, a virtual assistant should be able to tailor a package to suit your needs.

4. Paying Attention to Time

Many virtual assistants are working on a different timezone. Always be clear about the time and timezone that you would like the work completed by. It is always a good idea to verify that they are able to respond during your normal business hours or as per the scope of the work required. This means that you may have to work in a suitable time to both yourself and your virtual assistant for meetings or questions to be answered.

Virtual Assistants pride themselves on customer service and will be more than happy to assist you with your business needs and to your requirements (within reason of course).

By starting with these 4 steps, you can be sure the commencement of a great relationship with your Virtual Assistant.

9 Surprising Things You Can Learn From Your Virtual Assistant

9 Surprising Things You Can Learn From Your Virtual Assistant

Having a virtual assistant can have a tremendous impact on not only your business, but also you. There are many things that you can unexpectedly learn from a virtual assistant that is assisting your business to complete important business tasks.

1  You need a break

Once you reap the benefits of having a virtual assistant by your side to free up some of your time, you will never want to go back. Every business owner needs a balance between work and family. With the help of a virtual assistant, you will quickly learn why having a life outside of the office is so important.

2  You can maintain control

You probably think that the only way to maintain control is by doing everything on your own, but a virtual assistant does exactly what you ask in the way that you prefer. This means that you get the same results and the only difference is that you don’t have to dedicate your own time but instead delegate the tasks to free up your time!

Once you develop a good relationship with your virtual assistant, they will will understand your business more and your requirements for each task.  There will be a streamlined process to the task that needs less supervision.

3  Productivity matters most

It won’t take long to see how much your productivity can be improved by simply hiring a virtual assistant. As you will be able to focus on your business, profits will go up in no time at all.

4  Virtual Assistants have experience

Many business owners are uneducated about the experience levels that virtual assistants have. You will be pleasantly surprised when you witness up-close the skill level that they possess.  In Australia, Virtual Assistants are normally business owners and understand the ins and outs of small business.  They see the BIG PICTURE because they are working towards that goal themselves.  They normally come from an extremely high-level background and specialise in these skills or train to become specialists in certain areas.

5  Training is key

As small business owners, virtual assistants understand that technology changes and they believe that it is important for them to keep up with that technology.  They are constantly improving their skills by learning and training in the areas that are most required or requested by clients.  This means that they have the highest skill level and knowledge at all times.

6  You need help

You might think that you are getting by just fine, but the instant that you see how much more efficiently and productive you can be with the help of a virtual assistant, you will realise the benefit of having help on your side

7  It is possible to be organised

Trying to keep your business organised might seem like an impossible task, but most virtual assistants are super organised.  This is their super power.  This will allow you to finally get your business operations on track, streamlined and moving forward in a proactive way!

8  It pays off

You can actually save money in the long run by hiring a virtual assistant.  While you focus on working on your business, the Virtual Assistant concentrates on the necessary tasks and as a team, you can move your business forward.

9  Virtual Assistants care

Your virtual assistant will quickly show you how dedicated they are to their craft. This is their livelihood and your business is now important to them, which makes them the ideal assistant by your side.

Start Outsourcing to a Virtual Assistant with the Right Mindset

Start Outsourcing to a Virtual Assistant with the Right Mindset

So you’ve decided to start outsourcing a Virtual Assistant.  Hiring a virtual assistant is a huge step for any business owner or entrepreneur. It can mean giving up some control over your business but it doesn’t have to be too much until you are comfortable. But it’s also your first move towards scaling up your business so that it can grow beyond its current limitations plus build a quality team to support your business.

If you’re thinking about taking this vital first step, there’s a certain mindset that you should take on.

Learn to let go

When you hire a VA, you’re not giving away the keys to your business. But you are letting go of some part of your business operations, even if it’s just a handful of tasks.

Your business is your baby and virtual assistants understand that as well as they also run their own business . Up until now, you’ve done everything yourself. It’s easy to understand why outsourcing any item of your business is scary. The way to overcome this fear is to focus on the positive. Think about the immediate benefits you’ll receive from outsourcing certain aspects of your business and what you can fill in the place of that time.

You can also alleviate this fear by being careful about what you hand over until you are more comfortable with outsourcing.  Keep the tasks limited but also ensure that you spend some quality time on procedures to ensure quality is maintained. Hire a VA you can trust and start simply by only sharing with them what they need to get the job done.

Outsourcing fees

It’s certainly true that hiring a virtual assistant costs money. How much does it cost? This depends on what you need done. The more simple tasks the less the price but the more extensive tasks will cost more.

You can lessen this risk by allocating a budget you can afford. Work out the numbers beforehand and make an offer that doesn’t break the bank. Hiring a virtual assistant, if done right, will earn you greater profits in the future especially once you build a good working relationship with them.  This takes time.

One way to adjust your mindset is to think of hiring a VA as buying time. You pay for the VA to take tasks off your hands so that you have time to focus on more important things.

Managing others

One mindset challenge that many face is that they don’t want to become managers. Up to this point, you’ve only had to manage yourself and, for some of us, that’s enough of a monumental challenge. But now you have an employee and you are their boss.

Working with a VA isn’t the same as managing a busy office. First of all, as the name suggests, it’s “virtual.” You give the VA tasks to do and check in regularly to see how they’re doing. Once the training and onboarding is finished, they’ll require little management, and the investment you make in training will pay off with the time you gain.

Mitigating risks

You may have heard some horror stories about virtual assistants who caused issues for other businesses. Especially the first time, hiring a VA isn’t easy and there are many things that can go wrong.

While it’s true that it’s a complex and often a frustrating process, you can overcome this by being prepared. Carefully consider the tasks you need done, search for the right person, and prepare a good training procedure and onboarding process to get them started. It also helps to realise that a bad VA experience isn’t a business-ending event but a learning opportunity.

Want to learn how to hire the right VA and get started growing your business?

Download our Cheat Sheet to Outsourcing to start your first VA relationship on the right foot. Check it out here:

Why Hire an Online Business Manager

Why Hire an Online Business Manager

The role of an Online Business Manager is quite different from a Virtual Assistant and you can have both work in your business. It is important to understand the differences between a Virtual Assistant and Online Business Manager. In Australia, most Virtual Assistants are Virtual Industry Professionals or Online Business Managers for the following reasons:

  • they are often proactive rather than reactive and accomplish tasks without you asking.
  • they develop an understanding of your business and keep the cogs turning
  • they understand the bigger picture of your business growth and development
  • they think outside the box
  • they give you ideas for growth and strategy in your business and quite often manage those ideas from start to finish

When you hire a Online Business Manager you get…

MORE TIME: Who doesn’t need more time?

The main goal of an online business manager is to free up your time so that you can work on the things that only you can do or the things that you enjoy most about your business. Now a virtual assistant can free up your time, however you may need to do some further checking and ensure that you have all of the processes in place first, some virtual assistants require an i’s dotted and t’s crossed approach.  It depends on the type of fit that you are after for your business and if you really do want to step away from the day-to-day operations and release yourself from having to oversee every piece of every project.

A TRUSTED PARTNER: Essential to the relationship

Online business managers truly care about their client’s businesses. They normally only work with 3-5 businesses to ensure that they develop the relationship with you as their client. They understand the overall business vision, are excited by the things to come, thrive on the day-to-day operations, they are comfortable with outsourcing and delegating and strive to make the business succeed. They treat the client’s business as if it were their own. In a sense, hiring a good Online Business Manager is like having a trusted partner invested in your business.

A DECISION MAKER: Making all the decisions is exhausting!

Operating a successful business requires a lot of day-to-day decisions and projects are often delayed because business owners don’t have time to handle them all. Fortunately, most decisions don’t have to be made by the business owner. A good online business manager will be willing to make decisions on their client’s behalf. This doesn’t mean they will be making all of the decisions; however, after establishing a guideline with the client, they can certainly handle many issues that arise throughout the day.

COMPLETED PROJECTS: A key component to bigger profits

Aside from the business owner, the Online Business Manager is the workhorse of the business. They spend most of their time planning, organising, and managing the tools, resources and staff within the business. Their focus is to ensure that things are running smoothly and efficiently; answering questions, dealing with unexpected issues in a timely manner, and keeping projects on track so that business goals are met. The seamless transition from one project to the next allows the business owner to stay focused and the business to grow.

Are you considering hiring an Online Business Manager?  Download the full Online Business Manager Guide and give us a call today!