Documenting procedures can be a laborious task. Not only does it take a lot of time, you probably find that your staff all document procedures in different ways. According to Owen McGab Enaohwo, documenting procedures doesn’t need to be a chore when you use software.
In this episode Owen McGab Enaohwo — CEO of SweetProcess — explains the many benefits of documenting your systems and procedures with software.
Having spent seven years helping businesses to outsource, Owen acutely understands the frustrations with poorly documented systems. Aiming to solve the problem, Owen co-founded SweetProcess in 2013 so that company executives and their employees can collaborate together to quickly document standard operating procedures, processes, and policies.
In this episode we discuss:
- How software helps your team collaborate on procedures
- How to test and choose procedure-writing software
- The types of procedures that work best with software
Host: Josh Fonger
Guest: Owen McGab Enaohwo
Please Note: The following is a computer auto-generated transcript and will include some inaccuracies.
All right. Welcome to the Work The System Podcast where we help entrepreneurs make more and work less using systems, and I'm your host, Josh Fonger. And today we have a special guest, we have Owen McGab, and now he is an operational efficiency specialist and the CEO of Sweet Process, a business process management software, that systemize is collaboration of document standardization for more efficient work, efficient workflows. He is coming from a background in streamlining hiring processes, and has dedicated the last seven years to building Sweep Process. And thanks to his journey, Owen has a wealth of real world insights into the business benefits of systemizing repetitive business procedures to declutter operational workflows, and free you up to grow your business. Alright Owen, why don't we start off with a question about how you got to be the CEO of Sweep Process? What got you to this point?
Oh, great story. So before Sweet Process, I used to run an outsourcing agency, basically finding entrepreneurs here in the US staff, specifically in the Philippines that would, you know, do their work. And in order to do that, and this was after the whole four hour workweek thing, and everybody you know, you know, thought they could just hire somebody for dirt cheap to do the work. Well, that was the dream. But the reality is, in order for people to take over your work and do it properly, there has to be documentation in place so that you can hand over the work to people, right? And so one of the things we were doing while we're running the agency was we were you know, making sure that we had all the procedures, processes and policies documented. At the time, which we process was not even born yet. And so we're having to scrape, scrape around a bunch of different tools to get some of them were, like enterprise level tools that you can get team members didn't even want to use to document stuff. And so I was like, you know, there has to be a way, a better way, for this to be done. I mean, it's not easy to use, we can't even get to even adopt it in the first place. So anyways, I put that in the back of my mind kept wanting the agency to win and I went on to Andrew Warner's interview. So anyway, you know, under one of our mixes, he has an interview series he does. And then he also has a course series he does where people will pay to be a listener. So now they get access to these courses. And I was invited on there to talk about how businesses can systematize your operations. And I basically gave you a run through of what I was doing on a day to day with my outsourcing agencies, making sure that intrapreneurs all their documents were documented and all that stuff. And so lo and behold, my co-founder, Jervis, who's based in Australia, who listen to their course, on mixergy, I reached out to me, I was like, he's trying to build this software that will make it easy for entrepreneurs to document the procedures and processes and collaborate together. And he wanted my advice and I was like, dude, not only am I going to give you an advice on how to do this, but we can work together and build this. And you know, that's how the process started. The journey started from there and you know, went out there, you know, interviewing all the different windows. How do they want the software to where we spend like three months doing a lot of interviews, making sure that before we wrote the line of code, that the software ended up being something that we knew was what it needed to be. And that's how the process started.
Wow, that's an amazing story. That's really cool. And so what was the software? Like? Because you as an entrepreneur, what was the software? Like in the very beginning? And what is it like now? Like, what was the trajectory?
in the software world, if your software, if when you release your software, if you love your software, then you waited too late? So the answer to that question is that, you know, it's, it took the time of constant improvement, to also get to where we are right now. And one of the things we made sure we did is we always got feedback from customers so that we take that feedback, improve upon it, and you know, go back to them and say, Hey, this is what we built, and we kept on iterating, based on that. So the answer is, it didn't start out what it is today. But it's way much better than any other of the competition out there. From ease of use, and so on. We will cover that during the interview, but we can go into that later on.
Yeah, well, that was, I mean, you and I talked in a group presentation a few months back, I believe it was, and as you know, a lot of clients on their document their business systems. And I was just blown away with the innovations, the changes, the improvements you made in the software, etc. But the software six years ago, when it was you know, maybe a couple years old, and now it's just it's just gotten really, really good. So anyone who's checked it out, maybe five, six years ago, definitely check it out. Again, little mini plug in there. So let's, let's talk about where a small budget should go. So if you're listening to this, and you have, it's all in your head, and your team is just kind of floundering and making mistakes. Where do you start? Because it's usually pretty overwhelming for folks. So what do you recommend?
So, I mean, it's all about figuring out, where's the point to start that you get the most impact. Because if you try, I mean, everything needs to be documented, right? And just by thinking that alone, you're already overwhelmed, and start that process of or, you know, procrastinating. So to make it easier, figure out where is that point in the business that if we, you know, got some documentation in place, by means have procedures or processes, right? That at least we can begin to feel some instant impact, right. So depending on your business, you determine what that is, you know, and once you've identified what that point in the business is, then you also have to identify who in the company, should you get involved in this project to start that documentation in that very specific part of the business. Because the last thing I want you to think is that it's only you, that should do this, because the minute you're stuffing is only you they should do it another reason to procrastinate, so it needs to be collaborative, where you and your employees are working together to do this. And that's one of the reasons why we made sure that tree process was built so that employees on the ground level, I empower to, you know, collaborate and give you feedback, you know, this step, I don't think it needs to be like this, whatever, you know, and give that feedback, which you can take that feedback and go and make changes, at the same time is a process they are unable to be proactive so that they can actually go into the document, and edit and make changes in real time, while you as the manager, or the person managing the document has oversight to say, okay, they've made changes, I like this change, I'm going to go ahead and approve it. Because we want everybody to be collaborative and be empowered to see a change and make a change. So the first point is to find out, you know, where is that place in the business to document and then identify a bunch of people, maybe the manager of that department and a bunch of ground level employees in that department who can come together to start documenting the type very procedure or process. Now, how do you go about the documentation part? By talking about, you know, writing the name of the procedure, you name a procedure basically has to be what exactly the when somebody reads it, they know exactly what they can achieve when they go through that procedure. So very simple, what was the name, and then write down the title of each step. At that point, get the employees involved, because one thing I don't like is getting them involved on a blank sheet. It just, you know, causes a lot more confusion. So if you've taken that time to outline the title and outline the title of each of the steps, at that point, when employees get involved, you know exactly, you know, what you're trying to get them to document, you know, they know that you are needing the details of each of the steps right? Now, they start collaborating with you, give you feedback, you take that feedback, you update the step or they help you actually build out a step. The key thing here is that you shouldn't worry about making the details of it. Step as elaborate, we're not trying to make an extra encyclopedia here, we're just making sure that it's just enough information that gets people started. Because if you keep in the back of your mind that this is going to be an ongoing continuous improvement thing. If you have just the minimum information in there, as the employees, if you're using a simple XP process are using three process to review how to how to get a task done or use free process to actually get a task done. When you come across something that is not clear. It passed out back into the system and say, Hey, I just really step You know, I'm on the ground and on the field, and you say, do this, but you know, on the field is something totally different, you pass that back into three process, or whatever app you're using to do this. And you took that information and go back in and improve upon what that feedback is. So again, when you document it, you're not trying to be elaborate initially, just put the minimum information that gets it out there. And then you're counting and empowering your employees to bring back situations that need to be fixed, or improved. And that's what it is. It's a collaborative thing.
So what industries because you've worked with a lot of industries, who future software, which ones seem to do the best with this, and which ones really struggling with certain industries that really have success?
You'll be surprised. It runs across the gamut, like different verticals, we have health, you know, hospitals and stuff using three process we have, you know, county officials using three process. I mean, banks, I mean, it runs the gamut, dentists. If you go on our website, you see a bunch of testimonials, video, testimonials, and even case studies. So it runs the gamut from industry to industry. What I can say is that, usually, when companies like maybe less than 10 employees or so they typically don't start that whole thing of thinking about documenting because at that point, they're still trying to get that drive of more business. So the focus is, how can I figure out my marketing systems, my sales systems, I can drive more business. And usually when you start having like 20, or more employees to an extent, you can figure that out. And now the focus is, okay, let me make sure that operations, when we are trying to deliver the work for our customers, and make sure that it is for the work that human beings have to do, let me make sure that is always streamlined and delivering the results that I want. So between 22, you know, 150 or so employees is usually the CEO that we find driving this to that man need for streamlining the operations and stuff. And then when we get past 50, to maybe 100 employees, is typically less when the CEO has hired a chief operating officer or generally by someone who's in charge of operations, trying to help drive this in the company. And then typically between that 100 to maybe 300 employees, looking at it more on managers who are driving this within their team. And then beyond that, we look at, you know, the much larger companies at a certain point, they actually are hiring business analysts who are their job is to go out there and find the best software, because no, just kind of bigger companies that don't move that fast. They want to make sure to dot all the i's and cross the T's. And so the business analyst is hired to see the software's right, fit so on and so forth. And so why do I mentioned that is like, across different industries is needed across different sizes of companies is actually needed, especially when you get above 20 employees. And more. You know, there's also the argument that maybe before you even have 10 employees, you need this, you know, but I also say that, you know, the focus at that point should really be sales, marketing, getting more business and then not so much operation, because operations is you know, trying to deliver the solution for your customers. If you don't have customers, why are you worried about operations about you might feel differently? So feel free to challenge me on that?
No, I think that you have to focus in the right spot. Sometimes with entrepreneurs, there's any pushback at all, it's the owner is doing it all themselves. And they do need to systemize a few things to delegate a few things, and outsource a few things and their team doesn't know how to do them. And only the owner does. And it's good to start. But I think it's good to start with the idea of scaling in mind as opposed to never thinking about it that way. And therefore you just you just stay small. So with your your documentation processes, are there certain ones that really matters if you got 10 employees, should you start with the sales ones, the marketing ones, financial operations, or is it really just a case by case where you see the most pain?
It's really a case by case basis because I mean, different industries, you know, with depending on your vertical, some things are more important to focus, let's say, determine what that point is your business because in my business, it could be maybe sales is where I need to focus on my business, it could be, you know, customer onboarding, that is the most important point. Or it could be HR, you know, so it runs the gamut, like different industry, just figure out what specifically in your business, you should focus on and start from that point, you know?
Alright, so, this might be a tough question for you accidentally, to bring up competitors. But there's a lot of software's out there. And you are obviously in a competitive space. So how do you differentiate yourself as an entrepreneur? And it was certain things you have to decide like you were going to do this and not do this to stay streamlined?
So in terms of how are we different from the competition? Is that the question? So, first of all, I always tell people that I love the educated customer, the customer who knows all the different? What's the, quote, options out there? As a matter of fact, I also encourage customers that, hey, try our software versus any of the other software's out there. And the best way to evaluate is by saying, Okay, first of all, the management have the need for wanting to streamline procedures and processes in their company, the managers have their own need for that, too. And also employees on the ground, have their own reason why that is necessary. So the best way to evaluate a software like ours, versus all the software is try to do the same thing you're doing in each software in each of them. And make sure you get the feedback and input from the management as well as the managers and the employees on the ground. So at the end of the day, you're doing the test. So you do the free trial, or like maybe you find identify five different software's that you want to work with, including every process, when you don't want a trial on every one, at least try to get a feedback, what does management feel about the software? And the experience using it? What does the managers feel? What do they feel about the software and also what are the employees on the ground, because daily wants to primarily that are going to be using this, right. And so that's how to evaluate it, you know, all we keep getting feedback might switch over from the competitors that were the most simple and intuitive wants to use out there, we have the fairest pricing in the sense that you know exactly what your pricing is going to be. And also, we don't charge you if your employees are not using the software, most of the competitors out there, if not all charge you per user, we say hey, if your user is actually using the software, is when we charge you. And on top of that are all the features we have access, or we have, you basically have access to all the features for the same one single price versus competition where they try to put features in this price or this other higher price bracket. Like for instance, like I mean, this might sound a little bit radical out there. Why would you charge people for SSO, which is basically you know, them getting access to a software to a higher level of security. But then the lesson in the different is to just get an A key into a software, it's like do you get what I'm saying. So some things don't make sense. So we say you get access to the so everything we build, you get access to it for the same price. And so that's just some ways we differ. And I hope I've given your listeners a way to try to, you know, involve their team at different levels involved in the right software to work with.
Now this is a challenge that I have a lot of companies is they the owner thinks this is a great idea. They want to do it, but they feel like their team is not going to buy and their team's not going to like it, they're going to have people revolting against it. So how do you help get the team to actually use a software when they're so used to just kind of doing it the right way?
So the buy ends, basically what you're saying, how do you get by and usually this comes in when the person maybe on the ground level, or maybe the manager because with the management isn't really buying it, you do what they say anyways, right? That's what how it works. So in this case, is really trying to prove, okay, this is how we are right now push us how we can be when we use this other solution. So in that case, you know, the manager in this case goes ahead and starts documenting how things are done, has procedure in place with the you know, with a pilot group of individuals who believe what he's trying to do, he starts doing this, if you know if he needs extra time for the trial reaches out to us as Hey, and we need extra time. This is reason why because I'm trying to get by and give him extra time. So they can build a proof case within the company, and then starts having a bunch of documents in place for those key important tasks in his own department, and then start to use this request to slash data scientists or employees and showing how it's done. And maybe to show A versus B, maybe a bunch of people don't use the software and then go back to the management and say, Hey, well, this is what we've done. So far. This is the court of people who have been using the software is what they've been able to do this how access the access to information they have readily available to them. He has another quarter people which we tried out without having access to the software and see things are still being done the same way. So this Is A versus B, you know, a, which is better, you can see the results. And so it's easy a lot of times to get management by and when you can prove a case like that. So he determined how best to prove a case in your company and use that as a means to get by.
So a follow up to that would be, are you not forcing by and like everyone must use a software starting today, but you'd rather see a small group of folks do it, get some good results, and then say, hey, look, these people last two months, they did this thing, I got amazing results, now we're going to start to roll it out across the whole company, so you do a more bad approach.
So trying to force by people generally don't like to be forced to do anything, they will just generally revolt, right? So it's better when results prove speak for themselves, right. And so you know, you can force it, I mean you can force it, but if nobody uses it, because it to them, they feel while they're being forced to do it. So I say start small, and, you know, it gradually becomes adopted. And you know, the way the software is built is so that at every level, the management level, the employees on the ground, or even the manager level, it's intuitive and simple to use. So adoption, anybody who doesn't have like a technical background, doesn't need to worry about it, because it's built to be ease of use.
So let's say that this is the, you know, work assistant podcast, and we talk about putting systems in businesses, is there a system that you put into your business that has helped you out, and maybe you even put it into sweet process, but is there one you can name that actually helped your business get better?
So one of the big ways that we get, you know, people exposed to us is through our content initially, you know, years ago, when we started, it used to be just me trying to figure out the content and write the content, pull all the whole game, and I don't even like to write as much. So right now, that is, the whole idea is about finding the points where you can put the right people in place, and they can help you build this thing out and have the system more effective. So with the content marketing system we have, I have a bunch of writers who their job is to find a specific keyword we're trying to work on their job is to research the heck out of that keyword and figure out, you know, how best can we put the best version of the content out there that whenever anybody sees it, they say, this is the holy grail for that very topic. And then we determine what's the best angle for that content. Now we have the writers putting that together. Obviously, I'm looking at what they do. And then the proofreader, proofread, make sure the who content is written grammatically correct. We have the content editor, making sure that the story arc or whatever angle needs to be placed, we have the graphics person on the team who makes sure that every part of the content has something that you know, graphics or videos, that kind of encouraging motion, so it's not just only text, and then the content comes out is posted, we have someone on the team who goes through, puts it on the blog, and once it goes out, there's no person on the team whose job is just Misha, hey, I'm an SEO, which is search engine operation standpoint that the content is does what he needs to do and dot all the i's and all the checklists where we have the SEO stuff. And then besides that, wants to see the content on your site, you want backlinks, right. So you're gonna have to go out there and start identifying people who, who most likely want to link to your content. So someone on the team does that. But that's all a system, all around content marketing, which is to drive traffic to the website, and from when they come to our website, then we get a portion of those people being willing to try to process so I just explained a system that we have in place that started with just me. But now it's a bunch of different people in a team that does that. That's a great.
That's a great example of why as an owner of a company, you should not do all your own content marketing. That sounds very painful.
A lot of work. And it seems about it is just identifying diagnose bottlenecks, right? That you need to put a team around so that you can free up yourself to go to the next day, and the next day and the next and eventually, you get to the point where you freed up yourself where you really aren't doing as much. And you're really focusing more on the higher level, how do I take my company to the next phase, and so on and so forth? Yeah, but it's not easy. It's worth it. Because, you know, you have to take that time to figure out you, the bottleneck, not only that, how to identify the right people to take over parts of this task that need to break down and also, to be honest, another part is giving up control. I wasn't guilty about certain things like that to you know, being able to give up control so someone else can take it and it doesn't necessarily have to be perfectly done the way you do it at least gets done by someone else. That he would even at the end of day, improve upon it. But getting handed off to somebody else can be a struggle, but you have to go over that and just get it done.
So as a small business owner, what if because you kind of shared a lesson as leader, what other lessons have you learned, maybe you can think of just one over the last, you know, seven, eight years was the process, taking it from from nothing to where it is any other big leadership lesson that you learned?
Well, the thing is really understanding that while you're the CEO, but you're there to serve people to make sure that they end up shining and being in the greatness that they are. So at the end of day, you kind of say, you know, serving people, whatever you got to do to help them to be successful and get out of their way. That's my own version of what my role is this, give them an all they need to be successful, empower them, and get out out of their way. That's really what it boils down to. And as long as they're doing what they're doing in their own success in their own strength, and helping to drive towards the vision of what we're trying to do. Hey, cool.
That's great to get out of the way and serve them. And I think it's great, simple, way difficult to do, but simple approach to being a great leader. So I appreciate that. Oh, and I like to ask this question. Before I let anyone sign up, which is, what's one thing that I didn't ask you during this interview, that I probably should have asked you. So what do you think that'd be?
You ask really great questions. And I'm struggling to figure out what's a question that I should have asked me. So I'll say a question you should have asked me maybe is, how do you deal with a team, when there's a challenge or, you know, a big issue that, you know, I say, first of all, you have to learn how to take emotions out of it, right? Because I'm making more concrete, so something goes wrong. And it shouldn't make me with some customer situation. And maybe that shouldn't be the case, you read that and you're already like, all hyped up and crazy about it. And you if you go into that conversation with that emotion, it's not going to be a good outcome for yourself and your employee, well, maybe my help to take a step back and just, you know, chill and wait for that emotion to go down. So they can attack that with a much clearer head. So that's what my point is, you know, when you have conflicts like this, always find a way to, if it means step, just stepping aside and let the emotion subside. Or if you can control your emotional, but don't go into any kind of thing like this, without making sure the emotion is in check. Because, you know, emotion might end up doing things that are way worse than the structure you really want to pass over. So, yeah, that's important for everyone, not only the CEO, but just a general principle in life.
Now, that's a good one, okay. So keep things non emotional, we're trying to fix problems, and like to tell my team that we're not doing brain surgery, no one's gonna die. You know, it's a. And I mean, the work matters, everyone's work matters. But it's the process of learning that matters to Well, this is good, well, so I want to work, you will find out more about you and NC process.
So simply, I'm sure you're going to share a link with them. If they went to three process by themselves. On our website, they will get a 14 day free trial, but the link I will share with you, which hopefully you can redirect on the website on your website will give them an additional trial. Do you want to create a unique link from your site for that?
Sure, yeah, when our team packages this up, and of course, we're live right now on Facebook. But when we package this up, certainly send me the links, and we'll make a pretty page for you.
Yeah, those people. Do you have any additional questions for me? While we're here?
You know, I'm not sophisticated enough to grab those. So, but any questions that come my way Owen I'll definitely send to you. And for everyone who's watching live, of course, shoot us an email or connect directly with Owen.
There you go. All right. And if you want to join us next week, as always, every Friday we do some live streams with experts, like oh, and maybe one of my past clients, or one of maybe one of my certified consultants. And we talk about how you can improve your business so you can make more work less with systems. And if you want a copy of the book right there behind me if you're watching this video, work the system you can go to work the system comm download a free copy. Or you can leave us a review anywhere you're watching this or listening to this and send us a screenshot of that review. To info at workthesystem.com once a week, we mail out a free copy of the book, and we'll send it your way otherwise, oh, and again, thanks for being here. And we'll catch you next week.
Thanks for having me. Thanks, everyone.