This is the final installment in my four-part series on Operations Manuals for brick and mortar store owners! Read parts one, two, and three.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve shared why an operations manual is beneficial, five systems you should document for your retail store, and a free resource to give you a head start on creating your operations manual. These podcast episodes and blog posts have had one goal: to help indie retail store owners optimize their operations.

Today, I’m excited to share that we can work together on this same goal inside a 5-week, small group program. It’s intentionally designed to help brick and mortar shopkeepers at every level build their operations manuals without the “where do I even start?!” overwhelm. 

Introducing: Optimize Your Operations

The program is called Optimize Your Operations, and you’re invited to join!

In this 5-week, small group program, you’ll create a comprehensive digital operations manual for your indie retail business.

Why digital? Well, for similar reasons as the Savvy Shopkeeper Digital Planner. Keeping your operations manual digital means it syncs across many devices, can be shared with team members and management, is searchable, and more!

Optimize Your Operations

You can certainly build a binder-based manual with tab dividers and paper documentation if you’d prefer. But I’d highly recommend a digital operations manual for the reasons I’ve mentioned—and Optimize Your Operations comes with a digital operations manual template!

Just in time for Q4, Optimize Your Operations will guide you through each step of building your retail store’s comprehensive guide to all the systems and processes you need to keep everything running smoothly, even with the busy holiday season looming.

Remember, though, that your operations manual is a LIVING document and is never really finished. 

How You’ll Use the Included Digital Template to Optimize Your Operations

Inside Optimize Your Operations, we’ll use Trello to create your digital operations manual. The template I’ll provide you includes 27 lists and 200+ cards. 

If you’re familiar with Trello, you know that those numbers add up to a GIANT board! And if you haven’t used Trello before, this translates to 27 chapters and well over 200 pages, all pre-made for you to customize to your store’s unique needs.

You’ll create your systems, processes, and procedures using the template as your guide. Most cards include a mix of guidance, templates, chatgpt prompts, printable worksheets, resources, and so much more. This board is packed with information and value you won’t find anywhere else in one comprehensive package.

You (and perhaps your team) will fill in the blanks with the information you need to keep your business running smoothly and efficiently. The template is an excellent starting point and will save you SO much time! 

The pre-made lists and cards will help get you out of the “where do I start?,” “what goes into a standard operating procedure?,” and “how do I write a policy?!” overwhelm.

How We’ll Optimize Your Operations in Just Five Weeks

Here’s what our time together over the five-week program will look like:

Week 1: Introduction & Basic Trello Lesson

On Monday, September 4, 2023 (Labor Day), you’ll receive a recorded video lesson via email. The lesson will introduce you to the program and Trello so that you can familiarize yourself with this software on your own time. 

Because it’s a holiday week, I want you to have the flexibility to watch this when it’s convenient for you before we start with live sessions on Zoom in week two!

Week 2: Getting Started

On Monday, September 11, 2023, at 1 PM EST, we’ll have a live session on Zoom to cover using the Trello template. I’ll share my best Trello tips and tricks and walk you through the operations manual template.

Week 3: Create a Starting System for Yourself & Your Team

We’ll meet on Monday, September 18, 2023, at 1 PM EST, and I’ll teach you how not to be overwhelmed with a board. I’ll also share a really cool way to track what you’ve already filled in and what still needs to be filled in.

Week 4: Building a Strategy & Creating Accountability

As you’ve probably realized, an operations manual is quite a large project to take on. So in our fourth session on Monday, September 25, 2023, at 1 PM EST, you will build a strategy and create accountability for yourself! 

I’ll also share some tips and suggestions on how to start creating a system for yourself. We’ll discuss a strategy around getting everything filled in and then what you can do for accountability.

Week 5: Q&A With Idea Sharing

On Monday, October 2, 2023, at 1 PM EST, we’ll have our final group meeting, where you can ask your lingering questions. We’ll also open the floor to share ideas about how each group member is optimizing their operations in their unique way.

Optimize Your Operations

Bonuses to Support You as You Optimize Your Operations

To make this program even better, I’m including two special bonuses to support you as you create your indie retail store’s digital operations manual.

Bonus #1: Banner Graphics Template for Your Trello Board

With this Canva template, you’ll be able to create beautifully branded banner graphics for each list (aka, chapter) of your digital operations manual. These visual markers make a big difference with such a large Trello board.

Bonus #2: Project Management Board Template

In addition to the included digital operations manual template in Trello, you’ll also get a template of my Kanban project management board to use with your team.

I use this board with my social media managers, but you can use it to manage a team for any project in your business. It’s great for event planning, planning new displays or store sets, and more!

Questions You May Have About the Optimize Your Operations Program

A few questions have come up over the past two years of beta testing and refining Optimize Your Operations. Here are the answers, in case you have these questions, too!

Should I join this program or just do it myself?

We’re all different in terms of how much we’re willing to DIY vs. how much we want things done for us. You might think this would be based on the Shopkeeper Stage you’re in. For instance, some of you might think, “Oh, this program must be for Retail CEOs (stage 5).” But that isn’t necessarily true!

Building an Operations Manual for a retail store is a BIG project. No matter what Shopkeeper Stage you’re in, choosing whether to DIY your operations manual or join this program depends on where you want to invest your time. 

If you’re a DIY person, maybe the free resource I offered last week is enough for you to get started. 

However, if you’re the shopkeeper who says, “Just give me the full framework, and me and/or my team will get it done,” then this program is right up your alley. 

As a side note, I’ve noticed over the past two years that some of you are showing up WITH team members—both for Optimize Your Operations and for the virtual conference. I love it!

So to answer the question: it’s entirely up to you and how you want to invest your time. Either way, creating an operations manual for your retail store is exciting!

Will I need to pay for Trello?

Trello has a free plan, and many previous Optimize Your Operations participants continue to use the free plan. One participant who comes to mind has a million-dollar business, a LARGE team, and still uses the free plan! It’s definitely possible to stay on the free plan if it works for you.

I use the paid version for Savvy Shopkeeper’s small team, but that’s for various reasons, and we use Trello for A LOT of different projects. 

I’ve not used Trello before. Will you teach me how to use it?

While this isn’t an advanced Trello-specific course, you’ll absolutely learn the basics (and a few hidden features!) throughout our five weeks together. 

How will my team members be able to see the operations manual on Trello?

Each team member will need a free Trello account that you invite to your operations manual board. We’ll talk about what settings to use for this in the program. 

Will I be able to see my operations manual on my phone, tablet, and computer?

Yep! You just have to download the Trello app on each device you want to use this on and make sure your devices sync. You could also have your team members download it on their devices, if necessary.

Unlike the Savvy Shopkeeper Digital Planner, you don’t need a tablet and digital pencil for this. A computer works just fine for setting it up!

I won’t be able to attend the calls. Will they be recorded?

Yes, and you’ll have access to the recordings for six months. You and your team can dive back into the replays after the holidays.

Can I use my digital operations manual to communicate with my team and assign tasks?

If you think about a binder/paper operations manual, you really can’t use that analog product to communicate with team members or assign tasks to them, right? 

An operations manual is a reference tool, not a communication tool. You’ll want to keep this in mind moving forward. 

With a small, 1-4 person team, you could use your digital operations manual to communicate. Even with a small team—and especially if you have a medium to large team!—I’d recommend setting up team communication and task assignments somewhere else, such as a separate board within Trello.

How much does Optimize Your Operations cost?

The program costs $1250.

I have another question about the Optimize Your Operations program.

If you have any other questions, please DM me on Instagram (@savvyshopkeeper). Members of Master Shopkeepers can post and tag me in our group.

Join the Optimize Your Operations Group Program Today!

To make sure I can serve everyone who joins and answer each and every question you may have, I’m limiting the number of spots inside this program. 

Master Shopkeepers members have already claimed a few spots, so the best time to grab yours is now. 

Click the button below to learn more and sign up!

Resources

Timestamps

  • [01:27] Introducing: Optimize Your Operations
  • [03:24] How You’ll Use the Included Digital Template to Optimize Your Operations
  • [05:18] How We’ll Optimize Your Operations in Just Five Weeks
  • [08:40] Bonuses to Support You as You Optimize Your Operations
  • [11:15] Questions You May Have About the Optimize Your Operations Program
  • [19:27] Join the Optimize Your Operations Group Program Today!

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