Do Your Documents Do Your Business Justice?

June 20, 2015

One of my coaching clients called this week with a project we do time and time again.  Document Makeover.  Over the years she has accumulated a number of templates, forms and documents which she uses with her clients and as is so common, as her library has grown, so too have the inconsistencies.  Our project was to ‘make my docs professional, reflect what I do and appeal to my clients’.

Our process for this project was simple, and one you can easily follow for your own document library.

Step 1:

We asked (we’ll call her Jenny) Jenny to put all the documents that she uses both internally and externally into one Dropbox folder.

Step 2:

Knowing who her customers are and the type of coaching she provides we were able to put together a brief for the design.  We needed a template that delivered appeal to a top level manager in corporate, with a personal ‘Jenny’ feel and an easy to use feel.  Lot’s of white space as there is a lot to each doc with humour used sparingly to keep the client engaged.

Step 3:

We pulled from Jenny’s folder a sample of an existing form, report, white paper and review.

Step 4:

We shared the docs above with Lisa, our graphic design specialist and asked her draft two initial options for a standard form.  Her brief was that the design needed to be consistent and relevant across all docs while meeting the criteria determined in step 2.

Step 5:

Drafts submitted to Jenny, who with a few changes approved the second option.

Step 6:

Lisa used option 2 to design a standard template for each of Jenny’s main document types.

Step 7:

We then passed the project onto Anne (who rocks in Word!) and she incorporated the brand elements into the Word template themes.  Anne worked through all documents within the folder, transferring them onto the new templates.  Copies of the old docs were backed up into an archive folder and new templates shared with Jenny. In addition we changed her email signature, Xero templates and project management reports/forms … consistency across all internal and external documents.

Jenny now finds clients are happier with the docs they use for their workshops and one-on-ones and Jenny herself loves how easy it is to produce a new doc using one of the generic templates.  Her branding reflects who she is and the service she offers and she is no longer making excuses for bringing out an old doc or form the client struggles to use.  She even has editable PDF versions of the forms used online which makes the client experience even better (let’s face it, who likes scanning a handwritten form to attach to an email!).

Easy – yes.  From a time perspective all Jenny had to do was collate the docs into one folder and approve the template design.

Cost effective – yes. If only for the time the new docs save Jenny!

Added value – yes. The client has a better experience.

Your docs reflect your business, your service and your value.  

Are you proud of yours?

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