Do you work for your business or does your business work for you?
I think all business owners and entrepreneurs could benefit from answering this question.
If life were to catch you off guard, or perhaps if you wanted to take a couple days or months away from the business would it continue to thrive? Would it just survive? Or would it shrivel up and die?
Life is unpredictable, and we probably started a business to create freedom and flexibility in our lives. So this is another reason why systems are so important: documented & duplicatable systems keep you from becoming a slave to your business, so you can have the success and freedom that you work so hard for.
1. Remember Why Your Started
We want our businesses to provide maximum value and impact, in a consistent and seamless way and we can accomplish this by building businesses that are independent and intentional.
Why did you start your business?
Many people would say they wanted to create a better life. A life with more time, more money, more flexibility, more freedom, and more fun.
Yet, many business owners find themselves working tirelessly, and often end up with the complete opposite. Don’t feel bad if this is you, because at one point or another all entrepreneurs get lost like this, so they are pushed to figure it out if they want to succeed and evolve.
It’s crucial to regularly come back to the center and remember why you started. It’s important as well to regularly evaluate the purpose your business was supposed to serve in your own life.
Remember that your business is there to serve a purpose for your life too, not just everyone in and around your life.
2. Create a Business that Doesn’t Depend on You
The key to growing your business is structuring it in a way that it won’t depend on you.
You want a business that works to serve your life, delight your customers, and engage your team. The goal is a business that can be independent and grow in alignment with your vision and values with or without your supervision.
Developing systems that clearly describe how your business will look, act, feel and perform can help you accomplish this. Think of this like your business blueprint.
Having clear guidance ensures that in the event that you are not active in the day to day operations of your business, your team will confidently know what to do thanks to clear intentionally prepared systems.
3. Get Systematized
Once you are clear on why you started and what your business’s purpose is, then you can start focusing on developing the systems to support & maintain that.
Systemization is about freeing up your business from being dependent on any one person. This makes sure that your customers’ experience doesn’t change as your business may grow, expand, and evolve.
Business Systems & Business Processes: What’s the difference?
A Business System is like an overarching or core element that you are looking to implement in your business consistently. A system helps your business run like a well oiled machine.
Business Processes are the building blocks that make a business system effective. The processes are all of the things you do in order for the given system to work.
Business Processes can also be known as standard operating procedures or SOP’s, and are commonly used like checklists. Essentially any process can be given to an employee and completed without training. Processes are known to consistently improve customer service & customer experience.
The system is the goal, and the processes are what make the system effective, so all must make sense & work together.
Why Systems are Essential
Systems are essential for expanding your organization, improving business functions, adding new people and products, growing your revenue, improving profit margins, escaping your business temporarily, and even your final exit of the business someday.
Systems are often up for debate among many small businesses leaders because some find developing these systems to be redundant, time consuming, and boring. Especially, when there is a seemingly endless list of other tasks to do first.
Many small business owners are stuck in a difficult position. A position in which many don’t have the time to work on their business because they are too busy working in it.
They also can rarely take time away because they haven’t been able to develop the systems and processes needed to run smoothly on auto-pilot. So not all business owners are able to navigate their way out and some become stuck-shackled to their business.
Which leads me to the conclusion that there is a false lack of urgency around business systems, which makes sense but it can be costly.
How Systems & Processes Can Save Your Business
- Can save you valuable time
- Can save you on labor costs
- Can prevent errors & inconsistency
- Can bridge communication gaps
- Can provide you leverage & scalability
- Can make your business a more valuable asset in the future
- Can increase consistency, efficiency, and effectiveness
- Can build your authority & credibility
There are plenty of benefits that strong systems can provide, like enhancing employee buy in, and building a community of supportive followers that trust you.
Even though systems are overwhelming and time consuming, they can be the key to unlocking the full potential of your organization.
What Business Systems are Most Important?
Technically, anything in a business can be systematized but there are really four foundational types of systems to implement regardless of industry, or the current size of your business. These are always a good place to start.
- Marketing System- You use this to generate a consistent flow of leads into your business. Nearly half of small business owners run marketing entirely on their own and most of these do so without a plan. Without a plan, your results will be completely random and uncontrollable. Marketing is a journey that you need to guide your prospect through in order to reach your desired goal. So creating a marketing plan and systematizing that will ensure that your efforts are the most effective.
- Sales System- Used to nurture leads, follow up with them, and hopefully convert them into paying customers. Here you will want to build on their interest in your offer, and really push the benefits of taking your relationship to the next stage. Your ultimate goal in this phase is to build relationship and establish trust.
- Fulfillment System- This system focuses on the reason you want to turn your customers into lifelong supporters, fans, and friends. You want to increase the chances they will buy from you again, and refer new business to you more regularly. Here you’ll want to think about how you plan to deliver a memorable experience, and how to foster an environment that keeps your customers coming back for more.
- Operational/Administrative Systems: these systems are regularly procrastinated or pushed to the end of the list. This is mainly because these are less exciting and more tedious systems to develop. Once you develop the systems for everything behind the scenes, then your business will change entirely. These activities take place on the back end of your business and include things like planning, goal setting, project management, communications, scheduling, maintenance, book-keeping, taxes, payroll, etc.
How to Easily Make Sense of a New System
These 4 simple elements can help you breakdown any essential task into a duplicatable system with less confusion & overwhelm.
- Process: Step by Step Actions
- Tools: Required devices, apps, software, etc. needed to complete objective
- People: The Person or People involved in each step of the process
- Strategies: The tactics, tips, or techniques you use
Example: Publishing This Blog Post
- Process: Research, Title, Outline, Write Draft, Revise, Create Graphic, Schedule, etc.
- Tools: Google, Google Docs, Word Press, Canva, etc.
- People: Me & One other person, etc.
- Strategies: SEO, List Building, Copywriting, Creative Writing, Graphic Design, etc.
Scaling a business is all about creating duplicatable systems that anyone in your organization can understand, implement, and improve upon with time. Once you are able to step back so that you can create the systems that your business needs to thrive, you will certainly reap the rewards of a business that works for you.
Inspiration for this blog comes from the highly valuable book: The E-Myth Revisited.