Is Your Business Running You…
or Are You Running Your Business?
7 Steps To Easily Setting Up Systems In Your Business
You are the expert in your business. That’s how “it” all begins. You started your business because you are passionate about your technical knowledge and want to share that knowledge, skill or service with the world. You’ve been working really hard in your business and have hit the “wall”. Growth is becoming slow, your support is not as reliable as you’d like, and you are tired. That’s not how you thought it would be starting your own business; after all you started your business because you wanted your freedom. Can you relate to this scenario?
Here are a few of the issues you may be experiencing:
- You’re working harder than ever, but the business isn’t growing.
- You want things done right, but you feel like you have to do them all yourself.
- Your business depends on you for everything: when you stop, it stops.
- You quickly run out of day and your family time is disappearing.
What you want and need is:
- A way to get control of your time, so you can think and plan.
- A way to delegate work to a support team and know you’ll get the excellent results you expect.
- A set of systems so that you feel confident that the business is running properly whether you’re there or not.
- A business that can be easily scaled up without having to reinvent everything.
Every successful business is based on a set of systems. People run the systems, but it’s the systems themselves that guarantee a consistent, predictable result. Define the systems you need and how to build and implement them. Then you’ll have:
- Peace of mind, that your business can run on its own – with you or without you
- Less stress, because the systems are dependable and reliable
- Greatly simplified and effective support team training, hiring and managing
- Improved productivity and profitability
Very simply a system is a step by step process that anyone can follow to complete a specific task or a suite of tasks so that you get a specific desired outcome each and every time. Instead of reinventing the wheel each time you must do something, you have written checklists of steps that you or your team can follow to complete any task “exactly how you desire”. When you have systems in place, you can easily teach someone else how to do what you do or how you want a task done and to what standards, then delegate the tasks so you have more time to focus on more important things like thinking, planning and marketing (income generating tasks).
How can systems help you?
The reality is that every small business owner and entrepreneur needs systems. Imagine having the freedom to take a 3 week vacation 5 times a year or deal with a major personal life event and having the peace of mind that your business will be able to run smoothly in your absence. Too often, you fall into the trap that you are business – you wear all the hats. If you don’t do it, it can’t or won’t get done or won’t get done like you’d like it to be done. Systems allow you to easily delegate to others to do many daily tasks so you don’t have to worry.
Creating systems in your business doesn’t have to be complicated.
Take an hour or two a day and follow these steps:
7 Steps To Easily Setting Up Systems In Your Business
- What do I do that is not income generating? Start with making a list of whatever tasks you have on your plate that you would like to delegate. This includes your daily, weekly and monthly routine tasks that don’t directly generate income in your business. Brainstorm and list all of those activities and tasks… whether that’s writing 2 articles for your blog or newsletter, placing an ad in your local paper, calling a prospect or customer, having lunch with a client, answering email, answering the phone, planning a talk, etc.
- Prioritize and categorize your list. After you make your list, prioritize each item on the list as to its importance and those things you’d like to delegate first, second, third, etc. Each task may have a category that it belongs to such as; client care, finance, technology, marketing, launches, etc. The reason you do this is so that you can easily “sort” on the task lists to develop operations manuals for your team based upon what they do for you. Similar to departments per se.
- Select 3 to 5 tasks at a time. If you try to systematize everything at once, in all likelihood, you’ll end up frustrated and overwhelmed. Instead, pick the top 3 – 5 things that have to be done and start with those. As you do those tasks, use the S.M.A.R.T. Systems Template to document the steps, standards, time frames to accomplish those tasks. Simply jot everything down on your S.M.A.R.T. Systems Template; you can always refine them later.
- Decide what the standards and the outcomes should be. What does success look like once the tasks are completed? What are the key milestones for that outcome? For instance, if you make a sales call and can’t close, what is the next step? Another call? Refer to someone else? Add to your mailing list?
- Create a step by step System for each task.Once you have an idea of key milestones for each task, put those steps on paper. You can do this with your template, a flow chart program such as MindMap Pro or SmartDraw, which are both really simple to use. A flow chart is a visual representation of your process. You can make your flowcharts as big picture or as detailed as you’d like. If you are visual like I am, create one big picture flow chart of your processes, like how to respond to an email inquiry, and then create more detailed flow charts for the more common scenarios. Once you get the hang of it, it’s easy to start documenting your step-by-step processes for all your business operations.
- Create your operations manual for your entire business. Once you have your tasks systematized and categorized, sort the systems by your categories and consolidate them in your business Operations Manual.
- Update as necessary. You’ll want to update the tasks as things change, its ok. At this point your staff or support team should be continuously improving and updating so it’s not YOU.
Systems are great for saving time and money. When you stop to think about how many hours each year you spend figuring out how to do things or hunting down missing business cards, phone numbers or important documents and multiply that by your hour rate, you realize how much wasted time is costing you. With systems in place, you and your team know exactly what needs to be done and how it needs to be done.
Gail Saseen is an author and information marketing business coach and consultant. She has a unique ability for communicating complex marketing and technology concepts in simplified and understandable language. Gail is an internationally recognized authority in the areas of: marketing strategy and planning, systems development, direct mail, social media marketing, website and technology implementation, product development, information marketing and coaching. Gail assists small business owners and entrepreneurs develop business systems and goals and strategic plans using S.M.A.R.T. Principles. www.gailsaseen.com – Free Gift www.SmartBizToolsForEntrepreneurs.com