As a successful business owner, you may have gotten to a point where you feel like your business is actually just another job you’ve created. While you have the satisfaction of working for yourself, you are working harder and longer hours than you ever have before.
It can feel great, at first, running around and fighting fires, being the superhero, and doing something that is truly for yourself. But no matter how much you love the work, it does get tiring, and it’s just not sustainable in the longer term.
So how do you turn your business into an ongoing asset that will continue to operate effectively even when you aren’t pouring all your energy into it?
The answer is that you need to have effective systems.
If you would like to hear more about this please feel free to get in touch below.
The Basic Rule of Systems
It’s easy to get caught up in creating system after system to try and account for every situation. This is not the correct approach. The thing you have to remind yourself is:
“Systemise the routine, humanise the exception.”
Systems in your business are not necessarily done independently of your team – ultimately, people run your systems. And those people are there not just to ensure the system runs correctly, but also to catch anything that isn’t systemised.
Your systems are not designed to replace people, but instead to ensure that they don’t need to waste their focus on repetitive tasks. Systems should free their headspace to do higher-level tasks that require thought and consideration.
In order to achieve effective systemisation, there are four basic steps to follow.
Step 1: Flowchart Your Process
The first step in systemisation is to lay out all the steps of your system. While you could just write out a list (and some people definitely work well that way), I’m a visual person. I like to see the process laid out in a visual format that’s easy to understand.
And while you may work better with lists, it’s quite likely that the team member you are working with will understand it better if you flowchart it. Remember, as a leader you need to follow the platinum rule – not ‘treat people as you want to be treated’, but instead ‘treat people the way they want to be treated’.
Step 2: Create Clear Documentation
As you complete a task that you are hoping to systemise, note down each step of the process. Lay this out in explicit detail.
Once you have this written out the first time, get someone else to follow the system, watching them closely.
If at any point you need to step in and explain it to the new person, make sure that that information is added to the process document.
Then get someone else to do it again. Repeat as many times as you need to until you have a clear document that can be used to do the task without any intervention.
You now have an independent process document.
Step 3: Measure Results
Most business owners stop at the end of step 2, satisfied with a process well-systemised.
It may be systemised, but you don’t really know if it’s well-systemised yet, unless you are measuring how well it’s doing.
The first thing you need to do is figure out what are the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that are associated with this process. What metric(s) best indicate how well this process is successfully being executed?
For sales processes, these would often be hard numbers like the number of leads, conversion rates, cost per result etc.
However, the KPIs associated with a process may not always be statistics like that but may be a number of deliverables – for example, a social media post being published each week, or the number of invoices processed each week.
You should build a dashboard around this process and be quite closely monitoring the success around these metrics, especially immediately after the handover of the process.
Step 4: Update Systems As Your Business Changes
Unfortunately, there are few systems in this world that last forever. The market is constantly changing, and if your business is to continue to survive, eventually your processes will need to change too. Your system needs to have a course-correction function built into it.
As you have been in your business since you conceived it you should have some idea of the ‘rhythm’ of your business. How quickly does your business evolve? How often have you found yourself adjusting the way you work? When have the growth spurts been?
Ensure that any system you build has longevity that matches that rhythm. Perhaps set up checks to ensure processes that you have systemised are still working correctly at intervals that match the flow of your business growth.
When you follow through on these four steps, you’ll have robust, dynamic systems in your business that allow you to get on with the work of working ‘on’ your business. That way, you can use all that time that you would typically have been stuck working ‘in’ the business and instead apply yourself to taking the business in new directions and scaling at the rate that you desire.
If you would like to discuss any of the points covered here, please feel free to request a free call below.