What are business systems and do they benefit your company? Starting, building and growing a business is exciting. But often things get out of control. Balls get dropped and what was once fun and exciting can become a dreary chore. Why? Because of a lack of business systems.
Many founders find themselves working longer and longer hours for little pay.
You might start wondering whatever possessed you to start a business. After all the goal was freedom, wealth and independence. But now it feels like you’re treading water and going nowhere. Sadly some owners end up throwing in the towel.
I don’t want this for you. That’s why I’m going to show you how systems can change your company for the better. It might be just what you need.
A business system is a series of interdependent tasks or documented procedures that outline exactly how to do something in an organization to achieve a business objective. Good business systems streamline workload, improve productivity and get results.
A (also known as a series of checklists) can be given to a new employee and implemented without training. Not only does it improve onboarding new people. It also massively improves customer service. A business process (also known as a series of checklists) can be given to a new employee and implemented without training. Not only does it improve onboarding new people, it also massively improves customer service.
For example, a system could be a step-by-step guide to writing blog posts. Think of it as best practices for getting eyes on your content marketing.
Her's what that might look like:
No. Business processes are what I like to call standard operating procedures. It's a series of linked tasks, checklists, and activities—business systems—that work towards a singular business goal.
Every business owner needs systems. So, now that you understand what a business system is, let’s look at the benefits of implementing business processes.
In my , I talk about the three E's of business systems—expansion, escape, and exit. Without systems, the "know-how" of running the business is siloed between a few select individuals' ears, and achieving the three E's is impossible.
In my 1-Page Marketing Plan Course, I talk about the three E's of business systems—expansion, escape, and exit. Without systems, the "know-how" of running the business is siloed between a few select individuals' ears, and achieving the three E's is impossible.
What happens if you get sick, or a vital employee leaves, does your company stop functioning optimally?
Systems negate this, and I’m going to show you how.
Here are five major benefits of implementing a business system.
To recap, systems are essential for expanding your organization, improving business functions, adding new people and products, growing your revenue, improving profit margins, escaping your business and taking a well-deserved holiday, and potentially exiting your organization one day.
If you want to learn how you can find and hire great remote talent, check out this blog post.
If you're wondering why many small businesses don't adopt systems, it's because they're considered back-office functions or boring.
It's not something that requires your attention today, particularly when you're in the startup phase. You're so focused on building your company that there are other more pressing tasks that you need to deal with.
So there's a perceived lack of urgency.
Thing is, without business systems, you don't own a business – you ARE the business. If you want to double revenue, you need to double the hours you work. Since you only have so many hours in a day, that limits how fast and how big you grow.
By automating, delegating, and systemizing your business activities and business functions, you gain leverage, which is the key to creating and scaling a high growth organization.
Even if you're starting out, you need to get into a systems mindset long before hiring your first employee or subcontractor. It's the critical difference between being self-employed and being an entrepreneur.
Don't wait until your organization is in crisis mode and spinning out of control. It's much easier to begin creating your systems from the start than retrofit your business later.
Are you building a coaching business? Click the link to learn how to start and scale your coaching business.
Before we can transition from self employed to entrepreneur, we first need to create a subtle but vital mindset shift. Self-employed people ARE the business, whereas entrepreneurs OWN the business.
If you’re ever going to experience financial freedom in your company, the key ingredient is leverage. If I had to pick only one thing that sets apart wealthy business owners from average ones, leverage would be it. You can find out more about The Best Kept Secret Of The Rich here.
Perhaps the only thing more important to an entrepreneur than financial success is freedom. Are you setting up your business in a way that facilitates that kind of freedom? You can read up on Why A Lack Of Systems Is Stunting Your Business Growth And Costing You A Fortune.
Now that you’ve made the mindset shift from self-employed to entrepreneur, it’s time to start actually building the business systems that are going to run your organization and set you free.
If we’re going to create the kind of speed that’s necessary for a high growth business, we need to eliminate all bottlenecks – starting with you.
You shouldn't be working non-stop, day and night. Build a team and delegate. Try these top time management strategies for better productivity.
One of the poster children for good systems is McDonald's.
McDonald's is a multibillion-dollar operation run by young teenagers who can't even be trusted to make their beds. How does that happen? It happens with business systems.
Their operation manuals cover everything from hiring to product delivery to customer interaction. What these systems do is allow McDonald's to provide a consistent experience.
You know that when you walk into a McDonald's, The Big Mac, the fries, the nuggets will always be the same. And it's because they've got those systems in place.
Whether you like the food or you don't, you always know that any McDonald's you go to will deliver a consistent experience.
While virtually anything can be systematized, there are four main types of business systems that you need to build. Getting these running is like adding rocket fuel to your startup. I'm going to touch on these below, but you can find out more in this article: Products Make You Money, Systems Make You A Fortune, and you use this to generate a consistent flow of leads into the business.
If you had to start with just one of these systems, the one which will give you the biggest returns on time and money would be your marketing system. Click here to learn how to build your marketing infrastructure and assets.
So now we're going to cover the best practices for writing a business system. I've built systems in all of my businesses. These are companies I eventually exited for a tidy profit so I like to think I'm qualified to share my expertise.
When you’re building systems there are three questions you need to think about:
Some processes will be handled by people, for example outreach to journalists, podcasts, responding to LinkedIn connections, website maintenance, writing emails, how to order equipment, etc. Some will be handled by technology and automation, so a CRM will send an automated series of emails, Google Analytics will track website visitors and opt-ins
Knowing this early on is important because it influences the processes you create and how you write your business systems.
But before I get into writing your business processes or standard operating procedure, I want to focus on how you can document your systems.
Now that you know how to document your business systems, it's time to map out your process or workflow. And really, there are four stages to writing a standard operating procedure.
Here is what I like to do:
My team and I will get together, and we will try to define what the best method is. So what is the gold standard? During this brainstorming session, we want to identify who does what. Who is going to compile the data? Who will design the document? Who will film an instructional video? That sort of thing.
For instance, my copywriter will note down in a document exactly how to pitch media on Haro or SourceBottle. She'll write the process, taking screen grabs of each step. Then my designer might create visuals to illustrate each step. And my marketing assistant will take all of this information and compile it into a branded SOP document.
Let's say my copywriter leaves, and I hire a new copywriter. They can take the media pitching business system, read it, and hit the ground running. I can also share it with my 1:1 clients, and they can implement the same process into their organization, so that becomes very powerful.
So sometimes we find, "Hang on, there is a better way of doing it, " and then we adjust and course correct.
For best results, show your employees and clients how to put a business system together, then let them do it. Make sure you watch them and provide guidance when needed.
Virtually everything in your business can and should be documented in a business process.
You might think that as a solopreneur you don't need to build systems. You'd be wrong. I show you how to start systemizing as a one person business here.
Now that you know how to put a business system together let's look at the strategic advantages it gives your organization and who values your systems.
A system is valuable to:
A business system is valuable to you, the business owner, solopreneur or startup founder.
You or management want to be able to pass something over to a recruit and say, “This is how we do it here, this is our checklist, this is our process, this is our procedure, " and it’s very, very important that you're able to do that.
You don’t have to train employees up. All they need to do is follow the procedure outlined in the document. And because you’ve mapped it out, it’s easier to pick up and run with.
Someone can decide to leave, and your business won't stop functioning. The recruit can pick up where the last person left off, and that's a great place to be in.
Customers want consistency. When you implement systems in your business, each process ensures you deliver consistent results with every interaction.
Your customers know what to expect, and that builds loyalty.
But you can also use your systems document as a byproduct which a coaching client, for example, can implement into their business.
So you’re not only advising your client, but you’re saying, “look, this is how we’ve done this. It’s our gold standard. We’ve had great success using this methodology, and you can too. ”
So that’s a big motivator for clients to choose you over, say, a competitor.
They're not just buying the customer base, which is really a historical document, or the revenue, which again, is a historical metric. They're buying a system that generates new leads, prospects, and customers, and a process for delivering products and services. Now that makes the business dramatically more valuable to prospective purchases.
And this is your ultimate customer. It's the person who puts you out of business and writes you that big check that makes you leave and do something else.
Some of the biggest fortunes have been created when owners have sold or licensed their companies.
But if management depends on you to be present to get things done, it’s really a self-made job and worthless to investors.
So Start With The End In Mind and remember, technology has created more millionaires and billionaires than anything else.
Click How Smart Entrepreneurs Use Technology to create value in your organization.
Systems provide solutions for common organisational problems.
The startups and small businesses that win in marketing are the ones that do the simple things consistently. They get them done not because of willpower but because of a business system.
I want you to think of systems as your secret weapon—your Iron Man suit that will help you punch above your weight. Systems let you put much of the repetitive and tedious tasks on autopilot, and that's exciting because it frees up your time to focus on coming up with a new vision, a new way of doing things, a new market to serve, whatever.
So like Jim Rohn says, "Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines practiced every day. Failure is a few errors in judgment repeated every day."
Don't repeat your errors of judgment daily.
Just put in those few simple disciplines: start documenting your processes, start putting together your marketing system. Make sure you're using technology to reduce friction, create a more consistent experience for your clients, and deliver a wow experience
Those systems will free you. They'll help you expand, escape, and eventually exit your SME and that, to me as an entrepreneur, is super exciting.
Every team needs business processes. And every entrepreneur needs a team. Learn why, here.
You'll get new articles delivered straight to your inbox, plus special subscriber-only content such as podcasts, videos and live training events.
Get free weekly emails that make you smarter at marketing and help you grow your business