How to Systematize for Success
Are you the glue that holds your business together? When you look away from a project, does it stall or collapse? As your business continues to grow, adding new products, services and layers of operations, do you find yourself overwhelmed, working long hours trying to keep up with the growth?
If you answered yes, it may be time to loosen the reigns by defining and implementing the processes and procedures your business needs to run smoothly while you are out of the office. After all, having a business that works without YOU is a mastery milestone!
Good systems document your hard-won knowledge of operating your business, help you see where you can streamline or become more efficient, and quickly bring new hires up to speed on their job role and daily tasks. While it may seem like a daunting task to document all the processes that you and your team implement daily to run your business, it will make things so much easier in the long run.
Systems are everywhere in our daily lives. Having systems in place makes our lives run better, smoother and allows for “life” to work without needing constant supervision. The roads and highways you drive on, the computer or mobile device you are reading this on, all operate on systems and procedures that lead to greater efficiency. Similarly, systematizing your business will allow it to work without you – employees following set guidelines and procedures that further achieve the result that you and your customers want.
The great thing is, you already have systems in place, even if you do not realize it or consciously create them. Systematizing is simply the process of recording what you do and how you do it in such detail that anyone could pick it up and use it.
Here are a few guidelines when working towards systemizing your business:
- Start the systematizing process by creating a list of the categories of functions that you perform regularly. Typically, these include marketing, sales, production, customer service, and bookkeeping.
- Next, make a list of your regular tasks in each of these categories. Divide them into tasks you do on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly basis. This is the framework for your system.
- Once you have your list, take each task and list out the steps you take to complete it. It may be easier for you to sit at your computer or with a pad of paper and write out what you do while visualizing your typical workflow. Or, you may find it easier to carry a pad or voice recorder with you through your workday and make notes on what you do.
- Now that you have your steps, organize them into a written numbered or bulleted list. During this step, you may already see ways to reorder or combine steps to improve efficiency. Make sure you document what you actually do, then make the changes and improvements you see. You could also try creating this document as a flowchart, script, checklist or mind map.
- Create a separate document for each system and label it with a clear name that identifies its contents. This will help you find the different systems when you need them, and indicate the contents to any employee or contractor who receives the document. It may be helpful to store them all in the same folder on your computer and to upload them to a cloud-based sharing service such as OneDrive or Dropbox. This will allow you to quickly find and share the documents as needed. You may also wish to print them out and keep them in a binder for easy reference.
- As your business grows, you will add new tasks and refine the steps of the tasks you do. You may adopt technology that speeds up or replaces some of your steps. Make sure you update your systems on a regular basis so that they always describe how you currently do things. Your systems will not be helpful if they only show how you used to do it two years ago, or how you wish to do it when you get around to improving it. Make a point of reviewing all their systems once a year to make sure that the documentation matches the current operations.
When it comes to the big questions of how to scale your business, systematization has a lot of the answers. If nothing else, going through a process like this helps you see the full scope of what exactly it is you’re doing on a daily basis. It ultimately enables you to take yourself out of every single process happening in your business. Systems take care of the doing, so you can start being.
Contact us for a free consultation on how to better systematize your business today.