A large part of business success is being able to manage high levels of activity on a daily basis with consistency and efficiency - all whilst also maintaining quality standards of workmanship!
As the owner of a business, you may sometimes find yourself feeling like it is all up to you to keep every aspect of the business running smoothly.
How many times have you found yourself thinking or saying something along the lines of, "Oh it's just easier if I just do it"?
If you had a documented, tried and tested, system in place, you could be confident that your team were not just completing tasks but doing them exactly as you would have done.
Knowing that your trusted systems could be diligently followed, even in your absence, frees up your time to focus on the more important aspects of your business - or even to take a holiday!
Here are 6 steps to help you create systems in your business:
1. Identify areas that require a system.
The first step puts a lot of business owners off creating systems as it requires time, focus and thought. However, once this first step has been taken, you will begin to see where systems will help you streamline your business and empower your team to step up and start taking on more responsibility.
Create a list of areas which need a system by thinking about what you do on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly basis. How are you spending your time? What are you doing that you wouldn’t need to do if you had a system in place? Maybe it's explaining the same thing to an employee for the fourth time. Maybe it’s an oversight such as forgetting to follow up on an enquiry.
Now that you have your list, you may find it difficult to know where to start! Begin by thinking about what your top goal is. What is the issue you want to hopefully solve by putting a system in place?
Do you want more clients? If so, then marketing is the area that needs your attention first and foremost. Start by writing a list of all the tasks currently involved in your marketing (networking, social media, cold calling, etc).
Does your team need to be more efficient? Detail the tasks that are consuming the most amount of time or detracting from the job at hand.
3. Break it down and document it.
I have always used Post-It notes or a whiteboard to perform this next step, however you can use your computer or any other method that suits you.
Take the first priority you want to work on and list the current process. If you are using Post-It notes, write each separate task as-is on a separate Post-It note. Then, using a blank surface like a table or wall, stick them up in logical order. Keep going until your process is finished.
You may come across a Yes/No scenario in which case, just turn your Post-It note until it becomes a diamond shape. Then simply branch off from that.
Once you have read through the process, added to it and re-designed it a little, transfer it to your computer and document it.
4. Do a trial run.
Test-drive the first draft of your new system by having someone else work through it. Don’t take your system live until you are happy with your trial run.
If your system involves anything external to the business such as marketing, any mistakes in the testing phase would be on public display causing embarrassment, possibly losing you money and potential customers.
Have a team member follow your system exactly as it is documented and in doing so, they may identify a few gaps that you hadn’t thought of before.
Alter your first draft where necessary and take your second test drive. Repeat this process until you are completely satisfied that all gaps are filled and smoothed over.
5. Train your team.
With your system tried and tested, this step should be relatively straight forward. Review your system with your team, ensuring each action is easily understood and that there are no roadblocks preventing the system from being completed from start to finish.
Like most aspects of your business planning, don’t simply allocate your system to a dusty shelf after 3 months. Sure, it is probably a well-ingrained habit by then - you or anyone else could follow it blindfolded. However, things change and, accordingly, your system will need to change too.
Your system may also need re-visiting if it’s not frequently used i.e. systems for those tasks that only occur quarterly.
Once systems and processes are in place, you will see a more efficient, productive and confident team and a less stressed and overworked you!