A system is a set of principles or procedures that specify how particular tasks are done, and that trained team members can replicate without you.
As your company grows it’s not possible to keep your finger in every pie. In order to build a successful business, you need to introduce systems and processes that can be automated as much as possible.
Good system’s implemented properly, should not only guarantee that your customers are receiving a consistent level of service, they will also enable your business to operate more smoothly and profitably. As we say at ActionCOACH – People run your systems, systems run your business!
Some key systems you will need to build as your company becomes more sophisticated include everything from the simple daily office operation systems (e.g. how the phone is answered), to your sales process, customer support systems, inventory systems, invoicing and accountancy processes, recruitment, training and appraisal systems, among others.
In order to help you get started, there are 4 basic steps to systemisation:
1. Flowchart your processes
The basic rule for systemising is ‘Systemise the routine – humanise the exception’. Make a list of all the things that are done in your business that are repetitive, or perhaps that a lower paid team member could be doing if it were systemised. Then flowchart each process. This will show you how it all fits together.
2. Document how it gets done
Ask the team member who is currently doing the job to write down every step in performing a task. This person then gets a different team member to complete the task following the process. If the person currently doing the task has to step in and explain anything to the new person then that information is added to the step, etc.
3. Manage & measure using Key Performance Indicators
There’s no point having a system in place if it’s not effective. Once you’ve set up a system, make sure you’re measuring the results as you go along. If people are still dropping the ball and you’ve got a system, it means there’s something wrong with the system, not with the person. Typically, your KPI’s will be the top five measures to show system performance. Get these from the person doing the job (i.e. in sales you could use number of leads, conversion rate, average euro sale etc.)
4. Allow the system to change/grow as your business changes and grows.
Ensure that each system is reliable, self-correcting and scaleable so as to allow it to evolve at the same pace that your business evolves.
Some final tips:
- Don’t over complicate systems or people won’t follow them.
- Use lots of photos, videos etc. This may be as simple as printing a computer screen or videoing someone doing the task at hand. This will make the systems much easier to follow.
- Document your system in a policies and procedures or operations manual in an easy to access format. And make sure everyone has a copy or knows where it is! Require all of your team members to periodically review the manual with the goal of identifying needed changes on a timely and qualitative basis.
- Communicate who is responsible for making any changes to policies and procedures.
If you would like more information on how to introduce systems into your business, or if you would like to avail of a complimentary Business Review with one of our top Coaches to uncover ways to grow and improve your business, please fill in your details below and we will be in touch to arrange your appointment:
It was Archimedes that said – “Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world”. Well, the same can be true in business. Learning to leverage your time can make a huge difference to your business.
One of the biggest challenges that business owners have is that their business never truly runs without them being there on a day to day basis. Our definition of a business is: a commercial, profitable enterprise that runs WITHOUT YOU. If your business does not run without you, you have a demanding job, rather than a successful enterprise.
Your time is one of your most valuable assets. The most successful business people recognise this; they invest in people, computerised systems and other types of technology that will save them time. So ask yourself – what resources can I investing in to save me valuable time?
The best use of your time as a business owner is not troubleshooting, being the number one contact for your customers or sorting out problems your team have made, but is in seeing new business opportunities, providing leadership to your team and mapping out the future of the business.
It is vital to remember that if you do something once without writing it down, you are destined to repeat it forever, so the key to leveraging yourself out of the day-to-day of your business is to have written systems and processes that enable it to happen.
Think of systems as ways of Saving Yourself Stress, Time, Energy and Money. Although there is an up-front investment of your valuable time, in the long run it will pay dividends as it gives you the following benefits:
- You can constantly improve systems;
- Other people can be trained and can then do the work for you;
- Customers will get a consistent service;
- There may be the potential to replicate the business in the future.
If you need further proof that systems can make you money, just look at McDonalds restaurants. These are found the world over all producing the same quality product and service, employing low skilled staff and making very good profits. While we would not expect your business to be as systemised as that, most business we come across can systemise 80% of what they do and train the human element to take care of the other 20%.
The problem is that for most established business starting to write the systems is a daunting task. Where do you start and who should do it?
Well like most goals the best thing is to break it down into manageable chunks and choose the areas that are most used and can produce the best improvements. We normally find our clients start with the sales and debt collection processes. Then go through each stage of the business bit by bit and delegate as much as possible to those that are currently carrying out the work. We had one client who employed 3 students over the summer to come in and write their entire operations manual for them as part of their university degree, a real Win:Win.
The key to making systemisation work is to make sure your staff are properly educated and trained to use the systems and processes. Your team really is your best asset, and frankly they are the only way your business will truly work without you.
Some business owners tell us that they are scared that if they train their team that they may leave and take their skills somewhere else. Our response is that if they don’t train them they might stay!
In addition to people power, you should be looking to use whatever technology is available to make your systems more efficient, such as computerised Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, stock control, accounts, payroll, quoting, estimating etc. Don’t forget you are investing in the future, so always select a system that you can grow into otherwise you will limit your growth.
So stop thinking you are stuck in your business, and start leveraging yourself to the top.
If you would like to find out more about Systemising Your Business, then come along to our workshop Thursday 25th June, 15. Click here for more details or to register today.