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. This consultation will uncover ways to grow and improve your business.
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