Hi. Chinny here! Today I will walk you through a guide on how to systemize your business so your business can grow and scale. Do you have a business that keeps you working in it instead of working on it? Is your staff giving you a lot of headache? This guide will give you the blue print for scaling, growing your business and help you achieve personal freedom.
As and entrepreneur, while growing your business, it will get to a point where you will no longer be involved in its day to day activities. To move to the next growth stage in your business, it’s mandatory you create systems in your business to free up your operational time.
Here, you will learn all you need to create simple, repeatable systems you can easily implement in every area of your business. You will also learn how to develop a high performing team to run the systems so you can free up your time to focus on what’s more important.
Have you ever wondered why things normally go wrong in your business especially whenever you are not around even though you have smart passionate staff that love your business? Will you like to travel and still have your business run smoothly even when you are not there?
Have you wondered why your staff do all things well only when you are around? Are you noticing things like: Invoices not filed correctly, key customers being lost because customer’s requests are not completed or orders don’t arrive on time. If yes, then you need to systemize your business!
Lets be clear on one thing: your employees are not the problem because most of the time they want so much to achieve the company’s goal just like you do. The culprit responsible for the problems is because you don’t have well documented systems and processes in place!
“Organize around business functions, not people. Build systems within each business function. Let systems run the business and people run the systems. People come and go but the systems remain constant” – Michael Gerber.
Here are things to expect from this guide
- What is Business Systemization or Business System?
- Why You Need to Build Systems in your Business?
- No. #1 Sign your Business Needs Systemisation.
- Business Systemization mistakes you need to avoid.
- How to Systemize your Business in Four Key steps.
- Best tools to help you systemize your business and automate your systems.
- The McDonald’s Systemization Method: How to build business systems like McDonald
What does it mean to Systemize your Business?
Business systems are a set of documented standard operating procedures (SOPs) that sets down what is to be done, how its to be done, when it should be done, with what its to be done and by whom it should be done in your business.
Without these laid down in a way your workers would understand it, you may never be able to grow or scale your business in a repeatable and predictable way. So, simply put, business systemization is a documented, repeatable process of how a particular task in a business aught to be done.
An example is:
- Gina plans, writes and have ready the social media content for 30 days and sends them to Okenna on the 30th of every month for review.
- Okenna reviews and sends back the social media posts from Gina on the same day 30th of every month. etc
- Gina sends out 2 of the reviewed posts (one by 9am and the other by 4pm) daily to all the company’s social media accounts etc with post scheduler. This system contains names, dates and tools.
As a small business owner, its very easy to just keep working in your business instead of on it. When you are working in your business, it means that everything about your business revolves around you. If you leave, get sick, travel etc. the business crumbles. It’s okay when you are just starting to do everything yourself from producing your products to sending out orders and still giving customer’s support.
If you want to grow your business, or if you will like to have others work with you which is inevitable if you must grow; then you must turn your business into a system that functions well and put those systems in the hands of capable staff that you have trained.
WHY YOU NEED TO BUILD SYSTEMS IN YOUR BUSINESS
When I started my first business, I did not know anything about building systems in a business. I had people working for me and most times they where always quarrelling about who aught to do what, I could not leave my business in their hands because I was afraid of loosing customers. Practically the business was built around me. Any time I had a need to travel, I had to lock the store until I was back! Horrible right? Yes. Now, I know better. So, Let me show you more reasons you need to systemize your business.
Here are more reasons why you need systems in your business:
1. It takes the bulk of the load off you
As a business owner,the bulk of the work is on you. Systemizing your business, frees up your time. Your business still functions smoothly even if you fall sick, travel or just need to take some time off.
When you systemize your business, it means you have multiplied your hands into many hands (your team or outsourced team) and still be rest assured that the people you handed over the reigns of your business to know exactly what to do.
2. It helps you spot loopholes in your business
When you systemize your business, it becomes easier for you to know when things go wrong. To identify gaps in the running system, you should ensure you allow and create a way of receiving feedback from your team based on the system you have set.
You should keep a list of suggestions and keep changing and fine tuning the system until it runs without hitches.
3. It helps you put consistency in your business.
Business systemization helps you ensure each customer gets the same quality of service all the time.
4. It makes training new and old staff easier.
Having a documented training manual makes training easier. Instead of starting from the beginning each time you have a new hire to answer a lot of questions, you just run them through your training manual that answers all the questions. This saves you a lot of time.
5. It saves you money.
Having processes in your business does not only reduce redundancy, it saves you money, time and helps you quickly train new hires that will give you the same output while operating the system. You also earn money if you decide to sell your business franchise.
6. It helps you handle business growth.
What happens when you have a 100 new customers calling at once for a critical error issue if you have not systemized that process already? You can also use sytemization and automation to generate a lot of leads at once and grow your customer base. Big businesses like amazon, Facebook etc. grew because of business systemization. The benefits of systemizing your business are endless.
The No.1 Sign its Time to Systemize your business
When you are running a one man’s show as a business owner, most of the time, their are no loopholes because you are the only one doing all the work. So, systemising your business at this point may not be necessary.
If you intend to bring other people on board as your business grows, it becomes absolutely necessary. In fact, you should systemize your business before you hire your first employee.This will save you a lot of headaches plus you will be able to tell your new hires what their roles are.
Before we go into how to systemize your business, let’s look at some of the mistakes small businesses make when trying to systemize their businesses so you don’t make the same mistake.
Business Systemization Mistakes You Must Avoid
Here are some of the business process systemization pitfalls you need to know about and avoid so you get the results you want fast.
1. Not doing the research yourself.
You need to understand all your business functions and own your business process as a business owner. What do I mean by this?
You have probably heard a lot about systemizing your business but may not have worked in the environment of large companies with multiple automated processes or may not have the IT expertise to integrate the right software based systems.
Its important that you don’t just simply handover the entire process to an IT personal or a business management consultant. Make sure you understand what your business needs to become successful and profitable. Get expert advice on the best business software to use according to your business’s need.
The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E Gerber is a must-read for every new entrepreneur. As Gerber states:
“Most businesses are operated according to what the owner wants as opposed to what the business needs.”
2. Not planning
When you are about to embark on the systemization of your business, you must not fail to plan your road map. Failure to plan is a sure fire way to failure. This will be discussed in detail later in this guide.
3. Trying to do so much at first.
Don’t try to design too many systems at once especially if you are a new startup or a micro business or systems that are too complicated for the level at which the business currently functions. This will only make you overstretched or even frustrated.
First, create systems only for those those activities that happen more frequently like daily or weekly. If an activity happens only once a year, leave those ones to be handled last. Focus on the activity that happens more frequently or creates more frustrations and problems. When those ones are dealt with, then move on to the next till you are done.
Its very important to start small and get confident with documenting processes and testing your systems before tackling the more difficult processes.
4. Failure to communicate your process strategy and objectives with your team.
This is the worst thing that can happen to any business. If after taking time to create a business process and you don’t effectively communicate it to your team, its as good as not doing it.
How to Systemize Your Business in Four Key Steps
So, now you know you need to build systems in your business, but where do you start? Building a system is not that far fetched if you know what to do. I will share with you a very simple way to systemize your business. Also, bear in mind that this is not something you do overnight. Systemising your business takes some time.
To systemize your business you need to go through the planning, the process, the people and the performance and measurement stages.
1. The planning stage
Planning will give you clarity and a road map to get you started in systemizing your business.
Set aside a few days to formulate a plan before you systemize your processes. The plan should include the following:
1. Identify routine tasks and and activities.
2. Describe the standard you expect at the end of each task or activity.
3. Describe the philosophy behind each activity or task.
4. Identify the right position (right person) within the business or organization responsible for each task.
5. Create a template for the task in each activity and sue it to compile an operational manual.
6. State how you will review and continuously review the process.
The next thing you need to do is to identify all the key areas or departments in your business. Looking at the functional areas of your business is a faster way to get started.
The functional areas of a business are:
- Human Resources
- Information Marketing
- Customer Services
- Inventory management
If your business is small and you are the only person running it with no staff, you may not have clear cut departments in your business. If that’s your situation, all you need to do is to not down the key areas of your business.
The second thing you need to do is to identify and note down all recurring tasks in each functional area of your business that you do on a regular basis and how long it takes to complete each task. If you don’t know, make an estimate.
Also add tasks that you don’t necessarily do on a daily basis but on monthly or yearly basis like employee training or annual and monthly budgeting.
Lets look at examples some of the tasks you do on the regular basis that you may consider noting down. Here they are:
- Leads generation
- Order processing
- Paying employees and contractors
- Quotes and proposals
- Monthly reconciliation of books
- Staff training
- Customer service and retention
Now, that you have a list of your recurring tasks. Next, organize your list by how long it takes to accomplish the task. For example 40 minutes, 55 minutes etc. Now go through your list again and check if there is anyone you may need to delegate to another person.
For example if social media marketing is an integral part of your marketing strategy and you are in charge of social media content creation.
Social media content creation involves researching for trending posts, create social media posts, uploading the posts and replying to comments, you may delegate uploading posts to a staff. Uploading post may not be a productive use of your time.
Once you have a list of tasks you are going to delegate, then you are ready for the next step.
Also, ensure you include in your plan a communications strategy to keep your team informed about what you are doing, a process for monitoring compliance with the system by your team and a training program for training both old and new team members in the use of the new system.
2. Next, document the process of completing each of the task you have noted down.
This is a way to simplify your customer’s journey through your business. Systemizing your business or documenting your business processes is something that will take you time as you need to take each task one after the other and document the process. Now you may not not even have a process for achieving some of the tasks you set. That’s perfectly fine. Start from one and then the next and keep going until you are done.
First, start documenting the tasks that happen most often and are more important to the growth of your business. To document the process for each task, start with the most important and frequent tasks. Note down the process you use to achieve them from start to finish with the tool you use.
Be sure to note down all the key information for each task. Each of the following task information should be noted down:
- When does the task need to happen?
- What triggers the task (Is it a particular date?, is it a particular event?)
- When does the task need to happen? (is it daily, monthly or yearly etc.)
- How is the the task completed? (note down the tools and resources needed to complete the task)
Put down the process in as much detail as possible so anyone that picks it up knows exactly what to to and how things are done without needing to ask questions again. When you are done with this, you will need to test the process to see if it works. but before this you need to train your people.
Why do you need to train your people you maybe asking. This leads us to step three- Train your team.
3.Train your people to carry out the process
For your documented process to run smoothly, you need the right people. You need effective hiring and training of the people who will run your business system. Documenting a process and having just anybody run it is like putting square pegs in round holes and a total waste of time and resources.
You need people who know exactly how things are done to deliver consistent high standards. Train your staff with the documented processes. Let them know exactly how you want things done. This will save you from a lot of headaches and costly mistakes.
After training your staff, you are ready to let go of the reigns of of your business to your team. Now, you are ready to test your documented process to see if it works smoothly.
Do a test run of each process
Test running a process is very important as it helps you spot gaps, errors or ambiguities in the process. When test running the processes, let someone else do it. Another person is more likely to see what you missed than if you were to do it. Have the person take notes of questions and thoughts they may have.
Let them pay close attention to any ambiguity or unclear words as any mistake will cost you. When you are done with the testing and everything is okay, update the changes made in your final document.
Always review and improve your processes
Using a business system,gives you the benefit of always improving on how you do things. Revisit your systems at least once a year to ensure they are till accurate as business tools, people and circumstances always change. So, you need to make sure you are always up to date.
While making changes to your business processes, ensure you carry your workers along as they may have useful inputs that will help your business. Let your workers know they are free to suggest changes whenever they think it could be done better and your business would be better for it.
Best Tools that Will Help you Systemize and Automate Your Business
Forbest collaboration among team members especially with communicating your business process strategy, you should use google drive which makes it easy for your team members to collaborate and work as a team.
For your customer service and retention, try using chat bots to reduce the load on your customer support team as there are a lot of customer service cases that don’t need manual human input.
The McDonald Systemization Recipe: How to systemize your business the McDonald’s way
The McDonald’s for business system which has worked for years has a very simple formulae that makes it work. McDOnald’s which started as a very small business is now worth billions of dollars. Its formulae according to Marianne Page on in simple,logical. repeatable on how to systemize your business like McDonald’s states:
Develop systems to run every aspect of your business, develop a high performing team to run your systems and then, get out of their way
Mastering these foundations, will give you the freedom to scale, grow, sell or franchise your business or run it from a beach somewhere if that is what you want to do!
On a final note, You can’t scale if you don’t systemize!
Systemizing your business is a must do if you must grow your business. It’s a must for both small and big business of any age.
Without documenting your businesses processes, your business procedures remain only in your mind meaning that only you would be able to perform a task the way it should be done.
When you systemize your business, you equip others to take your business to great height whether you are there or not and your company keeps growing in a predictable and efficient way.