If you’re in business or planning to start a business then this might be some of the most important information you’ll ever read.
Look, implementing systems in your business is vital – in a business sense it’s what separates the men from the boys.
It’s what’s going to give you speed, scalability and leverage. Without systems, you’re putting a lid on the growth of your business and turning it into a prison for yourself.
In this article we’re going to have a look at the process of starting to build systems in you’re business.
OK let’s dive in.
Our goal is to eliminate the biggest bottleneck from your business – YOU.
Stay with me here.
Even if you’re not looking to get out of your business immediately, the day will come when you need to take time off, want to go onto another venture, employ more staff or even sell your business.
When the time comes you’ll be thankful you followed this advice.
THINKING TEN TIMES BIGGER
Your job as an entrepreneur is to be an innovator and a builder of systems.
Even if you are a sole operator right now, it’s important to think long-term and think big.
The first part of the process is to think of your business as being ten times the size it currently is. If that were the case what roles would exist?
For example, would you have someone taking care of the bookkeeping, someone else in shipping, another person in sales, a marketing person etc.
You get the idea.
If you’re a sole operator or a small business it’s not a problem if you currently perform all or most of the roles in your business. But it is a problem if you currently HAVE TO perform all the roles in your business. If you are indispensable, you are a bottleneck and the business will only move as fast as you can.
DEFINE THE ROLES IN YOUR BUSINESS
Now we need to start looking at each role in the business. Now when I say role I don’t mean person.
For example, in a smaller business, the same person might be both on reception and doing the bookkeeping. Now even though one person does both of these roles they are still two separate roles and if the business were larger these two roles would be performed by different people.
In an even larger business, a single role might be broken up even further. For example, there might be a separate bookkeeper for accounts payable and accounts receivable.
Once you have identified all the different roles in your business, you can start defining what tasks each role performs.
For example what are all the tasks we expect the person performing the bookkeeping role to do? The tasks may include:
- Invoicing customers
- Bank reconciliation
- Follow up unpaid invoices
- Entering supplier invoices
- etc. etc.
Now once we have identified all the roles within the business and defined what tasks each role does. We now need to document exactly how each task should be performed.
BECOME A CREATOR OF CHECKLISTS
One of the best tools you can use in building business systems is checklists.
Checklists are easy to create, follow and track.
Once you’ve created a list of all the tasks performed in your business, you are ready to start documenting exactly how these tasks are performed.
A simplified example for the task “Follow up unpaid invoices”, could look something like:
- Run account receivable report
- For any invoices that are 7-13 days overdue send a friendly reminder
- For any invoices that are 14-27 days overdue call the customer to remind them to pay
- Forward any invoices that are over 27 days overdue to our debt collection agency
See how we’ve broken the task down into small easy-to-follow steps?
Now granted the above is a simplistic example for illustration purposes.
In fact, some of these steps include subtasks which would also need to be documented – for example how do you run an accounts receivable report?
So to recap – it’s essentially a three step process:
- Identify all of the roles in your business
- Define what tasks each role performs
- Create checklists for properly completing these tasks
Now if you wanted to delegate or outsource a task, it’s going to be so much easier to hand the person a step-by-step process rather than just giving them ad-hoc training and watching over them constantly to make sure they do it right.
Once the system is in place, scaling your business becomes super easy – just add people.
Once you see the awesome power of systems in your business you’ll never go back to the old way of doing things.
As you can see, this process is a way of getting the systems you already have in place documented. Currently all these systems are stored in your head and accessible only to you – at least until we come up with a way to read minds.
Documenting these business systems will be the only way to easily scale your business and let it run without you.