When I started my first business, I didn't have a business plan and I didn't have any systems in place to help me run my business. Instead I was winging it everyday, and often reactively responding to situations that came up.
It probably didn't help that I saw a lot of other small business owners in a similar place, where they were basically just waiting for something to happen to their business and then trying to figure out how to respond. The problem with that approach is that its hard to effectively run a business and do the productive work you enjoy. Instead you're often responding to the latest fire and trying to put it out.
A few years into my first business, I wrote a business plan and I also started putting together systems.
I realized that having the right systems in place makes it a lot easier to proactively handle situations, put the fires out, and focus on the work which really matters.
I want to share with you 5 reasons the right systems for your business can help you keep your sanity, run your business effectively, and help you focus on the productive work.
1. Your business systems don't need to be complicated.
The number one problem many business owners with developing and implementing systems is the perception that creating and applying a system to business has to be complicated. However a business system can be as simple as deciding what your pricing policy is and taking the time to write it down and share it with your customers.
Granted some systems can be more complicated, but a lot of business systems can be easily developed and implemented. You just need to figure out what you need the system for.
2. A business system isn't automatically technology.
One of the other problems business owners have with creating and implementing a business system is the perception that the system must have some type of technology. And while some business owners are tech savvy, many aren't and the idea of having learn yet another piece of technology just seems like more work than its worth.
But not all business systems are technology or involve technology. In fact, technology is just a tool, and treating it as a business system ignores what a business system really is: A process for describing how specific actions should occur as well as who/what should make those actions.
When you understand that's what a business system is, it also allows you to recognize that the system is actually developed by you. You may or may not use technology with a system, and really what makes the system effective isn't the technology, but your ability to set up and sustain the actions that are part of the process.
3. The benefit of technology, with a system, is that it automates the actions that happen.
There are certain benefits that come with applying technology to a system you're using to help run your business. What technology can do is allow us to automate actions. And what that means is that the action is set up once and then run continuously for specific situations, in order to address those situations.
The benefit of such a set up is you don't have to think about it. Once it's set up its done. And it runs continuously. you can focus your efforts on projects, clients, and work that can't be automated that way.
4. If you want to grow your business, the right systems can help you scale the business and make the growth sustainable.
The feast and famine cycle that a lot of small business owners isn't strictly a marketing/sales problem (Though it is often presented that way). While marketing/sales likely play a role in your feast and famine cycle, the other significant problem which occurs is that the right systems aren't in place to support your business growth.
For example, an accountant I worked had a cycle of feast and famine in his business. He had no problem getting people in the door, but there were no systems in place to support the work being done by his staff. There were no defined roles or responsibilities and everything was chaotic, which is the exact opposite of what someone wants with an accountant.
Once systems were defined and roles and responsibilities were assigned the cycle of feast and famine ended. The right systems helped the accountant scale his business to handle the growth and keep the clients happy. The office staff was a lot happier as well, which helped immensely.
5. The ultimate purpose of a system is to streamline behavior.
Any system developed for your business should be developed to focus and streamline behavior. This applies as much to technology as it does human interactions, because ultimately the point of a system is to move people along specific paths to specific outcomes. So a system is really designed to optimize behavior. The result is that the business becomes much easier to run because the desired behaviors are defined and a process is developed that helps move people down the appropriate path to whatever resolution needs to occur.
The reasons the right systems can help you scale your business to handle your growth or proactively handle situations that come up is because the behaviors are defined and the system is set up to support the actions that lead to the realization of those behaviors. And the benefit for you is that you get to keep your sanity and do the work that's important to you, because you're no longer sinking time into unproductive work that keeps you from what really lights your soul.