What are systems in business and why do you need them?

One of my clients recently told me that when she first started her business she didn't have any systems in place and as a result it felt like her business ran her. She was constantly reacting to everything coming her way and it made her feel like she could never relax. And although she had a successful business in terms of the number of clients and money coming in, part of her felt miserable because the business wasn't being run on her terms.

She decided that continuing to run her business without systems was insane. She wanted to be in the driver's seat and actually run a business that allowed her to enjoy it and her life at her pace. But at the same time she didn't want to reduce the amount of business. She realized she needed to work smarter instead of harder and that the right systems could help her do that.

She's not alone in her predicament. Many business owners start their business with a dream of helping their clients while making a living. That dream quickly becomes a nightmare when they realize just how much work can be involved in running the business.

But one of the problems is that new small business owners (and sometimes experienced small business owners) don't know that a business can be much easier to run if you have systems in place that automate how you run your business. I'll share more about that below, but first let's take a moment and consider the following question:

What is a system in business?

A system describes the way your business should be run through automated processes. A system can use technology to help with running the business, but ultimately a system is really about behavioral actions that are guided by the processes those actions occur in.

Sounds real technical doesn't it?

So let's make it a bit more user friendly. It basically comes down to behavior: Your behavior and the behavior of your target audience. If you take a step back and look at your day to day operations in your business, what you'll discover is that you're performing specific activities based on behavior.

And once you recognize that there are specific activities you perform you can figure out how to automate those activities by looking at the behavior that's involved.

For example, In the case of my aforementioned client, one realization she had about she could run her business more effectively was to simply come up with an onboarding document that would tell new clients what they needed to give her, for her to get to work. This onboarding document significantly cut down on questions and freed up a large amount of time that had been used to address common concerns her clientele had. My client realized that the original behavior where she spent tons of time answering questions  for new clients wasn't productive for her or them. So she came up with the onboarding document to prepare her clients AND give her back some time.

Let me share another example.

I had another client with a small office staff. One of the problems that bogged that business down is that no one's roles and responsibilities were well defined. As a result any given day was chaotic, with the office staff stepping on each other's feet (so to speak), which not only created more work for all of them, but also created unhappy clients who weren't getting deliverables on time.  

Once the roles and responsibilities were defined and each person knew what they were expected to do, the office staff became much happier and clients were happier as well. All that was needed was a system that helped direct the expected behavior of the staff.

What a system does is automate and regulate behavior. And when behavior is automated and regulated, its much easier to run a business. Instead of constantly reacting to whatever comes your way, you already have a planned response and that response helps you and the person on the other end.

You can apply technology to your systems, and in some cases you need to. You can automate a lot of your marketing activities by simply setting up the right technology and making sure that the technology provides an experience that helps your audience understand their problem and how you can help them fix that problem.

Email marketing is a great example, because you can have a person subscribe to your e-list and then send them a series of email over a specific period of time that helps them learn more about the problem they have, as well as learning why you're an authority that can help them.

The rise of messenger bots is another example of a system of automation that uses technology to create an experience that directs the behavior of the people subscribed to the chat bot.

Not all systems will use technology, but what all systems do have in common is that when properly implemented, systems make it possible for a business owner to run the business from the driver's seat instead of being run by the business. And if you want your business to grow you need to have systems in place. 

When you're trying to grow your business, the systems you have in your business make it a lot easier, because they dictate what actions should occur and when and who should be responsible for what. It takes a lot of your plate, so that you can focus on growing the business instead having to react to situations or problems that could be handled with the right systems. Remember the client I mentioned above who created an onboarding document for her clients? Once that was created, she was able to free up 5 hours a week that she could then put toward other activities that would help her grow her business.

When you're using technology in your system there's an initial time cost in terms of set-up and learning the technology, but once you have it in place, it saves you a tremendous amount of time, because the action is performed over and over again by the technology. You may need to occasionally tweak the technology or fix a bug, but otherwise you can put that time toward other activities. And that's really why you want to have systems in place for your business, because when you have the right systems in place you free up your time to focus on proactively growing the business and serving your customers, while doing all of this in a sane manner that allows you to enjoy your life. 

So the question is...do you want your business to continue running you or do you want to run it effectively and enjoy what you do?

With the rights systems in place you can have a business that's easy to run. And systems don't have to be complicated or hard to implement. In my Free Business Growth Guide I show you 10 systems you can implement in your business that can help you stream line how you work and make it easier for you to be more productive and grow your business. To learn more, click the button below.