If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I am a HUGE advocate for working smarter instead of harder, in any situation. Hustle culture is not sustainable, no matter how many gurus out there preach willpower. It just doesn’t happen like that all the time, and then you feel awful about yourself because you think that it should.
So I’m here to introduce you to a concept that can change your life, if you let it. And it’s so simple that you might roll your eyes and think it’s stupid. Create systems!
For example, McDonalds did not get to where they are as a multi-billion corporation off of the quality of their food. Convenience is key to their customer relationship. And how did they make their processes scalable and duplicatable? They have a very specific set of systemized procedures that allows literally anyone to create a McDouble.
And that’s the beauty of procedures and systems. They allow your business to function as a well-oiled machine, while making it more streamlined and effective. You can even create systems and processes for your personal life too.
So what is a system? For the purpose of this discussion, I’m defining it as a set of processes, tools, people, and strategies that all work together to solve a common problem or achieve a goal. Since a system can cover anything from simple tasks to finishing more complex projects, chances are you have your own business systems set up already.
But, in the same way that there are really great systems that make your life easier, there are also bad systems that are unnecessary, counterproductive, overly-expensive, or too time-consuming.
Here are some steps to consider when creating business systems that help you work smarter and not harder:
Identify Your Business Activities
Take a second to think of all the things you do to run your business on a regular basis. These could be things like writing blog posts, email blasts, or even client strategy calls. They could also be single tasks that you think you will be repeating in the future. For example, webinars, product launches, or even guest posts. Keeping everything simple, you can categorize these activities into three buckets: 1) Operations, 2) Sales and Marketing, and 3) Finance.
1. Break Down Each Activity
Once you have a list of activities that your business needs to function, you’ll be able to break down each activity according to the process, tools, people, and strategy needed to complete it from start to finish. Here’s an example for what that process may look like for writing and publishing a blog post:
- Create Title
- Create Outline
- Write Blog Post
- Create Graphics
- Schedule Blog Post
- Research Tool(s): Google / Answer the Public / BuzzSumo
- Your Writing Application: Google Doc
- Your website platform: WordPress
- Your design application: Canva
- You and your assistant
3. Identify Ways to Improve the System
Decide what you want your system to be able to do for you. Is your end goal to streamline the process and make it go faster? Or do you want to get more of your time back? Are there any bottlenecks that need to be fixed? Do you want to make more money for your business while reducing expenses? These are all questions to ask continuously to keep your business as efficient as possible.
- Delete: What can you remove from your system because the tasks, tools, or people are too time consuming, redundant, irrelevant, or unproductive?
- Defer: What parts of your system could be helpful, but maybe aren’t the most helpful right now? For example, these could be up-sells for a product launch, hiring a Facebook ads manager, or graphics for emails.
- Automate: What tasks can you automate by using software or tools? Is it time to upgrade from free to paid tools so you can access more features? Do you have two tools that can accomplish the same thing?
- Delegate: What tasks are NOT the best use of your time, energy, or expertise? What tasks frustrate you? These are often tasks you should pass on to someone else.
- Consolidate: Given all the tasks left, is it possible to batch them so you can knock them out faster?
4. Track and Test
Key performance indicators are essential to keeping tabs on what’s working for you and what’s not. Knowing where you started, where you ended, and what you did is important for judging what kind of an impact your system has.
Did you earn more profit? Less? Did the tasks take too long to complete? Were there any glitches? How did your clients feel? How about your employees?
5. Evaluate and Improve
Take time to decide if your system was responsible for any improvements or glitches. Did it accomplish the goal you set out to achieve? Go back to the drawing board and tweak or refine as you see necessary. As your business grows and changes, systems aren’t meant to be set in stone. They can be adapted and changed as necessary. They’re meant to work FOR you, not against you.
Ready for take your business to the next level? Schedule a strategy call with our executive coaching team. You’ll get a personalized blueprint to help you overcome the bottlenecks and challenges in your business that are holding you back.