A large part of business success is being able to manage high levels of activity on a daily basis with consistency and efficiency whilst maintaining quality standards. As the owner of the business, you may feel it is all on your shoulders to keep every aspect of the business running smoothly, to a point that you end up spending most of your time micromanaging your team.
How many of you have said, “It would take me longer to teach you than to just do it myself?”
If you had a documented, tried and tested system in place, you could be confident that your team were not just completing tasks but doing them exactly as you would have done. This then frees up your time to focus on more important aspects of the business, or even to take a holiday knowing that your systems are being followed in your absence.
Here are 6 simple steps to create systems for your business:
1. Identify areas that require a system.
The first step puts a lot of business owners off creating systems as it requires time, focus and thought. However, once this first step has been taken you will begin to see how you are able to streamline your business, while empowering your team to step up and start to take on more responsibility.
Create a list of areas which need a system by thinking about what you do on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly basis. How are you spending your time? What are you doing that you wouldn’t need to do if you had a system in place? Maybe it’s explaining the same thing to an employee for the fourth time. Maybe it’s an oversight such as forgetting to follow up on an enquiry.
Now that you have your list, you may find it overwhelming to know which aspect of your business to systemise first. Start by thinking about what your top goal is. What is the biggest challenge in your business right now?
Do you want more clients? If so, marketing is the area that needs your attention first and foremost. Write a list of all the tasks involved in your marketing (networking, social media, cold calling etc).
Do you need your team to be more efficient? Detail the tasks that are consuming the most amount of time or detracting from the job at hand. Prioritise these in order of impact on the business.
3. Break it down and document it.
I have always used Post-It notes or a whiteboard to perform this next step, however you can use your computer or any other method that suits you.
Take the first priority you want to work on and list the current process. If you are using Post-It notes, write each separate task as-is on a separate Post-It note. Then, using a blank surface like a table or wall, stick them up in logical order. Keep going until your process is finished.
You may come across a Yes/No scenario in which case, just turn your Post-It note until it becomes a diamond shape. Then simply branch off from that.
Once you have read through the process, added to it and re-designed it a little, transfer it to your computer and document it.
4. Do a trial run.
Test-drive the first draft of your new system by having someone else work through it. Don’t take your system live until you are happy with your trail run. If your system involves anything external to the business such as marketing, any mistakes in the testing phase would be on public display causing embarrassment, possibly losing you money and potential customers.
Have a team member follow your system exactly as it is documented and in doing so, they may identify a few gaps that you hadn’t thought of before. Alter your first draft where necessary and take your second test drive. Repeat this process until you are completely satisfied that all gaps are filled and smoothed over.
5. Train your team.
With your system tried and tested, this step should be relatively straight forward. Review your system with your team, ensuring each action is easily understood and that there are no roadblocks preventing the system from being completed start to finish.
Like most aspects of your business planning, don’t simply allocate your system to a dusty shelf after 3 months. Sure, it is probably a well-engrained habit by then; you or anyone else could follow it blindfolded. But things change and your system will need to change too.
Your system may also need re-visiting if it’s not frequently used i.e. systems for those tasks that only occur quarterly.
Once systems and processes are in place, you will see a more efficient, productive and confident team and a less stressed and overworked you!
For more information on streamlining your business contact the PROTRADE United team on 1300 767 774.
Written by Jon Mailer
CEO of PROTRADE United