Why systems and processes save lives

Do you feel you are juggling all the parts of the business you own all at the same time?  You are trying to handle it all and be everything to everybody.  You neglect to take time out for yourself; there is little or no time for family and friends; and there is little or no time for a holiday

Think about your role in the business objectively and ask, “How can I improve my business without working harder?”  How could you do more but in less time?  Ask yourself, “Without me, what would happen to this business?”  What could you do with that business so you have time for family and friends and that trip you have always dreamed about?

Let’s take another moment to consider why you went into this business in the first place.  Probably to give you the ability to earn more income, to take time off when you would like, or because you did not want to work for someone else.  Are you actually achieving the goals that you set out to achieve when you went into this business? Have you considered your role in the business as a job?

Starting with the end in mind and working backwards will net you some good answers to work with.  Imagine what the end goal really looks like, then work backwards to identify the steps it took to get there.  This is where planning for the business comes to the forefront.

Breaking the cycle we are currently operating in through the use of systematisation is key.  Systems that would allow for someone to undertake your role if you were not there.

By now you might be thinking, “Developing systems takes time, I simply do not have the time right now, things change constantly and that makes systems out of date almost before we have begun, there is so much personalising that goes on in my role that I could not possibly systemise it!”

The truth is, 80% of what we do is repetitive and we can systemise that 80%.  Think about that statement very carefully before you discount it.  Think about:

  • The improved productivity – less time being spent on wasted unproductive activities
  • The improved workflow management – the work will be getting done faster
  • The more time allocated to systemising, the more spare time you will have available

Then there are the advantages of systemising which simply cannot be overlooked and will convince even the most doubting amongst you:

  • Improved quality control – you remove the personal element from decisions providing a consistent high quality – everyone is doing things the same way, delivering better service to customers due to consistency of day to day operations
  • Reduced dependency on key people  – the business becomes system- dependant not people-dependant; you are able to recruit less experienced people; recruiting becomes easier; it allows others to carry out certain parts of your role as may be necessary
  • Reduced upward delegation – Higher level work is able to be done by people lower in the business; systems empower team members to learn new tasks and take on additional responsibilities so they can progress to higher positions within the business; means the managers and owners of the business are no longer the bottlenecks
  • Reduced stress and improved lifestyle – know that this business no longer relies on your daily presence
  • Time is freed up for higher level activities – strategic planning and management type issues, customer nurturing – getting face to face with the customers, customer acquisition – acquiring new customers to the business
  • Enables you to expand if you so choose – systems make it easier to train new people and make it easier to keep people; significantly reducing staff turnover costs

What you see in a lot of businesses are the systems tend to be paper based, not secure, some actual systems are missing, the systems are only structured around operations and administration, they are not linked to position descriptions, and without an effective search engine.  But the biggest problem of all is that they are permanently under construction, they are never finished!

That is why you need to create the “way we do it here” for your business.  Develop systems, processes and documentation to ensure the business runs smoothly, efficiently, consistently, effectively and without you.  There are enormous benefits to be gained from systematisation for your business.

Michelle Hill & Peta Walker

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