If you’ve ever looked at another entrepreneur and wondered how she manages to get it all done, the answer might surprise you.
She’s got good systems AND she has systemised these systems.
“Systems” and “systemizing” are related terms, but they have slightly different meanings in the context of business.
A system is a set of interconnected parts that work together to achieve a common goal. In the context of business, a system could be a process, a tool, a piece of software, or a set of guidelines or rules that help you achieve a specific outcome.
Systemizing your business, on the other hand, is the process of creating, implementing, and optimising systems to streamline your business processes and improve efficiency. Systemizing your business involves identifying areas where you can create systems, documenting your processes, and establishing standard operating procedures (SOPs) to guide your team’s actions.
In other words, systems are the individual components that make up your business processes, while systemizing is the process of organising and optimising those systems to create a more efficient and effective business.
By systemizing your business, you can save time, reduce errors, and improve the quality of your products or services. Systemizing also allows you to delegate tasks to others more easily and frees up your time to focus on growing your business.
The most productive people all have one thing in common: they don’t reinvent the wheel every day. Instead, they’ve figured out the best, most efficient way to do every task, and they create a system to do just that.
No matter what business you’re in and what projects you find yourself tackling, a systemised approach will help you:
- Work faster and produce more
- Produce higher quality results with fewer mistakes
- Easily outsource the tasks you don’t like to do
The Magic of Templates
How many times do you answer emails from potential clients? What about responding to customer complaints? Or mailing your JV partners about an upcoming launch?
All of these tasks and more become effortless when you create fill-in-the-blank templates that can be repurposed for specific cases/people. Templates can be as simple as a “canned response” in your email client or help desk, or you can use software such as Text Expander (for Mac) or Phrase Express (for Windows). You might even create a template document in Dropbox or Google Drive to house all your templates for easier access.
While templates will undoubtedly save you time, the real beauty is that once they’re created, you can easily outsource things like email and even sales. Simply instruct your assistant on the proper use of your templates, and you’ll be free to do other, more important things.
Checklists Prevent Mistakes
It might seem counterintuitive, but when you perform the same tasks over and over again, it’s easy to miss a critical step. You might think you paid your affiliates this month—you might even remember doing it—only to look back and see it was never completed.
But when you implement checklists, it’s suddenly much more difficult to miss an important task.
You can easily create checklists for all your common tasks and projects using nothing more than a text document. If you’re managing a team, checklists in your project management system allow you to see exactly what tasks are complete, and which are still outstanding.
Templates and checklists turn smart business owners into productivity superstars, and it’s easy to get started. The next time you answer an email you’ve answered before, save your response. The next time you set up a new product in your shopping cart or create a new opt-in page, take the time to record the steps. These documents will make future projects easier and faster to complete, and best of all, you can hand them off to your assistant to do instead.
Create Systems so that you can put your work day on repeat – by doing it once.
Here are some suggestions for your service business:
- Client Onboarding: Create a systematic process for onboarding new clients. This could include a standard set of forms and documents that you send to new clients, a step-by-step process for scheduling consultations, and a checklist of items to cover during your initial consultation.
- Service Delivery: Develop a system for delivering your services consistently and efficiently. This could include templates for standard documents like contracts, proposals, and invoices, a standardised process for conducting client meetings, and a system for tracking client progress and delivering updates.
- Marketing and Sales: Implement a system for marketing and sales, including a standardised approach for lead generation and qualification, a set of templates for sales and marketing materials, and a process for tracking leads and conversions.
- Financial Management: Create a system for financial management, including a process for tracking income and expenses, a set of financial reports to monitor your business’s financial health, and a system for invoicing and collecting payments.
- Time Management: Develop a system for managing your time and priorities, including a process for prioritising tasks, a set of tools for managing your schedule and calendar, and a system for tracking progress and staying accountable.
By systemizing these aspects of your business, you can streamline your processes, improve your efficiency, and free up more time to focus on the tasks you enjoy most. Additionally, having these systems in place will make it easier to delegate tasks to others, whether that’s hiring a virtual assistant or outsourcing specific tasks to contractors or freelancers.
What tools could I use to do this for me?
There are many tools available that can help you systemize your business processes. Here are a few examples:
- Project Management Tools: Tools like Asana, Trello, and Monday.com can help you organise and track tasks and projects, assign tasks to team members, set deadlines, and monitor progress.
- CRM Software: Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software like Salesforce, HubSpot, and Zoho can help you manage your client and customer relationships, track sales leads and opportunities, and automate certain aspects of your sales and marketing process.
- Accounting Software: Accounting software like QuickBooks, Xero, and FreshBooks can help you manage your finances, including invoicing and billing, expense tracking, and generating financial reports.
- Communication and Collaboration Tools: Tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Google Workspace can help you stay connected with your team, collaborate on projects, and share files and documents.
- Automation Tools: Automation tools like Zapier, IFTTT, and Microsoft Power Automate can help you automate repetitive tasks and streamline your workflows by connecting different apps and services.
- Cloud Storage: Cloud storage solutions like Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive can help you store and share files securely, access them from anywhere, and collaborate with others in real time.
These are just a few examples of the many tools available to help you systemize your business processes. The key is to find the tools that work best for your business and integrate them into your workflows to increase efficiency, productivity, and quality.
How do I know which tools to choose? Which ones work together to streamline things?
Choosing the right tools for your business can be challenging, especially with so many options available. Here are some tips to help you select the best tools for your needs:
- Identify Your Needs: Before you start researching tools, identify your business needs and the specific tasks you want to streamline or automate. This will help you narrow down your search to tools that are specifically designed to meet your needs.
- Research and Compare: Once you have identified your needs, research and compare different tools that are available in the market. Look for reviews, testimonials, and case studies from other business owners who have used the tools you are considering.
- Consider Integrations: Look for tools that integrate, so you can streamline your workflows and avoid duplication of effort. Many tools offer integrations with other popular apps and services, so be sure to check for compatibility before making a purchase.
- Start Small: It’s best to start with a few key tools that address your most pressing needs and add more as you go. Don’t try to implement too many tools at once, as this can be overwhelming and counterproductive.
- Test and Evaluate: Once you have selected your tools, test them out and evaluate their effectiveness. Monitor your workflows, track your productivity, and look for areas where you can further streamline your processes.
By following these tips, you can choose the right tools to streamline your business processes, automate repetitive tasks, and free up more time to focus on growing your business. The concept of systemizing a business may feel complex and overwhelming.
Are you a business woman who feels like you’re always busy but not making any real progress in your business, or you struggle to keep track of all the different tasks and projects you have to manage each day?
Perhaps you find yourself making the same mistakes over and over again because you don’t have a system in place to prevent them?