In an earlier article on business systems, I took a basic look at why you might need a system of some kind for your business. I explained how a good business system is like a road-map of your business.
Understanding why you need a system, or a set of systems, is pretty simple. However, figuring out how to set up your business system may not be simple at all.
What comes next? How do you decide how many systems you need? Where to start? And how to do it?
A Good Rule of Thumb
Think of building your business as a potential franchise business. Perhaps, your goal isn’t to build up a business and then franchise it out. You can, nevertheless, set up your business systems as if you were planning to franchise it.
A good franchise business is one with lots of systems. You buy into a franchise to get the whole business in a box. You typically buy a franchise because someone else has done all of the experimenting and trial and error stuff that comes with building a new kind of business. Then they map it all out for you with detailed explanations of how to run the whole business. You get a detailed system for every part of the business, from how to decorate to how to interview employees to how dress to how to prepare your product to how to price your product.
The great thing about all of the detailed systems is the guesswork is taken out of the picture. If you just follow the business system, which has already been proven, you too can succeed with that system.
Build a System for Your Business
Treat your own business with the same system-building. If you can go through each piece of your business and explain why you do what you do in a detailed and logical way, you can create a system for success.
Once you have done that, you will have a reproducible system. You will be able to teach other people to follow that system, thus freeing up your energy to expand the business (or even build another business).
Take a look at what you do day-to-day in your business. Many of us wear a lot of hats in our businesses, and sometimes it takes a bit of time before we get around to wearing all of the hats. For example, maybe you only work on your bookkeeping once a month. You can look at each of the jobs you have in your business and start making notes on what you do as you’re wearing each hat.
After you have defined each of the jobs you do, look at what jobs you have other people doing. Make sure you include jobs that you outsource, such as bookkeeping.
As you get a clear idea of what jobs must be performed to keep your business running, you will be able to then start defining the roles of each position. Ask questions like, what does that job entail? What are the responsibilities of that job? How often does each task need to be done?
Defining the Tasks
When you define the tasks of your business, make sure that you clearly explain everything about each task. Some tasks, like ordering inventory, need to have contact information spelled out. You’ll want to include the company name, the individual contact name, the phone numbers and email addresses, the mailing address, what you typically order as well as the quantity, the cost schedule your business pays, how you pay, lead time, and how many of the item you keep on hand at any given time.
Think about tasks like how often you clean the shop, how you contact customers and clients, when you pay your bills, when you update your website, and how often you take out the trash. No task is too big or too small at this point. The goal is to evaluate everything that goes into your business and to spell it out. Think of this as one big manual on how to build and run your particular business. You can always edit it later on, if necessary.
Once you have spelled out all of the tasks in your organization, you will be ready to organize the information in a usable manner. We’ll come back and look at how to organize all of the information later.
I know this can all seem like a really big project. It takes time and energy, but in the end, it will help you build the business systems you can then use to grow your business into a more successful business.