Work smarter, well yeah… duh. Working smarter is developing systems to make money. When you stop to think about it, it doesn’t matter if it’s a product or service your business sells. What matters is how you sell it. Franchising is all about developing processes ways to do things and using those process as building blocks for systems. In fact this is what franchises sell. Tested, tried and true systems of production, administration, management and sales. Franchises systematize because it works. And you don’t have to buy a franchise in order to have a systematized business. Michael Gerber called it “working on your business” and not in it. This article is a brief introduction on how you can systematize your business. Any business no matter how creative, complicated or specialized. All businesses will benefit from being systematized.
Systematization will make your business more efficient, scale-able and easier to run. But just as you really ought to have a business plan for the development of your business you’ll need a systemization plan to tackle the systematizing of your business. The systemization plan is a tool for discovering, prioritizing, documenting, implementing and managing all of the processes in your business.
There are 5 steps to the systems development plan:
IDENTIFY all of the tasks of your business. Not processes, the first step is to wrap your mind around the scope of the project ahead of you. Identify the systems and process that need to get built. All of the sales processes, all the production processes, all the financial and administrative systems and the leadership and management procedures. The first step is simply to create the systemic structure of your business – a picture of your business in terms of its systems.
PRIORITIZE your systems list. Which procedures are the most important ones to be implemented? Which systems, if documented and implemented, will have the most impact on the business? Which ones can wait for later? There can be many different ways of thinking about this prioritization process. If you’re thinking of hiring a sales person, for example, make the hiring process as well as the sales systems a high priority. This will make the recruiting, hiring and training of the new employee more efficient and you will get a faster return on your investment in the hiring of that new employee.
DOCUMENT your systems according to your prioritized list and manage the systems writing process. Wherever possible you want to enroll others in the company to help with writing procedures. This is not a job that a business owner can do all by themselves.
IMPLEMENT your systems. While implementing systems in your business is a long term project, all you need to do is get a few implemented to fan the fire of the systems development process. This isn’t as hard as you might think. We are wired to follow process. Think of how you get up in the morning, how you drive to work, how you do the dishes, or shovel the driveway, or cut the lawn. These are all routine tasks that are almost always done systematically. It is more satisfying that way. Systems offer clarity of understanding. As more and more employees have a process to follow, they’ll experience the benefit and begin to think more and more systematically. They’ll be more and more enrolled in the systems development process. Another word for “implementation” is “training”. Go through the systems document step by step so there is clear understanding of what needs to be done, how it needs to be done and what results are expected.
MONITOR the results until you get what you expected. So many managers & business owners forget this process. They put a system in place, and then forget to follow it up. People ‘respect’ what is ‘inspected’. If you ask someone to do something and never follow up to see if they did it, what are you teaching them? You’re teaching them that you don’t care, or that you’re too busy to check back with them and that they therefore, probably don’t need to do what you’re asking them to do.
I had a client tell me after systematizing his business it was never this easy. the systems he has in place helps him have the time to work on his business in stead of in it. He is working less and making more.
In my next systemization article I’ll talk about the 4 key functions of every business and go into more detail on how to accomplish the first step of your business systemization plan, Process Identification.
Dan Pestretto is a business leader and consultant working with designers, contractors and service providers in the Green Industry. His company Salespeople-On-Demand can be found at www.salespeople-on-demand.com He helps business owners develop, fine-tune and implement their companies’ systems, and empowers them to significantly increase their annual revenues. Pestretto lives in Cambridge, MA he offers consulting services to small business owners’ eager to build businesses that reflect their own values.