“Okay, I’m finally ready to admit that I need systems, but where do I start? I feel so overwhelmed.”
I hear this again and again from small business owners who reach out to me.
There’s no need to suffer.
Here are 5 simple steps for getting started. This is the same system I use with my clients.
STEP 1: Create Your Business Map
Although you could jump right into working on systematizing a specific area of your business, I recommend that you start by creating your Business Map.
Yes, it’s an extra step, but it’s a very important one.
Regaining control of your business requires overseeing your business with the perspective of a true CEO.
You need to clearly identify how all the elements of your company fit together, and, as your business grows and you delegate parts of it, you’ll be able to turn your Business Map into an organizational chart.
Need a hand? Download your Worksheet here.
Don’t skip this step! You’ll be amazed by how much clarity it will give you about the structure and future of your business.
STEP 2: Set Your Priorities
Start by taking a close look at your list or chart.
What parts of your business lack a systematized infrastructure? For instance, you might notice that launching is a regular part of your business, but you lack a streamlined process for it. Launching yet another service or product before you optimize the system is a recipe for disaster, so you’d want to make systematizing this part of your company a priority.
Are there any “holes” that you’ve been meaning to take care of forever but keep putting on the backburner? Legal and financial areas are often the ones that small business owners pretend don’t exist. Prioritize the process of closing up these holes.
Next, pinpoint the parts of your business that are working harmoniously:
Processes that you feel totally in control of
Areas that can run even without you
Workflows that run like clockwork?
Give yourself a pat on the back for these things.
How can you create systems for things that are sucking up your time and causing you to lose money?
Where do you waste the most time?
What tasks cause you to miss deadlines?
What areas of your business weigh heavily on you?
Where do you feel that you are losing money?
I realize that looking at your notes might feel a bit overwhelming. But don’t let it stress you out. Seeing the list is part of the process.
You’ve got to establish the baseline. Only then can you identify opportunities for improvement and growth.
STEP 3: Create a List
Now you know where your business needs some loving from you. After all, it’s your baby. You’ve got to take good care of it.
The good news is that your business doesn’t need to be “fixed” tomorrow. It’s unrealistic—you don’t have time to make all the necessary improvements at once. But most importantly, there is no end point to get to.
Building and perfecting a business is a process. You’ve got to accept and embrace it.
You’ve got to guide your business—just like you have to guide your child to learn and grow. At the same time, you have to surrender and let yourself be guided. You have to allow your child as well as your business to teach you lessons.
So, let go of overnight perfection.
Instead, create a list of what you need to do to optimize and build your systems. Keep it in a single place, where you can see your progress—on your calendar, in Evernote, in your task management software like Asana, or just a Google Drive spreadsheet. Make sure that you don’t have to look for the latest version of the document and that it can be easily shared.
STEP 4: Commit to Baby Steps
Are you ready to commit to growing a business that is your pride and joy?
Come back to your systems-related to-do list on a regular basis.
Got 15 minutes a week? Great! Spend it on your systems! Got 15 minutes a day? Even better!
You don’t need big blocks of time to make progress with your systems:
Take 15 minutes to write down one of your current processes or record a video and give it to a Fiverr transcriptionist to transcribe.
On the next day, detect any gaps in the process.
Then, come up with ways of optimizing the process.
Last but not least. . . start implementing the new routine.
Step by step, by step, by step.
Pace yourself. I know you’ll do great.
STEP 5: Enjoy Your New Business Operations Manual
Does “Business Operations Manual” sound too corporate to you? What about calling it your “Business Scrapbook?”
Call it whatever you like. Just make sure you enjoy and use it.
Over time those steps you’ve created will grow into workflows that will be easy to follow for you or new additions to your team.
The fact that you keep them in a place accessible by others will allow your team members to find those process descriptions without bugging you. From the moment that those steps are clear and comprehensive, you will be able to ensure the brilliant performance of your team members time after time.
I know that the thought of creating systems might have been weighing on you.
But know that creating better structures for your business is totally within your reach. You can do it!
Back To You
Are you willing to commit to working on your business systems? Let me know which process you are going to tackle this week.