The 4 Systems Musts – “How-to”
You’ve launched your business and you probably have a few clients lined up or you’re just about ready to jump in. The one thing that got HSM the hundreds of hours of expertise and many happy clients was…systems. Without them, we’d have a hobby, not a business. Here’s why systems are important and how to bring yours up to snuff.
Why is it important to have systems?
Systems are the mechanisms in place to sustain your business’ operations and to help it grow. Your systems include tools (i.e. software) that help those mechanisms unfold. For example, you will have a client relationship management (CRM) tool and an email system (i.e. infusionsoft, ontraport, mailchimp). How do you proceed to record and stay in touch with your audience?
You need a solid follow-up system in order to build relationships with your current and potential audience. What system do you have in place for that?
In order to run a successful business, your client experience has to be a breeze! How do you do your client onboarding? Do they have complicated steps to take and do details get lost in the cracks?
Further to expansion, when your team grows, how do you do hiring? How do you train your staff?
As CEO – You’ve Got to Lead from the Front
If you are not consumed by the day-to-day activities of your business, you have a better perspective. You have more time. As you gain more time, you gain more growth capability as an entrepreneur and CEO, because you can lead your team from the front and spend time working ON your business, not IN your business.
4 Reasons Why Systems are CRUCIAL To Your Biz
Essentially, systems are important because they allow you to:
- Build a client base from your audience
- Create efficient operations and become more effective
- Grow your revenue + your team
- Sell your business for profit…
Still not clear on what systems are, or the type of systems you need to update in your biz?
We dig this article on the 7 essential systems for entrepreneurs.
How to Implement Systems
Where will your systems be hosted?
You need to ask yourself where this information will be recorded for all departments/functions in your business, from your staff and hiring, to your daily operations, finances and sales… As many functions or departments as your company has, is as many types of processes that need to be recorded (more on that in “What is your System for Success?” below).
Decide where they will be hosted
Here are a few options:
Many entrepreneurs who work online use Google Drive, as it works as a cloud and allows remote team members to work together on common documents and have access to the same information. You can free yourself from heavy corporate equipment! Google Drive does NOT track tasks, however. You have to use a workflow system like Asana or Teamwork. Or…
SweetProcess allows you to record your processes by writing them down, breaking them into tasks, which you can track to see progress.
What is your System for Success?
No matter what sector you are in, every business utilizes the same basic functions: marketing, sales, supply, operations, human resources, money management and general management.
Each function, is made up of many activities that are performed daily, weekly and monthly. Take marketing. The intention is to generate leads. To that end you do hundreds of different activities, from analyzing customer data, to briefing an ad agency, to updating your company website. The sales function has to convert these leads into sustainable customers. Again, many different activities are performed every day, week and month, in order to do that.
And so it goes, for each of the core business functions. The job of the entrepreneur is to organize these activities and functions into coherent business systems and then find the right people to run the systems (as the CEO manages the results).
4 Steps To Get the Ball Rolling
1-Evaluate where your business is strong and where it needs improvement
Look at each function / department of your business
- Consider your onboarding + ongoing training for your staff
- Breakdown your service delivery + client onboarding
- Ask yourself where the sales are coming from and how
- Test + measure what your daily/regular operations
- Look at the IT systems and equipment you use + evaluate how you manage information
2-In each of your “needs improvement” functions/departments, research best practices (i.e. what/how are other people doing better?)
- Which leaders do you admire and how are they doing things?
- What is your competition better at doing?
3-Keep in mind your business goals + write down what each system needs to accomplish
What can you simplify / where can you increase efficiency? Give a concrete goal for your managers to implement.
4-Task your best people (i.e. managers) to build/implement the logistics of each system, in their respective function/department
Systems Design Tips
- Know and understand your business operations well before you design or select a system
- The quality requirements should be simple for the operators so that you are able to minimize wastage. i.e. of raw materials.
- Involve your employees or operators in formulating the operating procedures, work instructions, and standard forms.
Putting good systems in place takes time and effort — but the rewards are great.
What is a great system?
- A good system is a documented system. Write it down!
- A good system should cover everything to a sufficient level of detail. Ask yourself, “If I open up an office in a different city tomorrow, will the staff there be able to run things in the same way as we currently run things, just by reading this document?”
- A good system needs to be tested.
- Training is fundamental to making sure a good system is properly implemented. We train our staff in systems using case studies. Make sure you monitor the effectiveness of your training.
4 Systems Musts
As you can see, there are many different types of systems you can put in place to take your business to the next level. There are, however, a few basics you need to master. Each of the four types of systems below have questions to help you gauge where you need to pull up your socks. 🙂
1-Operations + Finances
First things first. Do you run a tight ship?
- What do you use to manage your tasks?
- Do you have a team workflow system? EX: Asana, Teamwork, Basecamp
- Do you have a shared network or drive? EX: Google Drive
- What do you use to manage your calendar?
- Are all your appointments, client meetings and networking events in the same place? EX: Google Calendar
- Can clients book you (scheduling app) or do you prefer to have this managed internally?
- Where does your money go? What do you use to manage your business expenses and income?
- Do you have an accountant or do you keep track yourself, and if so, is your system easy for an accountant/auditor to just walk in and pick up where you left off?
2-Clients + Onboarding
Your business only runs with clients…
- What do you use to meet potential clients and how do you record their info?
- Do you attend networking events, if so, how often/where?
- Are you diligent about follow-up?
- Do you immediately record their info in your CRM/Email system?
- What do you use to stay in touch with them and build relationships?
- Do you schedule discovery calls and follow-up calls?
- Do you record their info + add them to your email lists/FB groups (other platforms)?
- When do you follow-up – just to stay in touch (not a sales pitch!)?
- How easy is the onboarding process for your new client?
- Do you have the onboarding process writing down somewhere?
- Can your team access this onboarding process info?
- Have you tested it / how is your client experience joining your company?
3- Sales + Marketing
Your clients need to know your service and how it can help them!
- Where do you get your leads?
- Are you mostly online or offline, or a bit of both?
- Do you use an autoresponder series on your email list / sales funnels?
- How can you get more out of your online systems for lead-generation?
- Where do you network / do outreach?
- How can you get more out of your in-person lead-generation? (i.e. which events are full of low-hanging fruit – in your audience?)
- Do you have a discovery call template that you use?
- Where do you market your company?
- Do you use advertising or affiliate marketing?
- Do you use social media / how?
- When was the last time you had your website evaluated?
- Is it functional / does it serve your needs?
- Is it SEO + connected to your social accounts?
- Does it need revamping / is it visually appealing?
- Do you have joint venture (JV) partners?
- Are those relationships mutually beneficial?
- Is there a project you could get more visibility from / change your angle on to get more leads?
4-Staff + Training
As awesome as you are, you can’t do it all yourself…so make sure you have a rock star team.
- Do you have an organizational chart or a list of the team members needed to run your biz?
- Do you have a staff manual?
- Is it clear to everyone what their responsibilities are?
- Does your team know the go-to people for their questions / for specific areas of expertise?
- Are the company culture + values clear?
- How do you hire / what’s the process you use?
- Do you hire by referral?
- Do you use job boards / LinkedIn?
- How do you screen candidates?
- How do you train / are there training materials?
- Are your training materials writing / video recorded and available?
- Do you have a training process / schedule to assist the new recruit?
- Are your training materials organized per job title/level or per theme? Or both?
- Have you separated technical training from job-specific training?
Want to become a systems wiz?
Read these Entrepreneur Magazine articles we like!
Apply these principles and grow a profitable business!
We wish you the best of success as you refine + upgrade your systems!
I’m guessing that you are a smart business owner who loves what you do but isn’t doing enough of the “love” part. You are stuck doing everything – from staring at your screen wondering what the best marketing trends are to back end technical stuff, and this would make anyone exhausted.
Quite simply, you need some reliable, honest help to get your business thriving. Things like your website, copywriting, technical tasks, and understanding what will convert loyal clients, without draining your wallet or sucking out your soul. Once you get a solid game plan, I will bet you’ll get back to the reasons you started your business in the first place. You’ll add value while having a flexible schedule, more time, and financial freedom.