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For many small business owners, there is a considerable gap between what they thought it would be like running their own business and what it's really like.
Like many business owners, you may have hoped that finding success would bring you the freedom to work on your own schedule and obtain a level of financial security that you didn't have in your previous job.
Unfortunately, you’ve probably experienced the exact opposite. More often than not, you are likely tied to your computer and phone at all hours of the day, struggling to make ends meet and spending all of your time doing everything else other than what fulfills you.
The problem that most entrepreneurs face is that they tend to apply their hard work to the wrong tasks and are fundamentally off base as to what it takes to build a successful business.
You will never achieve your vision of freedom and financial abundance by answering the phone, handing out business cards, or working long hours. These tasks are doing nothing more than creating a self-employment job, not a business.
The answer to this problem is working harder on your business, not in your business. The way to accomplish this is by developing and implementing systems to handle the mundane, but essential tasks, that keep your business running.
By building systems, you are creating a company.
How Systems Will Benefit Your Business
Implementing business systems is one of the best things you can do for your company. Imagine owning a bakery without having a system in place for baking cookies. Every day, the cookies would come out differently.
Some days, they'd be great, with the perfect combination of ingredients and time in the oven, while sometimes they might turn out dry and burnt. Your customers wouldn’t know what to expect and wouldn’t trust your business to provide them with a consistent experience.
Systems are Predictable
To be consistent with the delivery of your products or services, you have to have a system in place that allows you to complete the task the same way every time. Without these systems in place, your business will be unpredictable, resulting in poor customer service and a loss of trust by your customers.
Many small companies have already built consistent systems naturally out of habit, but they've failed to document them, leaving their processes unpredictable.
Systems are Delegable
Until your business has clearly documented policies in place, you are limited to three possibilities:
Doing all the work yourself
Being frustrated that the work isn’t being done correctly
Being held hostage to an employee who does complete the task successfully.
When you have clear systems in place, you can quickly train someone who has the skills needed for the job and provides them with clear expectations. Systems guarantee that the work will be completed the way you want it, every time.
Systems are Measurable
When tasks are completed the same way every time, they become measurable. Creating detailed systems works for every kind of business.
Going back to the example of the bakery, if the cookie recipe was detailed enough and the baker had all the skills or experience needed, you could expect them to make the cookies the same every time. You’d also know how many batches of cookies could be made in a day, how many people walk through the door, and how many cookies you sell on average in a week.
Systems are Improvable
When you can measure the details of your business, you can make regular improvements. You might know that your current sales presentation inspires 30 percent of those who hear it buy your product.
With this knowledge, you can work on a new style of presentation, and measure the results to determine whether the changes that were made were an improvement over the previous presentation style.
You can continue to try to improve your presentation by experimenting with different aspects to make a much more effective presentation.
Systems are Scalable
Once you've developed systems that are predictable, measurably working and clear enough to delegate, doing more becomes as easy as adding more resources.
If you want to sell more cookies, hire more bakers. If you're going to manage more leads, hire another salesperson.
Systems Add Value
Systems will add enormous value to your business in the eyes of investors and prospective buyers. Before investing in a company, they want to know that the viable business you've built will remain so, even if you leave.
They want to see that there are easy-to-follow systems in place that can be used to train new staff and continue running the business.
Where to Start
While the value of systems is apparent, where you should start may not be. If you are like most small business owners, you agree with the idea of systemization but are overwhelmed by the prospect of making it happen.
Like most small businesses, your business probably contains dozens of individual processes that are routinely executed by you and your team.
The idea of writing them all down can be overwhelming. Completely systemizing your business is going to take time but the first step is rather straightforward and shouldn't take you too long to accomplish.