In October 2016, Newsmax published an article with the headline, “Walmart Plans to Radically Change the Way You Grocery Shop”. More recently, CNN reported, “Nike confirms it’s opening up an Amazon shop.”
Both headlines are radical. Both are likely to bring colossal benefits to the respective businesses. And the overarching reason for both success stories of two world famous brands is…business systemisation.
Of course, it’s not likely your business has quite reached the same status as these conglomerates, but both Walmart and Nike started with humble beginnings, just as you did.
Before becoming a household name, Nike was once a small business, having being founded by a University track athlete and his coach in 1964, initially operating as a Japanese shoe distributor.
There comes a time when it becomes essential to sytemise your business so that it can grow and free up your time for other important activities.
So how do you know when it’s that time?
The Business Begins Growing
If you are planning to grow your business, it is important to make sure it can cope with the extra turnover that will come as a result.
For some businesses where capacity is already an issue, systemisation is the first step. For other businesses who already have the ability to deal with some expansion, systemisation is best done alongside the growth strategies, to ensure the business continues to run smoothly and to lock in the benefits of new growth.
In the initial stages, the business is reliant on you as the owner, but as it grows, this approach is no longer sustainable.
Things Start Going Wrong
Another indicator that it’s time to systemise your business is that things are going wrong.
Perhaps you’re getting more returns on your products, or you’re getting bad reviews. Deadlines aren’t being met. People are dropping the ball.
In general, things are slipping through the net. Before your reputation is ruined, it’s time to seriously look at what’s going wrong, plug the holes and ensure it doesn’t continue to happen.
This is when you need to start to document how and when things should be done in your business.
It is for the purpose of control and quality that conglomerates often have so much red tape – they follow strict processes to ensure consistent standards. Now I’m not condoning processes that create so much red tape that it makes it difficult for employees to innovate and make good on-the-spot customer recovery decisions.
But when things start going wrong on a consistent basis, processes must be put in place to avoid mistakes.
Goals Aren’t Being Achieved
If you find you aren’t reaching goals and achieving the results you were aiming for; maybe it’s time to look at what you are doing and make some changes.
For example, if your sales process isn’t converting, it may be time to implement a new process for better results. Once you make the changes and have measurements in place, it’s time to document that process so that everyone can refer to it.
When It’s Time to Hire Help
When your business grows, and you as the owner can no longer manage everything, and it seems as if you’re constantly fighting fires, it may be time to start building a team.
You may be looking to hire people online that work from wherever they are based around the world, or if you employ on-site staff, either way, you’re going to need to provide resources to your new team members, including documented processes to make their job easier and to maintain consistency.
Working with a virtual team requires clarity on processes to avoid confusion that results in poor standards and frustration all round.
It Takes Too Long To Do Things
When there are repetitive tasks that take too long to do, you may need an updated process, or to implement an automated system.
For instance, maybe you’re still using an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of leads when there is CRM software that would save time, keep track of everything, and record a list of email templates, dramatically cutting down the time it takes to get it done.
Working with a Systems Expert who knows what would work best for your company is a smart idea because it saves you a massive amount of time and energy.
It Feels As If Your Business Is Out of Control
When you feel as if the people in your business are just doing their own thing, and you have no idea what process is working, they are winging it. Having no standard procedures means no consistency and missed profits.
When you feel as if your business is out of control, it probably is.
Getting structure through sytemisation gives peace of mind. Added to that, when you have standards and processes in place, you can measure them alongside your Key Performance Indicators.
Every business starts small, just as Walmart and Nike did.
But if the company is to grow and scale, it needs order, automation and standardisation.
So, have I missed any signs? Let me know in the comments.
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For more help with Business Systemisation, check out Systems Done for You – it’s a program I designed that approaches systemisation in a way that get’s the job done without you trying to figure it all out for yourself.