This article was originally published in Process Street.
As a small business grows, and the number of employees increases, it is no longer possible for the person at the helm, the business owner, to attend to all problems as they arise. If you do not have systems in place, you will find that you are dealing with issues in an ad hoc, time-consuming and often chaotic manner. It will mean that your employees are constantly bringing problems to you and that your business cannot run without you. This is stressful for you as manager and frustrating for your staff! Systemisation of your business will help you create a scalable, sustainable business that operates equally effectively whether you are present or not.
Systems are everywhere
Speaking generally, a system can be described as anything that follows rules, defined as repeating patterns, and can include both natural and mechanical systems. Creative, dynamic people are often loathe to embrace the concept of systemisation, because they think it is going to limit or confine them. Actually, what systemization does is allows the mind to be free knowing that you are in control of your business. It helps to think in terms of the ecosystems found in nature, which can be simple or complex, while allowing a natural community or environment to flourish. In terms of business practice, a system is “a recorded process of any task which has to be completed repeatedly”. Thinking about your business, you will discover that there are already several systems in place: Systems for dealing with creditors and debtors, for example, or systems to reward staff performance.
The theory of business systemisation
Business systemisation is the philosophy of maximizing and improving those systems that are already in place in your business, and introducing systems in areas where currently there are none. It involves identifying the major business processes and procedures in your company, writing them down step by step, and streamlining and automating them for maximum efficiency and productivity. Put simply, business systemisation is the creation of an operations manual that includes every single aspect of your business. This process can be done manually, or electronically, with the help of one of several software programs that track and record you completing a task on your PC, even allowing you to record an audio track discussing the steps for the benefit of future users. These days “Word” documents or hard copy manuals just don’t cut it. This is where online solutions such as stand alone process storage programs or adaptable software come into play.
It is important to remember that systemisation is an ongoing process – your operations manual – hard copy or digital – needs to be constantly reviewed, and especially when your business grows or procedures change with the development of technology.
The benefits of systemisation
The number one benefit of creating systems in your business is that it will save you time, by providing the solution to situations you have dealt with previously. It allows other workers to follow the same procedure you would to solve a problem, and therefore frees your time as manager and makes your employees more productive. It facilitates consistency and standardisation throughout the company. By employing systems, you know that your employees are able to perform the same task in exactly the same manner, and in line with best practice.
Systemisation greatly enhances training and skilling of new staff, and preserves institutional knowledge in case of sudden departures of experienced staff (we’ve all seen how McDonalds does this to great effect). Greater efficiency and productivity will make your business more profitable, and having systems in place will greatly enhance its value as a salable asset should you consider selling your company – the bottom line is that with business systemisation your bottom line will improve!
Would you like a business that is systemized and runs without you? The first thing to do is make the commitment to build your business into something amazing. Systemising a business the right way does take time, the end results are however “Life changing” for you and your business.
Wendy Tadokoro helps businesses and entrepreneurs to implement high impact strategies, systems, and tools to supercharge their personal and business productivity.