Everyone Talks About Systems But What Does That Really Mean?

chaos to flow

How does having systems implemented in your business affect your day and work? And what are those systems?

Systems consist of all the tasks in your business, and how you get your ducks, ahem tasks in a row is what everybody is talking about. How efficient and clear those tasks are organized.

Let’s start at the beginning and define the contents of your systems.

Your business consists of a very long list of tasks, they are the smallest entity.

  • write a text for your social media graphic

The next entity is a procedure, which consists of a row of tasks.

  • procedure = create a graphic for your social media
  • tasks = choose a picture, colors, fonts, write text…

A row of procedures is a process.

  • process = content marketing on social media
  • procedures = create a graphic, write content, choose platform, schedule post…

Those processes create a system on how an area in your business work.

  • system = marketing
  • processes = content marketing, paid advertising, organic advertising…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And all those systems interact in your business as a whole.

These pathways in your business can either be efficient or inefficient. Just like any HABIT. Yes, business tasks are nothing else than habits.

The only difference is: Your personal habits have grown naturally and mostly subconsciously. Business habits need to be built consciously to ensure they are a) done and b) efficient.

Here is a little example in your personal life you possibly can relate to:
Every morning you go into your kitchen and make yourself a coffee. You know where the kitchen is and everything in your kitchen is organized in a way that making the coffee gets done quickly and smoothly.
Now, imagine you would move into another house. The first couple weeks you will have to remind yourself where everything is and making that coffee will be less quick and less smooth. But over time as you subconsciously look for ways to be quicker and more efficient you will be as quick as before the move.

Making coffee is a task you do every day and therefore quickly becomes a routinized habit. Business habits aka tasks are different in nature, the majority isn’t done every day. So, to form a habit takes naturally longer – and over time you will change how you perform any given task. Which prolongs the habit forming even more – and leads to mishaps and mistakes.
Which is the biggest reason why you need to have (standard operation) procedures, processes and systems.

During the start-up phase, many businesses don’t take the time to implement standard operation procedures, processes and building them into efficient systems, which leads to ineffective structures. But once you start to organize your business it has an accumulative effect.

Not only will the time needed to complete something be reduced furthermore, but the repetition will accumulate the reduction of time needed. And it will reduce mishaps and mistakes – and the latter often not only leads to lost time but can also lead to lost money and lost leads and clients.

Let’s look at a business procedure within your set of systems for illustration:

  • procedure: invoicing client
  • tasks: check for amount to be billed + all deliverables are confirmed by client + credit card info (if billed directly) is up to date + billing address is correct + tax related information is valid + client data is updated with new status of project ……

Now imagine you forget to check if the amount to be billed is correct and therefore billed too high.

You write the invoice, bill the credit card and send the invoice to the client.
Next thing is a mad client who tells you that you the amount you pulled from the credit card is too high. Which is already more than a nuisance from the business standpoint.

BUT now you need to check if the client is correct, tell him you are sorry, write a correct invoice, refund the wrong amount and re-pull the new amount (if they still let you pull directly from the credit card – might as well be, that you are no longer allowed to bill directly), create credit note and send to client, create corrected invoice and send to client (and if you are no longer allowed to bill directly a) wait for the client to pay, which b) requires (several) checks of your bank account).
See how even describing the whole correctional effort takes “forever”?

Standard operation procedures within your systems make your life much easier and your work much quicker, as they help you create a routine for your business habits aka tasks. And on top of that they support you in having a great relationship with your clients, because there are less mishaps and mistakes.

How well documented is your business? Do you have efficient systems in place?