Did you open your business imagining a life of freedom and prosperity? And now… you are struggling to save your business in the aftermath of a global pandemic. To say “it’s been hard” is a massive understatement.
You are either stressed, working 24/7, living in debt or envious of anyone who can afford to take two days off in a row. Or worse, you’re all four. And even after all your efforts, your business doesn’t seem to be doing any better.
You don’t have to struggle to save your small business and your well-being. There is a solution.
You can build your dream business that provides you with personal and financial freedom. And it all starts with systems.
What is a system?
A system is simply the way something happens.
Some small business owners think they don’t have systems, yet they do. Every action that is currently happening in your organization, either as planned or as decided by the individuals who do them, is a system. Right down to how you answer the phone. And those systems are producing your results.
Systems are the reason you are tired, stressed and over-worked! (It’s not you, you are doing an amazing job!) The good news is, you have control over the results of your systems.
Identify your systems
When you identify your systems, you uncover what’s missing or broken in your business that are causing your frustrations.
Once you identify your systems, you can see exactly HOW you are getting these undesirable results.
Then you can pinpoint what needs to change in order to get what you want.
So the first step to getting a few days off next month is to identify what system is missing or broken. Could you have a stronger delegation system? Do you trust your employees know how to do the work while you are away? If not, maybe you need to improve your training system.
Document your systems
Now if you are happy with your results, great! You can benefit further by documenting these systems.
Through documentation, you can continue to produce consistent results and share these best practices with future team members.
Documenting your systems will save your struggling small business and greatly improve your well-being. And I’m not the only one who thinks so, 50 business experts agree that systematization frees small business owners.
If you are not happy with your current results, you can quickly transform outcomes by strategically developing and documenting better systems.
Essentially, a documented system acts as instructions.
With your system, anyone could come in and do a task exactly how you want it done and in a way that benefits the business.
Documenting the way you want your company to operate will reduce errors and improve customer satisfaction. Ultimately, this gives you greater personal freedom because you won’t have to keep telling everyone what to do.
Most businesses start small without any form of documentation and with a few key individuals holding most of the operational knowledge. The business owner typically holds most of this knowledge in their head and is the constant go-to person for answers. Often, they can end up doing the majority of the work because they are the only ones who know “how” to do it.
By documenting systems, you are able to delegate tasks and focus on what’s most important in your business. Whether that’s focusing on paying off the debt accumulated in the pandemic, or something as relaxing as getting a full weekend off.
A documented system is a blueprint for business success.
My client, Tracy, experienced this first hand. She said “The single most valuable message that I believe I got from coaching would be to systematize everything. And to create manuals that can guide our staff in their daily tasks… Everything has a system and a systems creates order and order creates profitability.”
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Solving the root of your problems
When you document EVERYTHING, you create a blueprint to solve ALL your business frustrations. You’ll have a proven system for solving problems—no matter how big.
Systems thinking gives you a new language to solve problems and build opportunities.
Systems in action
But does it really work? I know it seems too good to be true. I promise it’s not.
Let’s look at Liana, who owns a motel. She was struggling to save her small business after a series of financial blows and customer complaints.
It all became too much when a customer left another negative review and noted that her employee was being rude and it took forever to speak to someone.
Liana’s immediate response was to berate her employee for being rude. Which in turn, made her employee upset, and they lost motivation to work. After a while, they quit as they didn’t feel appreciated anymore.
At this point, Liana was relieved they quit. She could finally hire someone else who would be better at providing excellent customer service. Even if everything else in her business was falling apart, she could at least fix this.
The next week she had a new front desk clerk. And soon after she received another review. “Your employee was super rude to me after taking forever to answer the phone.”
To Liana’s dismay, her reviews hadn’t changed. (Yes, she went home and cried that night. No shame in it!)
So why wasn’t Liana able to fix her problem?
When trying to solve this frustration, Liana focused on the people and other elements outside of her control, instead of focusing on the systems.
Liana doesn’t have control over the person answering the phone.
What she can control is HOW things get done.
She can change how quickly the phone gets answered or provide instructions on what to say when answering the phone. She can create a system so that no matter who is answering the phone, or what type of phone they are using, it will be done the same way every time.
In the end, Liana documented how she wanted her employees to answer the phone at her motel. Then she trained them on how to answer the phone based on her system. And her negative reviews stopped coming.
Systems thinking released Liana from the complexities of dealing with ongoing frustrations in her organization. Once she was able to solve one problem with systems, she used the same type of thinking to solve the next… and the next… and the next! You can create this freedom in your business too.
Persistence is key
Systems are not a one-time fix. Documenting and adjusting systems is a shift to the very foundation of your business.
You’ll be creating, documenting and adjusting systems over a long period of time, but once you know how to do it, it stops feeling like work and starts feeling like an inspirational game of continuous improvement.
If the goal is to build a company that runs both profitably AND independently of us, we can focus our efforts on systems. You don’t have to struggle to save your small business, be profitable and free with systems thinking!
Until next time, enjoy your Entrepreneurial Journey!