How to create systems that produce consistent results and bring you the freedom you desire.
If you are like most small business owners, you started your business to create freedom for yourself or your family. You were good at something, and you decided to do it for yourself instead of someone else. You had ideas of creating financial freedom for you family and serving people in ways you never could at a regular job. You worked diligently to build your business, but something is wrong. Your work has become inefficient. Things are forgotten on some customers but repeated on others. Your results are inconsistent. If you are honest with yourself, your business is you. If you aren’t at work, work is not done. You don’t have the freedom you originally set out to create.
To create the freedom, you desire as a small business owner, you need to create systems. Systems create a process that anyone can follow. The system can be taught to new employees in less than 10 minutes. And, because it is written down, you don’t have to continuously explain things to new employees. Systems free up the owner to do the more involved work. Systems create efficient and predictable results. So, how do you build your systems for your business?
If you do not have one already, you need to have an organizational chart. This clearly shows the hierarchy of the business and each position that is needed to run the business. This needs to be created with the end in mind. Think about where you ultimately want your business to be, and what positions will be needed to make your business run in that capacity. This may be much bigger than you are right now, and that is ok. Just really work on fleshing this out.
Now that you have an organizational chart, it is time to break down each position. Make a list of responsibilities or tasks to be completed by each position. What will that position be responsible for? What will they need to do in order to meet those objectives? What will their day to day activities be?
At this point, it is important to remind yourself what your strategic objective is. Think about what you want your customers to see, hear, feel, taste and think when they interact with your business. Now, take one position, and start to write down each step needed to complete each task for that position. For instance, you have a greeter position, and their first task is to greet customers. Your task breakdown, i.e. system, might be:
When a customer walks in say “Hello, welcome to *****. My name is *****. How can I help you today?
Allow customer to respond.
If the customer says they are just looking, say “That’s great! We have a special on **** today. Would you like me to show you ****?”
Be as detailed as possible in your task breakdowns. You want to have every possibility covered. Once it is written, read back through it and ask yourself if it makes sense. If you were just reading this, could you do it without any further instruction? Could it be improved in any way?
Rinse and Repeat
Repeat this process on every task for that position. Then repeat this for every position. What you will end up with is a policy and procedure manual. It will be the bible for your business that every employee can use to complete the tasks assigned to them with efficiency and consistency. And consistency is key to keep your customers returning time after time.
Systems are the key to creating the freedom small business owners desire. Systems are processes that allow your business to run with little input from you. This allows you to focus on the things only you can do in the business. By putting in some time and effort up-front, you can save incredible amounts of time on the back end with your increased efficiency. By creating systems, you are creating a business that can be run by anyone, which means you now have a commodity you can sell when you are ready!