Picture yourself arriving home from IKEA with a brand new desk.
Of course, the desk is in pieces in a box. You're going to have to put a little bit of work into putting it together. So, what's the first thing you do once you open the box? You're going to read the instructions, right? Otherwise, how are you going to know the best and most efficient way to put it together?
Now think of the desk as being a task or project for your business – you'd want to use the same care in that project as you would in putting together that desk. That's where systems come into play!
Developing good systems is a key aspect of learning how to clone yourself in your business. Systems help us to do things more efficiently and rev up our productivity, which is an awesome skill for anyone running a start-up or small business.
And I'm going to teach you how to get them in place!
I know you probably have a couple of questions:
- What sorts of things should I systematize?
- Where should I store the system information?
Don't worry, I'm going to get to all of that!
First, let's talk a little bit about what systems are.
Systems are the who, what, when, where, and why of what you do in your business.
- Who needs to do it
- What they need to do and in which specific steps
- Where they will do it (this isn't necessarily a physical location, but could be the tool or platform that they will use)
- When they will do it (this could be a specific deadline or as a result of a triggering event)
- Why it needs to be done (giving your team context about their tasks empowers them)
Now that we've gone through the basics of what systems are, I want to give you some tips on how you can put them in place in your own business.
Be selective. A common idea about systems is that absolutely everything should be systematized at once. I mean, that sounds efficient in theory, until you realize that somebody actually has to sit down and document everything! If you're running a start-up or small business, chances are you don't have hours upon hours to devote to writing down the steps for every single process in your business. Nor should you! When you first start systematizing, just focus on your biggest pain points. Or, if you're working up to a big launch or project, just focus on systematizing the tasks involved with that project as you develop them. You can always go back to your playbook later to add systems for your less urgent tasks. You don't get extra points for overworking yourself!!
Keep it handy. Ultimately, once you've figured out your systems and have documented them, you'll want to work them into your operations manual (or what I call a playbook.) You'll want to keep your playbook accessible to your team so that they can reference it whenever they need to, which will save them from having to come to you every time they have a question! Places like GoogleDocs, GoogleSites, Dropbox, or even a shared folder on your network will work for this purpose.
Now that you have an idea of how to build up your systems, I'd love to hear which processes you plan to target first! Tell me in the comments!