Systems are essential if you want your business to thrive. There’s no two ways about it. You have to have them.
It is worth so much to spend some time now to get the foundations right because it saves a whole lot of time and money later on down the road.
Why Would You Need Systems?
Some of the reasons that they’re really important is that once you start bringing on board people to your team, whether that’s people who become your employees or who you outsource work to, having systems in place means that you are reducing the time it takes to train them so they can become as productive as possible as quickly as possible. If you’ve got to spend time constantly training them to do the same thing over and over again until they get it, that’s a waste of your time.
Surely, you would prefer to spend that time marketing the business, getting new clients, sending out products, actually doing the work that gets you paid than having to train somebody. Just from that one element alone, it is worth it. Yes, it will take you time and it is a bit of a challenge to get it done first, but please make the time.
The other thing that is really good here is in case of emergency. Now, nobody wants to think of the worse thing happening, but if you want your business to continue in the case of an emergency, whether it’s illness or a family crisis or if you’ve had a bereavement, whatever the case may be, if you’ve got systems in place, then your team or people you rely upon can come in, step in for you, and continue running the business with no issues. They haven’t got to come in and say, ‘What do I do? I’ve got no idea what this person does. I want to help them but I can’t.’ If they don’t know what to do, they could end up costing you your business.
To give you an example about this, when I was pregnant with my youngest daughter, I had quite a bad pregnancy complication and it meant I had to have four weeks bed rest before she was born. It wasn’t planned or anything like that. The emergency happened and that was a consequence. That’s what we had to do to make sure that the pregnancy carried on successfully and it did, but I was on complete bed rest.
My business continued to run without me because I had some systems in place that my team could come in and take over some of the stuff that needed to be done. I also could do things from my hospital bed that I needed to do and the business ran as normal. My clients didn’t really see much of a difference. There were some calls, for example, that had to be rescheduled at the beginning of the situation because we weren’t sure what was going to happen. It was a ‘take it day by day’ to begin with the first few days. But then I could reschedule things once I knew what was going on. I could also do more of the information via email or online.
I had that flexibility because I had the systems in place. I had taken the time to map out everything so there was no confusion. My team came in, did what had to be done. I just said to them, “Can you please do this, this, and this?’ That’s it. They got on with it. I didn’t have to go, ‘Well, this needs doing. This is how it has got to be done.’ No, it just got done. So much easier because it freed up my time. At the end of the day, there was the issue with the pregnancy which was extremely stressful and worrying as it was a case of taking each day at a time. I didn’t then want to have the added worry and anxiety about the business and getting paid. It was quite a crucial thing. The systems helped me to make that transition easy, make that worrying time as stress-free as possible.
Once you have decided how you want to do things, it is a good idea to create some Standard Operating Procedures. These are a great tool to train up any new team members that come on board but also help your business to stay open if you can’t work for a while.
Some procedures to think about:
What would you do if your computer stopped working or you got disconnected from your internet connection? If this happened to me, I would use my laptop and I have an internet dongle I can use until the problem was fixed.
You need to consider the types of problems you could face and come up with the solution – this way you won’t panic as much if it happens.
What happens when you sign up new clients? Are you going to send them a welcome pack with information on how you operate, your procedures, useful information?
In the unlikely event of you receiving a complaint, you need to have a procedure in place on how you will deal with it. Think about what timescales you will use to respond and investigate the complaint.
What is your house font going to be? What email signature should people use? Think about how you want to give a consistent impression to everyone you interact with.
How do you handle all new enquiries that come into the business about working with you? How can you make it easy for clients to sign up and work with you.
Your action plan
Think about the procedures you need and get documenting them.