Creating Systems That Stick
The secret to a successful business isn’t glamorous or exciting; it’s all in the details. Creating and maintaining consistent, regular systems is absolutely essential to the overall health and growth of your business. If you don’t have a system for everything in your business, it’s time to create one.
Systems help every single person in your company do their job accurately and effectively. A good system eliminates the need for most questions, clarifies any confusing areas, and streamlines the process of onboarding new people or transitioning roles within the company. Every standard operating procedure (SOP) in your company needs its own system, and that needs to be well documented. Take a look at the SOPs in your business, and use the process outlined below to make sure each one functions as part of an effective system.
Identify the SOPs
What are the everyday procedures you follow in your company? Think about every single aspect, everyone’s role, every internal process and client interaction. If you repeat a task more than once ever, it needs a system.
Here are a few areas that might need a system in your company:
- Customer service communication (emails, phone calls, in-person)
- Customer interactions (sales, returns, leads & funnels)
- Content production (blog posts, newsletters, sales funnels)
- Social media (posting, commenting, messages)
- Financial tracking
- Goals & priorities, vision planning
- Specific procedures related to creating or delivering what you sell
- Technology issues, web maintenance
- Inter-office communications
- Chain of command explanations
- Any task that any member of your team regularly performs
It may feel redundant to document some of these things that you have been doing for a long time, but doing so helps you plan for the future of your business.
Document Every Procedure
Once you know what needs to be part of a system in your business, the next step is to document it. The goal is that a new person with a reasonable amount of skill who is taking on this task or role would be able to have an 80% chance of success in following your system without a lot of extra help. Choose an app or location to document all of your company’s systems, and begin by asking the person who currently does this task to start by making a list of the steps they take to complete that task each time.
Tip: A simple document works fine, but a task or project management app is often better, only because it allows you to duplicate the task each time it needs to be repeated, and to assign due dates or repeated cycles of the same task.
Here are some things that should be included in your documented system:
- Login information, passwords, or other access-related information
- If the task involves unique technology, a how-to for accessing or using the technology should be included (separately or within the task documentation, whichever is more appropriate)
- Brand-specific information that will be needed (HEX color codes, fonts, links to specific products, common terminology you want a person to use when completing this task)
- A step-by-step process of how to complete the task from start to finish
- Information about how to mark the task as completed or notify a person who needs to know when it has been completed
Once the system has been documented, it’s important to remember that this is a living document; it can and should change as you streamline and update the systems in your company.
Put the Systems to Work
Once your systems have been created, it will take some time to practice using them. If at all possible, ask your team members to trade tasks for one day, just to see if a person who didn’t create the procedure is still able to follow it. If that isn’t practical for your company, just make sure that the people who created the system continue to use them, and add in any updates that they notice as they do so.
The key to consistency in your business is to follow the same procedures every time; so once you have created these systems, you have to actually use them regularly. Even when a task becomes familiar or comfortable, a solid system prevents someone from missing a key step.
Do you need some help identifying and creating the systems for your business? Creating and maintaining systems is one of my favorite things to do, and I’d be happy to help you put this gear into place for YOUR business – click here to book a consultation.