This past week I seemed to be talking about creating systems with all my clients. Most of us run our lives on a handful of systems. Between our cellphones, our planners and our e-mail inboxes, we have organized ourselves and our time. And if you ever doubt the importance of these systems, recall your panic the last time you lost your phone or your planner.
Yet as important as our personal systems are, most of us don’t take advantage of what systems can do to improve our businesses. Systems are simply ways of automating or structuring processes so that they can occur systematically without so much thought or attention—and by more than just one person, so your business can continue to run when you decide to take a vacation.
Where do I start?
For most of us, there are dozens of similar repetitive tasks, large and small, in our businesses or jobs that could be systematized. To identify where you can apply systems, take a step back and try to look at it objectively. There are three things you can take a look at to help you determine where to start:
1. Things that are frustrating you
2. Things that are holding you back
3. Things that are causing you stress
So where are you frustrated?
This is an important place to start for two reasons. First, you are more likely to be frustrated if you are redoing tasks that bring no particular satisfaction. Second, you are going to be frustrated if you have to relearn a task or “recreate the wheel” every time a specific need comes up. If you create a system for these items, you will already have in place most of what you need and it will save you time.
What is holding your business back?
Where are the choke points? Do you need to generate more prospects? Do you have prospects but a low rate of conversion? Do you convert customers but lose them through poor follow-through? By strategically focusing on your business this way, you will be more likely to spot high-value opportunities for systemization. When you create a system for these items, you will notice (and correct) any weak points in your marketing, sales and customer support processes. The transition from prospect to lead to client to happy client (who refers other clients) will be smoother and more productive.
What is causing you stress?
Notice what parts of your business are causing you the most stress. Is it that initial client call? Finishing your printed business cards or brochure? Keeping all your papers and files organized? Even if it is a task you do often and you know the steps by heart, systematizing at least part of these stress-inducing activities could yield big benefits to your business—and your well-being.
So take a few moments and go through your business looking for these areas. I’ll be writing more this week about the steps to putting your systems into place. Soon your list of frustrations and areas of stress will be eliminated so there won’t be anything to hold you back. And that will feel just amazing!
So I am curious, what are you ready to systematize? Please share and comment below.