Set Yourself Free with Strong Business Systems!
Do you feel chained to your business? Are your team members performing repetitive tasks with no real consistency? Do you feel like you’re spending far too much time on trivial business issues instead of focusing on what matters most? If you answered yes to any of those questions, it is time you addressed your business systems.
As business coaches, we are big fans of systems! Business systemization can be a long and sometimes difficult process however, but the end result is worth the effort as it will save you time, money and resources in the long run. Systemizing your business can free you from the tedious and often overwhelming tasks associated with the day to day operations of your business. How? Business systemization ensures that every aspect of your business is standardized so that it can run effectively and efficiently without constant supervision and potentially even without you.
What’s the big deal with business systems anyway?
Business systemization operates under the premise that a business should function as if it was going to be franchised or reproduced. Think McDonalds©. No matter where in the world you are, a Big Mac© will always taste like a Big Mac©. Your experience at a McDonalds© in Ottawa and a McDonalds© in Tokyo will be almost the same. That is because all McDonalds© restaurants follow the same protocols and procedures no matter where in the world they are located.
Initially, documenting your business procedures and protocols will be time consuming, but once finished it will help your business function like a well oiled machine and ensure that your clients are receiving the same great customer service at every visit. No exceptions.
How to get started creating your business systems.
Start by creating a process map. There are great free tools/apps out there that you can use to map your entire business process. Walk through how your business operates from start to finish and create a visual map that shows each process from A to Z. Get your team involved to make sure that you cover every step along the way. Once finished, you can start creating a list of the protocols and scripts that will need to be written for each process.
I know, no one really likes the thought of learning scripts and your team might find it awkward at first but, think of a great movie, do you believe actors improvised the entire film? They don’t, they follow a set script and that script is what gives them the flexibility to adapt, perform and make it their own. There should be a script or protocol for virtually every task performed in your business, no matter how mundane. Scripts ensure that all staff members are performing tasks in a manner that is congruent with you and your business values and culture. To lessen your workload, delegate script writing to staff members and review them when done making any necessary changes.
Document your systems in your Operations Manual.
Once finished writing the scripts and protocols, you can begin creating your Operations Manual. Every franchise has an Operations Manual; it is what ensures that franchise owners operate the business in the same manner as other franchises. Whether you plan on franchising your business or not, your Operations Manual should be created so that anyone can review it and know exactly how to run the business. This manual can be created on paper or online, whatever is easiest for you. Operations Manuals can be hosted with Dropbox or Google Drive. All scripts, protocols, and documents (forms, price lists, etc) are sorted into different folders that can easily be accessed by your staff.
Here are some suggested sections for an Operations Manual for a service industry business, be sure to adapt this list to your own business needs:
Strategic Planning – This folder should contain a description of who you are as a business, your values, mission and vision, your monthly and yearly objectives, etc.
Business Systems and Logistics – This folder should contain anything that has to do with the operation of your business. All scripts, protocols, and documents used in your day to day business activities would be placed here.
Sales and Products — Any information or accompanying documentation about each service or product your business offers should be placed here.
Marketing and Events — All of the ways in which you market your business should be listed here as well as any documents associated with marketing.
Client Education — This folder should contain any educational resources you provide to your clients
Customer Service — Customer Satisfaction Surveys and testimonials should be placed here.
Human Resources and Staff — Anything that has to do directly with staff, including training or forms would be placed in this folder.
Accounting and Statistics — Any statistics being monitored or accounting related spreadsheets would be located here.
Sort through all of the documents you have and place them into their corresponding folder. Once this task is complete, arrange a meeting with your staff to go through your Operations Manual. Ensure that all scripts and protocols have been created and that everyone knows where everything is located. Also ensure that your staff spends some time reviewing the final scripts and protocols, as tasks may have changed. This will cut down on the time you spend dealing with mundane day to day tasks as everyone will be a “black belt” with the business processes, scripts and protocols. Your staff will no longer need to go to you to ask where such and such form is located or how to handle a particular situation or a difficult customer.
Systemizing your business is no easy task. It will take time and consistent dedication but the time spent will be well worth it. Don’t forget that people are not just buying a product or service from you, they are also buying the experience. Moreover, it will allow you to be confident that you and your team can handle any situation with grace and efficiency. And who knows, once your business is fully systematized, you just might be ready to take your business to the next level and expand to other locations!