I started my business with the same overarching goal that so many aspiring business owners have: To gain freedom of my time and finances, as well as the freedom to have more fulfillment in what I do.
However, in owning your own business, you quickly come to realize that freedom is not all that easy to come by. Because if you want to step away, you realize that everything could very well cease to operate or crumble, because so many things rely on one person - myself. Even with a team surrounding you, many business owners make the mistake of being the point person to many business processes without even knowing it.
Or, sometimes we do realize that, but then we make the mistake of delegating away responsibilities to a trusted employee. Only to find out that once they want to take some time off, or god forbid part ways, that a lot of operational knowledge goes with them and you realize how fragile and dependent your business actually is.
You probably see where I’m going with this…
This dilemma is one that I often use as a hook to capture the attention of our leads, “Do you want to spend more time working on your business and less time in your business?”
Who in their right mind would say “no” to that? Well, maybe an employee, but certainly not a business owner.
The key to reaching this reality is to have repeatable, documented, and tested systems in place.
Why are systems so important?
If you want to scale and eventually sell your business, you need them. Plain and simple. If you take yourself and all of your employees out of the equation, what would be left of your “business” once they leave?
Systems are your business and what make it sellable. They are also what make your business reliable and scalable.
Employees can leave at any moment, and if they left nothing behind in terms of documented systems and took a wealth of operational knowledge with them, a large chunk of your business has vanished overnight.
If you create and sell a physical product, for example, but have no systems in place related to how you make these products, what do you think will happen? Each and every product will end up slightly different.
If you want to create and deliver a positive and consistent product or service, then you need to have a way of doing it - a system behind it.
This means that your systems need to be documented, clear, and adopted by your entire organization. Without that, how can you expect your business to grow the way you want it to?
If everything up until now is resonating with where you’re currently at, I’m going to take a guess that you fall into one of the buckets below:
You’re doing everything yourself
You’re frustrated because your employees never do it “right”
You have employees that “do it right,” but for the life of you you’re not able to repeat what they do and get the same results.
It’s inevitable that as you began your company, you were a one-man band and do everything yourself for a while. And when you’re doing things on your own, you’re less likely to want to hold things up by sitting down and meticulously documenting everything that you do, the value of it, and how you do it step-by-step.
If you’re doing it right, you’ll find that you need to start hiring employees to delegate away some of the things you’ve been doing. Without documented procedures and systems, how easy is it for you to fully onboard someone?
I know it all too well, and it’s near impossible.
And I used to be the type of person to trust and let people “figure it out” through trial and error as a way to get the results I wanted.
Oh, hello, a new problem?
That’s right, I then had no idea how to reproduce the results they were getting by myself, and in the case that they decided to leave, I’d have to spend time and money waiting for another person to “figure it out” by trial and error.
Multiply that small problem when you start to really grow your business, and you’re playing with fire. Unless you have infinitely deep pockets to fund learning on the job for each new hire, things can get out of control really quickly.
Measurable and improvable
If things are done in the same way each time, then over time they become measurable and trackable. When your systems create a status quo in your operations, then you can easily identify when things go awry and step in to make changes a whole lot easier.
On the flip side, if things are done differently every time, you’ll never be able to pinpoint why things go wrong or easily be able to figure out how to fix it; There isn’t a status quo to revert to.
Without systems you’re only guessing at what works well and what doesn’t, and you have no standard to work off of and improve. Once things are reliable and consistent, then you have a base to work from to test new processes to see if things work better or worse.
It’s a case of eliminating as many variables as possible & then testing incrementally while you’r able to measure the results.
Systems give you back time and money that you were spending on risk management in your company because everything was done differently by everyone. Some of the time that systems will allow you to reclaim is the time spent on your uphill battles with recruiting and onboarding.
Your reliable systems should allow you to delegate successfully and to then dedicate more resources at scaling these systems, giving you a better and more consistent outcome.
Automation only works if you have consistent systems in place. At its very core, automation is working off of a If this/Then that type of logic. Once you have your systems organized into repeatable tasks, then streamlining them with automation becomes a very real possibility.
This is where most business owners want to get to; Your systems are what create value in your business, and any prospective buyer needs to know what value will remain once the owner leaves.
If all of your employees were to leave, what value would be left?
If no value is left, then you don’t have clear and repeatable systems in your business. You have no foundational business value, but rather value in your talent.
Building your systems = building your business.
Have I made the case for systems in your business yet? In my next post, I’ll be going where you should start with the systematization of your business.
About Automated Dreams
We are a Business Automation firm based out of Portland, Oregon.
So many companies are hesitant in taking the first step toward selecting & optimizing their tech tools, software, & business systems and find it hard to bring in external support to do things right from the get-go.
If you think it's time to get your business systems in order, and you know that you need help from an expert, schedule a free call with one of our Business Process Consultants to kick off this new journey.