If taking a day off is a long-forgotten concept and your business is working you to the bone, you may be in need of business systemization. Business systemization can give you freedom from tedious tasks and extensive hours by helping to ensure your business runs like a well-oiled machine with the least amount of effort. Think of a business system as a little cog in the great machine of your business, a cog that churns around doing its job regardless if you’re watching it or not.
A business system is a small, organized sub-set of the business that functions seamlessly, easily and with neither prompting from outside forces nor nagging from the boss. A business system can be likened to any other system within a whole, such as your body’s endocrine system or nervous system, both which function on their own while contributing to the overall functioning of your body. Business systems can be simple or more complex, but they should all share the same trait of consistency. Once a task or duty is systemized, it should be performed in the same habitual way by everyone who performs it.
How to Choose What You Systemize
Routine tasks that all people can complete in a consistent manner are the best choices for functions you can systemize. You don’t want to start systemizing business functions that need a human touch, such as responding to a very specific complaint, strange request or creating a personalized order. Filing paperwork, reading emails, sending out routine correspondence or even answering the phone are ideal choices for systemization.
How You Implement a System
Implementing a system requires coming up with instructions on how to properly implement a given task. Let’s say you’re going to systemize answering the phone. Your instructions should include implicit instructions on the entire process, right down to the last detail of how many times the phone is allowed to ring before someone picks it up.
Your instructions will cover the greeting, the tone of voice, and a script that outlines how employees should ask questions to ensure the phone call is handled in a professional manner. Instructions for answering the phone should also include a system on how to take messages, how to transfer calls, how and when to place a caller on hold and the proper way to end the call. Include a consistent policy that dictates how and when phone calls are returned and any other tangential tasks that may stem from an incoming phone call.
Once the instructions are set, it’s time to train your employees. Offering handouts of any scripts is a good idea, as is producing a text version of all the instructions in a manual and in the company handbook. When it comes to actually learning the process, employees may fare better if they actually see the process in action, which you can easily do by creating a video on your flip phone and posting it on the company’s website. Make it required viewing. Posting photos of specific systems is also a good idea for tasks that need visual aids.
How to Get Employees to Work the Systems
Breaking each part of the system into even smaller parts is the best way to introduce employees to the new system without overwhelming them. Have them learn and master each specific portion of the overall task in small doses. Also make it very clear that following each system is company policy, including it any employee handbook.
Engaging them in the creation of the system can further enhance their participation. Ask them to keep notes on how the system is working and suggest any changes that may be beneficial. Then amend the system as necessary. Hold regular meetings where employees are encouraged to provide feedback and constructive criticism on the systems, both from themselves and from customers or clients who may have commented on the way a certain system is functioning.
How to Know the Systems Work
Once you systemize your business, you’ll know it’s working when you end up with loads of free time, employees happily buzzing along like worker bees and mounds of profits rolling in. At least that could be the end result in the best case scenario. Since most changes take a bit of time to show results, the free time, buzzing bees and profits may be slow and steady – but still exist.
You may have to monitor your employees in the early days of a system to ensure they are following instructions and to answer any questions or address concerns they may have. Watching what works and what doesn’t gives you further insight on amendments that could be made to better streamline your systemization.
Business Systemization Benefits
Systemizing your business can eliminate the tedious tasks from your daily plate, a move that comes with a host of benefits. For starters, you won’t have to worry about performing each and every task on your own just to ensure it is being done properly, as an established system will ensure that it is. Training employees to successfully work a number of the established systems also makes them more valuable by placing them where they are most needed at the moment.
There’s little downtime in a systemized business since trained employees can always jump in to pick up a task that needs to be done. Rather than being trained in one or just a few specific tasks that only a particularly employee performs, all of your employees will be trained in all the systems. Instead of scrambling to hire someone to answer the phone when your front desk person leaves, phone duties are being taken care of by the system. Your staff members become individual jack-of-all-trades that work together for a cohesive and profitable whole.
The consistency of your systems contributes to the consistency of your business. Customers and clients will be pleased to find your business runs in a steady, expected fashion so they are never at a loss at what to expect in terms of quality and service. Training your employees in each system also means each system is being done how you want it to be done. There’s no more guessing why a phone call was answered with a “Yo” instead of a “Hello” or one employee decided to suddenly file the paperwork from Z to A instead of A to Z.
Systems take care of the little things that may seem less significant than larger tasks but can still help sink your business if they are ignored, forgotten or done carelessly. Ever call a company only to have the phone answered by someone who was chomping gum and didn’t even know how to put you on hold? If so, you are probably not calling back.
The grandest reward for systemizing your business is the freedom you’ll find. You will no longer need to focus large amounts of time on small tasks or scramble to do everything yourself just to ensure it is being done your way. You can then pick and choose to perform only the work you truly enjoy doing or, in the best case scenario, actually take that long-forgotten day off.
ActionCOACH CEO - Jodie Shaw