In a previous post titled Getting Beyond the “Survival Stage” of Growth in Your Business, I touched on the process by which you begin building systems. Doing this allows your business to operate on its own. Today I want to show you how to actually do it.
Building systems is a pretty simple process:
- Do It
- Document It
- Test It
- Train It
- Delegate It
Sounds simple enough, but why do so many business owners struggle completing it? I think it’s because they don’t understand how to apply these 5 steps to their situation. If you ever want to be free of your business then you must learn and apply this process to every aspect of your business.
Building Systems by Doing It
This is the easiest step. When you’ve done something enough times and like the results, then you’ve settled on a process that works. You’ve worked out the kinks and know the objections and the gotchas. This is usually where most people stop.
I see it all the time. When I ask, the owner will tell me “nobody can do it except me!” That’s because you stopped at step 1 of building system!
Writing down what you do is the next step. Using checklists is a good way to implement it. A workflow diagram works too, because many people learn better by seeing a visual picture. I fall into this category. Sometimes I read a page over and over but it doesn’t sink in. Show me a picture though, and I can do it like I have been doing it for years!
Here is an example of where people think they’ve got it documented and they don’t. A packing slip shows someone what needs to be shipped right? It shows what someone ordered. The warehouse person just needs to read the packing slip and put everything in a box right. Wrong!!! How should the box be filled? What do you put in the box to assure the content doesn’t get damaged? How do you label the box? If not done correctly, it may not make it where it’s supposed to go!
When you don’t include all these details as part of the checklist/instructions, then you are assuming everyone has your knowledge. If they don’t then the results probably won’t be the same!
Test When Building Systems
This step frequently gets skipped. Just because you wrote everything down doesn’t mean it works. Testing it makes sure someone can read what you wrote and gets the desire outcome by following your steps.
As many years as I have been doing this, I still get caught. I write a procedure and nobody can understand what I meant in step 4. When you ask, usually people will tell you what confuses them. Correct it and the move on.
Training often seems trivial, but you get better results if you do. It’s not just about teaching someone how to do something. You need to connect with the person too. That allows you to show them how important what they do is to the business so they take ownership of it.
While working with a person you learn a lot about them like their learning style and how they process information. You may also get to know what other talents they have, so you can apply it if it proves advantageous later on. But if you don’t take the time, then you’ll never know!
Building Systems to Delegate
Delegation is ultimately where every owner needs to end up. Many many small business owners lack this skill. If you’ve never been a manager in a big company you may never have had to delegate before. But, ultimately you will need to delegate everything you do in your business. If you don’t you’ll always be tied to it!
I do a lot of coaching here. Often it’s not the mechanics of delegation that gets them stuck, but the mental block – an inability to let go! It’s not hard to understand why. Their business is like a child that they have nurtured by themselves. Like a parent, it’s hard to let your child wander off on their own!!!
So there you have it. A 5 step process you can immediately begin applying for building systems in your business.
Do you struggle with building processes? Share your story if you overcame the challenge.
If you are unsure of where to go next, contact me. I deal with this issue all the time and have developed some powerful tools to assist you in your transition. I look forward to helping you free yourself from your business!
Great post, and I agree, many business owners never get around to doing anything past step 1. I think time is the culprit. It takes time to document, test, train and delegate. Most business owners are very short on time. So they do everything themselves, and it is a vicious circle. Business owners just need to belly up to the bar and do the documentation first and foremost. The other steps are important, but can’t happen until the documentation is complete.
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