You decided to launch a business. In order to be successful and efficient in running your business, you know you need systems. However, you have no idea how to create systems from scratch.
Does this sound like you?
If yes, you’re not alone. Many business owners in all stages of business come to me with this question. They are a bit nervous about how and where to start.
That’s where I step in as an online business manager. I help them break it down into actionable steps, and I lead the way to getting systems in their business set up from scratch. Today, that’s what I’d also like to help you do.
Let’s dive in.
What Are Systems?
There is some confusion in the online world about how to define systems. For our purpose in this blog post, systems will be defined as the steps that you do to complete a task.
Creating effective business systems is a life-saver for your business. By creating systems, you ensure that your results are consistent and worth their value. Your clients always appreciate this type of customer service!
Why Are Systems Important?
James Cash Penny, founder of JCPenny once said, “Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.” This couldn’t be more true!
If you want to see growth in your business, you need to develop systems that will allow you to get work done in an efficient manner. When a business is full of chaos and team members aren’t clear on how to perform a task, the results will be less than stellar.
Without systems, you can start to feel overwhelmed by all that needs to be done. Even the thought of getting organized can add to that feeling. Without systems, your team may feel frustration from not knowing exactly how to perform a task. All of this leads to unproductive days, and you end up working weekends to get caught up.
With systems in place, you have more time to do what you love in your business. Your team has the information to complete their tasks without having to ask you for help. You can give your customers more attention which will improve their experience which may lead to a positive review. Your family will see more of you because you won’t be working on the weekends. In fact, you will even be able to go on vacation and put your laptop away.
With systems in place, you and your team will be more productive and you will regain your sanity. You will begin to see growth in your business. You can have a business, and it can be doing well, but without systems, you will reach a point in which further growth is no longer possible.
How To Start Creating Systems From Scratch
The thought of creating systems can be daunting. By breaking down the process into smaller steps, it really is quite manageable.
Track Recurring Tasks
To start creating systems, you first have to determine which systems to create. Do this by tracking each activity you perform in your business for two weeks. After two weeks, you’ll be able to see which tasks you are performing over and over again.
Some of these may include:
- Client onboarding
- Team onboarding
- Logging weekly team time reports
- Writing a blog post
- Sending weekly emails to your audience
- Designing a landing page
- Collecting metrics
- Bookkeeping duties
Once you have a list of recurring tasks, it’s time to start documenting the individual steps for each of those tasks in an SOP which stands for Standard Operating Procedure.
Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)
If you’ve been in business for awhile, you’ve most likely heard about SOPs. These documents are vital to your business operating efficiently. Each individual step of a task is documented in an SOP. SOPs can be referred to complete a job efficiently or given to a new team member to learn how to perform a new task.
There are several components to an SOP, although they can vary by business.
- Tools and Links – A list of software, documents, and anything else needed to perform the task. It’s a great idea to hyperlink items on the list.
- Purpose and Policy – This explains why this task is done and any details about when it needs to happen.
- Person – Who is responsible for performing the task. This person is also responsible for making sure the SOP stays up to date.
- Process – A skeleton outline highlighting the big picture steps of the task.
- Procedure – Detailed instructions for each step of the process. Use screen shots and provide as much clarification as needed.
- Completed By and Date – Who completed the SOP and when as well as information about who and when it was revised in the future.
Recently, I’ve started asking my clients to take a video of themselves completing the task so I can write the SOP for them. This link has been a great addition to the SOPs in case any of the team members are visual learners.
Where To Store The SOPs
Now that you know how to create systems from scratch, you need to have somewhere to store them. I recommend using a folder set aside specifically for SOPs in a Google Drive or Dropbox. Make sure your team has access to the SOPs they need to perform their tasks.
Another suggestion I have is to link your SOPs to tasks in your project management tool. It’s time effective for your team to simply be able to click the link in the task card rather than go through the SOP folder in Google Drive.
Now that you have your SOPs written, your business will operate more efficiently and your team members will have fewer questions. This begins to free you up to focus on business growing activities. Be sure to do a quarterly review of all your SOPs to make sure they remain accurate. Nothing is more frustrating for a team member to get an SOP and the steps are antiquated.
If you’d like an SOP template to help you get started, check out my website’s resources page for that and other resources you may be interested in.
If you need additional help with managing your operations or team, fill out my website contact form to book a call with me.