Creating systems in your business is like learning a new sport; at first, it will seem difficult and like it’ll take forever for you to get the hang of it.
But it gets easier the more you do it, and you’ll continue to get better every time you practice.
The thing is, if you don’t take that first step to create your first system – just like the first time you dribbled a basketball, threw a baseball, or spiked a volleyball – it’s going to continue to be difficult to learn and do.
So as we wrap up Season 2 I really want to stress the importance of taking action. Not tomorrow or next week, but now.
To try and sum up everything we’ve covered this Season in a single post is going to be tough, but I’m always up for a challenge, so here it goes… :)
If you’re looking for one-on-one guidance as you start to create and implement the right systems in your business, submit your application for my Systems Consult: a 4-week program where we’ll work together to create systems in your business that will give you freedom in your life.
Identifying which systems to create
When creating systems in your business, it all starts with having a good understanding and familiarity with the types of projects and tasks you spend your time working on.
In order to do this, you’ll want to take inventory.
In a nutshell, when you take inventory you’re simply writing out everything it is you do in your business, and this can be accomplished by spending one week documenting the things you work on each day.
Simply have a piece of paper follow you around for one week, and write down the things you’re doing each day for your business.
Once your list is organized into categories (I recommend organizing by daily, weekly, bi-weekly and monthly tasks and projects), it’s time to prioritize.
Once you have your list of categories with your tasks and projects listed below each heading, it’s time to organize your tasks and projects within each category.
The best way to do this is to prioritize the tasks and projects based on the impact they have for your business.
Typically, the tasks and projects that have the biggest impact for your business are ones which take up most of your time, and these should be the tasks and projects you create a system around first.
How to create a system
Once you have your tasks and projects prioritized, it’s about focusing on just ONE. Put a system in place for one of your tasks or projects and you’ll have that much more time to spend on creating the next systems for your business.
Here are the steps for creating a system once you’ve chosen the task or project you’re going to create a system around.
Start by writing out the steps for the first task or project you’ve chosen; what are the individual actions you take every time you do this task or project?
Write out the steps in order by acting as if you’re performing that task or project, and do everything in your power to resist “waiting for the next time” you do that task or project. 99% of the time “waiting for the next time” is an excuse, and next time, you’ll want to wait for the next time.
…I speak from personal experience ;)
Now that you have each of the steps written out – in order – it’s time to identify efficiencies by assigning each of your steps a category:
Automation will be assigned to those parts or whole of a system that can be accomplished with the help of software.
- Using a scheduler for your social media posts so they automatically post throughout the week;
- A tool like Zapier, so that when a certain action is taken other actions fire off automatically; or
- Building an auto-responder campaign so that when someone opt’s in to your email list, they’ll receive a set of emails over the coming weeks.
Delegation will be assigned to those parts or the whole of a system that can be accomplished with the help of a team member or contractor.
- Hiring a bookkeeper so you’re no longer matching transactions each month;
- Having a team member format and publish your blog posts;
- Teaching someone else how to edit your podcast for you so all you have to do is record it.
Batching will be assigned to those parts or whole of a system that require YOU. By batching these steps you’ll be saving yourself massive amounts of time.
- Coaching sessions with your one-on-one clients;
- Interview with guests for your podcast;
- Having 10-minute chats with your ideal customer / avatar.
Now you have your system somewhat written out with a category assigned to each step to identify the efficiency you’ll use.
Next, it’s time to document your system.
Whether you’re using videos, images or a checklist to document your system, gather together the resources and assets that will help you remember or be able to show someone else what your system looks like “on paper”.
A well-documented system should be able to be handed to a total stranger and still make sense.
This is where tools and resources like Workflowy, Screenflow, Google Drive and Sweet Process come into play. See this posts for details on all of these resources and how they can help you document your systems.
You know where your efficiencies are and you have the documentation part down; now it’s time to take action on any set up steps required.
If the system you’ve just documented will require a new tool, delegation, or you’ve chosen to batch certain steps, now’s the time to actually set up what is going to help you accomplish each of these things.
That might be a recurring calendar invite to yourself as a reminder of when you’re going to do the work; assigning everything to a team member to set up by way of video tutorials or a checklist; or it might mean you sitting down and putting the pieces of your puzzle together.
What needs to be put in place in order for this system to actually work?
Congratulations! You’re SO close!
Your system has been created through your documentation and set up steps, and now it’s time to test it out.
Walk through your system as if it were up and running to make sure everything is working smoothly.
If applicable, pretend you are the actual customer (if you’re setting up a sales systems or something similar).
If you’re not setting up something that will be used by a customer or someone in your audience, then walk through the system as if you were using it for the first time.
This will allow you to recognize any missed steps or potential kinks in the system.
Your ability to constantly improve your systems is integral to their (and your) success.
Set up specific times when you’ll review your systems in the future so you know they’re working on an ongoing basis.
I recommend doing this on a quarterly basis.
There are so many free and low-cost tools available that can help you document and run your systems.
Whether it’s a tool you’ll be using yourself, a tool that can help you automate parts or the whole of a system, or a tool you’ll be having someone else use, it’s important to know and understand what’s available to you.
Check out this post for a complete rundown of the top tools and resources for creating and documenting systems in your business.
What HAVEN’T we covered yet?
Funny you should ask, because it’s the EXACT same question I sent to Megan Watt on Twitter when she reached out and told me she was loving everything about Season 2. (Thank you, Megan!)
Here’s what she had to say about what’s missing:
Well, Megan, THANK YOU for bringing up these points!
Here’s a look at how I’d tackle each of these items…
1. Teaching staff to create / document their own systems
I think this is an incredible idea, and one that’s likely highly underutilized.
Once you have a staff or team members who help you with the daily operations of your business, why wouldn’t you ask them to help you create and document the systems they’re using?
One thing I’ve pointed out in the past when it comes to hiring and managing your team is the importance of empowering them and giving them ownership of the tasks and projects they handle.
This not only makes them feel good, but as a result they become more invested as they continue to gain greater responsibilities and trust from you.
So one example of how you might teach your staff to create and document their own systems is by first letting them see behind the scenes of you doing it.
Here’s how it might look:
Step 1: Next time you’re creating a system, schedule time with your team member so they can shadow you.
Step 2: Create the system with your team member watching and continue to ask if they have any questions about how you’re documenting something.
Step 3: Choose the system you want them to create and document on their own.
Step 4: If necessary, walk through how to actually do the task or project they’re creating a system around (record a video while doing so).
Step 5: Task them with taking the information you’ve just shared, and following the same steps you did before to create and document a system around what you’ve just walked through.
At first, it will be a matter of walking through how you create a system with your team member – just the same way you would if you were delegating anything else to them.
Then, it’s about empowering and encouraging them to start doing what you’ve just taught them on their own.
So next time you’re creating a system, share those steps with your team member. Then, the next time you have a system for them to create (and it might be for an existing task they’re working on), have them create and document the system.
2. Sales / nurture sequence system
I’ll create two additional and separate posts and episodes on this – one for a sales system and one for a nurture sequence system.
Look out for those as bonus episodes on the backend of Season 2 :)
3. How to get people to use checklists / systems and not get bored
This starts with ensuring you’re hiring the right people for the right job.
Ever notice that if you’re really good at something, and you enjoy doing it, that you never get bored with it – even if it’s something you do over and over and over again?
For example, I love to write, and even though I’ve written nearly 300 posts on the EOFire blog, I’ve never gotten bored with it.
I do the same thing every time I sit down to write a post:
- Who is it for?
- Purpose / goal / outcome
- Create assets
But because I’m good at it, and I love it, I don’t ever get bored of walking through these steps.
Conversely, there are some things that I really don’t like doing, and it’s either because I’m not good at it, or because I’m simply not interested in it.
Your team is the exact same way: if you hire someone who is best at customer service, and you ask them to do a bunch of behind-the-scenes work for you, chances are they’re going to get bored, and they won’t enjoy doing any of it.
So really be conscious about who you’re hiring, for what purpose, and then delegate accordingly.
Every member of the EOFire team has a very specific role. We don’t have any team members who “do a little bit of everything”; we have team members who specialize in specific areas and we assign them tasks and projects based on those specialties.
That’s a wrap!
Season 2 has come to a close, but this is not the last you’ve heard from me about creating systems in your business!
This is my favorite topic, and I’ll continue to create content and answer as many questions that come my way around creating systems in your business.
Remember: creating systems happens one system at a time.
Now that you have every step, tool and resource you could possibly need to get started (and then some), it’s up to you to take action. I can’t do the work for you; I can’t create freedom for you; it’s up to you.
I would LOVE to hear about the system you’re creating in your business right now. Share with us in the comments section below!