Most small business owners don’t really know what business systems are. They think they are expensive computer hardware and software. Expert author Michael Clark share what they really are and how they are absolutely essential for small business success.
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When I mention business systems to you, what comes to mind? Do you think of an IBM mainframe computer sitting in a big room in the middle of your building? Do you think of expensive, highly specialized software? That’s what many small business owners imagine. And they think it’s not for them. If that’s what you think, you’re only half right.
Half right because expensive, highly specialized software is probably not for you. Half wrong because good business systems most definitely are. A business system isn’t hardware or software. It’s the way that you do any part of your business. It’s how you do things. You are using systems all the time, you just may not be using them efficiently.
I regularly urge business owners to get everything they know about their business out of their head and onto paper. I’m urging you now to do the same with your systems. Start writing out how you do things in your business. At a minimum, write out how you treat your customers or clients, how your paperwork for each sale flows, how your production systems work, how you market to clients, and how you do your bookkeeping.
Do this in detail. For each area, make a very detailed description of every step in the process. Include what you do and why you do it. Include the subtle parts that make your company uniquely you. Include the parts that you are proud of. Include the tricks that make it efficient. Include what you tried that didn’t work and explain why. Each system should become a very rich, highly detailed system. Why so much detail?
Because this is the beginning of being able to consistently deliver results. And the beginning of being able to consistently deliver results even when you aren’t around. Documented (written) systems make delegating much more manageable. Delegating is one of the keys to success in growing your business while still having a life.
Maybe you don’t want a bigger business. Maybe you want to keep yours small. Still, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to go on a long vacation and turn the keys over to someone else to run and make money for you while you are gone? Without systems, that wouldn’t be remotely possible. With systems almost anything is. Now, does that sound like something that should only be for big business? I think not.