Do you have good systems set up? Or any systems at all? Chances are, even if you’ve never written them down or thought of them as systems, you do.
Think about tasks you often do. Over time, you’ve likely figured out the most efficient way to do that thing each time. Do it often enough, and you don’t even think about it anymore. It’s your standard operating procedure — and yes, that is a business system.
Systems may not be exciting, but they keep things moving smoothly even when you’re overworked, delegating to your team, or dealing with personal issues. Here are some guidelines to help you create and implement the systems that will work for you.
What systems do you need?
The first step in creating a set of business systems is too look at those standard operating procedures (SOPs). What tasks do you perform often? What steps do you need to take each time? How do you make decisions?
Write these tasks down and list the steps, the decision points, and anything else you need to remember, and that would help someone else on your team pick the task up at any point in the process. (Even if you don’t have any team members working with you right now, including the details as if you were talking to someone who doesn’t know anything about your business will be helpful in the future when you need to expand.)
Then look at the tasks you don’t do that often. Write down the steps you need to follow, the places you need to look for information, and anything else you need to know to complete the task. This will help you fly through those tasks because you’ll have a handy reference to make sure you get it right the first time.
Finally, look at the business tools and assets you use. Where do you store your login information? How do you find logos and disclosures to use on marketing materials you create? Gather this information in one spot that is easy to access.
What should you do with your systems?
You will need to figure out whether it is more beneficial to keep your systems electronically or on paper. (If you do choose paper — such as a binder of SOPs — consider creating them electronically so that you have a backup if something happens to the papers.)
Sharing systems over a collaboration tool such as Office 365 or Google Drive can be helpful if your team works remotely or if you work on more than one computing device. Everything will be accessible in the most current form.
To help you use secure and unique passwords, consider a password manager such as LastPass. An added benefit is that you can securely share passwords with your team — no more text messages or emails to send login information back and forth. Not only will this make your life easier, but it will also help you ensure that you are compliant with all necessary security procedures.
How can you keep your systems up to date?
You will need to periodically review your business systems to make sure they are current and implement changes when required. For example, if you add a new lending partner, gather the information about how to access their materials, any branding guidelines, and any other information you should remember about that partner.
As your business grows and shifts, you may find that some of your systems are no longer relevant. You may delete those process documents, or you may decide to archive them just if you need to refer to them in the future.
Now that you have an overview of what systems are and why you need them to create your own. You will be able to see the benefits as you grow.