When we think about the glitzy and fun aspects of running a business, building business systems rarely comes to mind. But if you want to deliver consistently on your promise to customers and get more profit with less effort, you need to learn to love systems!
So why do so many small businesses ignore this area? The two most common reasons I hear are:
- We’re small, we talk to each other and know what needs to be done.
- I know I need them, but don’t have the time
Myth #1 – Only Big Businesses or Franchises Need Systems
Most franchises started as a small business. Documented procedures simply allowed the owner to replicate and grow. They help others provide customers with the same level of quality, service, and care – without you! There’s a valuable lesson there, even if you have no desire to franchise your business.
Myth #2 – Talking Replaces the Need For Written Procedures
If your business has only a few employees working at the same physical location, communication is a lot easier. You can talk to each other, discuss what needs to be done and even how to do it. It’s not efficient, but it can work.
But what happens when you grow and suddenly you are serving more people or bringing in new staff? What happens when people leave and take the knowledge with them? What happens when you want to outsource work you currently do? What happens when you, as the owner, want to go away for a week with your family?
Documented procedures make it easy for others to step in and do it right – for your customers and your business! It helps with training new hires and cross-training current staff. Plus, the process of documenting is often the catalyst to improvement. It forces us to look at what we do AND why we do it that way.
Myth #3 – Documenting Systems Takes Too Long
Creating a How-To manual takes time. But writing down how you do a critical task, like scheduling a job or closing a sale, does not. In fact, some take less than 15 minutes.
But with each step you take, you begin to build efficiency, consistency, and profit. So take it one system at a time. Focus on the most critical. What are some of the recurring problems that impact your sales, profit, customer satisfaction or time? Set a goal to complete one or two a week – and you will get there!
Remember, the best person to document a system is the person who is currently doing that task. So feel free to delegate and collaborate!