business systems people

How Your Systems and People Power Profit and Success

According to the author, Michael Gerber, a business is a complex structure of people and business systems that are all evolving at the same time. If you want to turn your business around, take advantage of opportunities or simply continue to build profit then it pays to put more effort into these two areas.

They are the key to sustainable growth and a business that is not completely dependent on you!

Think about your own business. What likely got you to the first $250,000 was not enough to get you to $1 million, unless you made some changes along the way. With so much at stake, do your people and processes get the level of attention they should? Here are a few things to consider:

  • When hiring employees or subcontractors, do you have clear goals, expectations, and standards? Is everyone on the same page?
  • Are the workflows and tasks in your business documented so it is easy to train and develop new team members?
  • Does your company deliver what you promise customers each and every time?
  • When someone is out or leaves, can others jump in without difficulty so customer care and other critical tasks are performed with the same level of quality and success?
  • Do your people look for ways to improve customer satisfaction or other areas of the business? Is continuous improvement a priority?
  • Could you go on vacation for two weeks without worrying or constantly calling in?

Whether you depend on employees, subcontractors, alliance partners, or vendors, the right people are a necessity for most businesses.  And if you want those people to be the best they can be, to develop and stick around, you need systems in place to help them thrive.

The Power of People in Your Business

An established business likely has an existing team and other relationships. We hear it said that “people are the most important asset in a business”. The past few years have certainly reinforced the significant role they play in your business.’s success. So let’s start there.


  • Are employees a good fit for your business today and moving forward?
  • What are the skill gaps that exist for individuals or your team as a whole? Can these be addressed with training?
  • Is your team open to change and new ways of doing things? Do they embrace technology? For some, this is a challenge.
  • Do employees have a job description with clear responsibilities and expectations?
  • Is there a path to help employees grow and develop within your company — so they stay?
  • Have individual and business goals been developed and shared? Are employees engaged in setting goals and committed to accomplishing them?

Sub-Contractors, Vendors, and Alliance Partners.

  • Do you have the right ones for your business? What are their individual strengths and weaknesses?
  • Is your business too dependent on any single supplier, leaving you vulnerable?
  • Are their quality and service standards the same as yours?
  • Have clear expectations been set and agreed upon by all parties? Is ongoing feedback in place to support the relationships?

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention YOU in the people equation.  Be honest about your effectiveness as the leader of your company. Are you the type others enjoy working with? Do you encourage innovation at all levels and give them credit for their ideas?  Will you take the time to teach and help develop others? Have you created a work environment and culture that allows your people to thrive?

Give People The Systems and Authority to Succeed

I believe most people want to perform well, contribute and make a difference in whatever job they undertake. I have seen part-timers and minimum wage earners who are worth their weight in gold and highly paid employees who are worthless. It’s all about attitude and what you, the business owner, do to help them succeed.

That’s why systems are so important. With documented systems, people know what to do and how to do it. It makes training easier and more effective. New employees can hit the ground running and start to contribute quickly! That’s a win-win for everyone.

Systems also make it easier for all employees to take on new responsibilities or help out others without difficulty. Talk about a great development tool. Equally important, it takes away the stress when someone calls out sick, goes on vacation, or leaves to take another job.

To get the most out of your people, make sure you build limits of authority into your systems as appropriate. Levels of authority are simply decision-making tools. They help your staff handle customer issues, close sales, resolve problems and keep the business running! It eliminates the need for everything to go through you and gives your people a sense of empowerment to do their job.

Examples | Limits of Authority

Quotes (in the sales process). If the quote is under $25,000 with a gross profit of xx% or more, the sales representative may approve and submit the quote directly to the customer. All quotes over $25,000 or with gross profit margins below xx% require the approval of the sales manager/owner.

Customer service. Representatives may issue credits, refunds, or payments of up to $100 to resolve customer issues. Credit or payments between $101 – $250 require office manager approval. All credits or payments over $250 require owner approval.

Purchasing. Using one of our approved suppliers or vendors, purchasing agent has the authority to issue POs up to $10,000. Purchase orders over $10,000 require owner approval.

If you are new to building systems in your business, you are probably thinking ‘Wow, this is a lot of work’. It’s not difficult, but it does take time. But with every procedure you document and implement, you begin to see the benefits. Improved efficiency, increased sales, more profit – and a lot less stress!

Take it one at a time. I recommend clients start with a system that will address a common problem. One that helps you make more money, frees up your time, or fixes a customer service or operations issue. What are some common problems that arise often? What are tasks you should delegate but haven’t done so? Pick one and start there.

The right people executing your systems can help transform your business, so give it the attention it deserves.

Leverage Your Business With Systems

If you are serious about leveraging your business with systems but struggle with where to start and how to do it, then check out my Ultimate Systems and Procedures Guide. Designed specifically for small business owners, my step-by-step guide with templates and examples makes it easy to do it yourself.

Need help or prefer to work with me on this project? Schedule a complimentary call and we can discuss the options. Click here to book an appointment now.

About Joan Nowak

As a business strategy expert and consultant, I’ve been helping business owners turn ideas into profits for more than a decade. My common-sense approach empowers clients and drives business improvements in key areas including revenue, operations, team development, customer satisfaction, and profitability.


Does Your Business Run Smoothly?

A well-run business is a dream come true for a business owner. It allows you to focus on what’s important – growth and profitability. It also gives you the freedom to take time off without skipping a beat. So does your business run smoothly?

Here is something to consider.  No business owner wants to spend their days putting out fires, fixing mistakes, or doing the work they pay others to do. Yet many do because their business doesn’t run without their constant involvement. You can’t prevent every potential problem, but you can take steps to improve your current situation and make your business run smoothly. 

Identify the Gaps in Your Operations

A business is a structure of people and systems that evolve over time. Together they bring predictability into the workplace. So, attracting the right people and developing quality systems for them is a key to growth, profitability, and freedom.

Got systems and good people? Then you are already on the right path. But remember, as your business grows, your systems and people also need to change. Is your team structured properly and do their job responsibilities take advantage of new skills and technology? Are you doing things the same way you always did (just because) or do you continuously look for better ways to improve all areas of your business?

Periodically review your systems and people so you continue to evolve in the right direction.    

RELATED:  How People and Systems Power Profit

Explore Additional Opportunities

While systems and people provide a strong business foundation, here are a few things to consider as well — if you want your business to run smoothly.

#1 – Do you cross-train employees so no critical task is dependent on one person?

A company doesn’t stop because the owner or other staff are sick or away from the business. Customers still expect to be served and have problems solved. Employees still expect to be paid. So important tasks should never be dependent on one person. If you have systems documented, it’s easier to cross-train others so the work still gets done. Make cross-training your team a priority.

#2 – Is there too much focus on the quantity of work done — and too little on the quality?

Customers expect quality when it comes to service, products, and people. Doing things right the first time, every time is important. While mistakes happen, the cost of poor or inconsistent quality costs you more than you think. You want your team to be efficient but don’t sacrifice quality for production.  Promote a quality-first mentality within your company.

RELATED: How to Get It Right the First Time

#3 — Are you using technology to improve efficiency and other areas of your business?

With so many affordable options, small and mid-sized businesses now have easy access to tools that simply make it easier to run a business. Whether you want to collaborate and share work without meetings, allow customers to directly schedule appointments, provide easy, non-traditional pay options, create instant quotes at the customer’s home/business, permit employees to effectively work remotely or communicate successfully with individuals or groups – there are apps for that. 

The use of technology can certainly improve efficiency and customer satisfaction — solid reasons to integrate it into your daily operations. But it can also help improve hiring and retention. — especially if you are dependent on a younger workforce. Why? Because these potential employees are tech-savvy; they grew up using it. They expect and embrace technology in the workplace. If you want to attract and retain them, look for ways to employ technology in your business.

#4 — Do you have consistent methods to get feedback from customers?

Most owners recognize the value of online reviews and make getting them a priority. Research indicates that 80% of potential buyers (even those who come by way of referral) check reviews, recommendations, and testimonials as part of their buying decisions. So, the focus makes perfect sense.

While reviews can reinforce what you do well and may uncover an area for improvement, they have limitations. When you are considering new products/services or looking for ideas to improve, who better to ask than your loyal customers (and employees)? Nothing beats a one-on-one or small group conversation. Don’t let online reviews replace other forms of feedback. Do both! 

#5 — Do you track metrics that are important – and work as a whole team to correct issues?

When used properly, analytics is simply a decision-making tool — in sports and in business. They shouldn’t replace experience or even your gut instincts. But they can help you uncover opportunities for improvement.

Many businesses track sales metrics because they impact revenue or income. But what about your operations and service? On-time delivery, quality (re-works, defects), back-orders, labor hours, cycle times, and complaints all impact your profitability and long-term sales.  Find the gaps in your operations and work as a team to fix them.  

Build operational improvements into your plans

Growth, profit, and freedom don’t just happen by accident. If you want to improve operations, you need to build these improvements into your plans each year. You wouldn’t ignore sales in your planning because it’s key to revenue growth.  So don’t ignore operational efficiency — it’s key to having a business that runs smoothly and profitably. 

Ready to Put Your Business on a More Profitable Path?

Would another set of eyes, ongoing support, and accountability from an expert help you take your business in a new and better direction? Then let’s start a conversation. Schedule your free discovery call today. Book appointment.

Business Systems | Build Profit As You Grow

Business systems make life easier, drive profitability, and leverage your business. Many small businesses learned the importance of operating systems when a pandemic caused changes in the way they had to operate. The old way of doing things didn’t work. With safety as a priority, everything from sales and hiring to customer service, daily operations, and billing were impacted to some degree.  These businesses also learned that it’s easier to modify your current systems instead of building everything from scratch.

Business Systems Make Pivoting Easier

The businesses with quality systems and technology to support them, found ‘pivoting’ was a lot easier. 

Whether back-to-work plans included simple modifications, a whole new business model, or something of a hybrid approach, we are reminded that updating and documenting systems is important.  Here are a few things to consider:

  • Hiring people is on the rise. Training and helping them to succeed without documented systems is far more difficult.
  • Getting customers back (or getting new ones) is a priority.  Consistent methods to implement your strategies are important for results.
  • Defining your customer experience is easy. Delivering on your promise time and again is more difficult without systems and technology to support your efforts. 

Business Systems | How to Get It Done

Whether you simply need to update what you have or build them from scratch, here is some good news. You can do it while you continue to grow your business. Here’s the best way to approach it.

Set the right goal.  Yes, I’m also a big advocate of setting goals! Avoid setting a goal to complete a how-to manual. It is just plain boring and overwhelming.  Instead, set a goal to build systems into your business – as you are building it.  You will eventually end up with a practical, how-to manual, but you’ll build profit and efficiency along the way to keep you motivated.

Take it one procedure at a time.  For every system you document and implement, you will see improvements in efficiency, productivity, and profit.  So you don’t need to reach the end of the project (a how-to-manual) to see results:  more sales, customers, profit, control, and freedom.

Start with the most critical.  Business systems, like customers, are not created equal.  Focus first on the ones that impact YOUR sales, delivery, profit, and time. 

When evaluating the systems in your business, you need to consider two factors. First, consistency. Is the procedure performed the same way by all involved?  Second, effectiveness. Does it deliver the outcome or results you want? 

For example. You have a sales system that is documented so everyone does it the same way.  But if your process doesn’t help you achieve a better outcome – more sales or a higher conversion rate – then it’s consistent but not effective.  In your business, you want both!

Make Your Systems Effective

Keep it simple.  Procedures must be understood by those who implement them if they are to deliver consistent results.  Include scripts, checklists, and samples where appropriate to help people perform the task at hand. And always take advantage of technology that is out there for you. 

Include limits of authority.  Procedures will explain what to do and how to do it.  But some tasks such as preparing a customer quote, closing a sale, paying vendors, or resolving a customer complaint may require you to spell out how much authority others have to complete these tasks.  Limits of authority empower others (with limits) so tasks get done without you while also reducing potential risks (aka bad decisions). 

Here’s a common example.  If quotes are needed to close a sale and timely response plays into getting the business, you don’t want approvals to become a bottleneck.  With guidelines, only proposals that fall outside the parameters you set need to be held for your approval. Therefore, your quote process may include language such as “All quotes or proposals over $5,000 OR under 35% gross profit margin require owner approval”

If you really want less stress, more profit, greater freedom, and the ability to effectively pivot in the future, then make systems more of a priority.  Take it one at a time and build as you grow.  It’s not hard, you simply need to kill the excuses.

Get Serious About Systems

If you are serious about leveraging your business with systems but struggle with where to start and how to do it, then check out my Ultimate Systems and Procedures Guide. Designed specifically for small business owners, my step-by-step guide with templates and examples makes it easy to do it yourself.

About Joan Nowak.  As a business improvement expert, I’ve been helping entrepreneurs turn ideas into profits for more than a decade. My whole-business approach empowers clients and drives improvements in key areas including revenue, operations, team development, customer satisfaction, and profitability.

Band Aid Problem Solving

How To Turn a Quick Fix Into a Permanent Solution

No matter how difficult the problem, there is always a quick fix.  And with so many fires to put out, the quick solution is often welcome by business owners because it allows you to move on to the next crisis or opportunity.

By definition, a quick fix is a problem-solving technique which involves using the fastest solution to keep the problem from escalating or recurring in the near future.

Solving the immediate problem quickly is a good thing, especially when it impacts customers, team or money. But the quick fix is often nothing more than a band-aid. It doesn’t address the root cause; it’s not the long-term solution. The problem will likely return again.

Is It a System Or People Issue?

Here’s an example to demonstrate this point.  Your technician performed a service.  The customer was unhappy and called to complain.  You apologize and send someone out to re-do the work and smooth over the customer.  Problem solved. The customer is now satisfied and you move on.

But what have you done to fix the problem moving forward? This is the missing piece in many small businesses. After you employ a temporary solution, you should evaluate the source of the problem in a more in-depth manner – to create the best solution for the future.

In the above example, it’s easy to assume the employee did a poor job or needed more training. In this case, the office staff scheduled two additional service calls and he was running behind. Concerned about being late to his remaining customers, he took shortcuts to make up the time.  So is it a people issue or a system issue – or maybe a combination of both?

Fix Then Solve

This principle applies to all areas of your business. While customers may create obvious fire drills, here’s a few others to consider:

  • Key employee resigns unexpectedly – and you have no one cross-trained.
  • Primary supplier goes out of business or increases prices dramatically and you have all your eggs in one basket!
  • Your biggest (or best) customer merged with another company and they have their own preferred vendor (and it’s not you).
  • Sales plunge and you have no ongoing, consistent method to generate more sales from new leads or existing customers – cash flow is getting tight.

All of these issues require immediate action, so go for the quick fix.  But afterward, work on the best solution for the future. From the above examples, that may include documenting or improving procedures, cross training employees, creating multiple supplier arrangements, expanding or diversifying customer base, and ongoing marketing and sales efforts.

While the best solution will take more time, it is often worth it in the long-run. Think about the impact these problems have on costs, profit, customer satisfaction, team satisfaction – and you personally.  Do you really want to spend your days putting out fires?

Determine The Source of Problems

How do you determine the source of problems?  Ask more questions.  How do we make sure this doesn’t happen again?  How can we do this better in the future? Think systems and people!

  • What systems and procedures do you need to run all areas of your business? Are they documented so others can use them consistently? Are they effective – work the way they should?
  • What people (employees, vendors, contractors, power partners) do you need to run your systems? Are they trained properly? Are the expectations clear?

Get others involved and encourage people to speak up without fear. It’s difficult to get to the root cause and solve problems without honest communication from everyone.  Make the commitment to really improve your business.  Get rid of the band-aids and fix the problems for the long-term.

Tired of Hitting Roadblocks?

Would another set of eyes, ongoing support and accountability from an expert help you to get moving in a new and better direction? Let’s explore the possibilities with a brief, complimentary consultation.  No obligation, only opportunity. Click here to schedule your free consultation today.


Leverage | Get More With Less

In simple terms, leverage means using resources to maximum advantage. In business, these resources include your time, effort, money, knowledge and people. With leverage, you increase your ability to do more with less.

You work smarter, not harder. You get more sales at lower costs. And increase profit through efficiency. Your people work together and enjoy the relationships that come from teamwork. You deliver what you promise so customers keep coming back.

It’s a win-win for you, your people and your customers.

4 Ways to Create Leverage In Your Business

Time | Focus on What Matters

How much time do you spend on activities that create value? By value, I mean tasks that directly produce sales, grow profit, improve service and delivery or help others do these things.

Take some time to analyze how you spend your time. Then focus on the critical tasks while eliminating, delegating or outsourcing others.

Here are a few things that will help you do this:

  • Have goals and an action plan. Without goals, everything seems important.
  • Tap into technology. Your calendar and to-do list are as close as your phone.
  • Schedule time beyond meetings. Important tasks should be scheduled too.
  • Turn off distractions. Your phone, email, and people. Interruptions are time killers.

Sales | More Customers With Less Effort

When it comes to maximizing revenue, your marketing and sales channels can go a long way toward improving this area.

Good marketing with clear messages and targets can help you attract quality prospects. Why chase after the wrong people and waste a lot of time trying to convert them? Combine this with a great sales management system – and you get more customers with a lot less effort.

Next, think about sales channels.  You can personally sell to individual prospects in a traditional one-to-one manner. You can grow exponentially faster by selling online, but this model doesn’t work for all businesses.  So why not build a network of people who sell to the same people you do. Then let them do the work and pay them a fee for the sales they generate. You both win. Again, you get a lot more sales with a lot less effort.

People | Help Them Be the Best They Can Be

Your people may be your most valuable asset, but only if you leverage their skills and capabilities.

It starts when you hire and bring them on board. Invest the time to find the right people to join your company – even when you feel rushed to get someone in there. But even the most skilled individuals need time to learn and understand YOUR business. Orientation and training is critical to get them off the ground running and contributing.  Especially today, new hires want to feel that they are making a difference or they won’t stick around.

If you have low employee turnover and long-tenured team members, hiring may not be a priority. But you should still look for ways to leverage your people. Are you maximizing their skills and providing new challenges and opportunities?

As your business grows and technology changes, job responsibilities will also change. When was the last time you looked at your organization structure, positions, and job descriptions? Are they still relevant? Do your people have the skills and knowledge to take on additional or different work? This is an area often overlooked. But it can improve work flow processes and keep your team engaged and challenged.

Effort | It’s All About Systems

Regardless of industry, every business has key processes to develop products and services, build demand, satisfy demand and manage the business. These include common functions such as marketing, sales, customer service, manufacturing, shipping, service delivery, technology, human resources, finance and strategic planning.

A lot of tasks!  But the more efficiently you operate, the more profitable you become. You can leverage all areas of the business when you ask the right questions, focus on continuous improvement and take advantage of technology and people. You can take it a step further when you look for others/partners to help you grow without doing the work!

When you master the leverage game, you get more of what you want with a lot less effort. Pick one of the areas above to focus on and get started.

Leverage Your Business With Systems

If you are serious about creating leverage with systems, check out my Ultimate Systems and Procedures Guide. Designed specifically for small business owners, my step-by-step guide with templates and examples makes it easy to do it yourself.

Prefer to work directly with me — to build systems and a whole lot more profit in your small business? Then let’s explore the possibilities with a complimentary consultation. Call me at (856) 533-2344 or drop me an email

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Create Business Systems

How To Create Business Systems

Systems and procedures don’t get business owners excited – at first. But attitudes change when they actually put them to work and see the results. Do you want a team that is productive and delivers consistent quality and service? Or a business that is efficient and profitable, with a lot less effort? If so, it’s time to make systems and procedures a priority.

Are You Ignoring Business Systems?

Systems are nothing more than ‘routines’ that are applied to business tasks. Parents rely on morning and bedtime routines to create a structure that reduces stress and meet deadlines like getting to work on time. Business systems do the same thing. So why do so many small business owners ignore them?

Many assume that only big businesses or franchises need them. They’ll say things like, ‘We’re small, we talk to each other, and we all know what needs to be done’. And maybe this is true when you first get started and it’s just you or maybe your spouse.

But what happens when you grow and suddenly you are serving more customers, or bringing in new staff? What happens when people leave and take the knowledge they gained with them? What happens when you want to outsource or delegate work you currently do? What happens when you, as the owner, want to go away for two weeks with your family?

If you want a profitable business that works for you, whether you are there or not, then make business systems a priority.

Ready to Get Started?

As you get started, here is the best advice I can give you based on my work with clients. Think one procedure at a time. You will eventually end up with a how-to manual, but the thought of doing a manual is simply too overwhelming. Instead set a goal to document, communicate and implement one system or procedure every week (or another timeframe that works for you).

This approach keeps you focused on small steps, allows you to implement changes as you go, and will get you results faster! As clients often learn, each time you develop and implement a procedure, you experience improvements — in efficiency, productivity and profit.

8-Step Approach To Create Systems

Identify Events. Most processes are triggered by events that occur in your business. Some examples include you get a lead or new customer, you receive a bill, you need to hire a new employee, you get a customer complaint, you need to schedule a service appointment, order supplies or prepare a quote. Start by making a list of the different events in your business.

Prioritize the List. When it comes to documenting your procedures, start with the ones that are most important to you. Choose those that make you money, free up your time, are currently causing poor customer service or duplication of effort among your team. In other words, focus on the things that need fixing or cost you money.

Write Down How It Gets Done. Once you select the process you wish to document, pull together any supporting documents or information. This includes paper, digital (on your computer) or software programs. Then write down step-by-step what you actually do. Keep it simple and reference the supporting documents or programs as appropriate. The best people to document a procedure are those who actually use or implement them.

Refine Your Process. The goal with procedures is to create repeatability, regardless of who performs the task. Initial attempts often contain missing or unclear steps, so others cannot easily replicate the task. I recommend you give the written process to someone unfamiliar with the task – and ask him/her to attempt to perform it based only on what you wrote down. You will then find the gaps and can fix them. Now you have a procedure that others can easily follow.

Determine How You Will Measure Success. How will you know if your procedure is delivering the results you want? You won’t unless you measure it. For example, sales conversion rates are often used to evaluate a sales process. If you want to improve your business, don’t ignore this piece – because what we measure we can improve.

Put in Procedure Template. Once you have it finished, type it up.  Give it a title (and maybe a code) and save it in a computer folder.  Remember to include any supporting documents too!  For the template I use with my clients, click here.

Communicate & Implement. Once you complete a procedure, you want to get it working for you. Print and review the procedure with those who will be using it. Remember to discuss how you will measure success. Also, encourage them to provide feedback and look for new and better ways to get things done.

Monitor & Modify. Technology and other factors, including innovation, will create opportunities for improvement – if you look for them. So use the feedback, metrics and other information to look for ways to improve. Then be willing to modify your procedures when you uncover improvement opportunities!

Systematizing takes time. But every procedure you document and implement will start to add efficiency, productivity, and profit into your business. And as you start to see the benefits and results, you too will love systems!

Leverage Your Business With Systems

If you are serious about leveraging your business with systems and would benefit from some practical, how-to instructions, check out my Ultimate Guide for Systems and Procedures. Designed specifically for small business owners, my step-by-step guide with templates and examples makes it easy to do it yourself.

Ready to Put Your Business on the Path to Success?

Would working with a business coach help you take your business to a whole new level? Then let’s explore the possibilities with a complimentary consultation. It’s a chance to get to know each other, discuss your goals and the obstacles that hold you back. Together we can determine if there is a good fit between your needs and my services.

To learn more or schedule an appointment, call me at (856) 533-2344 or drop me an email


Empower People To Perform Like You

Does your team handle your customers in the same way you would? Do they sell your products better or at least as well? Do they look for ways to make the business better? As the owner, your passion and commitment are often unmatched by others in the company. But it doesn’t mean they can’t perform as well or even better than you.

But it starts with the belief that they can! Too often, owners assume employees simply don’t care as much as they do. Possible, but maybe they just don’t know what you want or how to do it.  So if you want your team to perform like you, be the leader and do these three things:

Set clear expectations.  You have a vision of what you want your business to be and hopefully goals to help you get there.  Don’t keep them to yourself.  Share them with everyone in your company – especially the frontline employees and those who make things happen behind the scenes. Help them understand how each one of them plays a role in making the business a success.

Invest in training.  Helping others develop new skills and knowledge is one of the best things you can do for your people and your business. It’s no surprise that great leaders are also great teachers.  Take the time to share your expertise. Whether it’s technical skills, business knowledge or customer understanding, be a mentor to your staff. In areas of personal weakness, look to others inside or outside your company to fill the gap. When learning and development are priorities, everyone wins.

Empower your people with systems.  Systems allow average people to do great work. They help people deliver consistent quality and service that customers expect. Documented systems make training and decision-making easier and more effective. And most important, they provide a method for others to look for and find ways to do things better. Think innovation!

7 Tips For Creating Systems

Keep them simple.  A documented system, for any task in your business, should be easy for someone else to replicate. If it’s too complex, then keep working! When is it truly simple?  When someone else unfamiliar with the task can complete it using only what you have documented in the system.

Write systems that make money or reduce risk. You are not in the business of creating manuals, so only create a system if it simplifies a task, improves quality, speeds up a service or improves profit. This will keep you focused. The trick is to start small and let it grow with time.

Make sure the systems are used. As you create systems, build a method to monitor to ensure the systems are used. Changing the culture of your company takes time and there will be failures. Even when the culture has changed, it needs maintenance. A monitoring system will do this for you.

Insure they are accessible to those who need them.  Not every team member needs to use every system. Your master manual (online or in a binder) should contain all your systems, but individual team members should have copies of those that involve them.  This makes it easy when someone is filling in or when training a new team member.

Get the team involved.  Who better to help document the systems than the people who are currently doing the tasks.  Of course, the team can also help you improve the current systems by identifying what’s not working and any redundancy that exists.

Define team roles and responsibilities. Unfortunately, it is normal for team members to disagree on what needs doing and how to best do it.  Team members need to know their role and how it affects the overall results.  Clear written and agreed upon roles (job descriptions) will go a long way to accomplish this.  So start here.

Take it one step at a time. Documenting the systems in your business may seem overwhelming.  Don’t try to do them all at once.  Document one or two systems, implement them and monitor the results.  Once you are satisfied, move on to the next one.

Get Serious About Systems

If you are serious about leveraging your business with systems but struggle with where to start and how to do it, then check out my Ultimate Systems and Procedures Guide. Designed specifically for small business owners, my step-by-step guide with templates and examples, makes it easy to do it yourself.


Better Systems, Better Results

I hear it often from business owners, ‘I tell them what we need (or what to do), but it never gets done or done right.’ Sound familiar?  Despite what many think, most employees want to do a good job and make a contribution to the business. So what’s the problem?

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Do they know what you actually want – not just hear what you say or ask?
  • Do they know how to do what you want or ask? Is it clear and concise or vague and left to interpretation?
  • Do they understand why the task or behavior is important to customers, the business or other team members?

So what’s the solution? Systematize. That’s right, your people and your business will benefit from taking the time to document critical processes and procedures in your daily operations. From answering the phone and handling problems to billing and collecting money from customers, simple how-to steps, with supporting forms, templates and documents, make it easy for people to deliver what you want and need – consistently and profitably.

How To Make Better Systems

Keep them simple. Effective processes are typically 1-2 pages long with 8-10 specific steps. If your procedures are too long, consider breaking them into smaller tasks. For example, instead of one process for all front desk/receptionist tasks such as answering the phone, handling the mail, scheduling appointments, etc – break them into individual processes.

Include basic scripting or supporting forms. If a process includes the use of a specific form(s), include a sample with the process and reference it. Add scripting where appropriate and don’t overlook frequently asked questions (with answers or actions).

Link processes to goals. Every process should have a purpose and be linked to goals such as creating a positive buying experience, growing sales, delivering consistent service, improving productivity, etc. It’s important that your people understand the purpose or goal and recognize how they contribute to making it happen.

Look for ways to improve. Systems will change over time as the business grows and technology changes. Encourage people to always look for better ways to do things. Get them engaged and create a continuous improvement attitude. You will be amazed at what you all can accomplish together!

It’s not enough to simply document procedures. The payoff comes when they are used effectively and consistently. So get others engaged. When it comes to getting the most from your people, consider the old Chinese proverb, “Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.”

Leverage Your Business With Systems

If you are serious about leveraging your business with systems but struggle with where to start and how to do it, the check out my Ultimate Systems and Procedures Guide. Designed specifically for small business owners, my step-by-step guide with templates and examples makes it easy to do it yourself.


7 Reasons Why You Should Make Systems a Priority

Need business systems? Of course, you do. You already know this. And you probably have systems: methods to attract new customers, serve them, bill them and keep them coming back. But…

  • Are they written down so others consistently do things the same way?
  • Are they efficient or do they have a lot of duplication or unnecessary work that robs people of precious time – while adding little or no real value?
  • Are they effective? Do they get you the results or outcomes you want?

As you can see, it’s not about having systems. It’s about having GOOD ones. Those that deliver the results you want AND allow you and your people to do what you do efficiently and consistently.

While systems and procedures are not glitzy, but they are profit-building tools! Documenting procedures and monitoring results make everything you do – from marketing and sales to daily operations and billing – more efficient, more effective and more consistent. And isn’t that a critical key to profitability?

7 Reasons Why Systems Should Be a Priority
  1. Make more money! Yep, I’ve seen this a lot with clients. Good systems put more profit on the bottom line and ultimately in your bank account. That alone should give you a little motivation!
  2. Deliver what YOU promise to customers each and every time.  Whether it’s convenience or quality, give customers what you promise and they keep coming back and gladly tell others.  It’s a recipe for success — and systems help you deliver. 
  3. Train new employees better. Documents systems (for their tasks) makes training easier so they contribute sooner and are more productive! It saves time and money. It also takes away the anxiety owners often feel when an employee leaves or is terminated.
  4. Take time off without stress. We all need time away to re-energize and relax. The constant ‘checking in’ and continuous phone calls make it stressful for many small business owners. With systems in place, your team can handle it just fine, maybe even better!
  5. Delegate tasks to others. Looking to expand or start up another location? No problem. Your systems are repeatable for others to use.
  6. Plan to retire and pass your business on to your children? You put your heart and soul into growing the business and want to see it continue to thrive. Your systems make it easier to transition and keep the business running well.
  7. And if you ever want to sell your business, proven systems that are documented make your business more valuable and sellable! You won’t need to stay on for a year or two to ‘teach’ the new owner how things are done. Your business is no longer totally dependent on YOU.
How to Get Started

So if you are putting it off, it’s time to re-think your attitudes about systems. It’s easier than you think if you keep these four things in mind:

Set the right goal. Setting a goal to complete a ‘how to’ manual is just plain boring and overwhelming. Instead, set a goal to build systems into your business – as you are building it. You will end up with a practical, how-to manual, but you’ll build profit along the way to keep you motivated.

Take it one system at a time. For every procedure you document and implement, you will see improvements in efficiency, productivity, and profit. Things will run more smoothly without your day-to-day involvement.

Start with the most critical. Procedures, like customers, are not all created equal. Focus first on the ones that impact YOUR sales, delivery, profit and time.

Keep it simple. Procedures must be understood by those who implement them if they are to deliver results. Include scripts and samples where appropriate to help people perform the task at hand.

Leverage Your Business With Systems

If you are serious about leveraging your business with systems but struggle with where to start and how to do it, the check out my Ultimate Systems and Procedures Guide. Designed specifically for small business owners, my step-by-step guide with templates and examples makes it easy to do it yourself.

More Ways to Grow Your Business

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