Many business owners groan when I mention the word ‘systems’. It’s amazing how many small businesses don’t have systems in place. They fly by the seat of their pants, managing their business in an ad hoc or even a crisis management fashion. Not having systems in place can be a large contributor to the feeling of overwhelm that small businesses owners often feel. Not to mention the long term success of a business.
Seriously, if something is worth doing twice it is worth having a procedure and system in place. I can’t stress just how much easier it will make your life.
The benefits of systems are numerous, from increasing your profits to freeing up your time for strategic leadership and the freedom to enjoy your lifestyle.
To lead an organisation you have to know how it works, what is working and what isn’t so that you can turn things around if needs be. When you look at your strategic plan (you do have one of those, right?) each step of the way you have a number of activities, every one of them should have a procedure and belong to a system.
Having systems in place also impacts your employees from the day they join your business. Systems and procedures make it so much easier for new staff members to learn the ropes when they first come on board and they prevent dramas if anyone is absent. The system will keep the momentum going no matter who is completing the task.
When we established the systems and procedures in our business we began with an overhaul of just what we do and how we do it. During a brain storming meeting each team member came up with a list of their tasks and after the meeting wrote up a step by step procedure for each task so others could take over quite easily. All procedures were then bound together in a central folder. This folder is not only useful for the team it is also a great resource for you as a leader, you can peruse before you delegate tasks and it’s a vital training tool. Every so often we add another procedure to the list.
Our admin procedures folder lists every task from answering the phone, booking a flight to reconciling monthly accounts and preparing for an audit. I can’t tell you how invaluable it is for me when it comes to planning ahead and managing the team. Knowing our staff and their talents well, I can look at the procedure and decide if it’s a suitable match. We also found that our team members would look at a task and let us know that they would like to take on a particular job to develop build their skill sets.
It makes the strategic leadership of business so much easier and creates a positive work environment where staff members are growing and developing. After all, it is the role of a great leader to grow, develop and empower others.
Quick tip: When setting up your procedures folder, make sure you add a contents page for easy reference.