One of the hardest things to do in business is run your business and also get systems and processes in place in order to run more efficiently. I see this even more so in solo prenuer style business ( where their is only 1 person running the show).
A question that I get asked a lot is “how do I get systems and processes done if I’m so busy running the business” and “what do I need to do first”? I suppose that’s the same as which comes first the chicken or the egg…right?
Now if I had to go by the textbook it would say get the systems and processes done first. However in my experience sometimes it’s tough to write the system even before you have actually done the task. The reason is that in a way you need to perform whatever it is you are doing that requires a systems and along the way “test” it in a so called “pressure test” ( under the circumstances of actually performing the operation )
So If I had to answer the question from my point of view I would say
- Do the task first
- Write the systems and processes
The reason the heading poses the question is due to fact that an overarching objective as a business owner regardless of if you are a solo operator OR employ tons of employee’s is that it makes no difference whatsoever. Why? Simple
Because if you start to think like you are selling a franchise you begin with the end in mind. Which effectively shifts the focus and the approach. By this I mean you start to consider some of the following questions
- How can I get my business to run without me?
- What can I create so the operation runs autonomously?
- How do I get the business not reliant so much on me?
- If I had to sell this business what systems and process do I need to have in place so someone else can run it?
- How can I achieve an outcome of a “business in a box” so to speak?
- Do I have processes that can be replicated efficiently ?
And this list can go on…However the overarching thinking is automation, efficiency that is system based for scale and leverage.
This will give you an easier way to think about but how about getting it done. It’s amazing when you ask the right question usually you come up with the right answer.
Franchisors ask the right questions when it comes to selling their “business as a franchise opportunity” . Let’s take Jim’s mowing as an example. You can buy a franchise, have no real experience in lawn mowing but the systems and process in place allow you to market , quote and literally have everything to run what you need to in your business without too much hassle.
See the systems and processes are designed for the franchisee to “paint by the numbers” . Quote like this, hire like this, re book like this and so on. The majority of small business owners find it hard to think about their businesses like this however it’s not as tough as what you think.
I want to share the I feel the “operational manual” process is outdated like mullets in the 80’s. I use a new way of doing this and it’s using technology that has the engineering strategy of “build it once and use it often”
Here is a little checklist to get the ball rolling for you
- Make a list of all the activities you do
This allows you to see what systems and processes you need to create and whom you need to do them for. Example if you are paying bills , then you can create this for a bookkeeper or a V.A (virtual assistant) in the exact manner that you want it done.
- Create a recording what YOU do on a daily basis.
This means everything from opening the door ( if you are in a physical premises) OR logging on if you’re virtual all the way through to leaving or Logging off. Everything in between. Example. If you are using a CRM or updating data, paying an invoice, sending a response to an enquiry or updating your website with the latest article etc, all this can be “screen recorded” using Jing or Screen Flow ( simple FREE software that records everything on screen real time ) so as you are doing the task , speak out loud about what you are doing .
Here is a sample: Paying Bills Process: Log in using this login data , press accounts on right hand side of screen, click client details etc etc. What I am doing here is breaking the process down step by step. Once this is done save the file and there you have it a step by step video recording of exactly how you do the Paying Bills Process
If it’s NOT on screen then you can use your phone video camera ( most are HD quality ) and simply do the task and get someone else to film you while you are doing it, give any specific instructions you want carried out, particular details you may need someone to think about and consider etc. It really is as simple as that.
- Test the process
Now that you have the recordings in order it’s time to test them. The best way is simply either ask someone that has no idea that hasn’t done this task prior ( unless of course they need to have qualifications , licensing etc ) and get them to follow what you have recorded and see what the outcome looks like. BTW getting someone that hasn’t done it will tell you how strong your processes are and if there are any holes in them and what needs to be adjusted.
I have a simple approach, if an eight year old can understand it the you are spot on in your explanation or process. The simpler the better. In saying that some processes are complex. Remember thinking a a franchise just makes you simplify it by decreasing the steps to still achieve the desired outcome and that’s what I love about that level of thinking.
So go ahead and start thinking like franchisor. You will be amazed when you create a system and process culture in your business how much more time and energy and money you can save and achieve the same if not better outcome than what you are currently achieving.
For more help with your systems and processes don’t hesitate to send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at ( 02 8095 0060)