Systems and processes are not sexy, and for most people (well, not us) they’re very boring! But they are a crucial tool that help your business stay on top of things. While they do take time to set up, once they’re implemented it will actually save you time (and hence money) in your business. So how do you know when it’s time to nut out your systems and processes?
…it’s time to create and implement some new systems and processes in your business.
But what are systems and processes? How do you identify where you need them? And what’s the best way to create and implement them? Read on to find out.
So, what’s the difference between a system and a process?
A system is the overall area of work, e.g. onboarding a new client. A process is all the little things that need to happen to make a system work. For example, when onboarding a new client you might need to:
You can also have processes within processes. For example, creating a contract is a part of client onboarding, but it may have its own process – e.g. updating your template contract with relevant details, sending it to the client, saving a signed copy in their folder etc.
So which is more important – systems or processes? In our experience, it’s your processes which need to hit the spot, to ensure your systems tick over efficiently, effectively and accurately. That said, the first step in creating good systems and processes is identifying where systems are needed.
This may sound obvious, but it is optimal to have systems for each area of your business. Of course, this is overwhelming and can be a huge task if you are just at the beginning of systemising your business. A good place to start is by mapping out your customer journey. Your customer is (or should be) at the heart of everything you do, so by mapping their journey, you should identify everything that needs to happen to get them from a random member of the public to happy, paying customers. A simple customer journey may look something like this:
Once you can see the mind map of your business, there are then 2 ways to approach which processes to start with:
We recommend starting with option 2, and gain the confidence to ‘process mine’ on easier systems. Once you’re in the swing of it you’ll find other high value opportunities that you can tackle when you are ready to step it up a gear.
Having scanned your business for all the ‘things’ that need to happen, you are likely to find that you are already ‘doing’ some systems and processes. But, they are probably messy, confused, and conflicting. There are also sure to be whole areas of the business that are unaccounted for i.e. where you’re ‘winging it’. Either way you need structure.
To create a structured process:
This process will also help you identify disconnects, common mistakes, and confusions, so you can build out the process for maximum success.
For many business owners, their ‘Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)’ are all in their head. However, it is vital to ensure your processes are effectively documented. Yes, this process is front ended, but it pays dividends down the tack. A good SOP will combat all the ‘whys’ listed at the beginning of this article by providing instructions that will reduce mistakes, reduce the time taken, and reduce confusion. Not only do they make your team responsible, but it really sets them up for success.
Most people think of a SOP document as a boring, lengthy word doc. Sometimes they might be – but there is more than one way to skin a cat! Have you considered:
However you do it, there is one thing all documentation tools should have in common: detailed, relevant, succinct information. Keep in mind different people learn in different ways – the ultimate SOP will include both written instructions and video, as well as common use examples to provide context.
Yay, you have set up some processes and started on your systemisation journey! What’s next? We recommend the following three steps:
Finally…if all this still seems too much, you know what I am going to say – outsource. We love processes, we love automation and we love documentation. So we can do all the above for you! Yay! Contact us to make it happen – email@example.com.