Many business don’t have any systems. They think they are for “big business”, but I think that every business, small or large should have them.
Why systems? Systems allow a business to be run with consistency, and almost on automation. They give owners, manager and staff guidelines as to how each operation and task is to be performed. Now I understand that many business owners won’t like this idea … “we know what to do”, “we don’t need it written down”. That is most probably the case. Most small business owners do run on automation, but what happens when “you” can’t be there, or want the day off, or “let’s hope it doesn’t happen” you end up in hospital for a week or two? Oh, you’ve probably always got family or close friends you can call on, but how much easier would the job be for whoever you get in to take over, if you had the simplest things written down. And that’s all systems are.
One of the businesses I have is building websites. I’ve had customers phone our support asking about things (that have nothing to do with what we do for them) like “Peter can’t get his emails”. We always try to help whenever we can and give them suggestions, however I’ll bet that when the new staff member comes up with the same problem some months down the track, they’ll be phoning us again. That’s simply because they don’t have systems.
Empower your staff to write systems. In the example above it would not have taken too long for the staff member dealing with Peter’s emails to write a system on how they dealt with the problem. And it’s then there for next time it happens.
They are really quite simple to create and you don’t have to spend a lot of time of them.
A simple way is
Write down your departments:
then put sub-headings under each of these:
- how to create an order
- telephone script
- how to print business cards
- how to bind on the DC10
- how to create an invoice
- checklist for monthly tasks
- how to do a bank reconciliation
- what happens each day when the mail is collected
- how to handle email enquiries
You get the drift?
As they’re created keep them in a folder. They’re also a great tool to have whenever you have a new staff member. So you’ve got Mary starting work today and you’re going to teach her what to do when the mail arrives. Just get out your system for Mail and there will be the step-by-step guide.
I’d love to hear about the systems you have in your business and how you use them. Please leave a reply here.
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