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Business Infrastructure: Systems

As part of building your business infrastructure, the systems you put into place are essential to long-term success. Time is an owner’s biggest challenge, and having proper systems in place helps streamline workload, boost productivity, and get results. Are business systems and processes the same? No.

A business system is a core element that helps your business run. A business process, also known as the standard operating procedure or the step-by-step how-to checklist, are all the things you do to make any given system work most efficiently.

Your entire business is a system in and out of itself. To determine the core systems that make up your whole business, ask yourself, “What do I do on a daily, weekly, monthly basis that helps create and run my business? Your list should be around 4 to 5 elements depending on size and industry. Some of these standard core elements may include:

  • The Marketing System generates a consistent flow of leads into the business.
  • The Sales System is used to nurture leads, follow up with them, and hopefully convert them into paying customers.
  • The Fulfillment System is what you do in exchange for the customer’s money.
  • The Administration System encompasses accounts, reception, human resources, etc. It supports all the other business functions.
  • The Financial Management System manages and monitors the flow of capital through the enterprise, including financial transactions, accounting, and financial metrics.
  • The Employee Management System qualifies, hires, monitors, develops, and terminates employees to provide capable personnel that delivers their assigned organization responsibilities.
  • The Operations Management System executes, delivers, and manages the enterprise creation of customer value, including products and services quality, responsiveness, and economic value.
  • The Service Management System manages post-production services, including installation, maintenance and service management, customer follow-up, complaint handling, and resolution.
  • The Improvement Management System organizes, manages, and monitors enterprise performance improvement, including products, services and processes, customer feedback and response, opportunity analysis, and corrective action.

How do you create a business system? Systems and processes should organically automate over time. Here are some steps for systems discovery through process creation for those systems to begin implementing a system.

     

  • Do the pre-work.

        Before mapping out your process, you need to list your core business elements. What are the systems that make your business operate?

  • Brainstorm and come up with a process.

        What is the system element goal and the expectation? Who’s going to do a specific task? What are they going to do? When are they going to do it? How are they going to deliver the final product?

  • Document the process.

         Convert the process into an easy-to-follow guide that is easy enough for new people joining your company to understand. You can use text and imagery, audio, or an instructional video.

  • Implement the plan.

      Follow these SOPs daily until they become routine. Repeatedly following SOPs will allow you and your team to know what to do instantly.

  • Track, evaluate, and improve your systems.

        Use KPIs to measure the performance of your systems and processes and adjust to remain efficient and effective. Systems aren’t set in stone; they should continue to evolve as your business grows.

Business systems are essential in building your company. You can streamline your tasks to gain happier employees and more satisfied clients with a business system. Don’t wait until your organization is in crisis mode and spinning out of control. It’s much easier to begin creating your systems from the start than retrofit your business later.