Updated: May 17
Starting a Business - Part 9
Having systems in place will keep you from working yourself into a corner. Setting up systems that work without you will prevent you from becoming the bottleneck in your business and your income stream. Starting a business is just the first step that leads to your long-term goals – and opens up opportunities along the way. You can enjoy the passive income from a systemized business, or eventually sell your company if you desire. From the beginning, it’s important to know where you are going, and always have an exit strategy to sell your business for a profit or to refocus your efforts.
It is important that you have systemized your business so it can operate smoothly without you. Focus your energy on one area until it is fully systemized before moving on to the next. You don’t want things to start slipping if you change gears.
The first step is to set the right intentions for your business. Having financial goals will give you a direction to focus your efforts, helping you achieve the results you desire. The more successful your business is, the more people you can serve.
Tips to Systemize
Your primary processes, such as sales & marketing and operations/order fulfillment, directly add value to the customer (they will pay for things that add value to them). Your secondary processes do not give direct value to your customer and although they might be necessary, they do not generate revenue. You don’t want to add unnecessary secondary processes unknowingly, they will eat at your bottom line. Lastly, you will want to have a management process that monitors and controls the activities of the business.
List your recurring tasks. Can you automate them? How can you delegate them in a way that produced the same result as if you did them?
Establish tasks by priority and cut out processes you don't need.
Automate or batch wherever possible for efficiency.
Establish how your processes need to work from “Step 1 to Done” so they are producing consistent results.
Document your processes. If one person (competent at performing the task) performs the task now, and someone else does the following week, the results need to be consistent and should take a similar amount of time to complete.
Monitor your system and have a process for ongoing improvement.
Have a process for taking corrective action when something goes wrong. First, do a correction to right the wrong (like applying a band-aid). Now take it a step further and identify the root cause of the issue. Address the root cause and update any documented process to prevent a recurrence. Evaluate whether the action fixed the root cause and the problem does not reoccur.
You may not be to this point, in your business, as of yet but keep in mind that you can’t scale your business effectively if you don’t systemize. Every cause will continue to create an effect, so you decide if you are controlling the causes or only addressing the effects. You will continue to address the same effects until you address the cause.
More ways you can maximize your efforts:
High volume buyers - consider if your products can be sold in bulk, or your course can be pitched to bigger teams, perhaps you can start a subscription service.
Presell products or services - then buy the bulk when the entire shipment is sold
Offer higher ticket items; create a value ladder with an upsell and a downsell
Make sure you are seeking opportunities such as referrals, affiliate, joint venture, and partnership opportunities as a part of your routine. There are complementary businesses all around you. Maybe you are getting 30% sales conversion and your other 70% could use another company's service. By partnering, you might get a percentage of a sale, but a percentage is better than 0, especially if you paid advertising dollars to bring them into your world.
The steps you take to systemize your business might be unique, but you always want to know your desired outcome. You want your business to not only run without you but you want it to run just as well, or better!
Check out Starting a Business - A Guide for the Online Entrepreneur for a summary of this blog series and what you can expect to learn each week.
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