10 Mistakes Business Owners Make: Mistake 8 – Failing to Systemise
Without processes and systems, you cannot grow a sustainable business. They may not be revenue-generating but they will help you keep customers and increase your profits. Most importantly they will help you retain your people.
“Systems run the business and people run the systems.”
Over the years I’ve been working with business owners and leaders, I’ve gathered together 10 Mistakes Business Owners Make. These are the most common mistakes I see in business owners of all shapes and sizes, across different industries and at all stages of their business journey. I want to share them with you in the hope that this knowledge will make your own journey easier.
Mistake 8 is failing to systemise. What are systems and processes and why do you care? Why is it such a mistake not to focus on them when you are growing your business?
It can take a lot of effort and focus to prioritise important tasks over urgent ones, and many business owners fail to do so only to find that it bites them in the proverbial down the line. It’s easy to be consumed by the daily crisis and never find enough time to focus on customer service, time to market, quality and cost management, or communication with their team. They never really learn how and when to delegate – they surrender the ability to prioritise and focus on goals. Their business is likely to be freewheeling with no direction or focus, at the mercy of every crisis and drama. It takes practise and discipline to change this behaviour – but as your business grows you must transition from short-term to long-term thinking. The only way to do this is to set aside time to focus on your business – work on it not in it. In the short-term it will not generate any revenue but your business will feel the benefits for years to come. Set reasonable goals, and put plans in place to reach them.
The only way to scale your business is to systemise. This means looking at each of the key tasks in your business and thinking about them as separate from the individuals that currently perform them. Each process needs to be mapped out and documented – this doesn’t need to be a laborious task! Get your team involved, encourage cross-training and knowledge-sharing. Make sure that everyone in your business feels responsible for consistency and continuity.
If you’re struggling with what processes to start with, here are some areas to consider:-
• How do you find customers or how do they find you?
• How do you ‘track’ them through the buying process (proposals, quotes?)
• How do you allocate resources to the ‘delivery’ of products and services?
• How do you manage the relationship with your customers (CRM)?
• How do you manage your team (job descriptions, 1:1s, annual appraisals)?
• How do you manage your company’s finances?
• Are your companies policies (induction, annual leave, training, time in lieu, data security etc.) documented?
• How do you develop your team and succession plan?
In essence it’s about answering the question – ‘What’s our company way – how do we do what we do?’ If you fail to focus on this, your business will never grow – it’s that simple. Customers will look elsewhere, team members will leave and there will never be enough hours in the day.
If any of these 10 Mistakes strike a chord and you’d like to start a conversation, please get in contact.
Lisa Zevi – Co-Founder of REAL Business Builders