The theory and benefits of systemisation were first brought to the attention of many business owners by Michael Gerber and his book the E-myth. In his book he speaks of the difference such action can make to your business and for you personally. One of the most referred to quotes in the book is “Small businesses don’t work, the people who own them do”.
Tony Hobbs, MD at Chapman Robinson & Moore, said: “As part of our Business Improvement Programme we share our experience to help our clients identify the systems that make a difference, the priorities or critical processes and how to best practically implement such.”
For each of the following statements indicate how true they are about your business by scoring each question from 1 to 5 on the basis that 1 = This EXACTLY describes my business to 5 = This is NOTHING like my business:
a. It is very hard for me to get away from my business; I am unable to take as much holiday time as I would like and it is difficult to take days off at short notice.
b. I spend a great deal of time fighting fires, dealing with crises and sorting out problems and so I don’t have enough time to step back and work strategically on the business.
c. I can’t seem to get my team to do anything; I have to constantly supervise them and check everything they do.
d. I spend most of my time doing the technical work of the business rather than working on the business developing the strategy and the team.
e. My business is so reliant on me being here that when I want to retire or sell the business it will be very hard to find a buyer for it or achieve the ultimate value I desire.
How did you score? Too many lower numbers? Would systemisation of your business help?
What are the benefits of systemising your business?
• Put your team in charge
• Free up your time – and give you your life back
• Step back & work ‘on’ the business
• Test new ideas and improve everything around you
• Undertake everything in the business consistently and in the best way
• Replicate and grow
• Become more profitable
• Attract a buyer
• Increase the value of your business
The key steps to systemising any business
Gerber highlights 3 steps when considering the systemisation of your business.
1. Innovation – test new ideas, be the best they can.
2. Quantification – measure what works best.
3. Orchestration – the steps to systemising your business. Use the best ideas everywhere.
Think of your business as a series of systems and that each system has a role and a purpose within the business. Otherwise it should not be there or even created.
Consider, what do you have to get absolutely right so that the customers you like to deal with want to deal with you, continually reorder from you, refer you to other potential customers and pay the price you want for the products/services you offer on time?
The practical approach to building the systems you need
At CRM we recommend a 6 step process to follow when systemising your business:
1. List the systems – often best approached on a departmental basis.
2. Classify the systems – is it needed? Is it a core system or a support system?
3. Map each system – consider the steps of what is happening now and what can be improved.
4. Analyse each system – Measure efficiency, identify waste, understand the customer impact.
5. Document each system – utilise activities and tools including Step-by-step processes, Standard letters, Scripts, Checklists, Forms, Templates, Agendas, Software and Videos.
Implement each system – Allocate responsibility with clear objectives and measures. Notify and train.
When building each systemised process, the best practice is to consider 3 elements:
1. What do you need as an input to deliver the system
2. How will the system be delivered effectively and efficiently?
3. What is the desired output
From our experience, we recommend to approach these 3 steps in reverse order. Firstly, consider what outcome or result you want from the system. What is the reason for the system? Then design a system without any consideration of your existing processes, that will best deliver that desired output. Then you can best consider what you need at the outset to maximise the impact of the systemisation.