Are you a Kepner or a Yang? In T.V.'s longest-running medical drama, Grey's Anatomy April Kepner and Christina Yang clash constantly as they approach their work very differently.
Do you find a system of processes to be a valuable asset to effective work or do you see it as a hindrance? Either way, you're right and you're wrong.
A Balance of Method and Action
Building a system of processes for your business is an essential aspect of good business management.
Systematizing has serious benefits.
- It increases your scalability.
- It'll save you on time and money.
- You'll improve consistency.
- A system will reduce any guesswork on how every part of your business is and should be run.
Additionally, following a system can reduce human error. This is particularly true when multiple people perform the same tasks.
The caution here, however, is the processes in place need to consider the fact that actual people have to do them. In other words, as you develop your processes you'll need to ensure each step is necessary and actually improves your methods. And be prepared to make adjustments if certain steps are made irrelevant once the process has been put into action.
How to Start Systematizing Your Business
Your first step is to look at the key tasks of your business; both daily and larger scale. Some examples include paying invoices, creating proposals, reviewing work, client communications, following up with leads, taking inventory, etc.
For each of these key tasks, you have a process - organized or not - for how you do them. Of these tasks, think about which ones could be improved. Ask yourself where you might save time, money and reduce errors.
Brainstorm Your Ideal
To develop a system for anyone of your key tasks, you can begin by deciding upon the ideal outcome of the system. In other words, how should the task or process look once it's completed flawlessly?
Once you've established the end goal, you can work backward mapping out how you'll obtain said outcome.
Focus on efficiency and clarity. You'll want anyone in your business to be able to understand and complete any system you put into place.
Also, don't be afraid of automation! There are so many automation systems available for essential daily tasks. For example, payment processing is very easily automated, freeing up time and reducing error.
Next, Test and Redesign Your System!
Consider any system you put into place as being the first draft. You'll want to observe the system in action. Pay attention to what seems to be the most time-consuming or challenging and then work to figure out how to improve it.
It might seem silly but even minute changes that save you minutes on a task can lead to huge savings in time and money.
You might also consider explicitly seeking input from your employees. Doing so will allow you access to insight from people heavily involved in performing each system. Further, it'll improve morale as employees feel valued. Which in turn, also improves efficiency!
Embrace the Check-list
If you're more of a Yang, you're likely to resist the idea of systematizing your business. However, without having systems in place, it can lead to chaos rather quickly. Especially as your business grows with more employees working without a guiding line.
As you embrace systematizing your business with an open mind, you'll embrace increased efficiency and, in the long run, increased profits.