Is Systemising a Business a Waste of Time?
We hear about systems ALL the time, yet for some reason, businesses fail to grasp the intrinsic importance of a good business system and continue to ignore the necessity of implementing even the most basic systems to their businesses.
Here are four points that I believe need to be considered and understood when thinking, talking about, designing or implementing a system.
1. Businesses need to learn that systems are about different processes within the operation of your business… they are not rules or policies or regulations that everyone in the business must follow (although some or all of these things could be part of your system).
Every business will need different systems for different processes within their operation.
For example… there needs to be a system for dealing with and entering receipts throughout the organisation on all expenditure that is generated by all relevant staff, I mean really… they are spending the company’s money after all.
If there is no system in place then anyone at any time can spend anything and before too long the company will have no money or worse find themselves in debt because they haven’t controlled their cash flow, their debts and their receipts.
As obvious as it sounds, a simple bookkeeping system is needed by ALL businesses to ensure that there is money in the bank and that the business is not operating insolvently. Yet many businesses do not have such a system in place.
2. Businesses need to plan for the systems they need… and the processes that they have.
As you can see bookkeeping is simply one system within an organisation, most businesses will need a system with regards to customer engagement, marketing, sales processes and product or service delivery, just to name a few.
As a person in business, you may need to start looking at your business as a process from beginning to end, and look at the different sections of your business that flow one into each other.
Once you are able to identify the flow of your business, then the processes will be a lot easier to identify and then you can engage professional to help to create the necessary systems you may need to simplify your operations.
3. Don’t leave your systems gathering dust.
One of the biggest challenges with most businesses is that even though they take the time to work out how their business flows and then they invest the time and the money in creating the appropriate systems, once the manuals are written they seem to sit on a shelf gathering dust.
I can admit this now, but once I was one of the biggest anti-system people in the business world. I played with systems, I saw organisations with systems and I even created a few in my time.
But I never applied them to my own endeavours and ended up wasting enormous amounts of time, energy AND money that should have been applied… or been invested in worthwhile systems… that could have been used to create greater efficiencies in time and energy.
Today… I leave the system design and implementation to others who are better equipped for it (some of my business associates for example). However, I now use these systems, because as I have discovered painfully… systems… good simple and effective systems, actually set a business person free to do what they do best.
They are quite simple to design and implement (by the right person)… but implement them one at a time… do not try to implement all your systems at the same time, this is a recipe for disaster.
REMEMBER, systems set you free, implement them one at a time and you will have created a successful business.
4. Kaizen (改善), Japanese for “improvement” or “change for the best”.
Kaizen was a development by the Japanese after William Edwards Deming who was an American statistician, professor, author, lecturer, and consultant set Japan on the path to industrial super stardom after the Second World War.
Where your business systems are concerned, you need to have at least an understand the basics of kaizen… making small improvements on an ongoing basis.
No system is perfect!
The systems you create today will need to be constantly tested, measured and improved on as your business grows and develops in its size and complexity.
If you check your systems on a regular basis you will find that making small, important improvements will be very easy as you have already created a culture using them within your organisation (the McDonald’s brothers and their kitchen designs, which were constantly tested and improved upon, revolutionised the fast food industry).
These are just four (4) simple steps to help you on your way to thinking of systems in a positive and engaging manner.
There is so much more you can learn and read… and you should… once you recognise the importance of systems in your business.