How to get your business working on Autopilot
Creating a business that work on Autopilot means creating systems. Without systems, you are operating on luck. Everything happens by chance. Everything relies on people. And a people-reliant business suffers significantly when there are illnesses, holidays, people leaving the business. In addition it means you are in effect trapped by your business.
As Michael Gerber (of the E-myth series of books) reminds us, if you don’t have proper systems in place, you’re operating on luck. When you create and use great systems, then growth just happens automatically.
– You’ve got to create SYSTEMS – so that you do the right things every single time.
– You’ve got to keep testing different systems to see which works best.
– You’ve got to train your team so that they can use those systems.
– And you’ve got to measure the results.
You should have systems in place for all 7 profit drivers
1️⃣ Referral systems
2️⃣ Other lead generating systems
3️⃣ Lead conversion systems
4️⃣ Systems for getting customers to spend more
5️⃣ Systems for getting customers to spend more often
6️⃣ Systems for getting customers to remain as customers for longer
7️⃣ Pricing systems
But you don’t only need systems for growth. You also need systems for everything else. When you have these systems in place then:
1. Team members will be able to deliver your services to the same high standards
2. Everything will be done consistently well – which means far fewer problems, hassles, and complaints.
3 This, in turn, will allow you to generate consistently better results
4. The success won’t be dependent on you or on anyone else – since it will be systems-dependent rather than people-dependent.
5 You will personally be able to choose what you do and don’t do
6 You will be able to enjoy the work-life balance that is exactly right for you.
7. In turn the business will be very much easier to sell – as buyers will be attracted by the fact they don’t have work in the business so much..
So now that we know the benefits of systemising a business where on earth do we start with this mammoth task? This can be simplified somewhat by following a 6 step process..
Step 1 – List your systems
List every system and process that relates to your business. In other words, list everything that happens within it.
Of course, that could be a big list, so it will make sense to catagorise these into the following headings:
Leadership – Systems to help you work out where you want the business to go – and what you, as a leader, need to do to make sure it gets there.
Operational – Systems for creating and delivering your products or services quickly and efficiently. This may include production processes, supplier management, stock control and product assembly.
Marketing – Systems that grow your business quickly, easily and profitably. This may include pricing systems and sales systems.
Customer – Systems to ensure you give sensational customer service and stand head and shoulders above your competitors. This may include customer training and support, and customer delight management.
People – Systems to recruit, train, manage, motivate and keep a great team of people.
Finance – Information systems that give you the key information you need – so that you make better decisions and get better results than ever before.
Administration – Systems that make the day-to-day tasks work perfectly. This may include facilities management and filing procedures.
TIP: Talk to us and we will show you how System Builder will give you a big start in systemising your business. It contains some ready-to-run systems for each of the above categories. Click on the link to book in a quick call to discuss..https://bit.ly/3qFYVyK
Step 2 – Prioritising your systems
Peter Drucker said many years ago, “There is no point doing well that which should not be done at all.”
It is important to realise that not all systems add value to the business; some only provide support. Some systems have the potential to create much more value than others.
Therefore you want to start by documenting and improving those systems that will have the greatest impact on your business and its performance – it’s the big impact, value-creating processes that need more immediate attention.
We need a method for classifying systems into some sort of priority. To give you an example of what we mean, here’s a really simple method you could use. It’s a method which is particularly relevant to a small business with few systems and where the business owner does most of the work.
1️⃣ Start by listing the routine tasks you carry out in a typical week or month, together with a rough estimate of the proportion of time spent on each task.
2️⃣ Then identify which of those tasks could most easily be delegated to existing team members once a system is in place.
3️⃣ Identify those tasks which, once a system is in place, will free up the greatest amount of your time. Very often these will be tasks which are dealt with in larger businesses by functions that take place at the lower levels of the traditional organisation chart. For example, sales visits/calls, book-keeping, payroll and other personnel issues, secretarial and administrative duties.
4️⃣ Now that you have created a list of all the things that happen within your business and prioritised the systems, you should create a “Systems Action Plan”. This is simply an action plan which sets out when you are going to create each system… obviously starting with those systems which will have the biggest impact. Typically this approach could free up as much as 20% of your time. That’s one day per week!
Why is that? Simply because when we do this exercise with business owners, we find much of them spend time doing tasks that somebody else could and should be doing if they just created a system and trained other people to do it.
Step 3 – Map your systems
Before jumping in and documenting each system, you should create a process map.
The purpose of mapping is to establish what is happening in the business, how predictably it is happening and why. And so you should create the process map based on the flow of activities within the process as they actually happen (rather than how they should happen).
A process map is simply a visual representation of how a system works – the step-by-step processes. It can be a flow chart with boxes to denote each activity within the process, or it could be a series of Post-It notes on a wall showing what happens and when.
Step 4 – Analyse your system
Why do we analyse the process map and systems?
The purpose of analysis is to:
• measure how efficiently the process is responding to what
the customer wants (customer demand),
• gather information to identify where the waste and inefficiency is, and
• understand the impact it has on the customer.
Your starting point is to identify and define the objective of the system. In other words, what is the purpose of this process? You see, until you know what the purpose of the system is, you can’t measure how efficiently it is working.
The objective of your system should have an impact on at least one of the following:
• To deliver sensational service to customers
• To improve efficiency
• To increase revenue
If it doesn’t impact on any of these three, then perhaps it is not a worthwhile system.
When you are analysing your system, a really powerful – yet simple
– process to use is the “5 whys” questioning procedure for each activity, illustrated in the diagram below. This is how you use it.
For each step in the process, ask yourself the questions about the activity. By asking these questions, and in particular the “why” questions, you will really think about each activity.
What is the purpose?
Where is it done?
Who does it?
When is it done?
How is it done?
Asking questions like these is a great way to understand what is happening, how well and predictably it is happening, and of course, why it is happening.
Mapping and analysing systems is not rocket science. It is about asking the right questions of the right people in the business and applying some common sense.
Now you are ready to document the system, but this time as it should happen, not how it happens now. In other words, you’re going to ensure it can meet the objectives and that you remove as much of the waste from the system as possible.
Step 5 – Writing your system
There are few hard and fast rules governing the format of a system.
Firstly who is responsible for the system, and secondly what the objective of the system is.
The objective should have an impact on at least one of the following:
• To deliver sensational service to customers
• To improve efficiency
• To increase revenue
You should then document each of the steps in the process. Very often these will include a link to another system, including a standard letter, script, form, checklist or instructional video.
Step 6 – Implement your system
And finally, the step that is most often overlooked – involving the team in implementing the new system. As each system is documented, you must tell the team about the system, train them how to use it and make sure it is followed every single time.
One of the many keys to the success of McDonald’s systems is the fact that everyone follows them consistently. They are part of the induction process and they are part of the culture. The system is what makes McDonald’s one of the most successful businesses in history.
Once you have documented your first system, trained your team and implemented it, then move onto the next system in your Systems Action Plan from step 2.
A final note about systemising your business: creating systems is not something that happens overnight. It can take many years. Nevertheless, it’s critical if you want to build and grow a sustainable business that is not wholly dependent upon the business owner being there.