Often, we as business owners tend to think of a systems build as a “one and done” project – once the system is built, it will run on autopilot. This is true, to a point; once it is implemented and your team is on board, it will run smoothly until you grow to a point where it needs to be refined.
You see, business systems will evolve as long as your business continues to grow. This may seem a little counterintuitive at first; after all, you build systems to make your life easier! However, as your business grows, the needs of your business, your team, and your customers will change. As this growth and change happens, you will need to refine your systems as well.
This doesn’t have to be a difficult or time-consuming process, however. With intentional planning and support from your team, refining your business systems can be a lot easier than you might think!
Here are three easy ways to refine your business systems and stay in front of growth.
#1: Start with a Systems Audit
If you have an Admin who can complete periodic systems audits, fantastic – they will be able to give you comprehensive data on which systems need to be refined and ideas on how to do so.
Not every business has this luxury, though – and not every business owner is ready to hire a full time Admin or COO. There are still ways for you to stay on top of this!
One option is to hire a coach that specializes in business systems to go through an audit with you.
Another option is to lean in to your team and the tools you have to tell the story. For instance, I have found that KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and weekly scorecards are an easy way to stay on top of this. When I review scorecards from each of my team members, I can quickly see what is working and what is not.
If a team member consistently meets (or even surpasses) most of their KPIs on a regular basis, you can be confident that the systems they use are working well. If there are one or two that they consistently fall short on, it is likely that they either need further training and mentoring in that area or that a particular system needs refinement.
As the owner, you can solve this by simply talking with your employee. Make it clear that your purpose is not to point out a shortfall, but to help them grow, succeed, and thrive. Once they feel empowered to help find solutions, refining your systems will become a lot easier – and a lot more productive.
#2: Build It into Your Quarterly Planning
Once you have a good idea of which systems need to be refined, build that process into your quarterly planning.
For example, if your marketing team has grown recently and can now handle a more complex strategy and higher level of activity, you may want to spend several weeks working with them to nail down all the “moving parts.” This way, everyone will have a clear idea of what their role is, what their deliverables are, and how they fit into the bigger picture.
By building this time into your quarterly planning, you can anticipate any challenges that might arise and help your team members work through that transition. However, there is also another benefit to integrating your systems refinement into your quarterly planning!
None of your departments work in a vacuum. When your marketing activities expand, those activities will affect other areas of your business. Your sales team will see an uptick in their activity; when your sales increase, your financial team will have more to track and forecast. As new clients come in, you may find that your client onboarding and client happiness systems could be refined.
These won’t happen all in the same quarter, of course, but anticipating their growth will help you stay ahead of any challenges that may arise!
#3: Get Your Team on Board
When it comes to building and refining your systems, don’t try to do it all yourself!
There are multiple reasons for this.
First, your time should be spent elsewhere. While it might feel satisfying to build out the “perfect” system and present it to your team, it’s simply not a good use of your time. As the owner, you are the visionary – it’s your job to drive your company forward. Spending hours every week building out the details of your systems will not achieve that.
In addition, being intentional about getting your team involved in refining your systems will help significantly in making sure they implement those changes. Think about changes that you have been part of. Do you prefer to just be handed a list of new procedures that you had no part in, or do you prefer to be part of the change? Which will you be more excited to comply with and use – and which will be more likely to view as productive?
Last but not least, your team members are the ones who use those systems on a daily basis. When you are intentional about getting their help innovating and refining your systems, they will be able to point out ideas and details that you might not have thought of. You brought your rockstar team members on for a reason – let them help you!
Building and growing a business is great, but getting your team involved with creating and refining the business systems is what creates the stability and peace of mind so everyone can thrive.