At the beginning of 2020, I had a chance to talk with several small business owners. Many of them had two main goals in mind for the year: to grow their business and to build their systems so their business could operate in a way that allowed them to thrive.
And then 2020 happened.
This year has thrown us all for a loop in some way or another, especially as business owners. Some businesses have had to pivot, while others have grown exponentially. Regardless of which situation you found yourself in, one thing remains true: systems are the foundation of a thriving business!
As we approach 2021, I have one question for you.
Don’t Be a Bob
A while back, I wrote a post all about Bob, a struggling business owner.
Bob had an amazing work ethic – he hustled from sunup to sundown. He was willing to reach out to prospects, spend time on the marketing hamster wheel, try to handle all the paperwork on his own, and far more. Bob wanted his business to succeed.
In spite of all this, Bob was running himself ragged – and still not getting it done. Things were falling through the cracks, and those things were hurting Bob and his business.
This wasn’t for lack of trying…it was for lack of systems.
You see, the more Bob tried, the deeper he fell into a state of chaos. His calls didn’t get returned, his deposits were not made on time, his marketing was sporadic, and his sales did not happen. And at the end of the year, Bob was barely profitable. He had very little to show (except for stress) for all of his hard work.
Don’t be a Bob!
Focus on the Important
If you find yourself sinking into this chaos, there is a way out. Your business does not have to run you!
All it takes is a decision on your part.
Are you going to stay on the hamster wheel, running without a destination in sight? Or are you going to set aside some time to build your systems and bring your business back into order?
As a busy business owner, you have to practice effective time management; otherwise, all of the tasks on your plate will pile up until they overwhelm you. Building effective systems helps you do this!
Think about it in terms of Eisenhower’s Principle. “I have two kinds of problems: the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent.” -Dwight D. Eisenhower
Important activities help you reach your goals, while urgent activities demand your attention in order to avoid immediate consequences.
The process of building systems should be near the top of every business owner’s “to do” list, but it does not often make it there because it is not “urgent.” In other words, not building systems does not seem to have any immediate consequence, so the task gets buried while the owner puts out fires.
There Is Still Time
It is time to get those systems in place – to get them documented and ready for your team to use – and to get yourself away from focusing on the urgent.
If you are new to building out your systems, I suggest you start with an overall framework like my Key Systems Table of Contents. This document will help you structure each area of your business, giving you the ability to better implement your business plan and grow your business.
Twice each month, set aside time in your calendar to build out one specific system. This allows you to dig a bit into the details and implement scalable policies and procedures for your team. In the video below, I share some strategies and hacks to help you do this!
The good news is, you don’t have to spend dozens of hours building those systems from scratch! You can use a tried and true foundation to put them in place quickly, get your team up to speed, and plan for growth in the coming year. There is still time to build your systems – and to build a business that allows you to thrive!
Kristen David, a former trial lawyer and partner who went from working 85 hours a week and taking home way too little money in her law firm, built it up to a million-dollar-plus business, then sold her shares and pivoted into a business coach guru. She is now an international speaker, bestselling author, and operates a successful business, empowering business owners to build thriving, profitable businesses that are self-managed with systems. She helps busy business owners build those systems by implementing policies and procedures the Fast Track Way.