The Secret Behind Systems

We talk a lot about working smarter, not harder. Being more productive over being problematic. It doesn’t only make life easier for you, but for everyone you work (and live) with. You have to find the tips and tricks that work best for you, but you also have to be using them.

Claiming systems is great, but only giving voice to them rather than implementing them is a losing battle. If you broke your leg and you were given the choice of talking about a cast or wearing one, you’d obviously choose to wear one so you could heal. If your business is in disarray (or even if you’re simply trying to prevent it from getting that way), you’re going to need to use certain systems rather than just think about having some.

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So what can you as a business owner do in the way of functional systems? You’ll especially need some in place when you have other people working for or with you. But where do you start? How do you develop a workflow? As always, I’m so glad you asked!

A system is basically a roadmap for anyone working in or joining your organization, to figure out how you like things done, and to replicate outcomes you’d create for yourself, often at a fraction of the time (and cost) it would take to do it yourself. This speeds up growth and gives you tremendous traction in growing  your business.

1. Get it Documented

The first thing any entrepreneur needs to do is document their work days. This can be done in a physical or electronic notebook or journal, but the key to effective outsourcing and delegating is documenting how you spend your time during the day. I like to make four columns and label them “Love to do”, “Hate to do”, “Don’t know how to do”, and “Don’t have time to do”.

You’ll quickly see there are things in your business you love to do and you should absolutely work to keep doing those things yourself. The things you don’t know how to do should be delegated or outsourced first, followed by the things you hate to do.

Getting rid of those tasks will free you up to do the things you “don’t have time to do”, which are generally tasks you also enjoy, or the “money making tasks” in your business that sometimes get moved to the back burner when you’re working in other areas of the business.

2. Make it Accessible

After you’ve nailed down your list of tasks, you’ve got to get them recorded somewhere. Personally, I recommend a task management software or a systems databank so anyone on your team can access what they need to keep the ball moving downfield. I recommend online tools like Asana, Trello, TeamWork, Wrike, or Basecamp to help you document not only your tasks, but the systems that need to happen to complete them.

Don’t skimp on this process. Be detailed. Once your tasks and processes are documented correctly, you can easily assign anything you don’t need to be messing with to your VA.

3. Calibrate

The next system you’ll need to implement is what I like to call “calibration calls”. Weekly (or daily, if necessary) calls or check-ins with your team simply to calibrate. Just like anything else we want to maintain and keep running, we need to calibrate our teams. It’s a great way to explain and measure expectations and adjust, realign, or correct anything that’s off. What tasks are people working on and what are the roadblocks to completion?

If you commit to regular calibration calls, you’ll soon see that often, the roadblocks in your business, are actually you. Using your team to bring this to light will not only help you become a better leader, but it will help you gauge where your time is being spent. If you’re posting on Instagram instead of writing copy you said you’d get your team for the sales page, it’s easily identified, and an even easier fix. Make adjustments from there.

No one is exempt during a calibration call. Everyone on the team has a say and a responsibility to do what they say they are going to do. This removes any roadblocks in the way of the team’s success.

4. Run the Relay

I’ve seen the best systemization with my clients and VAs in the form of passing the baton. Think in terms of your business being a relay race. You have a firm destination in mind: your finish line. For you, it might be launching a blog or your first online course. You know where you’re headed. You’re off and running, and you’ve got the baton.

You write the blog, you have the opt-in content ready to go, you have the concept and content for your course mapped out and it’s time to hand the baton (all of that information and detail) to your VA. They take it off your hands and are off and running. They publish the blog, design your opt-in, and set up your autoresponder email series.

We’ve all seen the videos of the runner who trips and falls and another runner helps them up, running alongside them to the finish line. That’s what your VA is to your business. You will fall. You’re running fast toward your goal, and there will be mistakes. You’ll trip up. You may even scrape a little skin and you’ll most certainly have your days you’ll want to burst into tears (or bust out the wine bottle) and give up.

Your VA will be there to run alongside you, pick you up, throw your arm over their shoulder, and they’ll help carry you to whatever the finish line is in your business. Maybe it’s your first podcast episode or hosting your first webinar. Your VA is there to take the baton for you, help you get where you’re going (even if they have to drag you!), and get you geared up for your next race.

Having the right systems in place is only part of the solution. You need the right people on your team, too. Get in touch with me today and I can help you accomplish both.