The process of systematization, as formulated under my Business Optimizing Strategic Systems model (BOSS), starts by looking at your business from a different angle. It starts by understanding that your business, is actually four businesses, or four segments.
- The first segment is people. Everything regarding your staff, the process of hiring them, training them, and rewarding them, all needs to be systemized. From drafting the organizational chart of your business to developing training and delivering them, every step needs to be standardized and processed.
- The second segment is your operations. All the production, distribution, and administrative activities of your business must be organized in systems. You must have standard procedures, metrics, checklists, flow charts, and all the other tools needed to ensure your business is making money efficiently.
- The third segment is customer service. Everything you do to take care of your clients must be clearly defined and documented. You must have systems in place to finalize them, reward them, capture their opinions, ensure they continue to like your offerings, and entice them to want to refer their friends to your business.
- The fourth and last segment is for sales and marketing. The way you attract customers must be systematized. Your brand must be consistent. You must understand your market niche. You must have a pricing strategy. In the end, all your marketing strategies and tactics must be consistent and congruent with one another.
I hope you understand that I could elaborate on each segment above for hours and hours. In fact, thousands of books have been written on every one of the BOSS segments. The point here is not to tell you what to systemize, but rather to make sure that you understand the importance of systematizing your business and that you also get that it has to be done across all four segments of the BOSS model.
« But Marco, How do I systemize each segment? How do I create a system? » Those are usually follow-up questions I get.
Here’s How you do it: You think!
That’s right, you heard me. Your number one job as a business owner is to think. We live in a world where people don’t do much thinking anymore. We want to solve a mathematic equation, we use a calculator. We want to know how to reach our destination, we use a GPS navigation system, we want to how to make a birthday cake, we Google it, or we want to know who was the 40th President of the United States, we simply ask Siri. Life is now full of conveniences; all of which make us think less and less.
If you want your business to thrive you will have to do some thinking.
I can almost hear voices of opposition coming across my computer screen as I write this: “I don’t have time to think Marco.” or “My employees should do that.”
Here an important wake-up call; if you don’t do the thinking it will never get done and your employees will certainly not do it for you. Most business owners have difficulty understanding that in the employment contract that links them to their staff, the employees never agreed to do any thinking. What you get from your employees is their limbs, not their brains. Unless you run Bank of America or some other multi-billion-dollar corporation and you can afford to hire brains. But those are very expensive. It costs hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars per year to hire a brain. Most business owners can’t afford that level of employees.
So, if you’re going to have to do the thinking, let me give you a system to do so effectively. It’s a simple four-step process:
- Eliminate. Think about what doesn’t work, or hasn’t worked: people, processes, markets, methods, etc. Now get rid of them. You see before you can bring new processes you have to get rid of old processes that don’t work, reduce confusion and clear out the clutter. I.e.: Your office is a mess? Clean it up. That employee has been dragging his feet? Give him a final warning, or let him go. You owe someone money, call them and make arrangements. Get rid of what has been bearing down on you.
The main idea is to clear out the distractions, try out new ways of doing things, eliminate what doesn’t work and keep what works. The process of elimination is effectively a process of iteration.
- Automate. Whatever is left after your elimination should be automated. Write policies, job descriptions, methods, and processes, etc. That’s effectively the process of systematization.
- Delegate. Once things are better systemized and organized, start delegating them one activity at a time. Don’t overwhelm your employees, teach them one thing at a time. When they know it well; when they have developed the habit of doing it consistently, then, and only then, delegate them another task, process or activity.
- Replicate. As you delegate you will start to see leaders and high performers emerge from your troops. Keep an eye on those. And after you’ve delegated them several activities, delegate them an entire function. What I mean by that is let them do someone else’s job for a day or a week while you monitor their performance. I call that process replicating.
Now you have it. Four segments. And four levels of thinking. With this you’re better equipped than 99% of your competitors. Mix that with a good dose of thinking and you can fix any business.
Now you have a war strategy to win daily business battles and even the war (get you to a point where you can retire from your business).
Here’s another way I like to explain how to systemize:
- Divide: With BOSS, you can start to slowly separate yourself from the competition,
- Conquer: You can start going after bigger market shares.
- Rule: And maybe one day your business will dominate your industry or at least a portion of it.