As Seen in AMEX Open forum, USA Today, The Charlotte Observer, America's Premier Experts, the Daily

As Seen in AMEX Open forum, USA Today, The Charlotte Observer, America's Premier Experts, the Daily

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

15 processes that business owners should systematize

15 processes that business owners should be able to shift away

 Based on my experience, a surprising number of small business owners are tied down to their businesses, can't go on vacation, or have trouble getting time off if the kids are sick. 

The feeling of being "tied down" often stems from a lack of systematization in their businesses.  A system enables you to hand the task over to another person while having metrics/checks in place so you are assured it happened correctly.

15 tasks business owners should have systems around and should be able to step away from:

  1. Fulfilling orders
  2. Ordering materials
  3. Keeping inventory
  4. Responding to pricing requests
  5. Collecting on past due invoices
  6. Answering the main business telephone line
  7. Researching competitors
  8. Book keeping
  9. Composing Blog Articles
  10. Writing press releases
  11. Cleaning the office
  12. Writing the first draft of employee manuals
  13. Doing customer surveys
  14. Scouring HARO lists and other sources free press for opportunities
  15. Keeping an eye on Twitter and Facebook throughout the day
Recognize that many of these tasks are simply tasks in the middle larger process of a customer ordering and a customer receiving the product.  If the owner is responsible for a time sensitive piece of the operation between the customer ordering and the product being delivered to the customer, the owner will always be tied to the business. 

Good Systems are set-up by people who understand the ins and outs of actually doing the task

When starting a business, it is critical to do many or all of these tasks at some point so you know what an appropriate system looks like.

Once you establish a pattern of handling these business operations, you should be able to write down what must happen in order for that task to be achieved.  At that point, the owner needs to be aware of their time and hand the responsibility off at least some of the time.  The owners time should then be focused on what it will take to move the business forward.

Need help designing a system?

Start with this question:  What happens 90% of the time for this task to be completed?
Write down, step-by-step what has to happen in the most standard scenarios.
Use decision trees if that would help organize your thoughts.
Hand the list to someone else and see if it make sense to them and adjust accordingly
For creating manuals for steps on a computer, I recommend using Jing to capture your screen and computer microphone.

Hopefully, if you still have these tasks on your plate, the post will start you thinking about what it would take to be able to hand them off to someone else without your business going downhill, even for a short time (vacation anyone?).

Did I miss a task you think is important to recognize?  Please let me know in  the comments below.

If you're struggling with how to set up systems for any of  these tasks, I can help.  Send me an email and let's talk!

 *Image courtesy of vichie81 /

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