What is a system? Before you start to roll your eyes, a system is really quite simple – it is a series of habits we create to get through things like projects, proposals, jobs, and even day to day life. These habits, repeated consistently over time become the system we use to get things done – or not.
Here is a simple example: You have a system in the morning that is your ‘wake-up routine’. Your alarm is set – it may chime, buzz, or play your favorite iPod tune.Once out of bed, you stumble to the kitchen and turn on the coffee pot (sounds like a Dolly Parton song).
Whatever your wake-up call, over the years, it is the habit you have developed to wake up successfully. But what happens when the power goes out? Does chaos ensue, or do you have a back-up plan? It may be as simple as setting a second alarm on your phone. A back-up plan helps for those one-off times when your main system has a failure; it kicks in when the first system encounters a glitch. Your system needs to work consistently for you each time you need it, and when it does this, it can help you be successful.
So how does this apply to running your business successfully, besides making sure you and your employees wake up in time to report to work? Well, actually, it’s about everything you do in your business – from how you spend your time, and how you set your priorities. What you do first, then second, then third. Mostly it is about the systems that you have in place today, because you do have systems in place now.
Are they working for you?
Are they helping you achieve your purpose or goal?
As long as the whole system works for you, it is successful. If it isn’t, or if there is chaos, or if you feel dread at the thought of working on something, you may need to tweak the system, get some advice, or build a new one.
Successful systems run efficiently on auto-pilot so that you have more time to do what you most love doing in your business. Do you spend enough time on the pieces of your business that bring you the most joy? Think about what you first loved about your business, and what got you started. Now, consider your current reality. If there is a big gap between what you love and your current reality, it might be time to systematize some of the stuff that drives you bonkers.
Where a lot of business owners get stuck is in determining what they must do themselves (as the business owner), what can they pass on to others, and what can be changed, simplified, or perhaps even eliminated. Consider things like, what brings you joy, what work can you do without, and when are you at your best?
I’m not talking about million dollar investments (although there is a place for that), I’m talking about little systems to manage the small stuff and make your life easier. Instead of sweating the small stuff, systematize it!