If you want a life outside your business, then you need systems!

I love to travel; however, I am also an entrepreneur/business owner.  Anyone that is a business owner will, more than likely, tell you that those two things do not mix well together, especially a small business owner.  Many would say to you there is no way they can take a vacation, spouting words like my business would fall apart if I weren’t around.  Ironically, these are probably the same business owners that said they started their own business to have more time, freedom and control.  Can you say irony?

I do have some good news for all those business owners that can relate with this challenge… doing both is possible.  I’m not saying it’s easy, but it is possible.  It’s possible with a little organization, planning and you guessed it, systems.

So, what is a system?  In business, a system is merely a set of procedures in which something is done.  If you can put a system in place that does not require your constant attention, then you have freed up the time for other things.  This can be important for so many reasons, not just family vacation every now and again.  Systems are essential for a company’s growth.

Now that we understand how vital systems can be for a business, it’s time to start building a few.  This process will take some time, but it will be well worth it in the end.  First, take a few minutes and break down your business into its different functions, such as Marketing, Sales, Operations, Finances, and so forth.  If you have an up-to-date business plan, grab that, as it will have all of this information already laid out.  If not, go back to your layout and add some detail, such as in Marketing you may have areas like Social Media, Newsletters, Blogging, and many more.

  1. Marketing – content marketing, advertising, email lists, etc.
  2. Sales – sales funnels, cold calling, direct mail, networking, etc.
  3. Operations – business planning, project management website, meetings, etc.
  4. Finance – bookkeeping, payroll, taxes, etc.

Now, let’s break those sections down a bit more by looking to see how they operate.  What is the current process and can it be automated or systematized?  What tools are needed to make it happen?  Who currently does this job and would that change?  Is this something that is necessary or could it be eliminated?

  1. Process – Is this something that can be systematized, automated?
  2. Tools – applications, software, etc.
  3. Person/People – Virtual Assistants, etc.
  4. Strategy – determine what is needed and what is not, look at productivity and efficiency

Now, with this detailed layout of your company’s operation, you can determine areas where systems can be useful.  Let’s take a closer look at Marketing. This is an area where there are many tools and automated systems that can be put into place.  With some upfront planning and organization, they will run on their own with minimal supervision.  Like with any new operation, it will take time and effort to set up.  However, once up and running, you will kick yourself for not doing this earlier.

Once you have put your systems in place, it is essential to take some time to track and test them to make sure they are working.  This may be an area where you have to try out a few different systems to find the one that works best for your company.

The goal of any system is to make things easier.  In business, opening up time can be a game-changer for an entrepreneur.  It gives that person more time to work on their business instead of in it.  Isn’t that why many become a business owner in the first place?  Now that your business runs without your constant attention, maybe it’s time to look at that family vacation or whatever else you enjoy.  After all, that is why we wanted to start and operate our own business, to have our cake and eat it too!