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The Importance of Systems for Tiny Business Owners

If your business earns less than $250,000 per year in revenue, there’s a good chance that you’re still handling most of the operational tasks yourself. From invoicing to blog posts, Search Engine Optimization to following up with leads, without you, the business doesn’t do much business, does it?

Does that sound like you?

If it does, you’re probably pretty frustrated with how much responsibility you have and how many small tasks you have to deal with every day before you can get to the work of actually selling anything. Fortunately, there’s a solution: you need to create systems for your business.

What are Business Systems?

In this context, systems are any repeatable processes in your business that can theoretically take place without your direct action. A system is a method of doing something that can be done the same way, over and over, as efficiently as possible. An example might be an email autoresponder sequence that nurtures a relationship between you and the people who subscribe to your mailing list. Or, it might be a system that triggers an invoice when a certain part of a project is marked as complete. It could even be the way you cash out at the end of the day, or that specific way you add molasses to your famous bundt cake recipe that customers rave about.

If there’s an online tool that can do it, or a person other than you can do it, a system will make sure it happens. And that can be a big relief.

How to Start Creating Business Systems

You might be thinking, “This sounds great! But I don’t have time to think about where to start.” Fortunately, it only takes a few minutes to prioritize which systems you need first.

Step 1: Make a list of about 10 tasks in your business that you hate doing, that you’re bad at, or that someone else could easily do.

Step 2: Rank them from 1-10 according to how much time each task takes up for you. The task that takes the longest gets a 10; the task that takes the least amount of time gets a 1.

Step 3: Rank the same tasks again, but this time according to which tasks have the greatest impact on your customers’ experience. In other words, what systems will affect your customers the most? If you’re losing sales because you don’t have a good system for following up with leads (for example), that task might deserve a 10.

Step 4: Add up the two rankings. The tasks with the highest scores are probably the ones you should create a system for most urgently.

The nice thing about this approach to “process-izing” your business is that there’s a snowball effect; when you create the first system, you also create more time to work on the next one, which frees up even more time for the next one, and so on.

Before you know it, you could save yourself five hours a week or even more. The benefits? Lower stress, less frustration and more available time. Your customers will notice the difference!