Systems: 3 Excuses for not setting them up

Creating systems in your business are crucial for survival and success, yet so many of us never get down to getting these into place.  We spin our wheels and get distracted and remain super busy, exhausting ourselves in the process. We are overwhelmed and our businesses suffer for it. Are you guilty of holding yourself back with any of the following excuses?

I read a while back that an excuse is just a lie we tell ourselves in order to feel better about not achieving as we should.

Excuse 1: Setting up a system is an overwhelming, hopeless chore

Reality: Setting up a system creates an ordered process. Once you have mastered a system, it becomes an exhilarating way of freeing yourself up and maintaining a steady course in a complex world. You may even consider it fun because it produces a gratifying sense of clarity, focus and accomplishment.

Excuse 2: It is impossible to stick to a system

Reality:  This could be true. It is impossible to stick to a system if…. your system is a poor fit for you and maintaining it is a difficult chore.

However, a well thought out system is sustainable. If you build your system around the way you think and design it to grow and adapt around your changing needs it will serve you for years to come.

Excuse 3: Creating systems is a non-productive use of time

Reality: You may feel that it would be more productive to call on customers, attend meetings, to write a proposal or even to catch up on your sleep.

In our fast-paced environment with more and more demands on our time and ability to make choices, those who have systems will thrive.  Those without systems will be disorganised and overwhelmed, unsure of which way to turn.  Eventually, they will flounder.

You cannot afford not to have business systems.  They are indispensable tools to keep you on track and to help you automatically execute tasks or outsource them so that you can focus on the more interesting aspects of your business.

Process improvement – NOT!

In the early 20th century someone said:  “Process improvement is the focused application of common sense.”

Yesterday I took my son to collect his ID document at the Department of Home Affairs.  We stood for over an hour in a row with only 4 people ahead of us until we were finally helped.  Because I was bored, I started reading the numerous signs that had been put up against the wall with all their rules and regulations.  These signs had been printed out on A4 computer paper and were stuck against the wall.

The first, dog-eared with age, struck me:

sign1

This was good news.  It meant that they were interested in improving their processes.  Knowing how long one usually has to wait to be helped, I was optimistic at being helped sooner since the sign was obviously old.

I was patient – I had expected to wait a while.  I certainly did not expect to wait an hour in a short queue!

I looked at the other signs.  There were two signs that were put up side by side.  Suddenly I burst out laughing.  The blatant lack of common sense was astounding.

The first sign said:

Sign2

That made sense.  But the sign next to it made no sense.  It outlined the process on what to do when reporting a death.  Point number 2 read:

sign3

What?

Should I bring the deceased to the office so that they can take thumb prints?  Or wouldn’t it just be easier to cut off the left thumb and bring it to the office so they can take prints?

What were they thinking?

Are you aware of illogical processes in your organization?  Are you using common sense?

Superior Customer Service System: Your Competitive Advantage

What gives a business the competitive advantage?

The secret is providing top-notch customer service.

When your service is better than the competition, profits keep rolling in.

Think of your experience as a customer.  Have you ever been frustrated with dysfunctional telephone technology that features such customer annoyances like voice mail systems with frustratingly lengthy menu options?  What about the caller-hold features with maddening distorted and loud elevator music punctuated by commercial messages?  And then to add insult to injury, when a real person eventually answers the call, they have little knowledge about the company’s products and no power to solve your problems or fix what is wrong.

How do you provide unfailing top-notch customer service?

You adhere to a system that provides consistent customer satisfaction.

When designing a system for customer service excellence, keep the following in mind.

Characteristics of a superior customer service system

The system focuses on your customer

Your goal should be to satisfy the needs of customers and potential customers.  Walk in your customer’s shoes.  What problems are your customers experiencing?  Which is the best system to address those problems?  What kind of service delivery system would please you?

Your products or services as accessible

Design a system that opens the way for customers to do business with you.  Analyze your existing system.  Remove obstacles that prevent  customers from easily and conveniently doing business with you.

You are responsive

Design a service delivery system that is based on your customers’ needs, desires and expectations.  Make an effort to know your customers as if they were family members.  Their loyalty to you is based on your ability to respond appropriately to their needs.

Provide customers with accurate information

Consistently providing accurate information is crucial. This is especially relevant when it comes to technical aspects of products and information about warrantees, price, delivery, billings, and so on.

Provide an integrated system

Customers should be able to obtain all of the information they need from one source within your company.  It is exasperating when customers have to approach several people in your organization to be able to get the service or products they want.

Design a user friendly system

The process that the customer follows to access your company’s services should be friendly, uncomplicated, and accessible.  Make it as easy as possible for them to make the right decision.

Speed is crucial

Customer service delivery systems should provide assistance to customers quickly.  Customers perceive speedy help as excellence.

A customer service system does not just belong to the customer service department.  It is everyone’s business.  In developing a customer service system, it is absolutely necessary to involve everyone in the company.

5 Steps to creating effective business systems

What is a system?

A system is a way of doing things that helps you achieve a specific result.

 

 

systems flowchart

The diagram above describes what goes into achieving the results you want.

The Input is the resources that are available to your employees.

The Process refers to how these resources are best utilized to achieve your result.

The Result is what is achieved when you combine the resources and the process.

If your goal is slash costs, you must find a way in which to utilize your input in such a way that your goal is achieved more effectively.

Systems have the power to breathe life into your business – or to cripple it.  The secret to designing effective systems is to accurately predict the outcome of using them.

How to set up effective systems in your organization

Identify the existing good systems

Look for what people do in your organization that get the results that you want.

Find hidden, unintentional systems

You may have areas where you are not achieving the results you intended, or the results are not what you had hoped.  Look for the cause of the undesirable results.  Either get rid of the system or modify it until you achieve the expected outcome.

Create procedures for the existing systems that are effective

Find out exactly how your employees are achieving the desired results, and document them.  This does not have to all be done at once.  Target 3 systems that work a week, until they are all documented.

Create new systems

If you have to do something more than once, create a system for doing it effectively.

Evaluate your systems

Are all your systems achieving your goals?

If you need help in evaluating, setting up, and documenting systems for your organization, please do not hesitate to contact Virtual Productivity Solutions.  We would love to assist you!

Can Your Business Run Without You? Create Freedom by Creating Systems

Most of us use some type of systems on a day-to-day basis. Whether we use our cell phones, daily planners, or email inbox, we have most of our time and day organized.

Have you ever thought how valuable systems could be for your business? What if you were away for a week or two? Would you be okay? Would your business continue to thrive and give you the freedom you need to tend to what’s on hand?

Having the right systems in place with automated or structured processes will allow your business to run for a while without much thought or attention.  You can even delegate some systems to others, so that your business can continue to flourish even when you are not present.

Where to Start and What to Systematize

In most businesses there are numerous repetitive tasks that could easily be systematized. Look at the systems you have in place, or those you could put in place to make for a productive and powerful day. You can create systems for nearly everything in your business, whether it is automating your social media activities, scheduling appointments, e-zines, or marketing.  There is so much you can create systems for.

Having systems in place will truly liberate you and allow you to focus your energy on your business instead of feeling flustered and overwhelmed every time a repetitive task has to be done.  In addition, you can easily break away to tend to important family matters or a vacation knowing your business needs are taken care of.

Are you excited with what systems can do for you and your business? Are you feeling overwhelmed and not sure where to start? Would you like some support in setting up easy systems that will allow your business to thrive, even in your absence? Email Virtual Productivity Solutions and we’ll have a look at your situation and how systematizing your business can help you be more productive.

Boost your business by creating effective systems

small business, productivity, systems, procedures

Any business owner will be able to tell you that a business built on effective systems is far more successful than one that is not.

The Business Directory defines a business system as a methodical procedure or process that is used as a delivery mechanism for providing specific goods or services to customers.

Creating effective business systems can be challenging for small business owners.  You may not have the time or inclination to develop systems.  However, if you are serious about business growth, you could consider outsourcing this function to someone that is knowledgeable in this area.  Alternatively, if you have enough in-house staff, you can delegate it to someone that is detail oriented, analytical, persistent and creative, and who does not have a full-time work load.

What would outsourcing your systems management entail?

  • Your key performance indicators will be identified
  • Areas of reduced productivity will be identified
  • Opportunities for improvement will be suggested
  • Your process documentation will be created (checklists, flowcharts, etc) to support the opportunities for improvement
  • You as business owner will approve all processes before they are released
  • Your staff will have an opportunity to contribute to these systems, and also be trained on how to use these systems once they are approved
  • Data will be collected data to monitor your key performance indicators
  • You will receive a reporting scorecard each month on how your business measures up to these key performance indicators.

How to keep on top of your systems development and implementation once you outsource it

  • There needs to be open communication and trust between you and the person working on your system
  • While a lot of the development and detail of creating systems is outsourced, as the business owner you are still responsible and accountable for what happens with regard to systems and processes.
  • A weekly status meeting will go a long way in helping you to catch up with what has been achieved, what has gone well, or areas where challenges or issues have developed.

The results of outsourcing systems development and implementation

  • You will have more time
  • You will increase your competitiveness
  • You will reap the financial rewards of the working systems and procedures
  • Your staff will be happier because they know what they are supposed to be doing
  • Your customers will be more satisfied at your consistent service and output
  • Your business continuity is ensured, because anyone can do the urgent tasks according to the set out procedures if a key staff member is ill or on leave.
  • You will be able to take your business to the next level because your systems and procedures are working.

Next steps

If you would like to find out more about how to improve your business systems, or if you are interested in outsourcing this function, please contact Virtual Productivity Solutions.  We will gladly assist you in this regard.