What is a (Business) System?

pimp it out:

So, “what is a business system?”, you ask? …you’re not exactly sure what this word all means, but you know that it’s something you should probably be looking at as a business owner.

What you DO know is that in your business right now, you’re:

  • constantly playing catch-up and can’t get ahead of your to-do list.
  • disorganized and your business backend is super messy.
  • winging it and doing things up until the last minute before they’re due or “go live” seems to be your new normal.
  • working so hard just trying to keep your head above water.

The good news: there’s hope.

The amazing news: the answer to all those issues above (and more) are implementing systems in your business.

The mindblowing news: you’ve come to the right place and found the right guide (yours truly!) to teach you how to create simple and sexy systems that are easy to implement and feel orgasmic.

Ready? Let’s do this! *fist pump*

So…what is a system?

A system is a repeatable method used to achieve a specific result. That’s it. Whether you consciously know it or not, you create systems for a lot of things in your life. Think about how you do laundry. Pretty much the same way every time, right? While the clothing changes, it’s more or less wash, dry, fold, and put away.

So, apply this to your business. What do you do (whether consistently or not) that you try to have a predictable routine for? Think about how you invoice a client, how you prep your pottery clay, or how you onboard a new client that’s just signed with you. No matter who you are, or how messy/go-with-the-flow kind of person you are, you’ve got a system.

As humans, we naturally try to create order and predictability, no matter how inefficient, because evolution-speaking, we lean towards laziness.

Note: you’ll see different people using the word “system” interchangeably and to mean different things. Sometimes, they’ll use the word system to mean a workflow or a process…or vice versa. To each their own. But, do consider that I’ve been hired by Apple and Nike to whip their business backends into shape, so I may know a few things or two.

Why systems are crucial if you own a business

Without systems, you don’t own a business, you ARE the business. Systems are the difference between working on your business versus working FOR and IN your business. If you want to double the amount of revenue you make, you’re going to have to double the number of hours you work.

Worst, since you ARE your business, you can’t step away (for a vacation or family emergency) without worrying if your business will suffer catastrophic consequences.

Or, even before taking vacations, if the thought of taking on 2 more clients at the same time on top of what you’re already doing leaves you feeling overwhelmed overloaded, you know you need better systems. You want more clients to grow and make more money and have more freedom, but if you take on more, you’re screwed.

Nobody ain’t got time to get tied down like that.

Why systems save your time and sanity

There are 101+ ways that systems save you time and your sanity. Let me list off the 10 biggest reasons (in no order):

  • You can delegate the things you aren’t good at (or just don’t want to do) to a Virtual Assistant (or a video editor if editing videos are not your thing) so that you can focus on moving your business forward.
  • You can onboard more clients (think double!) with about the same amount of work and efficiency while feeling fully confident that nothing has slipped through the cracks to keep you up at night.
  • You don’t have to choose between business and your friends/family.
  • You stop working up to the very last minute that something is due for a client or set to go live on a social media platform because you’ve batch-worked that month’s content in advance.
  • You can take AND enjoy a (last-minute) vacation without fear that your business will implode while you’re not there to run it every day.
  • You stop feeling like an incompetent imposter and go after more clients or bigger business opportunity because you’ve got your shit together. Your backend is TIGHT.
  • You feel and are on top of your business: no more constantly playing catch-up or winging it like a chicken with its head cut off.
  • You don’t have to hunt for files and information because it got buried somewhere. You’re utilizing your time so well. And we all know that time is money.
  • You stop grinding and spinning your wheels, which means no burnout!
  • Your creative juices flow like crazy. By clearing out all the clutter and information in your head and into an actionable system, you’ve created mental space to breathe and innovate.

How to start

The easiest way to start creating systems is to sit down and audit your business:

  1. Take about 30-60 minutes and go through all the things you do in your business, ESPECIALLY if they’re repetitive/weekly/monthly things.
  2. Write down down the steps that go into those recurring action items. If you have a lot, I’d suggest starting with three: a system tied directly to you making money; a system that you use for visibility and marketing; and a system where there are lots of steps, parts, or different people involved.
  3. Turn them into a checklist and refer to them often, so that you know in a time of stress or when everything is happening to you at once, you can trust and lean on your system, so that you won’t drop balls.
  4. Find a project management software to host, streamline, and automate your systems. My go-to: Trello!

To get you started on simple and sexy systems that are easy to implement AND actually work, I created a highly actionable cheat sheet below. Put in your information to grab the cheat sheet!

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