Businesses are built on systems.
Many entrepreneurs — especially those who work in creative or client-service businesses — resist systems. There’s a misconception that systems limit creativity and are confining.
To the contrary, systems can give you the freedom to focus on what you do best. They can also boost your confidence and the confidence of your prospective clients. If you want to create consistent results, you must have systems.
Good systems are essential to the three D’s of business success: delegation, reducing decision fatigue, and duplicating results.
One of the big barriers to growth for solopreneurs is the attempt to do it all. At some point, you will find that you don’t have energy to do it all.
Spending time on activities that drain your energy leaves you with less available energy for the activities that you do best. Those are the activities that likely help you grow your business.
To grow, you eventually need to hire people to help you.
Recently, a client told me that she knows she need to hire an assistant, but she is resistant because she “doesn’t have time to micromanage someone else.”
Over the years, I’ve heard the same thing from many entrepreneurs — some of whom are well-known and highly successful authors, speakers, and consultants. There’s a common limiting belief that it’s more efficient to do things yourself because it will take too long to explain it to someone else and supervise them in doing it.
Putting aside the control issues here, the solution is simple: systems.
When you have clear systems in place, and when those systems are documented, you can teach someone else how to do those pieces that you shouldn’t do.
Having a clear system or process creates a clear path for your assistant by removing the guesswork. Of course, you will still need to spend some time teaching the person and checking up on the work, at least at first. But their learning curve will be faster, and you will not need to micromanage them each time.
This one isn’t a “boost” but an “elimination.” Decisions are distractions. They drain energy that could be directed toward more productive and constructive activities.
Systems eliminate decision fatigue. If you’re constantly reinventing the wheel in your business, it means you are making the same decisions repeatedly, with each time feeling like the first time.
Think about the information that comes at you over the course of your day. Emails. Documents. Voicemail. Client data. News.
Without rules that dictate what to do with each of those bits of information, you are forced to stop what you’re doing to decide where each piece goes. Every. Time.
Individually, these decisions may not take much time, but they will cumulatively drain you of the energy you need to do more complex thinking and planning tasks.
On the flip side, without systems for where to put the information as it flows in, you will waste time and energy looking for it when you need to pull it out. This is where the lack of systems can really drain time and energy. If you’ve ever spent hours looking for a phone number or a document, you know how much time you can lose.
For many entrepreneurs, time already feels short. You may be in such a rush to get something done — respond to the email, or return a call to a prospect — that you feel you don’t have the time to pause and create a system. But a small investment of time to set up a system at the beginning of a project can save you hours on the back end.
Getting the same result once or twice is luck. Duplicating the result consistently your actions from a hobby into a business. When you can show prospective clients that your results are reliable and predictable, they know they can depend on you to deliver. This creates the foundation for a business.
If you want to duplicate your results, you must know how you got those results in the first place. Without a system, you’re just relying on the stars to align and circumstances to support you.
I hear from many entrepreneurs the nagging doubt about their success; harbor a belief that their success was a result of luck. They fear losing it all and not being able to rebuild it.
When you know how you reached your results — when you have a system — you gain confidence that you can replicate your results no matter what the circumstances.
Systems Stop the Spin Cycle
If you have a tendency to fall into the spin cycle of overwhelm, overload, and overwork, clear systems can be your savior.
Systems provide a framework that keeps you on the path to progress.
Far from limiting your freedom, systems give you freedom. Systems help you delegate the parts of your process that aren’t you core skills, creating more space for your best work.
They reduce decisions, giving you more time and energy for the parts of your work that you do best. And they allow you to duplicate your results, instilling confidence in both you and your clients that you will get the job done.
Systems create the foundation for a sustainable buiness.
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