The word “systems” has many meanings in small business. It’s one of those interchangeable terms like profits and income or P&L report and income statement.
Systems is synonymous with the words process and workflow and repeatable tasks. It’s anything that’s repeatable or repeated in your business. Think about your content creation, billing cycles, client processes, onboarding either a new client or new team member, bookkeeping tasks, etc.
And if you’re like most business owners, you have a lot of systems on your daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly to-do lists.Your systems won’t last forever. Take time each quarter to audit your business systems to save time and money.Click To Tweet
There comes a time, however, that a system just isn’t working for you anymore. You may or may not realize, but every system or step in the system will eventually outlive its welcome. That’s why it’s key to audit your systems on a quarterly basis.
Why You Need to Audit Your Business Systems
We all have systems in our lives–the way we manage to get out the door in the mornings or how we plan our meals for the coming week. We even have systems for how we get our kids to settle down at the end of the night or how we clean the house.
Sometimes, those systems break. Not because they’re not good systems (though that might be the case), but because things change and we need to adjust.
Take grocery shopping, for example. I used to squeeze in grocery shopping between client appointments, soccer games, gymnastics practice and showering. It was crazy, and it wasn’t working for me. That’s how I did it for years, until I took a step back to really look at how I handled the shopping.
Either it wasn’t getting done or I was having to make too many “quick” stops to the store because I forgot to buy something the last time I ran through the store. We weren’t eating at home enough because there just wasn’t any food in the house. Thankfully, we now have the option to grocery shop online and have those groceries delivered to my doorstep. It’s been a lifesaver and a new system my whole family is grateful for!
It’s all about finding the place where something feels broken, or not right. That’s how you know it’s time to do an audit and make the changes you need to get back to what works.Auditing your systems is all about finding where something isn’t working and making shifts from there.Click To Tweet
Now for the How-To
1. When you find yourself actually working through a system in your business (or your life), it’s important to record yourself working through the steps. You can do this via Loom video for electronic steps on the computer or using a Google Doc for written steps. Other tools include Process Street and SweetProcess–two programs I use with various clients. Whatever you decide to use, make sure you use that tool for all your systems. You’ll have them all in one place, which makes life a whole lot easier for you and your team.
2. As you (or the person responsible) are walking through the system (and recording it), think about how each step is working for you. Or not. Some questions to ask yourself include: Do you feel like something can be improved? Are there people or automations that can replace some steps? Is there a step that doesn’t make sense?
3. Notice if there’s a step in the system that you’re just not doing. Have you subconsciously eliminated something from the system–either for your benefit or to your detriment? Has something shifted in your business that renders a step obsolete?
4. Update the system to meet your current needs, and notify everyone who has a vested interest in the system. You’ll also need to give everyone access to the written or recorded version of the system so they have something to refer back to when needed.
5. Put your systems audit on your calendar for next quarter, and repeat!