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Why Your Business Will Never Scale, Without Systems

Why Your Business Will Never Scale, Without Systems

Disclaimer: this post was drafted using Claude.ai using last week’s issue of The Lever “Every business needs systems and processes to scale”. We repurpose our content with the help of AI in order to achieve better outcomes, in less time.  The prompt used was:

Using the attached content from our newsletter as the brief, could you write a blog post in a story telling style, in easy to follow, simple language which would help the reader (business leader) to achieve the result promised in the title.  Follow the ‘story’ with a clear list of actions.

The Day I Realised My Business Would Never Scale Without Systems

I’ll never forget the client call that finally pushed me over the edge. I was scrambling to prep for a proposal deadline when my phone rang. It was one of my best clients, and I couldn’t afford not to answer.

As I tried to juggle both the proposal and the client’s questions simultaneously, I felt my stress levels skyrocketing. By the end of the call, I realized I had missed the proposal deadline completely.

This “dropping balls” scenario had become all too common. I once prided myself on wearing many hats in my business, but I just couldn’t keep all those plates spinning any longer.

In a panic one evening, I opened my laptop and started compiling a list. On one side, I wrote all of my essential business tasks – the must-do activities that kept my business humming. On the other side, I added the frequent “fires” that derailed my days.

As the lists grew longer, I finally admitted the harsh truth: Without strong systems and processes, I would always be stuck working IN my business, not ON it.

Download your Process Evaluation Checklist

Use this list as a starter guide to methodically improve and standardise the processes that drive business results. Revisit it with each new project milestone!

Mapping Out My Business Bottlenecks

I knew implementing systems was the answer, but I had no idea where to start.

First, I picked my 3 most vital business functions that felt the shakiest:

  1. Lead follow-up
  2. Client onboarding
  3. Service delivery

I then mapped out each lengthy process step-by-step. What I discovered was startling…

No wonder I felt so overwhelmed! My “systems” were filled withfar too many manual tasks, decision points, and opportunities for error. I was wasting hours each week on activities that could be simplified, streamlined or automated.

Crafting My Process Playbooks

With my problem spots illuminated, I got to work creating standard operating procedures (SOPs) like I wished I’d had all along! I outlined:

Soon I had comprehensive SOP “playbooks” for handling my most important business functions smoothly and successfully, even during high-volume times.

Click here to download our Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) template.

The Results Speak Volumes

It took diligence fine-tuning those initial SOPs, but the effort paid off enormously. Today, my client onboarding time has been slashed by over 50%. Lead response times are down from 48 hours to just 4. And with reliable systems humming behind the scenes, I’m finally working ON my business – landing bigger clients, developing new offerings, and plotting expansion plans.

While I may never love building systems, I sure love what they enable. Isn’t that the dream for any business owner?

5 Step Framework

Step 1: Identify Your Core Business Processes
Start by making a list of the key processes that drive your business forward. These likely include lead generation, sales, client onboarding, product/service delivery, customer support, and more. Choose 2-3 core processes to focus on systemising first.
Step 2: Map Out Each Process in Detail
For each core process, map out every step from start to finish. Detail the actions, responsible party, timing, decision points, and desired outcomes. Making an easy-to-follow flow chart for each process can be helpful.
Step 3: Create Standard Operating Procedures
With your processes mapped, build a standard operating procedure (SOP) for completing each step properly and consistently. Include checklists, templates, timelines, and all decision rules. Make them simple and thorough so anyone can follow them.
Step 4: Automate Where Possible
Look for ways to automate manual aspects of your SOPs to save time. Email reminders, online forms, and software like CRMs can eliminate bottlenecks. Start small with automation - implement in phases.
Step 5: Continuously Improve
Once your SOPs are in use, frequently gather feedback from your team. Look for hiccups or delays, and tweak your processes to make them more streamlined. Refine over time.
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Implementing documented systems and processes will provide the foundation and structure for your business to scale successfully over the long term. With each process working like a well-oiled machine, you’ll reduce frustration and wasted time – and you’ll be ready to delegate tasks as you grow. Give this framework a try for your top business priorities first.

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