One of the biggest mistakes business owners and entrepreneurs make is not having business systems in place to run their businesses. Systems either run your business or people do. That might sound odd because it seems obvious that you need people to run your business systems. And, you are absolutely correct, you do need people to run the systems, systems you have in place for them to follow, systems that make their jobs simpler and more duplicatable.

If you don’t have systems in place for your people to know what to do, and how to do things, they’re forced to make decisions on their own, and they will probably decide to do things in a way that’s different than how you want things done. Or, they are going to drive you, or another key staff member, crazy asking questions every 17 minutes of every day. This is the “system” a lot of business owners use, but it is very inefficient, and, it’s not really a system at all. It just wastes your time and keeps you from doing the really important things in your business.

You might think of yourself as a results-based person – you don’t care about the process, or how things get done, you just want things done. And that works in some areas of your business, but, not in others.

Do you want the phone answered a certain way?

Do you have a process for incoming orders? Do you care if your clients get the products and services they ordered from you in 2 days, 2 weeks, or 2 months?

Do you have a refund process? Does it need to be followed, or doesn’t it matter?

Do you have a brand? Do you want it represented in a particular manner?

Do you have a continuity program? Do you want the credit cards run on the same day every month, or can it be done any time in the month? Or do you already have an automated system that takes care of this for you?

There are a lot of areas like this that require systemization, and then an occasional check to make sure processes are being done correctly. These systems, that most of us hate to think about and implement, will save, and make, your business thousands and thousands of dollars every week, month, and year you’re in business.

Outsourcing necessitates even more, that structured systems are in place. Outsourcing doesn’t allow for less worry about systems, as you might think. You have to put systems in place with your vendors, or they will just do things like they always do, the way they do them for other clients. Things won’t get done the way you want them done, and your business will suffer.

Systemizing your business will allow you to spend more time working on your business instead of in your business, because you have processes working for you. It will also allow you to take more time off from your business, and not worry about what’s going on at the office – instead, you can rest assured that everything is running smoothly, because the business systems you’ve put in place are working, and working well.

Another area of your business that will benefit from having systems is in the staffing area. Most of us have small businesses with not lot of employees, so we feel more vulnerable, sometimes even threatened, when we think one of our key employees might leave. This happens, not necessarily because the person is so great, but because they have institutional knowledge nobody else in your business has.

If you have ever had these kinds of feelings, you need to look at the business systems you have in place – or more specifically, at what systems you don’t have in place that you should have.

When you have the right systems in place you can rest easy, because whether a staff member leaves you completely, goes on vacation, or is away for an extended period of time, it won’t matter. Anybody will be able to walk in and do the day-to-day tasks that need to be done in that person’s absence.

You might be concerned that by putting these kinds of systems in place you will create a rigid work environment, where employees feel like they have no flexibility or freedom to do things in their own way.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Business systems provide the road map for employees to follow, it shows them how to get from point A to point B, and generally makes life at the office much easier to maneuver. Business systems don’t tell the employee what kind of car to drive on that road, what the speed limit is, or even that they have to drive a car to get there – they could walk, jog, bicycle, skateboard, or use some other form of transportation. The system does provide everyone with a standard for doing things, how they get there can still be left up to them.

And, the best part is, if the employee finds a better road, a quicker path, a better system, you just change it and work with the new better road, or business system.

Your business needs systems in place so it can grow and prosper, so your work environment is a more fun place for everybody to be, to increase your productivity, and to help more clients be successful. All of which, makes you more profitable.

Author's Bio: 

Diane Conklin is an internationally known author, entrepreneur, coach, consultant, event planner, speaker and copywriter. Diane is a direct response marketing expert who specializes in showing small business owners how to integrate their online and offline marketing strategies, media and methods, to get maximum results from their marketing dollars.

She is the founder of Complete Marketing Systems and for more than 14 years has been showing small business owners how to start, build and grow businesses where they take knowledge they already possess and turn it into passive, ongoing, leveraged profits.

Diane was voted Marketer of the Year for her innovative marketing strategies and campaigns.