It can be so hard to know when you actually need a system. There’s a lot of noise in the business world trying to convince you that you need something when it will actually hurt more than it helps – because you don’t have time to set it up correctly, it’s not the system you actually need, etc. At the same time, there are points when you could use a system, but you don’t know the best way to go about it.
Below I’ve listed 3 ways for you to identify when a system could actually help you. And let me preface this list by saying that a system doesn’t always need to be a new platform that you have to pay for. A system can be as simple as the method in which you go through your email inbox or schedule social media posts, for example. If you can recreate the way you do a task, that’s just as valuable a system as the one that you have to pay for and set up. Let’s get into the list:
1. You find yourself doing the same task over and over.
If you’re writing the same email to multiple different customers, it’s time to set up email templates or look into a CRM system. If you’re completing the same tasks for each client, it’s time to look into a project management system or create common templates that you can use for each new project.
There are so many tasks that we complete over and over without even considering that there may be an easier way, or a way that could save us time. We are so caught up in just crossing things off a list that rarely do we stop to think about how we can improve. Setting up a system, whether it’s as easy as creating an email template or taking the time to set up an entire CRM, is a game. changer. in terms of saving us time and money.
2. You’re getting ready to hire a team.
Before making a new hire, having systems in place is one of the most important things you can do. This ensures that the tasks you entrust your new employee with are getting done the way that you want them to be done. It gives new hires clear direction, confidence in what they’re doing, and easy ways for you to check that everything is running as it should.
You can do this by taking a look at all of the tasks you plan on outsourcing or handing over to your new teammate, then figuring out how you can standardize these tasks. Creating SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures – basically, just written steps for how to do a task) is one of the best ways to standardize, because it gives a clear expectation of how to accomplish something. You can also build checkpoints for communication into the routine of your new hire, so you always have an idea of what’s going on and can make adjustments as needed.
3. Everything just feels messy.
We all know the feeling: everything on our plates is just a little out of hand and it’s at a point where we’re a little overwhelmed by all of it. You’re in a place where you’re just doing things to cross them off your to-do list, without really remembering how these things fit into the overall strategy of your business.
When this happens, my best suggestion is to find an hour to slow down, focus on one task (whether it be scheduling, client communication, marketing, etc.), and streamline it. Make a list of all the steps that are needed to get this task done, and then figure out which of these steps can be automated, delegated, or eliminated altogether. It may not seem like much, but getting just one area cleaned up will make a world of difference in your daily life.
That’s it! If you ever find yourself in any of the positions I listed above, I truly think finding a way to systemize or streamline wherever you can will be hugely beneficial. Have questions? Was this helpful? I’d love to know your thoughts! You can find me over on Instagram @louandpine! (Lou & Pine is a process improvement consulting company I founded for woman-owned businesses. You can read more about it here!)