Spend any time around the creative entrepreneurial space and you’ll likely hear at least someone bring up the topic of systems — how important they are for your sanity and your business growth, why you need to implement them now, and on and on.
As a systems strategist, I am definitely one of those people who preaches the importance of systems, but in the middle of all the talk about how important systems are, it’s easy to forget a few things that make all the difference when implementing them into your business.
For a lot of creatives, systems don’t come naturally, so they’re already intimidating.
Add to that the fact that they can seem difficult or stressful, super time consuming to set up and maintain, it’s no wonder so many entrepreneurs stay as far away from them as possible, even while knowing they could have a huge positive impact on their business!
4 SECRETS ABOUT SYSTEMS
But here’s the thing… you already have systems in your life and your business, whether you realize it or not.
They might not be effective systems, but a system is an established procedure. That’s it. And whether you did it through intentional choice or sort of fell into it, you have established procedures for how you live your life and run your business.
So you’re already implementing systems into your business… the goal is for you to implement better ones!
In order to do that, I want to let you in on a few secrets.
Because systems in the entrepreneurial world often go hand-in-hand with tools and automation, which are often quite complicated, it’s easy to believe that the systems themselves have to be complicated, when it’s the exact opposite!
A system can be as simple as a checklist written on a post-it note. It doesn’t require multiple steps and triggers and approvals and all sorts of other things that can go totally haywire and raise your stress levels in an instant.
In fact, I’m a firm believer that the simpler the system, the better. Usually, a system with a ton of steps and triggers and the like is ineffective and wasting someone’s time — whether it’s yours, your team members, or (heaven forbid) your client’s.
The goal with your systems should be to keep them as simple and straightforward as possible, no matter how large your business grows or complex it becomes.
You may have caught onto this when I spilled the secret that you already have systems in your life and your business. You might also call them habits.
While habits and systems are not the same thing, many systems are born out of habit.
And here’s the thing — any habit, a good or a bad one, takes time build. Which means if you have the habit of implementing a bad system, it’s going to take time to shift your habits in order to implement a good system.
So if you take the time to streamline a system or two in your life or your business and find yourself reverting back to the old one, don’t get discouraged! Give yourself time to get used to the new system and don’t be afraid to ask yourself why it feels like you’re always reverting back to the old one.
On that note… it’s easy to believe systems are a one and done kind of situation. That all you have to do is set it up once and it’ll run on autopilot and save you tons of time.
That’s what everybody tells you right?
That’s true to a degree, but it’s just part of the story. Yes, the initial set up of a system will only happen once. And yes, it can run on autopilot, and yes, systems can save you a ton of time.
But in the same way that a car needs regular maintenance to ensure it’s still working properly, your systems also need proper maintenance to ensure they’re still serving your business well.
Your business isn’t stagnant. It’s going to change, evolve, and grow over the years, which means your systems also need to change, evolve, and grow right along with it.
Right now, all of my systems in my business are built around one person — me. If I get to a point in the future where I want to outsource, whether that’s to a virtual assistant, a social media manager, or some other team member, I won’t have to rebuild my systems from the ground up, but I will need to make some changes here and there to reflect the changes in my business.
Above all, the most important secret to remember about systems is the best system is the one that actually works.
You can read about other people’s systems, processes, and routines until you are blue in the face and they may be well-thought out, simple, streamlined systems. Goodness knows I share plenty of my own! But if you don’t actually use the system, then it’s not a good one for you.
In order for systems to be effective, you have to actually use them. So keep that in mind when designing systems for your own life and business.
I have a lot of systems that are built on analog tools. Sure, I could probably save some time if I digitized some of those things, but I don’t like being plugged in all the time. I remember things a whole lot better when I physically write them down, which is why a digital system might work great for someone else but would be horrible for me, and vice versa.
It might take some experimentation, it might take some adjustment, but figuring out the systems that truly work for your own life and business is absolutely life changing.