Creating a Business That Works
Spray Foam Magazine - Show Issue 2020 - As you build your business, I highly recommend researching, developing, and adopting systems and processes that can help your business along the way. Systems and processes act as a GPS for your business to help you make sure daily and weekly tasks are accomplished. You determine your desired goal and your step-by-step instructions are directed by the systems and processes in your business, so you can intentionally arrive at the desired destination- like building a MILLION DOLLAR BUSINESS!
Systems and processes combined with your personnel should make up your entire organization. The systems and processes are the parts of the business that the people in your organization use to be successful on a daily basis- day-in and day-out. Often these words, system and process, are used interchangeably, but there is a difference. A system is the combination of multiple processes, methods, or routines organized and combined to achieve the desired outcome. A process is a detailed, step-by-step instruction on how to accomplish something specific, like a GPS guide to complete a specific action. These steps are typically easy to do as well as easy not to do. If you follow the specific instructions, in order, you have a high likelihood of success, but if you cut corners, miss a step, do them out of order, or otherwise make a mistake, something will not turn out right.
Think about the old “How To” paper you wrote in elementary school. How to Make a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich, for instance, is a process that everyone can relate to. The steps of the process have to be specific and detailed; if not, it becomes open to interpretation.
The first time I submitted this paper in elementary school, I began, “Put the peanut butter and jelly on the bread.” The teacher asked me to come to the front of the classroom and do what she asked me to do. She then asked me to “put the peanut butter and jelly on the bread.” Suddenly, she stopped me from opening the bread and peanut butter so I proceeded to put the jar of peanut butter and the jar of jelly on the loaf of bread and the entire class laughed. When explaining processes, we tend to talk in terms of two or three steps because we know what we are doing and what our end goal is. We make a lot of assumptions.
We think with a little more detail, maybe five or six steps. We might think, “open the bread, take out two slices, put peanut butter on one slice and put jelly on the other slice, put one piece of bread on top of the other”, and even still we are making assumptions.
When we actually do the process ourselves, we add lots of little steps that we take for granted and don’t explain to others. It looks something like this:
- Open the bread
- Take out two slices
- Put them on a plate
- Close the bread
- Open the peanut butter
- Pick up one piece of bread
- Use a knife to spread approximately two tablespoons of peanut butter on that slice of bread
- Put that slice of bread down on the plate, with the peanut butter facing up
- Put the lid back on the peanut butter
- Open the jelly
- Pick up the piece of bread without peanut butter on it
- Use a knife to spread approximately two tablespoons of jelly on that slice of bread
- Put the slice of bread with jelly on it, jelly side down, on top of the slice of bread with peanut butter on it
- Put the lid on the jelly and put the jar in the refrigerator
- Put the peanut butter jar in the pantry
- Pick up the sandwich and eat it
If there are this many steps involved in making a sandwich, then you can probably see why it is critically important to clearly document the processes and procedures that you use in your business. You need others to understand how to accomplish the important tasks, understanding that they cannot read your mind.
How many decisions do you make per hour? 10? 20? 50? 100? Let’s low ball it and say 10. Eight hours a day, that’s 80 decisions per day, over 400 decisions per week, and well over 20,000 decisions per year. You, and all the people on your team, are making over 20,000 decisions per year that affect your business. Are they making good decisions? Are they making the decisions that you would make? This is why developing systems and processes and training your team is so important. Everyone has to be on the same page to achieve the desired outcome successfully.
Overall, systems and processes create order. The opposite of order is chaos and in chaos, nothing gets done effectively. In fact, you run the risk of getting nothing done at all. The use of systems and processes keeps you on track, gives you a guide for your progress, reminds you of the next step, defines what the end or completion looks like, and has a feedback loop so you can make adjustments along the way. When systems and processes are defined well, you can train someone, provide them the guide documents, and they can take action in your absence. Creating and implementing good systems and processes is how you build a team that works, allowing owners to eventually remove themselves from working in the business on a daily basis and still reap the benefits and profits.