It’s a question many business owners don’t ask themselves until it’s too late. Are you a slave to your own business? Do you have proper systems and processes in place or does everything feel chaotic and out of control?
If you don’t want to be a slave anymore, it’s time to figure out what is keeping you a slave in your business.
In this article, we’ll be going over these points:
Now let’s unshackle your chains one by one. 💪
Why are systems important?
If you’re feeling too stressed in your business (and have been for a long time), then your current systems and processes probably need some looking into.
By creating a business system that works for you, you can:
- Improve internal communications
- Get more consistent results
- Practice better decision making
- Grow and scale your business
- Meet and exceed client expectations
- Save time & money
- Empower your employees
But before diving into a business system revamp, it’s best to do a time audit first, to clear your stressed mind:
- Track your tasks: Set an alarm every half an hour (or 15 minutes, whatever works for you) write down what you were doing on a spreadsheet.
- Categorise: You can have detailed categories like client calls, emails, administrative work, breaks, and personal activities.
- Target time-intensive tasks (or just tasks you dislike): These are your prime candidates for delegation or automation.\
- Assess: Work out how you can responsibly get rid of that task on your plate. This is your jumping point to explore tools and document standard operating procedures (SOPs) for repetitive tasks to ensure consistency when virtual assistants are doing it for you.
Aside from a time audit, you can also skip ahead to the section on “Setting up a business system to free you up.”
💡Tip: If you want specific insights tailored to your business model, you can have a no-strings-attached chat with our Systems Expert. Just click the button below and we’ll sit down with you, talk all about your current challenges, and do our best to help you achieve your goals with the right tools, processes, and virtual assistants (if you need them!)
In business, it’s often a badge of honour to be hella busy. We even equate it to being productive. And being busy is good when you’re starting out, because you’re hustling to build your business from the ground up (or re-building.)
What’s the “good” kind of busy?
But as you start scaling up, you hire more people and get some processes in. At this point, most business owners begin creating “busyness” instead of doing actual business.
You might find yourself chasing this title of being busy all the time, just to keep getting sales and leads in. But if you’re not experiencing the “good” kind of busy, then you might just be running in circles. 😬
So what exactly is the “good” kind of busy?
It’s when business owners or managers are focused on what will create more time, freedom, and autonomy for the company and its people in the future.
For example, creating a recurring system for 1:1 chats with your team creates a good kind of busy. Let’s say you have a weekly 1:1 with a copywriter you want to upskill.
It might mean you’re “wasting” your time every week looking over content topics and answering their questions. But if you do these chats right, you’re not only helping them produce content faster, you’re also helping them come up with better topics in the future, guiding them to think as you would, and write better content. You’re helping them become more autonomous so they don’t need you as much.
And that creates more time and freedom for both of you—in the long run.
This approach does take some time and results don’t happen overnight. But hey, you know what they say about things that take time (spoiler alert: they’re worth it.)
So when creating or revamping systems and processes in your business, ask yourself first: “Is this going to save me time and energy in the future?”
Quick overview: Our business system revamp
Our Founder and CEO Linh Podetti is now semi-retired, with a working system of virtual assistants and an executive team that looks after her business 24/7.
Linh Podetti, our Founder & CEO, is now enjoying a semi-retired life.
But it hasn’t always been like that. Before she started her systemising journey, she had a business that heavily relied on her: all changes and decisions had to go through her approval, and taking a relaxing holiday seemed impossible as she had to constantly check her phone to ensure everything was running smoothly.
Sounds familiar? 👀
If all decisions and responsibilities in your business ultimately fall on you, then you might be in over your head. Not just busy, but in over your head and getting no real progress done.
All this could be down to an inefficient business system.
What’s an efficient business system?
So what constitutes an efficient business system? 🤔
It’s any system where you’re not the big bottleneck. The apps and project management tools you use are just secondary—the key thing is to create a system that doesn’t revolve around you as the CEO, manager, or any other title you hold.
We know that sounds counterintuitive. You’ve sacrificed A LOT for your business and shed blood, sweat and tears for it. Shouldn’t you be central to its management? Shuoldn’t you be management ITSELF?
Our answer is no. It might be controversial, but let us explain.
There are a lot of businesses—especially in the super corporate world—where higher-ups purposely tweak the system so that it revolves around them, so nothing gets done or gets started without their say-so.
But think about it: if that one person gets sick, unavailable or is out of commission in any way, then the entire operation will fall like a house of cards.
And what will everyone say then?
😕 “Oh, we’re still waiting for approval.”
😕 “Oh, we’ll know when Super Big Boss is back.”
😕 “I don’t know. Super Big Boss will tell you what to do when they’re back.”
That’s a recipe for a slow work environment. Not to mention managerial burnout. And who wants either of those things?
It’s a human need to feel significant. But when it comes to your business, we think it’s more important to find balance. Sometimes, being an entrepreneur means you’re the one in the spotlight, but more often than not, it means shining the spotlight on other people: your clients, customers, and your team.
With the right executive team and efficient systems and processes, you can even become obsolete to your own business. Then you’ll have the freedom to think of expansion plans, or just enjoy your freedom! 🎉
A reasonable distribution of responsibility and accountability is the key to a stable workplace. And you can start creating that by rethinking your business system, one process at a time.
Set up a business system to free you up
Richard Phu, our Managing Director A.K.A. Business Freedom Designer
If you’re a slave to your business right now, then the solution is to create a business system that will free you up. ⚙️
Our Managing Director Richard Phu is a business freedom designer. Basically, he and our Systemise & Scale Up team help entrepreneurs free themselves up from working 24/7, 365 days a year.
We do that by streamlining their processes and setting up the tools and technology they need so they can work ON their business instead of IN the business. And to make sure they don’t worry about the nitty-gritty of day-to-day operations, we hire and onboard a skilled virtual assistant for them too, if they’re open to that option.
Outsourcing Angel VAs on our 2019 Company Trip to Davao City, Philippines
How systems and processes can free up business owners
So how do you go about building a business system that frees you up for good?
Step 1: Reflect and rethink
Aside from doing the time audit, give yourself the time and space to think about the “whys” in your business:
- Why are your processes that way?
- Why do you use the tools and platforms you’re currently using?
- Why do you hold that particular meeting regularly?
And so on. This reflection time isn’t just about gaslighting yourself: the more you dive deep into the “whys” of your business processes, the more you can find ways to divide accountability for each area instead of shouldering it all yourself.
Step 2: Eliminate manual tasks (where you can)
If you’re a service-based business, here are the top 5 manual processes you might look into automating:
Why automate it?
Tools to try
Now, when do you NOT use automation? 🤔
We think it’s about figuring out if you need to automate that process or if human judgment is required in there instead. Is there anything in that particular process that requires human judgment? Then you probably can’t automate that.
A very good example is following up leads. Let’s say you’re talking to your Favourite Client about an upsell.
They might tell you they’ll need a week to think about it first. So you wait after a week and follow up. Easy peasy.
But if you use an automation that sends a follow-up email every 3 days to all your clients about upsell opportunities, then your Favourite Client might become annoyed. 😥
Compare that to an onboarding scenario where an automation will instantly give you a welcome email. That would lead to a positive experience with automation, because you immediately get details about what you signed up for. So it’s all about finding balance.
Step 3: Empower your team
Two important points when it comes to delegating:
First, you’ve got to figure out what you want to delegate and be okay to let it go. That means no micromanaging. So try to let go of control and abandon the idea of perfection from your team! (Another spoiler alert: it doesn’t exist.)
If you’re not used to letting go of control, you end up micromanaging. And that’s no way to empower a team.
Second, find something else to do with your freed up time that you feel is worth it. Whether that’s long-term strategising, researching more tools for an efficient business system, or just chilling, it’s up to you! ⛱️
Why should you have a good system of organisation
If you’re sick of being a slave to your own business, then a good system of organisation will help free you up. For savvy business owner these days, the ultimate flex is freedom.
With systems and processes that give you space to explore your business options, you’ll never be stuck in deadly, grinding cycle every again. 👏
💡 Tip: Feedback is key in making sure your business system stays on point. Yes, that includes complaints too.
Observe when people have to do tasks outside of your current system or where things slow down. You want to create a feedback loop so when the system breaks and your team gives their opinion on it, you can take those feedback points and see how to tweak things moving forward.