When growing a business, systemization is an essential part of scaling that you’ll need to plan out.
According to physician, entrepreneur and consultant Dan Giuglianotti, “systemize” is one of the most critical business words today. A systemized business is poised to grow smoothly and sustainably. Systems allow people to perform tasks with competence and speed — streamlining workflows and opening up more time and mental energy for growth.
Overall, there are many ways individuals can systemize their businesses. So many ways, in fact, that it can be overwhelming. Below, you’ll find four expert-approved steps to get headed in the right direction:
1. Build a Tool
One of the major mistakes companies make when systemizing their businesses is simple: They forget to systemize the process overall. If you do not possess a single place to house your systems, you will not be able to truly systemize.
Right now, you likely have the predecessors to systemization in place, whether you know it or not. Either key players have this information in their heads, or they have it on their computers. The next step is to consolidate this information in a uniform way, in the same place. This means every individual in your company will be able to access all of your systems at any time and understand them — regardless of their origination.
2. Review Your Organizational Chart
Once your company has a process in place for chronicling systems in the same format, an organizational chart must be reviewed or created, if one is not already in place. The organizational chart is not only an important record for daily operations, but it will also serve as the roadmap for systemization.
If your business is growing, your chart may only include five areas, such as sales, finance or human relations. Regardless of the number of categories your organizational chart holds, you should make sure each piece is up-to-date. Then, you should make sure it is comprehensive — accounting for every major department in your company, as well as the individuals that make up those teams.
Once this chart is complete, choose your key players of systemization. You will want to train department heads on your new systemization tool and process, but you will also want to train at least two of their team members. This way, even if the key player leaves the organization, the department can continue to systemize. Additionally, if the two other team members help with the process, the department head will have more time to focus on more pressing tasks that require their expertise.
3. Get to the Most Important Information
Tasked with systemization, employees often struggle to understand what exactly they should record. For example, do they report the uniform email template they use bi-weekly to communicate with clients, or is that not something that requires systemization? According to Giuglianotti and other industry specialists, if one or more employees uses a process at least once a quarter, it needs systemization.
Here’s an example: an up-and-coming digital marketing company is building its blog. Without a system in place, every blog is different. At first, this might not seem like a big deal—which is often the case with the first instances of any occurrence. However, as this company grows it will likely have a hard time conveying a succinct brand voice—as every blog will feature different formatting and writing.
To avoid this issue, the up-and-coming blog can systemize their writing process. If informational and witty content is important to their brand’s image, as it is for smaller brands like DigiMar, for example, they can make sure every blog post reflects these facets. This may seem tedious at first, but it’s an essential step for success. Investing the time up front to record processes is a worthwhile pursuit.
4. Stay Up-To-Date
The last step of the process is to determine how often your records need updating. If you run a new startup, you might be innovating on a daily basis. As such, you might decide to update your records every month, as your operations are constantly in flux.
If your company is a bit older — or if it sticks to a few processes — you can likely get away with updating your records every quarter or so. In general, it’s easiest to update them companywide. On a specific day, departments can view the systemization tool and ensure that their organizational area’s records are current—editing, deleting and adding new records (if need be).
Systemization is key to business success, but companies often overlook it because it’s a time investment that can quickly become complex. You can turn to professional consultants with this critical process, but if expert help isn’t yet built into your budget, you can start with the four aforementioned steps. If carried out correctly, they will improve your bottom line and daily operations immensely.
Nathan Resnick is a serial entrepreneur who currently serves as CEO of Sourcify, a marketplace of the world’s top manufacturers. Having brought dozens of products to life, he knows the ins and outs of how to turn ideas into realities.