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Systems Promote Growth

There is not much, if anything, in the working life of a small business owner that doesn't fall into one of three areas - Time, Team and Money. Last month we were talking about how businesses grow and suggesting that systems are a key part of that growth. Systems are in fact, what promotes you from one stage of growth to the next. You know from past posts, that we have a very liberal interpretation of systems…. pretty much anything that you can repeat is a good system. I recently heard a story about an entrepreneur who started and grew a very successful "gourmet hot dog business". He was asked about the accounting system he used when he started the business. It was just about as simple as you can get. The left front pocket of his jeans was where he put the money that the business earned. The money that he needed to pay the expenses of the business would come out of the same pocket. His energies went into making sure that pocket was never empty when he had to pay a bill. That accounting system served him well through his expansion to a 2nd cart. By the time he opened his first store front location, things had gotten complicated enough that he had to upgrade his system. If you look at the Business Growth chart that we provided in our post two weeks ago. (Here's a link to that document if you need another copy). You will see that there are 14 different systems that you could have in your business, spread across the 3 pillars of "Time, Team and Money". Your business may very well not need all 14 of these systems. Each system is also associated with the Stage of Growth during which it is typically developed. The development of the system (consciously or unconsciously) is what promotes you to the next stage of growth. Here's some thoughts on how you might put this information to work for your business -

  • If you can't quite get your business to the next stage of growth, do an inventory of the systems that should be in place. If one or more are absent, that might just be what's holding you back.

  • If you have recently moved up to a stage and are finding it to be less than comfortable. An inventory of systems, again might uncover the missing part that, if put in place would bring you that comfort.

  • If you are making it to the next stage and then sliding back, a missing system might be the pin that would lock that success in place. Letting you hold onto your growth and move forward from there.

Right Message/Best Customer and Customer Action Plan are two of the 6 systems, that are cornerstones, that every business needs. There is a strong argument that these are the most important systems for every business. So, if you don't have them in place I would start there. Over the course of my next few Business Coaching posts, we are going to talk about the other 4 that are highlighted on this chart.

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