Even though economic headwinds may not be new, increasing talk about recession can make it difficult for even the most dedicated leaders to stay afloat. Yet Winston Churchill famously advised us to “never let a crisis go to waste” and encourages us to set sail for new opportunities.
Recession or not, many entrepreneurs live life with all hands on deck solving problems as if merely trying to stay afloat and–often by sheer willpower–steer their business back onto the right course. However, there is still a way for them to find true tailwinds to propel their company forward, even in difficult times.
Systemes: What is the case?
‘The E-Myth’ author Michael E. Gerber recently said that businesses failing during another recent crisis, the Covid19 pandemic, would have sunk regardless. “The tragedy for them is not the (pandemic),” he said, “it’s the lack of understanding of what a business is, how one must work in order to grow effectively.”
As with a sailboat and its crew, “how one must work” is using systems. Without systems such as navigation, sail trimming, counter weighing and more, a boat will get stuck in neutral, with no wind in its sails—or it can capsize and even worse, sink. The same goes for business.
Within the UK, half of all small businesses fail in the first three year. Among the reasons are being outcompeted, lacking talent and burning out. The systems can help solve these issues and take an active role in harnessing company’s energy.
What exactly are business systems?
They’re simply simple, consisting of detailed processes business owners can repeat for consistent, quantifiable results. Simple. It’s easy.
Navigation, regardless of whether it is satnav, celestial or other, has the same four steps: 1) Find your location; 2) Determine a course and track the progress; 3) Monitor the course; 4) Repeat. Kind of like tracking your progress towards your sales target or marketing director’s KPI, right?
Let’s look at a couple of my favourite business areas where processes make a huge impact. My top two areas for systemisation will get you more out of your ‘ship and crew’ with headwind or tailwind alike.
1. Education and the people
“Systems run the business and people run the systems,” Michael E. Gerber says.
The hiring of employees is an important concern for all business owners. Make sure to plan the entire process from the beginning. A single mistake, especially at the senior levels, could set back your business plan by a year.
Systems can be built to optimize hiring processes, create effective job listings and ensure you look in the right places.
During this process you can use system-friendly tools like DISC profiling to help you assemble teams of diverse thinkers and you can rely on instruments like positional contracts to be abundantly plain and clear about people’s roles. You can also systemise performance tracking and onboarding, as well as training and learning, to ensure that your employees have equal opportunities for growth.
2. Measurement and testing
You want your business to be on a continuous improvement journey. How can you help your business navigate this journey? Measure and test everything possible, including budgets, jobs ads, leads origin, conversion rates, logistics costs and other factors.
Let’s look at a sales example. As much automation as possible should be used to streamline the process of lead acquisition, nurturing, and conversion. As digital technology is so prevalent, it’s possible to use not just software, but also automate the entire process.
You can use an email marketing tool as well as a CRM tool to help build automated processes for acquiring leads and nurturing them over time.
Too often, I find entrepreneurs who are in the habit of simply sending out email blasts or using haphazard marketing techniques without any strategy. Given how important it is, how much time and money are invested, and the potential value of converted leads to the business, it’s crucial to make sure the message, ad, etc. fits into their overall marketing strategy and that there’s a plan and process to engage and qualify leads generated from those investments.
Make a big start
These two are my favorite areas for systemizing. It is important to begin small when you are trying to implement these vital processes. Even though this may sound controversial, I suggest starting large. Imagine the company that you will be leaving. Visualize how professional and efficient it is.).
You can start acting professionally now, and you should aim to get systems in place as quickly as possible. It will not be easy to get out of your business. Your systems will continue to catch up. However, as they do so, your company will be moving forward, in both stormy and optimal economic circumstances. And start now; as the saying goes, “time and tide wait for no-one!”
Addicted 2 Success published How Businesses Can Build Resilience in Tough Economies.
Addicted 2 Success published the article Resilience Building in Troubled Economies: How Businesses Help.