The daily life of a small business owner is a bit like being in the eye at the center of a storm. You can see chaos in every direction, but it’s your job to control that chaos, and even better, to direct it. What’s the first step in doing that? Creating systems.
In his seminal work on entrepreneurship, The E-Myth Revisited, Michael Gerber explains how important it is to have written instructions and detailed explanations for all the jobs at your company, present and future. This isn’t just to cover the common sense “what if something happens to me tomorrow” scenario, but because you’ll find in creating and drafting these processes exactly what your best practices are.
In creating these systems you will be consulting the three roles that compete for the heart and mind of each small business owner: the manager, the technician, and the entrepreneur. The manager looks after the how and where, the technician looks after the what, and the entrepreneur is the who and continues to iterate the why. You need all three of them to run the business, and you can’t allow any one of them to dominate how you create your systems.
Having systems in place not only ensures that your business runs well in the present and has a roadmap for the future, but it also makes your business more sellable. Buyers are attracted to companies that have “owner’s manuals” included, not because they want to only do things “by the book,” but because they know the discipline, foresight, and hard work necessary to create systems in the first place, and know that increases their chances of succeeding once they take over.
But the most important reason to use systems? It frees you to be creative and work on your business instead of in your business. Instead of letting that pile of stuff you “should get to” build on the corner of your desk, with systems in place, you’ll get to dig into that pile. Create those systems. Your future self will thank you.
What is an important system you have created for your business? If you are not a small business owner, tell us about a system you helped create at your workplace. We will select the best answer to win a gift certificate for a 3-course hair service for you to gift to a friend who you think deserves a Gents Place experience.