A Beginner's Guide to Business Systems


Are you working on your business or working in it? 

While the average business owner works more than 50 hours per week, they spend 68% of that time working “in” their business, doing work that can easily be delegated to someone else, like customer service or employee training. This leaves little time to dedicate towards actually growing and improving their business as a whole. 

Sound familiar? Well, there’s a solution so simple you might’ve skipped over it. To make better use of your time, build a business that operates self-sufficiently. How? By creating and implementing business systems that do the work for you. 

At first glance, business systems may seem like child’s play, but don’t underestimate the power of going back to the basics. Implementing business systems will give your business an unshakable foundation, an optimized workflow, and an unstoppable recipe for success.

To equip yourself with the tools and knowledge you need to put the right systems into place, our guide is here to break down the what’s, the why’s, and the how’s of business systems. From there, you’ll have everything you need to streamline your everyday operations and revert your focus to big-picture projects. 

What is a business system? 

Now, the term “business systems” gets thrown around a lot, but what does it actually mean? 

Well, to understand what a business system is, you first have to understand that business systems are just one cog in the grand machine that keeps your business operating smoothly. Generally speaking, to get your business moving forward, you’ll need:

Strategy: A strategy is essentially your overarching plan for how you expect to achieve your business goals, whatever they may be.

Business system: A business system is the processes and procedures that work together to put your strategy into action and achieve your goals.

Process: A process is the list of steps you have to take in order to achieve your goals. 

Procedure: A procedure is the specific way in which you take those steps. Your procedures are the detailed instructions that support your processes.

In order to get your business where it needs to go, a business system will detail precisely what you need to do and how you need to do it. Not only that, but a business system will show you the fastest, most efficient way to get something done. 

To give you a better idea of what business systems look like in practice, here are some examples of the most commonly used business systems:

  • HR
  • Training
  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Accounting

Real-life example

Let’s say, for instance, one of your goals is to gain more clients. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of what achieving this goal might look like:

Gain more clients by advertising your business (Strategy)

Use marketing processes & procedures to advertise your business (Business system

Run a lead generation process to advertise your business (Process)

Conduct A/B testing to ensure optimal advertising (Procedure)

Benefits of business systems

Not only do business systems provide a clearer path to achieving the goals you set out in your strategy, but they can also give your company a much-needed boost in:

  • Productivity

Rather than reserving information to just a few individuals or departments, business systems can make every member of your team an expert on your business. That way, you can minimize supervision, more easily integrate new hires, and reallocate time previously wasted on basic training to more important projects. 

  • Time Efficiency

Why spend days running a process that could be done in an hour? Work smarter, not harder by implementing business systems, which can create shortcuts for just about any major process in your business. Stop wasting your team’s precious time and start implementing business systems that do the work for you. 

  • Consistency

When it comes to interacting with customers, business systems allow you to deliver a consistent experience. Your clients can expect the same experience each time they connect with your business, which can help you establish trust and build long-lasting relationships.

  • Perspicacity

With a clear picture of your company’s operations, you can figure out exactly what’s working and what’s not, allowing you the opportunity to improve operations with ease. And if potential problems arise, you can catch them early on and snuff them out before they get out of hand.

  • Scalability

Business systems simplify your workloads, so instead of wasting time running processes, your team can now shift their focus towards projects that actually help your company grow. Should your business ever consider selling, you can impress investors by having replicable business systems already in place.

Creating your own business system

Want to create a business system of your own, but don’t know where to start? Just follow these four steps:

1. Identify

Think about the tasks that your team has to get done to keep your business up and running. What do your everyday operations look like? What projects come back on your roster frequently? 

2. Document

Now write down in as many details as possible how you and your team go about completing these tasks, including step-by-step instructions. Make sure it answers questions like:

  • What is the task?
  • Who on your team is responsible for this task?
  • When is this task supposed to be completed?

3. Simplify

Is there a better, faster way to get these tasks done? If you find some steps to be redundant, ineffective, or just unnecessary, take them out. You want to make sure your instructions for undertaking this task are kept to the bare essentials. 

4. Implement 

Congratulations, you’ve now created a business system. Now, all you have to do is implement it. Share this business system with your team, so you all follow the same steps you wrote down every single time you take this task on.

5. Improve 

After your business system has been implemented for a while, you might find that what worked effectively before doesn’t anymore. That’s okay! You can change it as needed. Your business systems don’t need to abide by any hard fast rules — rather, they should develop and grow alongside your business, so be sure to review your business systems often to keep them as effective as possible.

Bonus tip: Use automation & outsourcing

Implementing business systems already takes a lot of work off your plate, but what if you could hand off even more? It’s possible — with automation and outsourcing.

You can delegate nearly anything your in-house staff normally handles to an outsourced team of professionals, like Smith.ai. Our virtual receptionists can answer calls, pre-screen potential clients, schedule appointments, take payments, complete intake forms, deliver essential performance insights, and so much more. Plus, we can place outbound sales calls on your behalf and provide comprehensive support for your outreach campaigns

And with Smith.ai’s Zapier integration, you can automate just about anything, from business communications, like texts, emails, and chats, to marketing operations, like social media campaigns, client data collection, and customer feedback surveys. With many of your processes running automatically, you can have technology do the heavy lifting for you.

Give your productivity a boost with Smith.ai 

Take productivity and efficiency to the next level with Smith.ai. Our award-winning services are designed to take more off your plate, so you can run your business systems even more hands-off. Smith.ai was recognized by Clutch as a top sales outsourcing provider. Book a 30-minute consultation to learn what options suit your business needs best.

Business Education

Elizabeth Lockwood is the content marketing associate at Smith.ai. She focuses specifically on writing and editing engaging articles, blog posts, and other forms of publication.

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