How to build bulletproof business systems for your SME

So you want to put your business on autopilot and finally take an unplugged vacation where you can safely step away from your laptop, phone and other devices, do you? Then you need business systems and they need to be good. Unfortunately, there’s no shortcut around this – it’s not a task you can fast track or delegate to someone else, because it’s you you’re trying to replace with these systems. But a nod in the right direction might help you to kick-start the process. Take a look at these nine steps to nailing down the perfect business systems for your SME:

  1. Take inventory

Make yourself some snacks and find a comfortable seat, because this could take a while… you’re about to draw up a list of everything you do for your business.

  1. Simplify

It’s probably a long list, but you can make it a lot shorter by prioritising each task according to importance. Start with daily tasks and move on to the less frequent tasks as you go.

  1. Get your flow

For each task, create a flow-chart or map out the necessary steps that must be taken to achieve it.

  1. Installing…

Now comes the challenge of finding someone to fill your shoes. But before you do, make sure you check to see if any of these steps can be automated. The face of technology is changing every day and you never know how many new technologies you’ve missed while trying to steer your business. These technologies may help you to let go of the wheel now.

  1. Do the math

For the rest of the steps, you need to assess their resource requirements – how much coin, effort and manpower will they take?

  1. Test the water

Come up with a plan based on your calculations and put it into action, keeping a close eye on where you can improve and streamline the system.

  1. Document the process

Having business systems in place won’t give you much freedom if it takes almost as long to explain them as it does to do them. You don’t want to be wasting your valuable time explaining them over and over again, so create a System Action Plan for ease of reference.

  1. Pass on the baton

You will need to assign accountability and establish standards to gauge the performance of your systems and the staff running them as well.

  1. Create contingency measures

The perfect system is one that knows perfect systems don’t exist. Things change, accidents happen and people make mistakes. This is unavoidable, but preparing for it could give you and your staff the upper hand in tackling these issues, as and when they arise.