If you run a business there's a good chance you are hoping for two things:

  1. To grow and scale your business
  2. To eventually work less and still make money (make the business more passive)

The good news is that both of these goals are accomplished the same way - through creating the right systems for the business.

Most people I talk to agree with me. They want to create the right systems so they can work less and make more money over the long haul.

The problem is that they're swamped just doing the business and to create systems means they have to have the time to think "on" the business.

Who has time for that?

Creating systems and passing those systems to others is kind of like teaching a teenager how to drive.

It's a lot more work at first, not to mention stressful. They have to study for a test, then pass the test; then you have to ride with them for a while to make sure they can switch lanes without looking at their phones and killing the mom in the minivan next to you in the process.

You feel out of control….at least for a while.

But then it happens. They can drive by themselves. Not only that, you begin to trust that they aren't the worst driver on the road.

Then, remarkably, they take their younger sister to soccer practice without you.

You literally didn't have to leave the house. They did all the work, and it felt amazing.

Creating systems is like that. At first, it's harder. It will take more time to figure it out, mess it up a little, get it right, and then pass it down to others. But once you get them in place, you'll feel a new type of freedom that is hard to describe.

There are five types of systems you need to think through.

Having these types of systems in place will allow you to grow your business over time and decrease your involvement (if that's what you want).

The acronym SCOPE helps me remember these.

#1: Strategy

Most business leaders I know make decisions based on their gut. Sometimes they're good and sometimes not so much.

It's crucial to develop a system to help you make and implement decisions. That's what I mean when I way 'strategy' systems.

How do you and your leadership team decide what opportunities need to be taken advantage of or what the biggest problems your business needs to tackle this quarter are?

How do you continually keep those strategic initiatives in front of you and your team? How do you keep from chasing the latest rabbit that comes running down the trail?

You need a system in place to make and implement strategic decisions as a business.

#2: Cashflow

Show me the money! How do you manage your money? When do you pay bills? What terms do you have in place with clients and vendors? When you put a dollar into your business, what happens?

All of these are cashflow questions. You need a clear system to manage this. If you don't, you probably won't be in business very long.

For small businesses, I recommend Mike Michalowicz's Profit First system. Just google it to check it out.

#3: Operations

This is what most people think about when it comes to systems. They apply to all things that make the business practically run day to day.

A CRM system to help you manage clients. A sales cadence to help you control how and when you reach out to clients. A routing system to help you get to the most clients each day if you have a service business. Marketing tools and systems to help you get new clients.

Anything you can think of to run the day to day operations of the business would fall into this category.

#4: People

Do you have a system for hiring? How do you make sure you get the right team members that are a skill and culture fit? How do you evaluate them? How do you onboard and train them? What does leadership development look like?

All of these things are people system questions. You don't want to mess this one up.

Take the time to create the people systems you need to be successful.

#5: Execution

The final type of system you need relates to execution.

How do you make sure things get done right and on time? Do you have clear metrics and accountability systems in place?

What kind of meeting cadence do you have to examine the numbers and ensure people are getting done what you've prioritized for the quarter?

If you want to execute at a high level, you need to answer those questions.

Maybe you're feeling a little overwhelmed right now. It's a lot to handle.

Like my daughter says, "Smell your flower (breathe in) and blow out your candle (breathe out)."

Once you do that, start with strategy. How can you be sure you are taking advantage of critical opportunities and tackling important issues?

If you aren't taking advantage of opportunities and solving your business's biggest problems, then it doesn't matter if you have great operational systems.

You'll just be doing the wrong things more efficiently….and nobody wants that.

Getting these five types of systems in place will help you scale your organization.

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Photo by Leyre Labarga on Unsplash