One question I often get from business owners is “What’s the best app for systemising my business?” The question itself is very frustrating to hear, because it’s typically rooted in a basic misunderstanding around what systemisation really is. If an organisation needs process improvement, simply downloading an app is not the answer.
First of all – what is systemisation? And why is it not something we can apply to the business in app-form, like we can with our communications and planning software for example? Well, the easiest way of describing systemisation is that it is a series of processes, all linked to one overarching business objective. Systemising a business is about understanding the process flow throughout the organisation and using that information to optimise every area.
Addressing the real problem
So does this mean that apps are useless? Oh no, definitely not. There are plenty of apps out there that will help you improve the way you run and manage your business. Some of them are excellent value and can benefit your entire operation – but there’s no point even thinking about software until you have a clear view of what your business actually needs.
Imagine going to the chemist’s asking for a bottle of pills for your stomach ache, without a prescription from the doctor. What would happen? Well, you could get lucky and receive something that helps alleviate your pain, but you’ll never be sure you’re addressing the actual problem unless you get fully examined first.
Processes first, tools second
The best starting point is to get a complete ‘health check’ of your current business processes. This means mapping out your operations, discovering your pain points, bottlenecks and weak areas. Once you have this holistic view of your business laid bare, you can understand what the suitable treatment will need to look like.
So what would a business system health check involve, and why would you need one?
It would help you to…
- Map out the status quo
We can never improve what we do until we know what we do. This might sound ridiculously simple, but the reality is that most businesses actually have very little visibility of their own current processes. They may have a general idea of how things happen, but it’s not until they actually draw the map that they see it all for what it is. This often creates a giant lightbulb moment.
- Check alignment
The purpose of your business processes is of course to meet the overall commercial objectives of the business. Each process should play its part in bringing the organisation closer to its goals. But how do you know if that’s what’s happening today? By analysing your process flow you will soon be able to see if every part is contributing to the end goal.
- Find the gaps
As a business owner, it’s sometimes easy to get so immersed in the detail of the daily tasks that we fail to see the bigger picture. This also means that we can’t see what’s missing in our process and delivery systems. It’s only when we step back from the daily routine and review our current situation from a helicopter perspective that we can spot any obvious gaps. What’s interesting, however, is that when we do see these gaps it often becomes immediately clear what we need to do to fill them – or work around them.
- Evaluate tools
We all use plenty of tools in our businesses, both manual and digital. But do you know which tools are actually the most useful and the most cost-effective? And which tools can be replaced by new, better ones? When we understand how and where we can apply tools to speed up or improve the way we work, it makes the decision-making process much simpler. No more guesswork or trials; just the application of tried and tested tools that show an immediate return on investment.
- Document findings
As useful as the process-mapping exercise itself is, documentation is sometimes even more important. A written, detailed representation of what’s been discovered can serve as a guiding document going forward. It can also be a great way to share the results with the wider team and give everyone the opportunity to feel part of the systemisation process.
- Highlight next steps
Doing things like process mapping and analysis is all good and well, but it’s what happens next that really matters. Once you can see your actual processes clearly and understand where changes need to be made, it’s important to take action. A good health check will give you a set of recommendations for how to best address the challenges you’ve discovered, and guide you in taking the steps required.
Now, just like a visit to the doctor, your business health check may uncover some unexpected problem areas that you weren’t aware of. But likewise, it can also help you spot opportunities for being more efficient that you never quite considered before. Either way, this is the starting point to really understand the inner workings of your business and – quite literally – see it in a new light.
The question is: What will you do with what you find?
Get your own systems health check
Are you ready to spend a day working on your business rather than in it? Take the time to get a full health check and find the peace of mind that comes with getting back in control of your processes. Call us today on 07771 775741.