When you sit down to plan out what's next for your business, it's easy to feel the weight of prior plans that haven't worked out like you'd hoped. Metaphorically (and sometimes literally), there’s a boundary between where you've been and what’s to come. And as a business coach, I often help my clients build the bridge between those two points to help them plan for the future by looking at the past. It starts with an assessment of their business systems.
In any business, there are Seven Essential Systems that—when strong and functioning efficiently—can create a high-performing business that delivers a high-equity return. But often, these seven systems are not functioning efficiently. They haven’t been designed to work together so that your business operates as an integrated whole. In fact, most of the time, business owners haven’t designed their systems at all. They just develop by default over time.
If you want to effectively plan for the next month, quarter or year, you need to design thoughtful systems, and to start, you need to baseline the health of your existing business systems. Read through each of The Seven Essential Systems below and rate the strength of your business (or yourself) to deliver on this system (0-10 scale, Poor-Average-Excellent). Or better yet, take our full free assessment and get a more detailed score.
Leadership is the core of your business. It’s at the center of all your other business systems, because how you lead—and how you define your vision, values and strategy—gives direction and purpose to everything else. How would you rate your current leadership skills?
In Marketing, your focus is on the most fundamental business subject: your customers. Your Marketing System affects everything that touches your customer—from that first contact through the final delivery of your product or service. How would you rate the effectiveness of your company’s marketing strategy?
Money is the lifeblood of every business. Every condition in your business—good or bad—is reflected in how money flows through it. You can (and should) use financial reporting as a powerful management tool. Do you? In general, how would you rate the financial health of your company?
Management is the main tool for developing both your people and your systems, and it's subsequently how you achieve results through well-run processes. How would you rate your management ability and the effectiveness of the other managers in your company?
Customer Fulfillment is where your customers get what they want—and what you’ve promised them—from your business. It includes how your business produces and delivers the product and/or service you sell, and how your team provides customer service and support. How well does your company deliver your products/services so that you’re consistently meeting (and hopefully exceeding) their expectations?
Lead Conversion makes customers of the people who’ve been attracted to your business. A strong Lead Conversion system—also called “Sales”—taps into the emotional needs of your prospective customers and creates a consistent and loyal base. How do you rate your team's ability to nurture and convert leads?
Lead Generation is when you execute your marketing strategy to attract qualified leads. In other words, it’s how you get prospects to notice you. It’s any activity designed to attract your ideal customer, including the design, production and messaging elements of each activity. How strong is your company’s ability to generate the right number of quality leads?
Now that you’ve assessed your Seven Essential Systems, you have an idea of where your business’s foundation needs support. Of course, you can plan for the future without that foundation, but without systems, it’s nearly impossible to make that plan a reality. If you want to understand what it takes to build a system, download our free Systems Guide, or reach out to speak with a coach.