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How to start systematizing your business

As a business owner, sometimes the hardest part of the job is knowing what decisions to make. Maybe you look to other businesses you admire and wonder: How do they do it? How are they finding the right customers, or building such a recognizable brand—and doing it with the same unwavering efficiency every single time? The answer is systems.

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So, go ahead and think of a business that you admire. If you look at it carefully, you’ll notice that all of the things that make that business stand out to you—and even the things you can’t see—are the results of a thought-out system. In fact, every business has seven primary systems that dictate how the company runs. Within those seven systems, there are four business disciplines that focus on the internal operations of your business—the performance and development of the business itself: 

Then there are the three business activities that focus on the external operations—the ways in which you and your business directly interact with and serve customers: 

  • Customer Fulfillment
  • Lead Conversion
  • Lead Generation

The four business disciplines provide the knowledge, information and structural foundation that inform the strategy behind the three business activities.

The difference between a business that works and a business that doesn't lies in how those systems came to be: Were they intentionally designed with a vision in mind, or did they evolve by accident, from doing things a certain way over and over again without questioning? We don’t have to tell you that the second option is not the way to grow a successful business. If you’re experiencing the overwhelm that comes from a lack of strong systems, you know that already. 


So how can you start systematizing your business? 

Designing any system is going to take a framework—something that walks you through the development steps. Building a system without a framework is like building a bridge without a project plan, where you don’t know:

  • What specific results you want to achieve.
  • What steps you should take to successfully design and implement the system.
  • How much time it’ll take to build.
  • The required resources.
  • Who needs to be involved, and their accountabilities.
  • What you need to manage, and what you can delegate.
  • How to set and quantify standards.

Our Seven Essential Systems model is a useful and powerful framework that provides a starting place for planning and executing your systems design. You can download a free overview of the entire systems map here. When built well and maintained properly, these Seven Essential Systems create a high-performing business that draws in the right leads and employees, has a consistent and predictable cash flow, and gives you more time outside of work. (There’s really no downside to systems.)

Still, many business owners can’t build systems thoughtfully without the support of a mentor or coach. If you’d like to learn more about building systems, download our free guide or get in touch. We’re happy to help.

Tricia Huebner

Written by Tricia Huebner

Tricia Huebner is EMyth's VP of Coaching Emeritus. As one of the leading experts in all facets of the EMyth Approach, her 20 years of experience at EMyth included leadership roles in program development, coaching, coach training and marketing. Tricia’s commitment to helping business owners came from her own upbringing in a family of small business owners. In her time as a speaker and trainer, she addressed business audiences throughout the U.S., and internationally in Canada, Europe and Africa. Throughout her career, Tricia designed programs for the Small Business Administration and consulted with Fortune 1000 companies, and personally coached more than 200 small and mid-sized businesses, helping owners create businesses they love leading and lives they love living. She retired from EMyth in 2022 to pursue her own business within the wine industry.