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Now is the time for systems

Systems Thinking

3 min read

The world is experiencing a seismic shift, and it’s affecting businesses of all sizes—including ours. An email from a business I follow, sent on March 17, offered a poignant example: Inside the CEO publicly shared a letter to her employees, announcing a minimum 8-week closure of all their stores and a full company layoff.

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Yes, it was tragic—and I felt for this company as I do for all businesses at this moment. But one detail of the letter struck me. It was the regret that the business couldn’t pay and insure their people during the closure because of a financial system that, as she described, “run[s] on duct tape and twine on a daily basis, every day trading funds from one pocket to patch the hole in another.”

Unfortunately, we hear similar stories from business owners every day at EMyth. And it breaks my heart because it doesn’t have to be that way. But it’s a very real example of the interconnectedness of your business systems and the way in which they support running your company, whether you created them by intentional design or, as in this case, by default—where the system isn’t producing the results you really want.

The need to shutter your business or get creative to keep things going isn’t necessarily reality for all of you—some are experiencing a boom. But the one thing we all have in common is uncertainty, and part of being a business owner, part of being a leader, is preparing for situations where the future is uncertain. That’s why I believe, now more than ever, that the only way to alleviate uncertainty in your business is to have reliable systems.

Carefully crafted systems produce consistent, predictable results.

So whatever your situation at the moment—whether you have a lot of extra time on your hands or are experiencing a surge—it’s the right time to systematize your business. Start by considering the Seven Essential Systems that every business needs to create an solid operational foundation and a seamless customer experience:

  • Leadership
  • Marketing
  • Finance
  • Management
  • Customer Fulfillment
  • Lead Conversion
  • Lead Generation

And within each major system are a set of subsystems. We break this down fully in our EMyth Roadmap.

To get started right now, pick one core subsystem within each of the major systems and develop it. Do you have employees who are suddenly working from home, and you worry they won’t stay on task? Maybe it’s time to design and implement weekly Employee Development Meetings (a subsystem of the Management System). Or maybe you’re facing a cash shortage and need to create a cash management plan (an integral part of the Finance System) to get you through. You know what your business needs right now. And whatever you work on during this time is going to make your businesses stronger for the future.

Once you’ve chosen the systems to focus on, our Systems Guide will get you started. And if you feel ready to develop your systems with a coach, we’re here to help.

Note: Since releasing that public announcement, the company mentioned has experienced an outpouring of public support that may help to sustain the company through this challenge. It’s an amazing example of how we’re all in this together and how vulnerability in a leader is sometimes the most powerful thing.


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.