A truly "EMyth'd business" is a systems-dependent business. This will come as no surprise to those of you who are familiar with EMyth. In many circles EMyth is synonymous with systems. But sometimes the idea people have in their heads about systems and how they work in a business are different than what we actually advocate.
One of the keys to succeeding in business is through analyzing and improving business development systems. We call this business development cycle "Innovation, Quantification, and Orchestration." For the purposes of this article, we're going to look at these in reverse order:
- Orchestration is the strategic development and delivery of your systems.
- Quantification is the evaluation of those systems.
- Innovation is the process of improving your systems.
So let's take a look at some of the processes involved in the systems development cycle.
A systems strategy
We believe that your systems strategy is your business strategy, and the business systems you put in place are your business. This goes back to the idea of the franchise prototype or turn-key business idea — that if you do it right, your business will run itself, systematically and predictably.
If you're new to this idea, it's easy to feel overwhelmed when you take a look at your business and try to figure out where to begin. There are literally hundreds of things you could systematize, but only a handful of things you should, at least right out of the gates.
You have to think strategically about what systems will have a meaningful impact on your business. Is it in your best interest to come up with a system that properly routes a prospect through your phone queue? Maybe. Or what about a system for shipping out packages? Possibly. The strategy will be different for every business; the key is to exercise your best judgment on what system to begin with that will create the result with the biggest impact on your business.
We've had business owners who've told us that their business really is systematized - it's just that the systems are all in their head. Well folks — we hate to break it to you — but that doesn't count!
Unless a system is documented, it can't be repeated properly. You may have a system that has naturally developed over time, and it works pretty well because the people who do it have been doing it that way for a long time. But if that process is not written down, how can you train others to create the same results?
Documenting processes is absolutely essential. And it's not necessarily about the structure of the document, so don't get caught up in that aspect. It doesn't really matter how you write it down; just that you do it in a way that's effective in your business and can be easily followed.
Systems should be dynamic. When you notice that you aren't getting the results that you expect from a particular system, you might be tempted to jump to an innovation phase, to step in and immediately implement changes you think will help. Resist this temptation! Don't even think about it until you've taken a good hard look at what's really going on.
In the Innovation, Quantification and Orchestration cycle, systems evaluation is the Quantification stage. When you document your systems, you must have clearly defined and quantifiable results so that you know how to evaluate your efforts. It's the only way to truly determine if your systems are effective.
One of my clients owns an online retail store. After great deliberation, he and his key staff developed a system that was supposed to be producing a lot of new leads. They documented the system, they trained everyone to use it and they rolled it out with a lot of fanfare — after all — the intended result was to increase leads in a big way — this was going to have a huge impact on their business.
After rolling out the "new and improved" system, sure enough, they did attract some new leads. But during one of our coaching calls we took a good hard look at the data — we quantified the results and realized that although it felt like the systems were working, in actuality, they weren't getting any more leads than they were before. Even though they had spent time, energy and financial resources aimed at producing a better result, the bottom line was that it just wasn't working. If we hadn't taken the time to evaluate the system, they wouldn't have been aware of the problem and they wouldn't have been able to go through the process of innovation to fix it.
Systems evaluation is an essential (but often forgotten) step in understanding your business better. By taking a good hard look at your systems and their intended results, you can determine where innovation (or possibly elimination) needs to occur.
Systems innovation is about creating new systems, enhancing existing systems, and doing things in a better way. The truth is that every system can be improved and systems innovation will keep your business healthy year after year.
Using the indicators you developed in your systems evaluation process, you'll be able to immediately determine whether or not new ideas are having a measurable impact. And in today's challenging economy, you may need to make quite a few adjustments to your business.
At the end of the day, your systems have to serve your business. They should help you by minimizing costs, maximizing profits and ultimately increase the value of your business.
Systems are the solution
Implementing systems doesn't have to be a scary process that you put off for a rainy day. Remember, your systems strategy is integrated in the business development cycle of Orchestration, Quantification and Innovation. Implementing your best practices (a.k.a. systems) will help you build a thriving turn-key business operation.
Share your story
How has the business development cycle shown up in your business? What systems are you currently quantifying and innovating to stay nimble in the marketplace? Post a comment and tell us about it.