top of page
  • Writer's pictureDavid A. Schneider

Systems In Business

What is meant by having “systems” in your business?

Why are systems crucial for a small business?

And how can you build your own systems in your business?

What makes a good company a great company are the systems it has in place.

If you are into this topic then I am sure you have heard the importance of systems a dozen times from several angles.

But what exactly is a system, how do you develop it and how do you make use of it?

Systems occur in different forms and cover a variety of topics, but what they all have in common is to produce a certain result over and over again in a specific situation.

This is the basic definition of a system in any business: it ensures a certain outcome.

The most obvious form of systems would be to have a for instance machinery in your production site that produces a certain piece of metal, over and over again as long as it runs. Every time you switch on the machine you know what the result will be.

The machine thus acts as a system in your business.

But it does not take expensive machinery to have a system that creates the same result over and over again.

Systems also exist in simple forms, like a job manual, a checklist or protocol.

For instance you can work out scripts for your people in the customer service, in sales or any other interaction that takes place directly with you customer.

Likewise you can also systematize internal procedures or basically any recurring event or scene.

systems in business
Proper systems allow a predicteable outcome in your business.

Are your people again and again asking you how to use the printer correctly?

  • Write a step by step guide and hang it on the wall above it.

Is the same step in your production over and over again full of mistakes?

  • Hand out a spreadsheet to everyone involved and place it on that production site too.

Are customers always complaining about the same mistake in your products?

  • Create a checklist to ensure this mistake is taken care of before the products will be shipped.

What's important to obey is that the result will be exactly how you or your customer expect it to be.

Consistency in producing goods is essential, and unfortunately many small businesses do not keep this promise.

Here's why that's important:

Imagine you are going out for dinner with your family to a restaurant in your town.

Let's say the waiter serves you perfectly and very accomodating, the burger you ordered tastes great and is filled with juicy meat and crispy onions and the portions on your plates are enormous.

You and your family are delighted, you tip generously and are sure that you will return to this restaurant soon.

2 weeks later, you again want to bring your family to that great restaurant you have been before.

On your way you already are looking forward to those big plates filled with delicious food and the kind service you had last time. Upon arrival you take your seat at the same table you were sitting last time.

But this time the nice waiter you had in mind is not here for any reason. Maybe he has his day off you think and don´t put any further attention to it. The waiter you have on that night is not gentle or accommodating, instead he just walks over to you and your family asking “Watcha want?” and does not seem to care about your night at all.

Well okay, at least you are looking forward to that delicious food, hence you didn't really eat something the whole day because you know there will be so much food on the plate. But as soon as the waiter arrives with your dish, you are shocked.

The portion of food is maybe half of what you had on your last visit. The meat is not juicy but dry instead and the crispy onions that you loved so much are totally missing this time. Even after you ate all of it, you are still hungry, and the waiter explains to you that here are 2 chefs working in the kitchen, and both have their individual way of preparing the food.

Yikes… and so you leave the restaurant in despair, knowing that you will need a sandwich at home because you are still hungry. The great night you wanted to enjoy with your family has been ruined this time.

Now my question to you:

Would you go to that restaurant again?

If a business fails to make structured processes in its work environment, the result for the client becomes annoying because he never knows what to expect.

Will my meat be juicy or dry this time?

Will I get enough to eat on my plate to be full or am I still going to be hungry after I´m finished?

Will the staff be friendly to us or rude?

Not knowing the result as a customer drives you crazy, and you probably won't be spending any money soon with that business again (unless maybe you love gambling).

If we stay in the food business, fast food chains like Burger King are so successful because as a customer you know exactly what to expect from them.

Every time you order there, you will have the exact same result, whether in New York or in Tokyo.

And so the customer keeps coming back as there is no variation in what he gets to eat and those who enjoy it can have the same burger over and over again.

The systems of handling customer experience, food preparation, etc. work their magic.

systems in business
Not knowing how your food will taste will drive customers to other restaurants..

To have predictable results in your business you need to have measurable processes to achieve those results.

There is no way to measure customer satisfaction, or a return rate if every time the customer gets a different product and is treated differently.

And still, many small businesses operate in exactly that sloppy “do it the way you know best” mentality. By creating a controlled environment where all processes are systematized up to the words your staff is using, you can test new techniques for improving and getting better results.

With such systems, you now know what works and what didn’t work. It allows you to fine-tune every detailed step in your company, from conversations on the phone with customers to the exact amount of salt on your fries.

If everybody is just working how they feel like it, the results will be accordingly - they will be just like people felt that day.

Thus your business profits become dependent on how your staff is feeling that day.

What a concept!

Try for example calling any big company with a customer issue.

Almost all of them have annoying waiting loops, and then it depends totally on the person who picks up the phone on the other hand.

You might have a call with a nice and understanding person who is eager to help you or you could just have it with someone who is bored and doesn't care about you at all.

Again we are gambling about the outcome when trying to reach a customer service representative!

The experience as a customer is horrifying.

Now big companies can afford that because they make enough money to not care about a few annoyed customers - but as a small business that needs to grow you can´t do that.

But it is not just customer experiences.

Having systematic processes in your company will help you to manage more effectively.

If all the small decisions can be handled by the staff themselves, there will be massively more time for the CEO and top management to take care about the most important work: working ON the business and not in the business.

Otherwise the business will always have a natural bottleneck, and that is the amount of workload that the owner can handle and the number of decisions he can make.

With proper systems in place, you can multiply the expertise you have in your company. Be it your own or those of your employees.

To create your own systems, find the best practices of how things should be done.

Write them down.

Make it visible for everyone involved.

And let your employees know that these are the new standards everybody has to align with.

By creating your own systems in your business, you are setting the groundwork to grow as a company in the long run and for a prosperous future.


bottom of page