Russell Streeter

From Entrepreneur the Business Owner

“Would you like to turn your job into a business?”

I posed this question at a recent business event and was met with looks of bemusement and disdain. I think I know what the audience were thinking.

“What is he talking about? I don’t have a job…I fired the boss years ago!”

Yes, you did. Unfortunately you also fired the sales team, the receptionist, the accounts department, the mailroom staff…and you now do it all yourself.

Even if you employ some staff in your small business, does it seem as though you do most of the work? Or, most of the non-client facing work?

The hard truth is this: if your business doesn’t work without your being there, then you have a job. (And, often in these circumstances, not a very well paid job either.)

So, back to my initial question: how do you turn your job into a business?

The answer is Systemisation

The definition of systemisation is “to arrange in a system”. In the business context, it’s about working smarter, not harder. For a small business this means automating what can be automated, outsourcing what can be outsourced and ensuring that the remaining tasks are performed as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Systemisation is important not just for reducing your workload (and probably your sanity!), but also because if the business depends on you in order to function, it will be unable to grow beyond a certain point.

This is simply because you only have 24 hours in each day (and you have to sleep for at least some of them).

So what are three steps required to systemise a business?

The first step is to review and analyse your business as it is now. You’ll be looking at what works and what doesn’t work, as well as documenting existing systems and processes in order to identify areas for improvement.

Step two is to improve your existing systems and processes, making the business more efficient and profitable. This can be quite rewarding, because the investment so far will have been small, but you will start to see returns already.

Step three involves a combination of installing new systems, implementing new processes and better ways of working, and outsourcing what you don’t need to do internally.

Of course, these three steps can become four or six or ten, depending on the complexity of your business.

You want me to do what?!

But perhaps the most important part of systemisation is for you as a business owner to relinquish some control. This will also be most difficult thing to do, as the business is your baby, which you built up from nothing. It may also be your main source of income.

How can you trust people who are only interested in working from 9 to 5 and collecting a salary every month?!

In this case, it may help to remember these important points:

  1. It is likely that the person you are delegating or outsourcing to is an expert and probably better at the role than you are.
  2. Yes, they will make a mistake eventually, but haven’t you also made mistakes in the past, and will do in the future? Good oversight and management can reduce most of these risks.
  3. They will bring a different perspective to the role that may be beneficial.

Most importantly, your business will not grow unless you give up some control.

Time for a change

Would you like to work less and earn more? Or, perhaps you want to work the same amount, but enjoy it more?

If you spend most of your time fighting fires, or directing operational matters at the expense of strategic planning; if you spend all your time working in the business, rather on it, you need to systemise.

In another post, I will look at the types of systems you should implement as your business grows.

So change your business. Change your life!