This article originally appeared in HuffPost. Read the original here.
As an entrepreneur, I know how much time and energy goes into building a business. From the original idea to getting your first customer or hiring your first employee, it’s exciting yet tremendously hard work that gets you there. Running a long-term business requires a solid support network that will provide high-quality results over and over again.
That support network is otherwise known as a system. Systems power just about everything a business does and produce consistent, quality results. If you’ve ever walked into a large chain like Starbucks and ordered your favorite drink, you’ll probably notice that everything functions the same store to store and even country to country. As a coffee fanatic, I’ve visited Starbucks across the world, and I can always count on a good cup of coffee, regardless of the location.
Systems are incredibly important to a business, and for good reason. Here are just a few reasons why systems are so critical to the success of your business.
Systems Set Standards
Whether your systems are written down in a binder or stored electronically, the biggest benefit of having systems is that they help you set standards. Going back to my Starbucks example, without a system, every barista would produce a different drink based on their expertise or personal preference. As a business owner, this is a red flag because you don’t want your product or service delivery to be ever changing. You want consistent results each and every time.
When I was trying to grow our agency, I consulted with a growth coach, and the most important advice he gave me was to set up and document solid systems. It has definitely made a difference in how we operate and the delivery of our work and services.
Systems Provide Freedom
As a business owner, there’s no worse feeling than knowing that a few employees know everything about your business. What happens if they leave? Will you have a business then?
Systems give businesses the freedom from being tied to a particular individual. A solid system should allow qualified individuals to pick up and run with any given position your business needs. Call it your training manuals or standard operating procedures: These are critical to ensuring your business is not dependent on individuals and their talents. That’s why at our agency, we strive to write down as many processes as we can. From knowledge base articles to video recordings, we want to have strong training and resource materials.
Systems Create Quality
Quality is important to every business owner. The quality of your food or your service is what helps you stand out from competitors. Making sure that your quality is consistent can only come from solid systems.
Whether it’s the temperature of a steak or that statement of work, systems will make sure that what comes out is consistently high quality and to the standards you’ve set. Without systems, the quality of your work or deliverables will be inconsistent at the very least and non-existent in worse case scenarios.
Quality can be relative and different from person to person. What you may think is a mediocre job may be a job well done for someone else. That’s why systems are fundamental to knowing exactly what the end result should look like. I’m deeply involved in documenting every process we have. After all, I want to make sure we offer our clients the best result time and time again.
If you’re a young entrepreneur, it might be easy to operate without systems today. However, as you grow, you’ll need systems to help you scale and maintain the quality and standards your customers expect.