- by Don
If you’re going to grow your business, you need “the S-word.” If you want to be more productive in your personal or business life, you need “the S-word.” Want to stop procrastinating? Guess what? The S-Word can help! And if you really want to be more creative, you really need “the S-word.”
So what is the S-Word?
Allow me to illustrate with a story…
Last summer, I took my son camping at Hagan Stone Park. We love this little park, especially when we can get in the B Section. It has nice, large spots, lots of trees, and just feels like camping. Plus there’s a nice trail that leads to a large play area and public pool, so we get to combine nature hikes with play activities. The park has water and electric, but no sewer hookups.
My son and I arrived around 6:00 pm, which is around the time I like to serve our evening meal. Since the park didn’t offer sewer hookups, I needed to stop at the dump station and empty our tanks, then set up camp, get a fire started, and cook dinner before we could eat. So, naturally, I felt a bit of pressure to get things done quickly.
Usually, I have a system I follow when I dump the tanks:
Since I was in a hurry, I decided to skip the gray water test. After all, I’d never had a problem with it in the past, so why waste the time? And although I didn’t consciously decide to skip the visual inspection, I didn’t didn’t take a close look at all the connections.
Chaos ensued! Black water bubbled out of the joint where the sewer hose connected to the camper and collected in the bottom of the dump compartment.
I quickly shut off the valve. A quick visual inspection revealed that I hadn’t seated the sewer hose properly, so I disconnected and reconnected it. This time I followed my system and everything went fine.
After completing the sewage dump, I used the hose at the dump station to rinse out the dump compartment. I mean, who wants to carry around spilled black water, right? So I turned on the water and aimed the hose into the compartment. I didn’t realize how strong the water pressure was until it hit the bottom of the compartment and ricocheted back onto me. In a matter of seconds I had black water splattered over my face and clothes.
So in addition to setting up camp and cooking, I had to change my clothes and wash up, which further delayed our meal.
By skipping my normal system to save a few seconds, I spent more time–both in the dump process and the cleanup required afterwards–and ended up with a faceful of black water. (In case you’re wondering, it tasted salty.)Did you see the S-Word in the above story? It’s systems.
Why do we avoid the S-Word?
I call it the S-Word because there’s something scary sounding about “systems.” When I say “You need to have systems in order to grow your business,” people’s first thoughts are usually about complicated, automated processes. But complicated systems are not always what we need. Plus, “systems” sounds too restrictive. It may make us think having a system will make us too rigid and take away our creativity.
But those are all misconceptions. In truth, having the proper system in place helps save time and money; stabilize workflow; make better decisions, and be more creative.
Defining the S-Word
A system is simply a standardized way of performing tasks. There are a couple of advantages to having a system in place for your business:
- 1When you create and follow a system, you ensure that tasks are performed the same way every time. That’s important because it creates consistency and reduces mistakes.
- 2Systems help avoid mistakes. Like in my scenario above, if I’d followed my system, I wouldn’t have ended up with a faceful of black water.
- 3Systems help save time. There are two reasons why systems save time:
When we have a standardized system, we don’t have to spend time trying to figure out how to do things: we’ve already figured it out, and now all we need to do is repeat the process.
As we saw in the story above, if a system is followed, mistakes are avoided, and time isn’t wasted recovering from those mistakes.
- 4Systems help avoid decision fatigue. Studies have shown that making too many decisions results in poorer decisions and decreased willpower. And that decreased willpower often leads to indecision and procrastination.
- 5By not wearing out the decision making ability, creativity flourishes. Sounds totally counter-intuitive, right? Implementing systems doesn’t impede creativity - in fact, having systems encourages creativity!
Adding the S-Word to Your Life
So now, we’ve established that systems are beneficial and necessary for your business’s success. But how do you create them? It’s quite easy!
Remember, systems can be really, really simple. There’s no need to purchase robots, write programs, or do anything fancy. A system can be as simple as a checklist, a routine, or a ritual.
Here are some steps to help identify and create systems that will not only help your business, but will help all areas of your life.
- 1Watch for areas where you could benefit from systems. If there’s something you routinely do, create a system for it. I’ve created systems (or routines) for everyday, personal & business tasks, such as:
- Order fulfilment
- 2Notice each individual step for what you do as you perform those tasks. It may help to mentally replay the activity, or to actually go through it, and write down steps as you go.
- 3When you’ve finished documenting all of the steps, go through the tasks using just your notes. Did you forget anything? Is something out of order? If so, correct it.
- 4Review your system. Does it make sense? Can you simplify or improve it? If so, make those updates.
Some systems, like email templates and order fulfilment systems, help me save time and avoid mistakes. Others, like the writing routines and accounting systems, assist me in getting set up and “in the groove.” These systems help me overcome procrastination for things I may not really enjoy doing.
Congratulations! You have now created a system that will help you perform tasks more accurately and more efficiently.
Start using your new system whenever you perform this task. Soon it will become routine, and you’ll perform the system on autopilot. Once you reach that stage, be sure to review the system periodically to ensure you are following it and/or to apply any needed updates.
The two types of systems
Many of the examples above are fairly simple systems. Simple systems are a great way to get started. There are also more complex systems to create as you grow more confident with simple systems.
As stated above, the steps I provided to create a system for yourself is a simple system. Using a simple system helps with:
As you gain experience with having systems for your business, you will no doubt start applying systems to more complex tasks. I use IFTTT and Zapier to create some automated systems. To illustrate, if a customer sends me a text, it is automatically logged into my CRM system, and a task is created so I’ll be sure to respond.
Additionally, my RV Lifestyle Design Program is, at its core, a system. This program takes you from dreaming about RVing full time “someday” to actually being able to afford to RV Full Time.
When I work with my clients in my RV Lifestyle Design Program, I guide them through the following steps:
Envisioning their desired lifestyle, and the finances they’ll need to support it.
Creating and validating their business
Creating their client pipeline
Getting started with your own systems
This proven system helps my clients create their RV Lifestyle dream without having to wait for retirement. There’s only limited openings to this program, so I’d suggest you inquire sooner rather than later or you’ll have to wait for my next openings!
Think about it a moment… if you really want to RV full-time, then you need to take action and start working towards that dream. Now, would you rather start down the path to your dream knowing that you’re following a proven system? Or would you rather start working on your business “willy nilly,” working on certain parts of your business whenever you feel like you have time and energy to pursue it, and hoping that it will get you to the point of realizing your dreams? Because that dream may never happen if you continue to allow yourself to be filled with information overload and try to do everything yourself.The best chance of realizing your RV dream is to follow a proven system that launches a location independent service business off the ground. Want to know more about this system? Then schedule a free, no-obligation information call, and let’s discuss the nitty gritty details of this system, how you can apply it, and the steps needed to achieve your dream!
Need help setting up your system?
Schedule a call with me to see where I can guide you through establishing systems in your business!