When Is the Best Time to Systemise Your Business?

  1. Home
  2. /
  3. Business Systems
  4. /
  5. When Is the Best Time to Systemise Your Business?

When you search the Internet to find an answer to this important question, you’ll generally come up with two schools of thought – those who say you should start right now, and those who say you should wait until your business has reached a particular stage of development.

As a general rule, both approaches are correct. It’s just the wrong question. So, if it’s not a question of timing, what is it? 

No one is ever going to go into business without having a reasonably clear idea of what they will do to deliver value to their clients. Effectively this means that they have “a system” in their mind when they start, even though they don’t have an actual business at that stage. At this pre-launch stage, the ‘systems’ for their business concept is likely to be nothing more than a broad sketch of the actual process they intend to follow. It’s enough for them to test the concept and assess the validity of their business idea. A bit of tweaking here, a few changes there, and at some stage the new business owner will have a concept ready to take to market.

At this start-up stage, the systems will be high level and will lack the detail required to run the business without relying on the expertise of the business owner operator

(a.k.a. systems designer) to guide implementation. Every start-up business begins here, at the proof of concept stage.

Assuming this business concept proves successful, the systems that define it will gradually take shape. They are likely to be informal, relying heavily on individual expertise and memory. Some parts of the system may be recorded but it is most likely that the key steps in these systems will be in people’s heads rather than on paper or online. Again, most start-ups have been here.

Sadly, too many businesses stop their systems development at this stage. They adopt the attitude that so long as nothing actually falls apart, it’ll do. So if you ask these business owners, “When is the best time to systemise your business?” they’ll proudly declare “we don’t need systems – we get along just fine without them.” And, for many of the business owners who utter these words, it is their truth. Their businesses will roll along without failing and without any formal systems.

They may never achieve their full potential or grow beyond what they started with, but for them it is enough.

However, for the business owner who is determined to grow their business to reach its full potential, the proof of concept stage is very definitely just the beginning. They’ll be guided by the question, “How do I know if my business is ready for systemisation?

There are a number of indicators that systemisation will help your business achieve the results you are after. These include:

  • You Are Planning to Expand or Are Actively Expanding – If your business has reached a stage where you need to seriously think about moving to larger premises, investing in new equipment or taking on staff (or any one of these possibilities is seriously being considered), then creating more formal business systems is an excellent idea. In fact, if you decide not to systemise your business at such a time, you could regret your decision in the near future. When a business is actively expanding, things can very easily go wrong if there are no systems or processes for the team to follow.
  • You Are Failing to Hit Your Business Targets – A business that starts to struggle to achieve its regular business goals is a prime candidate for systemisation. If you have already been wondering when is the best time to systemise your business and you begin to experience difficulties meeting sales or production targets (when these targets were previously easy to achieve), we recommend that you consult a team of professional consultants such as Brain in a Box. The sooner you create a set of policies, processes and procedures that set out the way you want your business to operate, the sooner you will be able to highlight the problems you have encountered and get performance back on track.
  • Key Tasks take longer to complete – When tasks that were once easy for you and your team to complete start to take longer than you would expect, it is a good idea to sit down with the team and map out the process so that you can identify what isn’t working and agree what you need to do to put it right. More importantly, by involving your team you are more likely to create a sense of ownership and accountability. In turn, your team is more likely to give you feedback on systems and process performance in the future.
  • You Feel Like You Are Starting to Lose Control – If you are running a small business that started as a one-man-band and has now reached a point where you are responsible for dozens of employees, it is understandable that you may start to feel like you are no longer fully in control. Fortunately, there is an easy solution: systemise your business. When small company owners come to us and ask ‘How do I know if my business is ready for systemisation?’ One of the first things we ask them is whether they still feel like they are in full control of their business. If the answer to this question is no, there’s a good chance that systemising the business will solve the issues they are facing.
  • Mistakes are More Frequent – Picture a scenario where your business is ticking over nicely and everybody is doing their job well. Then, for no obvious reason, little mistakes start to occur. Over time, more mistakes are made, some of them quite serious ones that harm your bottom line or reputation.If this describes your business, then we would recommend systemising your business as soon as possible. With effective, tested systems and processes, you can help your employees to avoid making simple, and sometimes costly, mistakes in the future. And again, by involving them in the process, you will build a sense of ownership and accountability.
  • You are Considering Hiring New Employees – If you have reached the stage in the evolution of your business where you feel that to increase production will require you to onboard a significant number of new workers, we would urge you to systemise your business before you start the hiring process. It will always be easier to handle expansion in your workforce if you have a set of clear business systems in place, ready to train your new employees as they take up their new positions.

These six indicators will certainly help you determine whether now is the best time to systemise your business. Effective systems will certainly help your business operate more efficiently, but they will also help you to identify and implement KPIs for each key process, providing real data to help you assess your business performance. Worth thinking about?

If you think that now might be the perfect time to systemise your business, get in contact right now. We have helped hundreds of companies to create effective working systems and we would be delighted to help your company do the same. Our team is highly experienced, highly skilled and highly motivated, making us the perfect business systems partner.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
You need to agree with the terms to proceed