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Systemizing Your Business: Where Do You Start?

March 5, 2008 | Process Design, Systemizing | Sandye

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Thoughts from Sandye Linnetz, Systems Goddess, Process Prodigy

At Process Prodigy we recently sent out a survey asking each of you to tell us your most pressing concern - your biggest dilemma - regarding the development of systems for your business. We asked where you were "stopped" in the process and an overwhelming number of you responded with: "Where do I start?"

Simple... by making a list; creating your baseline. With paper and pen - or, to save a few trees, with your trusty computer - write down all the different tasks that you handle during the course of a normal week and indicate approximately how much time you spend on each one. This is your measure of where you are now. It is vitally important to actually take a look at all the different things you do (and to assess how much time you spend on each of them) in order to determine what's currently eating up your workweek. Just as a dietician would ask you to list the foods (and normal quantities) you eat before developing a customized diet plan, or a financial advisor would work to find out what money you had coming in and where it was going out before devising your financial plan, you can't create systems until you can assess what you need to systemize. You can do this part alone or, to make it more fun and even more comprehensive, do it with coworkers at a brainstorming session. Each of you should create your own list... unless, of course, you all do exactly the same thing (which is a totally different problem that we can address in a later blog). Regardless of how you choose to do this step, it can not be skipped! If you want systems that work for you, they must be designed to fulfill a need. This first step is to determine need.

It may be easier and more effective for you to create your list over the course of a week - journal style - and record what you do on a daily basis. Keep a notebook on your desk and periodically jot down what you are doing. Using 15 minute or half hour increments works well and helps when it's time to add up time spent on a particular task. For each of these increments, make short notes that give the general description of the task. Remember this is not a novel or a diary... it's a list. Just a list. Keep it abbreviated and clear.

9:00 read and answer emails
9:30 return phone calls; initiate calls
9:45 billing
10:00 prepare and do banking
10:30 appointment with client
11:00 staff meeting to plan marketing
11:45 collection call/ordered parts from vendor
12:00 lunch

You get the idea. Short, sweet and to the point... Collect the data. Identify the tasks and the time committed to them. The next step would be to analyze your data; divide it into general areas like: email, phone calls, billing, collecting, banking, marketing, staff meetings.... Etc. etc. etc. and next to the task write the total time spent on it during the course of the week. You may even surprise yourself with the list and figure out why you're so exhausted at the end of each day! Remember, it is not your work that is making you tired... it's the way you are going about it! Putting systems in place will save you time, money and energy and stress.

Watch this spot for the next step... coming very soon from your Process Prodigy Goddess, Sandye Linnetz.

© 2008 Beth Schneider, Process Prodigy, Inc. Want to reprint this article? Feel free as long as you include the following:

Beth Schneider, President of Process Prodigy Inc., www.processprodigy.com, along with her team of highly sought after operations consultants, reveals the insider secrets billion-dollar corporations pay thousands of dollars for. Specializing in process creation, the Process Prodigy tools and techniques have helped entrepreneurs increase productivity by as much as 600%, and revenues by as much as 250%. Visit www.processprodigy.com and sign up to receive the Process Prodigy Ezine, "Your Tips" and the FREE Report "How to Save Yourself Time Energy and Money".


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