07736307256 joanne@bravapro.com

Let’s talk about business systems and processes! Why you need them, what they are and how they can improve your bottom line.

First, let’s start with some basics.

What’s the difference between a process and a system?

Put simply….

  • Processes are the step-by-step actions of how you do things in your business.
  • Systems are the tools or software you use to deliver those processes.

Think of it like this; if you are planning a journey, you may read a map to understand how you get from A-B, i.e. the process of getting from A-B. You could then use a car, your system, to get you from A to B faster.

Often systems and processes are the areas that many owners shy away from tackling. I understand that it can seem like there are so many other things to do in your business. Why make more work for yourself? Why mend something that isn’t broken? However, committing to tackle one process or system at a time can significantly affect how effectively your business runs. 

So don’t feel overwhelmed and you need to tackle everything immediately; take one step at a time.

As a general rule of thumb, if you’re doing everything right, however, it is slower than you would like, work on your systems. Work on your processes if you’re working fast but not getting anywhere or things are slipping through the net. If you are still unsure, I would recommend looking at your processes first.


system in blocks


Why are business processes and systems important?

#1 Systems and processes build consistency.

Having documented processes and associated systems in place enables you to maintain consistency in your business. While we often think, ‘I do this every day, I can remember what to do’, but the reality is we can and do miss out on steps in our rush to get things done. Creating checklists and documenting processes ensures you don’t forget anything important. It builds consistency, which can be the difference between a client becoming a loyal customer or a passing sale.

#2 Systems and processes speed up your overall operations.

Writing things down ensures you remember all those little steps we think we’ll remember but sometimes forget. With a written reference document, it is easier to tick off each step; hence you don’t forget something important, and you don’t have to go back and start again. Documenting processes can be especially important when we only do something now and again.

Additionally, recording your processes and then building suitable systems around those processes makes it easier to identify:-

  1. Is there an opportunity to automate any of those processes
  2. Is there an opportunity to outsource any of those processes

Both options would free up your time to work in other areas of your business.

#3 Written processes create a strong foundation for growth.

I mentioned outsourcing in the last point. However, you can’t outsource until you have clear, concise instructions for the freelancer to follow. Training somebody is going to be a million times easier if you can talk them through the steps required and they have a reference document to refer back to when you are not around. It also ensures that they follow your specification and ensures consistency in your product or service no matter which team member delivers it.

#4 Systems and processes help to keep it simple

A lot of the time, people resist setting up systems and processes because they think it will be complicated.

In fact, the opposite is usually true. A system does not need to be complicated. Thinking about how you work in your business can often help you identify steps that are not working or are not adding value to your business. Regularly analysing the tools, you are using in your business can also help you determine if there is a more straightforward way of doing things or if any new tools or systems could help.


Process blocks

 Where to start with systems and processes

Next time you start to write your blog, onboard a new client or pack up your product (or whatever the essence of your business is open up a blank word document (or google document) and jot down the steps you take to do that task.

At this stage, it doesn’t have to be fully written instructions or be perfect; you can elaborate on these points later. However, this is the start!

Now think about things like:-

  • Can you break these high-level tasks down further? 
  • Can you add bullet points or checklists as quick tick lists?
  • Are there any steps you are doing for the sake of doing them, i.e. they are not adding value?
  • How can you organise your processes so that they are easily accessible for anyone that needs them (even if it is only you at the start of your business journey)
  • Are there any stages that could be automated or outsourced?
  • Do the notes include jargon that may need further explanation?

And probably the hardest thing to think about

  • How are you going to make using these processes part of your daily routine?

Your processes and systems will likely continue to evolve, especially as your business grows. They are a ‘living document’ that you should constantly refine and revisit to ensure they are still effective and efficient.


Helpful tips

Bonus tip – How to keep everything organised.

Those that have read my blogs before will know my ‘go-to business tool is Trello. I use Trello for everything from recording my business goals, managing my projects, planning my blogs, and arranging my process documents.

I use the paid Trello version, and for only a few pounds per month, I can add checklists and deadlines to cards and automate some of the actions.

More information on Trello is available here. Or get in touch, and we can arrange a chat about using Trello.