The Nine Steps to Systemise Your Business

Published on 15 August 2019

Elize Hattin holding a board with an arrow

Systemisation is an important part with business ownership that helps the business do more, while needing less. As the business owner or manager, one person cannot scale to a bigger business on their own. You can do a good job with a small team, but one person alone will struggle to reach any significance. To achieve business success, we need a team of people to gain traction, momentum and move towards our goal.

Creating systems is all about saving yourself time, energy and money within your business. When you create a system once, you can then have the people or technology that power that system do the same work over and over again, leaving you as the owner or manager with the ability to shift your focus to a different project, sell your business or focus on building your business even more.

A commonly asked question is when is the right time to systemise your business. There are a few differing points of view here with some believing that you should start from day one so that everything is done in a predictable manner. Another tactic is to start when you, as a business owner, feel far too busy. You have consistent cashflow and consistent customers, but the process of running the business feels a little overwhelming.

Thankfully, systemising a business can be implemented with nine easy steps, so let’s take a look at them in order.

Step 1 – Creating your vision statement

The first step to systemisation is creating a vision statement for your business. This statement outlines the value that your business will provide the world and how you will fulfil the needs of your customers. A vision statement is like a 100-year goal – something you’ll need more than yourself and more than a year to achieve. It has to be inspirational and aspirational, with the power to unite and motivate yourself and your team. For example, here at the SmartHub, our vision is to create a home for entrepreneurs where they have everything that they need to thrive.

A vision statement is about the problem you want to solve in the world and the impact your business can make. It should be short and inspiring, so every morning you can get up and feel like you have a sense of purpose and that you’re contributing something positive to the world.

Step 2 – Creating your mission statement

The next step is the mission statement. This outlines how you plan to achieve your vision statement, and should be about half a page in length, painting a picture of your plans rather than writing them out in perfect detail. When creating your mission statement, you should answer four different questions:

  1. Who are we?
  2. What do we do?
  3. Who are our customers?
  4. What makes us different?

These answers provide a basis for your mission statement, needing just a few sentences on each to create a full statement. Your statement should be something you talk to your team about; as the leader of a business, it’s your responsibility to communicate what it is you’re trying to achieve and how you intend to achieve it.

Step 3 – Creating your culture statement

Now that we know what we’re going to do, what problem we’re going to solve and how we’re going to do that, we need to know how we’re going to behave while we go about doing those things. This is what a culture statement is for. A culture statement is a guideline for how you and your employees should behave – are you going to be gung-ho, or professional? Are we going to be relaxed or serious? What words broadly describe how we will behave in this business?

If you create a very good culture statement it can even become a recruitment tool. When bringing in a new candidate or team member, you can show them your culture statement and ask them, “Are you happy to play this game and follow these rules?” and if they agree, get them to sign the document. If ever they do something that doesn’t fit the culture you can bring the document out and ask, “I understand you weren’t reliable in this situation. Is there something that was the matter? Can I help you in any way? Because we agreed that this is how we would play the game.”

When creating your culture statement, it’s important to remember that in every business, the business owner or team leader is the one that sets the culture. If you’re a very critical person, the culture of your team will reflect that. If you’re inclusive, the culture of your team will reflect that. If you have low standards, you will receive low standards in return. Remember when writing your culture statement that it’s something you have to adhere to as well – if you can’t, you’d be better off not having a culture statement at all.

To write a culture statement, you’ll need no more than 12 points that you want to cover over four different categories. Three things that are important for you as an owner, three things that are important for your business, three things your team finds important and three things that your customers find important.

Step 4 – Creating SMART goals

With a vision, mission and culture statement, we can now start setting real, tangible goals within our business and start thinking about how the business will look when it’s finished. Finishing a business means reaching a point where you as an owner can step back and not have the business fall apart – at this stage, you can sell it or simply let it provide you with passive income with minimal oversight. In order to set a SMART goal, you will need to consider what your business’s future will be like.

SMART goals have to be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and be achieved within a reasonable timeframe. You need to sit down, take time and really think about what you want the business to look like, how it will function and when you plan to have it finished. Your SMART goal is entirely your own, to help you build your business how you want it and then you can decide what to do.

For some members of the SmartHub, they have created very aggressive SMART goals which involve things like building a specific dollar value within the business using a specific strategy, and then ultimately selling the business by a deadline they set for themselves. If you need help creating your own SMART goal, please reach out to the SmartHub for assistance! We’re more than happy to help you set your goals.

Step 5 – Creating an organisational chart

Now that we have our SMART goals, it’s time to think about the kind of roles we need inside the business to achieve those goals using an organisational chart. As business owners, we tend to create an organisational chart while thinking about our team members and then try to fit roles onto those team members. The correct way to make an organisational chart is to do the opposite – use your SMART goal and think what kind of roles you’ll need to achieve it. The organisational chart provides structure and helps you to paint a picture of your future.

Even for small businesses, an organisational chart can help you find out the things that you need to delegate. For now, you might be filling your name into every single role and that’s okay. It’s not unusual for businesses to start that way or to stay that way for a quite some time. Ultimately, thinking about the roles you need and writing them out in a structured way helps you to progress towards achieving that goal of finishing your business.

Step 6 – Creating position descriptions

Now that we’ve defined the positions our business needs with the organisational chart, it’s time to create position descriptions. This is just thinking about the ideal person you’d like to fill a role in your business. If you need a bookkeeper, you might want to look for someone who enjoys working with numbers, who is reliable and has high integrity. For your salesperson, you might want an extrovert who enjoys talking with people and is an effective communicator. For your marketing expert, you want someone who is highly digitally literate, who knows how to use the internet and social media effectively. Whatever roles you have, you need to write down what qualities you need in that role.

Step 7 – Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Now that we’ve set the foundations for our business success, we need a way to measure that success. Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs, are the way to do this. KPIs are the way we track our business success, and it varies from business to business. For us here at the SmartHub, our goal is to create a community where entrepreneurs thrive, so our KPI is the number of members who are coming to the SmartHub and utilising our facilities to create success in their businesses. For other businesses their KPIs might be social media engagement, number of sales or something else entirely. 

For each position description you’ve created, consider what the KPIs for their role should be. For example, if an administration person is doing their job exceptionally well, what three to six results should we expect to see? They could be ‘easy to find filing, zero complaints about administrative tasks and a well-received phone manner’. Go through your list of positions and note down three to six key performance indicators.

Step 8 – Creating how-to systems

Now it is finally time to write a system. This is the actual ‘how-to’ for every single task in your business, and all you need to do is make a record of whatever tasks your business requires, so that others can follow your lead and perform the task the correct way. This can be as simple as taking a piece of paper or using your computer to just write down each step of each task. Alternatively, you can use things like photos and videos to show how something needs to be done, or you can create a detailed checklist for every step in each task. In fact, the best systems usually utilise a combination of all those things. A task using technology could include screenshots, and a cleaning task could use photos of the room set up correctly. There should be systems for everything in your business, so that anyone can look at it and know exactly what they need to do.

Another benefit of creating these systems is that it’s the perfect time to ask the question, “Is there technology available that can help me do this task better?” and then doing research to find new technologies that can make your business better. There is no perfect technology, but there is technology that can do 80% of what you need, and then you can do the other 20% manually or find another technology that can help you.

This 80/20 rule is a well-documented phenomenon known as Pareto’s Principle. Pareto was the person who first noticed this phenomenon, that you wear 20% of your wardrobe 80% of the time, and that you walk on 20% of your carpet 80% of the time. This rule applies heavily in systemisation too – 80% of your workload should be systemised and then you humanise the other 20%. When you’ve created your systems, you should be using them 80% of the time, and only when those little things come up that aren’t documented you should need to humanise those exceptions and get involved. If that situation happens again, that’s a good indication that process should be systemised. Creating these systems will make your business run more smoothly, consistently and efficiently.

Step 9 – Creating management systems

The final step to systemising your business is creating management systems. With the eight other steps completed and in place, management systems are the ongoing question of, “What do I, the manager of these systems, need to do to keep everything running?” This question can be answered by creating checklists, creating videos and images and involving a Management Team to keep everything going.

This is also the point in systemising your business where you make the decision about your own role, if you’ll be the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) or the General Manager (GM) or you’ll just sell the business or let the business run in your absence.

Once your management system is in place, that’s when the systemisation process is done. 

Here to help

By following these nine steps to create your systemised business, you’ll be able to enjoy a successful business that can run self-sufficiently.

For any further assistance in systemising your business, please feel free to reach out to the SmartHub via Facebook or by emailing We have a phenomenal community of people to welcome you and help you achieve success in your business. 

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