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Want to Understand Your Systems? You Need to Understand the "Three Ss"

Updated: Jun 20

No matter how small your business is, you have a way of doing things. I’m not just talking about the “important” things, like managing client projects or sending invoices. You probably also have a way of checking your email or setting up meetings. These small things are the backbone of your business, and even small things need systems.


Systems don’t have to be complicated, but you do need to have them. In my experience, the best systems are simple, scalable, and sustainable.



Simple


Are your systems straightforward and not overly complicated? For example, let’s say you decide to hire a virtual assistant to help you with your social media management. They design your social media graphics and send them to you for approval. Sounds easy, right? Not if they have to send it to you multiple times for review, or through three different people to add captions and two other people to add hashtags. I am not saying to avoid a review process, but I am saying to try to make it as direct as possible.


Using the same example, a solution would be to host the social media information on a platform like AirTable or ClickUp so all contributors have access to the content as it's being developed. This lessens the time they will have to depend on a fellow contributor to add their details to the posts.


Scalable


Your business will grow and change, that is a given. Your systems will need to adjust with it. Avoid creating systems that don’t at least take this into consideration. For example, let’s say you hire one person to help you manage your email (note: I am against hiring a person to help you manage your email! I’ll explain why in an upcoming post). This system is great when you first start out and it saves you a lot of time. But what happens when your team grows to include fellow executives? Is your assistant going to be able to check all your team members’ emails? What happens when he or she is sick or unavailable?


Instead, try delegating emails with clear to-dos to a virtual assistant. For example, if a call needs to be scheduled, simply forward the email to your VA with the request and let them take it from there. While this requires a lot of trust, it also keeps you in the loop and forces you to communicate with your VA about what works best for you. This process also works well if you add additional assistants to your team. You can also create templates that will keep the communications consistent, no matter who responds on your behalf.


Sustainable


Does your system work for the long term? Let’s say you hire someone to help you manage your online networking events. There is a 5-hour time difference between you, but you’re not too worried because he does great work. You’re just getting started, and your event doesn’t have a lot of attendees yet. Fast forward a year: your meetup has tripled its membership, emails are flying left and right, and you can’t seem to get all the details together fast enough to generate a landing page, create graphics, and send a newsletter. This project has become A LOT, and you quickly realize that although your one VA is excellent, you need more assistance now. This doesn’t mean your VA has failed you, but it may mean you both need more support.


A simple solution would be to upgrade your VA to a project manager and have him now manage a team of graphic designers and editors. Now, you both have the support you need to move a little faster and keep up with the growth of your group.


Your business is going to grow and change. Your systems have to stay strong enough to help you keep going but also nimble enough to adjust as it changes. Remember that there is no one perfect way to do something, just the way that works best for you and your team.

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