Another episode in the Q&A video series for SME’s and business leaders.
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Intro: I’m Stuart Ayling and in this episode of Vectis Q&A I’m speaking with Dave Jenyns who is founder of systemHUB and creator of SYSTEMology, and in this episode we’re going to be talking about all things to do with systematizing your business. Importantly we’ll be looking at how many systems should you have within a business, which systems are most important, and we’ll be looking at some real life examples of how implementing systems within a business has helped to increase turnover and profitability.
Stuart: Well today I’m speaking with Dave Jenyns and Dave is the founder of systemHUB and systemology and his focus is on helping business owners step out of the daily operations of their business.
And he does that through a process he’s developed to quickly and easily systematize a business and duplicate best practice, so I’m interested to speak with Dave and see how we can help us. So thanks for being here today Dave. Pleasure, thank you for the invite.
Ok we’ll we’ve got a bit of a guide of what we need to cover today because we’ve only got a few minutes together really and I want to stick to the highlights. This first session is really about how many business systems should be documented. So which systems are most important to document and why do you say that?
Dave: So the first place I suggest people start is getting very clear on the customer journey both how the client or a prospect interacts with the business, and also then how then the business delivers the product or service.
So I like to think in terms of how can you systematized the delivery of the product or service so that it can be delivered without the business owner. And really without any single person dependency, because that’s the way a business makes money and if you can make that happen without being dependent on someone then you you become much more scalable and you make it much easier for your sales team and your marketing team to really ramp things up knowing that you’ll be able to actually handle that capacity.
So that’s usually where I think of. You get clear on on what that looks like and we have a process for that called the Critical Client Flow. It’s how do you get customers, how do you sell customers, how do you invoice them, how do you onboard them, how do you deliver the product or service, and then how do you get them to come back.
And then sometimes you can narrow in depending on if there are certain problems in the business. If you working with a business and they don’t have any problems with lead gen you know their problem is more about the delivery of the product or service, OK well then we narrow into that part of the Critical Client Flow but you still want to make sure that you’re systemizing things that are going to have an impact very quickly on the business rather than, you know, let’s systemize how we take out the rubbish for the business. Like that’s not really going to have a very big impact on the bottom line.
Stuart: Well that’s right. I would think that human beings, being what they are, the tendency is to try and document – because we’re systematizing something, we’re trying to document what that process is – I guess the tendency is to do what’s easiest or you know, maybe what’s top of mind on the day. But what you’re saying is that’s maybe not the most productive way to do it.
Dave: Yeah there’s any number of things in business you could systemize. I hear something like “You have to systemize like McDonald’s” and McDonald’s has big thick manuals and thousands of systems. Then someone thinks that’s where they need to start. But obviously McDonald’s has been systemizing for over 60 years and we’re looking at the end product. You actually need to think about where did McDonald’s get started 60 years ago and start with that. You need to start in on that critical few that are going to have the biggest impact then you grow over time.
Stuart: Yep so that’s really the first challenge for a business owner and their team I suppose, is to identify what those system should be. And you were talking about the Critical Client Flow. How does a business go about actually working through that?
Dave: It’s really just about simplification, that’s the point of the critical client flow to get some form of focus.
It’s on one A4 bit of paper and you start at the top thinking about well, how do you generate leads. Then think about how do you answer the enquiry when it comes through the website or the phone. How do you then have a sales discussion with them. Now it will vary slightly depending on the business, like if you have an e-commerce style business you’re not going to have a salesperson necessarily who has a lengthy chat and then sends out a proposal, they might be browsing the products find what they want and then hit add to cart.
But the process is still the same. You think in terms of capturing someone’s attention, what does your sales process actually look like, then once the order is placed, again depending on the business some businesses you will need some sort of onboarding process to set up the expectations for the client and set up you know if you’ve got a professional services business setting up your project management in the background.
Then you’re going to have to deliver the product or service and there, that’s often times where I see the most variance.Like depending on from business to business you’ll see that the biggest difference in the systems in how you deliver the product or service.
And then the final one is then the delivery, giving it to them handing it over and and getting them to come back. That line there is is a great place to start.
Stuart: Yeah and I was thinking that there must be like that could be quite a complex process for many businesses particularly if they haven’t been through that process before. like that could be quite a complex process for many businesses particularly if they haven’t been through that process before. In your experience what are the sort of common obstacles or the common things that get missed out or that don’t get done properly when when a business is working through that process.
Dave: One common problem is the business owner feeling like they need to be the person that creates all of the systems and processes.
They feel like they want to have it just right and perfect they’re the only ones to do it so it goes on their ‘to do’ list, and that’s actually one of the reasons why they never get around to it. Because they’re really busy and systems are important but not urgent so they always get prioritised down.
And that’s probably one of the biggest sticking points and often times that level of overwhelm so the critical client flow reduces that overwhelm because you get it down to 10 to 15 systems.
And then the business owner needs to learn that a lot of the knowledge, depending on the size of the team, you know if you’ve got more than 3 or 5 staff there are going to be knowledgeable team workers who already know how to do steps in that process. So you you work with them and empower them to actually capture at least version one of the system, so that way it becomes much easier. Now there are other challenges as you progress, but in capturing it’s really about focus and making sure that it becomes a team responsibility rather than an individual’s responsibility.
Stuart: OK, so that can also start to encourage good management practices by the the business owner, or in fact the business’s management team if they have a small management team to start to delegate those tasks and to start to involve the whole team in understanding how the whole business works, so it’s all about encouraging a business owner to be little bit more sophisticated in the way they’re managing the business too.
Dave: Yeah often times what happens when you’ve got a startup founder they’re visionary type people, and they see the problem in the world that they want to solve then they create a business that solves that problem for the prospect. And often times a lot of the skills that they have developed and that have made them successful up until that point hold them back from moving their business through to the next level because they micromanage everything.
They want to be across the customer experience, they handle every single issue and fire that comes up and it always defaults to the business owner because they’re the knight in shining armour who can solve every single problem. The only issue with that is you get to a point in time when the business owner doesn’t have enough time in the day to do that and for them to then start to grow they need to be able to pass on that responsibility.
So it’s a real key point when it comes to systemization that this is the point to strengthen that muscle. To become very good at assigning responsibilities to individuals and then letting them run with it and letting them share in the success or failure of that.
Stuart: Yeah that’s right I think it’s a key point you make Dave. At some point as a business grows they reach, or they start to experience what I referred to as those growing pains and that literally is like pain points within the business that start to appear.
Because as that business grows the owner has trouble as you say staying across everything and they can’t do everything they used to, and the teams maybe not as productive as it used to be so. That’s right so it sounds like it’s a good thing for a business owner to be looking at.
Tell me something. You’ve seen, because we’ve only got a minute or two left here, so I’d like to wrap up by getting some insight from you. You’ve seen systems developed within lots of businesses over your time. What are the main impacts you’ve actually seen happen within a business? Can you give us a few examples?
Dave: Yeah, look the thing about systems is that is very wide reaching into all parts of the business and the impact that it can have. I’ve seen, there’s a guy, one of the ones I love to talk about is Gary, he runs a bush fire management company. And he saw improvements of 200% in turnover, and I’ve got this as a documented case study, he talks about improvements in net profit from 8 to 30%.
I’ve seen, there’s another guy, Paul, who runs a digital agency and he talked about seeing between 20% and 30% time savings in the amount of time that went into the delivery of the project, like the teams time.
I’ve worked with Brian, Brian Keen from Franchise Simply. He teaches companies how to franchise their business, and he says he’s seen anything from 25 to 50% bottom line improvements over the course of that 12 to 24 months.
Through systemHUB we’ve had clients who have built up, systemized their business, and then gone on to sell that business. And that’s not to mention you know, there’s other little stories here and there. I had one person tell me that systemisation saved their marriage, because they were working 70-hour work weeks, and they got it back down to 40.
Stuart: I guess that’s a benefit you wouldn’t identify in the Critical Client Flow to start with.
Dave: That’s right, so it’s very wide reaching and you do see it straight in the bottom line, but also team improvements. I’m not too sure how to quantify team members feeling you know more confident and comfortable and clear on what their expectations of their roles are.
Because a lot of times you’ve got these visionary type owners that are coming up with ideas and lobbing them into the team, and you’re heading in one direction and the next day you’re doing a complete 180, and the next day you’re doing another 180. And that’s, there’s a lot of whiplash there for staff members. And while that can be exciting for a business owner, Because they thrive on that, for actual staff it’s quite a challenge for them and having some structure, systems and processes, clear expectations really helps them as well. And again, it’s hard to quantify that improvement sometimes in efficiency and just happiness in the role, so yeah.
Stuart: Some really good points there. It’s unfortunate but we’ve run out of time for this particular episode, so Dave Jenyns from systemHUB and systemology, thanks for being with me.
Dave: Pleasure, thank you.