In part 1 we looked in overview at the 3 key systems you need in your business, in order to Build a Better Business, instead of being puled here and there by the next shiny thing or the next email you receive. The main aim of everything we are discussing here is to create a rhythmic acquisition of and servicing of new and existing customers, instead of the usual stop start, “Shit. we need to get some marketing done!” approach almost every small business uses.
Today we will look in more detail at the Client Fulfilment System.
As discussed yesterday, this might seem like it is the wrong place to start at first, but you will soon realise that this is not only the foundation of you business, it is also the place where new opportunities and challenges you have not thought of reside. First we need to define what the Client Fulfilment System is, where does it start and end. The simplest way to think about it is that the Client Fulfilment System starts the moment I give you money / sign a contract. Up to this point I am only a prospect. The only people who carry the title “Client” are those who have agreed to pay you for the value you bring to the relationship. In part 1 I asked you to write down the following for each of the three systems:
- What do you do now?
- What is causing you problems?
- What tasks are you performing over and over?
- What tasks can you get someone else to do?
How did you get on with this? It really is worth doing before you carry on, as we will now look at this in more detail, specifically for the Client Fulfilment System.
The Client Fulfilment System is your production line and delivery processes. However you get what you sell to the customer.
Here most people fall into two groups:
1 – We don’t have any systems, our business is too “Simple” or too “Complex”.
2 – I have all the systems in my head, and am frustrated that I keep having to teach them to the staff over and over.
The problem with the first statement is that it is simply not true, and on more than one front.
You do have systems in place, even if you think you don’t. The problem is that, if you have 10 members of staff, you have 10 systems running concurrently. Everyone does the job in their own way and how they think it should be done.
This can cause major problems for your business. It slows everything down and causes major inefficiencies, costing you money. Anytime there is no clear, structured process, it causes a form of friction in your business. From physics we know that the only way to overcome friction is applying more energy. This can be through applying more driving force to the object you want to move (You working longer hours or hiring more staff) or smoothing the path and the object or using a lubricant to ease the friction (Creating a system that runs like clockwork).
The second part of statement 1 is also simply not true. Your business is NOT too complex. No business is.
Let’s look at a couple of examples of very complex industries.
Aviation – Repair and maintenance of aircraft.
I have yet to meet anyone who’s business is more complex than a Boeing 747. Yet, for repairing and maintaining these massive flying machines, there are systems and processes in place.
One example of this is that not a single repair is aloud to be carried out “from memory”. If you need to fix a light on the pilot’s controls, you get out your manual and do it step by step, by the book, no matter your level of experience.
This ensures not only that the aircraft is safe, but it also makes repairs easier, because everyone will do them in the same way, so you don’t have to spend ages trying to figure out what the previous guy did. You know what he did, because it is recorded and he is working from the same manual you have in your hand.
Automotive – Porsche 911 production.
The Porsche 911 has been an icon since 1963, and they sold nearly 21000 of them in June 2015 alone. That’s about 700 per day, which gives you an idea of the rate at which they are manufacturing these.
Now building a car is a complex task, but add in the fact that Porsche make 22 versions of the engine used in the 911, and you can have it sprayed any colour you like. That increases the complexity by an order of magnitude!
Yet, they have a fully systemised and partially automated production line, allowing them to sell 21000 cars in one month.
Can you see that your business is not really all that complicated?
Our second group of business owners: I have all the systems in my head, and am frustrated that I keep having to teach them to the staff over and over.
This is caused by the fact that we start our own business and simply do what we do, not giving much thought to why or how we do things. Then we take on our first member of staff and as they are right next to us, we can show them what to do.
In order to grow your business and getting the income and freedom you are after, you have to systemise your business and document all the systems.
This allows you to train new staff more quickly, hire less experienced staff (at a lower cost) and have them up to speed and able to function as a profitable member of staff in a much shorter time.
Yes, I know you are busy, but think about it this way:
You can spend 10 minutes every week showing someone how something should be done (Let alone the time and cost of fixing mistakes), or you can spend 20 minutes documenting that task, and then not having to show it to anyone again.
An easy way to start seeing the massive benefits of creating systems and processes for your business is just to look at the tasks that need to be done for every customer.
Let’s look at the Porsche example again:
EVERY Porsche 911 needs to be spray painted. Some red, some blue, some yellow.
You can clearly see how Porsche benefits from completely automating the robot spraying the car, with someone simply needing to set up what colour it needs to be. If Porsche re-programmed the “Spraying” part for every car, they could not sell 700 a day. The only variable is the colour.
There are many aspects of your Client Fulfilment System that can be automated and documented like this:
- Start by mapping out (I always use Magic Whiteboard) what you want every customer to experience.
- Identify which items are the same for all customers and which are the same 50% of the time etc…
- Now you can start by making massive gains by systemising and/or automating the ones that occur the most.
As you go through this process, try not to cling too much to what you are doing now, but map out and design the ideal process from the CUSTOMER’S perspective, and then work out how to make that happen.
You can create massive improvements throughout this process by keeping these 3 questions in mind:
- WHY? – Why do we do it this way?
- WHAT IF? – What if we did it another way?
- HOW? – How can we make that happen?
If you are still not convinced of the value of systemising and automating repetitive tasks, just look at the numbers:
Let’s say you identify a task that takes 2 minutes to complete. This is done 10 times per day, by 10 members of staff. Over the course of a year, automating this task will save you 50 000 minutes in labour time. At minimum wage(£5.33/h), you are paying £4439.89 per year to have that one task done.
Sounds worth it?
In Part 3 we will look at your Client Acquisition System.
Author: Pieter K de Villiers
Pieter K de Villiers is slightly obsessed with systems. The systems and process automation he builds for small businesses are transformative, to say the least. Pieter is a Co-Founder of Barefoot Digital and the Amazon best-selling author of “Barefoot Business: 3 key systems to attract more leads, win more sales and delight more customers without your business killing you”.