The journey of an entrepreneur isn’t all rainbows and sunshine. It requires SO much introspection, daily motivation, intense discipline, long working hours, and more; it’s no surprise that a lot of entrepreneurs decide to opt-out and go back to working for someone else.
But for those that simply won’t give up and won’t stop until they see their company grow, scale, THRIVE (just like you if you are reading this!), we have just the secrets you need to make success a reality.
Interview with Aaron Stewart
We had an interesting interview with Aaron Stewart whose passion is helping businesses reach their max potential. He has over 30 years of experience in the field in foreign countries, an MBA in International Finance and a Ph.D. in Organizations and Management.
So if you want to know how to make your company stand out from the rest with the help of systems and processes, just keep reading.
Aaron was raised in an entrepreneurial family, both his grandfather and father are entrepreneurs, so it was expected he’d follow that path as well. After working on his education, he got his professional life started in a corporate job.
After traveling for most of his time in that company, and experiencing a lot of different cultures around the world, he decided to go out on his own as a consultant. It didn’t go as expected, but he didn’t quit: he went back to school and got a doctorate in Organizations and Management because he wanted to learn how to create systems and be a consultant with big companies. During that time, he worked with Fortune 100 companies, building systems for them, and for his own company too.
He shared his experience of systems and BNSF Railway. Aaron developed a product where they could systematically deliver audio files to different places and have them processed (which was not heard of back then!).
He then went out and convinced companies to move on from the analog cassette and use digital recorders, so they’d be easier to transport and process. They didn’t initially like the idea of leaving the big cassette machines, but at least they accepted having them digitalized.
Within a couple of weeks, Aaron and his team started receiving piles of cassette tapes and they had to create systems to keep them neat and organized. They were managing 8 different stations, each mailing tons of envelopes with unnamed cassettes, so having a system that worked was a huge success.
So… do I need a system in my business?
- When you find that you’re doing the same thing every single day and it takes up so much of your time that you’re not being creative, it’s time to create a system.
- If you can’t work on your vision or can’t be where the business needs you to be, it’s time to create a system.
- If you have to do something over and over, then that’s your biggest time-waster and it means it’s time to create a system.
It’s really about using your creative mind to create a system to deal with the biggest problems until they only take up a minimal amount of time of your day. Once you can automate something, then you don’t have to waste any more time on it and you don’t even have to train somebody to do it. That’s when you know your system is working.
But consider this: you need a backup.
If for some reason the automation doesn’t work, you need a way to still execute the process. That is where Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) come in. We recommend documenting your processes in a database and in a project management tool. That way if anything goes wrong with the automation someone on your team can still execute the process. We suggest using Google Drive and Clickup (or Trello) to document and backup information.
What benefits do you get when you use systems?
Even if you don’t consider yourself a fan of systems or routines, we think it is worth considering the benefits.
Systems are a way for you to get some of your time back. They can be used in so many different ways that can help free yourself up.
For example, even a small morning routine makes a world of difference: Aaron has everything set up, from the clothes he wears to when he eats breakfast. Once he sits down to start work at 9 am, he’s free to think and create whatever he needs to and doesn’t worry about outside problems because they will be done when he’s off work, at 5 pm. That routine helps him take care of everything that needs to be done each day without any stress.
How do you get a system or process setup?
Depicting the system or process visually is a good place to start. Or at the very least writing it down helps to ensure the step-by-step process is detailed then you can see where automation is possible and where you will need someone or people to take care of manual pieces.
When you draw out a process, it’s easier to notice where it’s failing, or not doing as good. Aaron says that he saw this issue in many Fortune 100 companies: they never noticed an issue because they never had that outside person that could dig around and notice the holes that, if fixed, could solve so many problems.
Consider using a big whiteboard to draw it out or try software like Omnigraffle or Lucidchart.
Who is responsible for the system or process?
Adding to that, it’s important to note that whoever owns the system (any of them) should be fully responsible for it. This includes any updates that need to be done to it, improving it, looking for issues. Because a lot of the time, people create processes or SOPs, hand it off to other people, and never look at it again. So if there’s an update to, let’s say, a program the team is using, and no one owns the process, it will never get updated and then when a new person comes in to take over and they follow the process as documented they will be unable to complete the task and in turn, cause a slow down or inefficiency.
It’s SO worth it to spend a couple of hours, days or weeks, to set up your systems because once you do your business will run like a well-oiled machine you will be able to continue to scale it.
Visit Aaron’s website at: