• Steven Kohnke

How to Establish Systems and Processes Early and Often


Sharon: Good morning, everyone. Sharon Heller here and I'm here today with Steven Kohnke from Denver Business Coach. Good morning, Steven.

Steven: Good morning, Sharon, how are you today?

Sharon: I'm doing well. Looking forward to our conversation today. So what are we going to be talking about?

Steven: So as we've been talking about, at Denver Business Coach we did some qualitative research: we polled business owners, did a survey about "Where were the weaknesses? What are the strengths in their business?" Where they're showing up. And we've shaped those responses into some crucial conversations to really get a grip on your business.

Steven: And this conversation today, I want to talk a little bit about the systems and processes of a business and the importance of having those established in order to really scale a business. The results for this one, the average reporting score was a 3.65 out of 5 on that. Mean, people were a little bit middle of the road on that, a little bit on the hire end there. So we'll address that today and see what the importance of that.

Sharon: Great, great topic. Well, I guess let's start at point A and maybe you can just talk a little bit about why having those systems and processes are so important in order to be able to scale a business.

Steven: Yeah, awesome. So first off, talk about the dangers of not having systems and processes in your business. Not having something that's repeatable that you can train. This is a major cause of what we refer to as the "owner's trap." And this is where business owners, everything flows through that. Because they're the ones that know it, they're the ones who can do it the best, and so even if they have other people to do a job, they're still going to be involved in some way, shape, or form because of not really having something that is repeatable for them.

Steven: This leads to stress and burnout and all that. Business owners really kind of losing track of why they got into business. And the importance of really having good systems and processes in your business to scale, is that exact reason. As you start to really be able to let go of some of those pieces and really focus in on owning the business itself.

Sharon: Wow. Well, I know that one, so thank you for underscoring. So if I'm starting to look at some good systems and processes to get established, what are some of the top systems that you would recommend?

Steven: Yeah, the top systems in any business really start from the beginning. And what I mean by that is document early and often in your business. Understand, even if it's a small process within your business, write it down, even if it's two steps. Because when it's written down, you can actually manage it.

Steven: So the earlier you can do that, the better. The later in the business you start to say, "hey, I should probably write something down", the harder it's going to become because there's just too much going on. And you say, yeah, that's how we do it, "we answer the phone and we say this or, when someone says this, this is how we respond or this is how you upload a blog", something that's simple to do.

Steven: So when you're looking at which systems and processes to really start with, start looking at all the different hats that you were wearing. So you have sales, finance, bookkeeping, you have marketing, operations, communications, all those different areas, and you're in charge of those.

Steven: When you're looking at those different hats, you should really ask yourself, what is your least favorite? What do you really want to begin with to get off your plate? Take some time, write down what that is, and be able to slowly start to delegate what that is.

Steven: When you're able to have that written down, and that's repeatable, easy process, you can hire for it and then have the confidence in someone else to really perform that task, that job, that rule to the standard quality that you have been doing in the past, and probably even excel at it because it wasn't your favorite thing to do in the first place.

Steven: So that's where to start. In any business, though, the most important one to really understand is the sales process. You really want to understand that one from beginning to end, because that's really the lifeblood of any business and that's the one you need to continuously improve.

Sharon: Good to know. Of course, when you said least favorite, like three things popped in my mind. So maybe there's more than one.

Steven: Yeah, but write down some checklist and be like, who can do this.

Sharon: That's right. So once I have the systems identified, what are some strategies or best ways to train somebody else to follow through on those systems?

Steven: Yeah, when you're documenting, the objective there, is to hope that things don't fall through the cracks, to mitigate that risk as much as possible. That's one of the important reasons for having that. And when you can train someone to ensure that nothing is going to fall through the cracks are very little will, because you have the right systems in place, then it's time to really start learning "how" to train someone to do that.

Steven: So I just did this for a process that we haven't done at Denver Business Coach of how to upload documents, contents, checklists, reference documents to our marketing software, and how to make that available for people to download it. It took me a little bit to understand how to do that, but what I ended up doing is just writing that checklist down, made it as simple as possible, as descriptive as possible, and being able to really put in place, how would I explain this to a five-year-old? How can I get a five-year-old to do this for me? So it's that detailed.

Steven: And then you take that and you get the muscle memory down. And my favorite is you really create a video. There's a bunch of different software out there. I used Loom in the past, which is a really good one. Screen recording software, if it's on the computer, such as a CRM system of how to operate that. You just record yourself going through the process and you can read down the list.

Steven: And that way it's documented and someone can reference back to it when they're performing that job and they can say, oh, this is what I missed or this is the checkmark that I need to hit here, and this is where it is. Rather than just reading down the line when you're training people, people learn in different ways. So you have to have a bunch of different ways available for them in order to really have that solidified for them.

Sharon: Yes, really helpful. Gosh, what a great conversation today. Anything you want to add before we wrap up?

Steven: Yes, building systems and processes are so important for scaling a business and creating a valuable business, and mitigating risk. And that's what we're doing, at Denver Business Coach that's probably the area of which we excel at the most here. So if anyone's interested in learning how to put systems and processes in place, just visit us at DenverBusinessCoach.com and we will get you taken care of.

Sharon: Great, great talking to you today, Steven.

Steven: Thanks, Sharon. Bye.

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