ICS Magazine

What are Systems, and How Do I Create Them?

May 18, 2006
Everybody's talking about systems these days, but what does it really mean and how do they affect you and your business? In its simplest definition, a system is nothing more than an organized, planned, and predictable way of doing things. For example, when we talk about "marketing systems," we don't mean a single piece of advertising or even several pieces. A marketing system is all of your marketing efforts working together in a synergistic fashion with your other systems that provides the owner/manager with predictable results.



Everybody's talking about systems these days, but what does it really mean and how do they affect you and your business?

In its simplest definition, a system is nothing more than an organized, planned, and predictable way of doing things. For example, when we talk about "marketing systems," we don't mean a single piece of advertising or even several pieces. A marketing system is all of your marketing efforts working together in a synergistic fashion with your other systems that provides the owner/manager with predictable results.

There are five types of systems:

  • Organizational & Administrative - "the structure"
  • Procedural - "how we do things here"
  • Marketing - "how we sell here"
  • Financials - "how we pay for it"
  • Benchmarks - "the way to check"


With these five basic systems set up, you can run just about any business. Think of the power of that statement! With only the knowledge of five basic systems, you can successfully run virtually any business.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Mr. Harvard Business Grad!

We're often asked, "I'm a one-man band, do I really need to write systems?" That's entirely up to you. Suffice it to say, if your customers like continuity (they do) and you enjoy your sanity (we hope you do), writing systems will help make even the smallest company run smoother and more profitable. Hey, it's better than watching TV, isn't it? Of course it is. There are few things in business that will directly affect the profitability of a company than by working more on it rather than in it, especially when it comes to marketing, finances, and productivity.

Of course, there's a little more to know about how these systems work, but basically it all boils down to only a handful of things:

  • Organizing
  • Knowing who does what
  • Implementing successful marketing (via testing)
  • Knowing your numbers
  • Training your staff
  • Checking progress


I can hear you now: "So where do I start?"

Start with writing down the tasks that you do and assign these tasks to a job description (we call them "Positional Contracts"). Next, you "tweak" your systems to make them better. There's no such thing as a perfect system, so always be looking for ways to improve and work smarter, not harder.

If you have employees, enlist them to help write the systems. Who says you need to do all the work? Your employees, surprisingly, will most likely come up with some extremely good material. Just be careful they don't delegate or remove the necessary tasks they dislike! Simply tell them that you're not giving them a license to do away with the things necessary that have made you successful, you're merely asking for their professional input to enhance their customer relationship and ultimately their future with your company.