Clients ask me all too often, “Ruth, give me something I can do today to bring me one step closer to working fewer hours in my business”.  The voice is usually edged with a bit of desperation and lot of emotion.  Believe me, I can relate.  I’ve been there … but no more.

One of the biggest steps you can take to create a Team-Led Business™ (read: work fewer hours!) … is to turn every facet of your business into a streamlined system that doesn’t require regular input from you.  And it all starts with a Business System framework.

It may sound complicated but stick with me and let’s turn this into a series of small, doable steps.

For this conversation, let’s use an example of a client calling the office with a question about their bill.  Let’s turn ‘answering this phone call’ into a repeatable, consistent system – one that every team member will feel empowered to use so that these phone calls are handled the same way every time.  Be sure to include team members in building this system – both those involved directly in the process, and some team members not directly involved (they bring the perspective of *new eyes*).

Paint a vivid picture of the end result you want.

You’ll probably get tired of hearing me say this, but Stephen Covey was right … “Begin with the end in mind”.  What do you want your end result to look like, from several points of view?  Put this in writing.

What do you want your client to know and feel at the end of the phone call about billing questions?  What will your team members know and feel at the end of the call?  What pieces of your core values and your company culture are important to express in the end result of this process?  Put it in writing.

Lay out the important steps in a visual graphic.

Butcher paper is perfect for this.  Or large pieces of paper taped to the wall.  Get out the colored markers and post it notes!  Brainstorm without judgment at this point.  In our example, you might see steps set out like this:

How to answer the phone  =>  Questions to ask  =>  Notes to make  =>  Hand off to resident expert  =>  Suggestions/Commitments  =>  Ending the call  =>   Communicate results  =>  Follow up.

Using multiple perspectives (team members inside and outside the system), fill in details for each step of the graphic.

Now that you have mapped out the main steps, spend time with your team members to fill in the details and specifics for your particular situation.  Be sure to indicate who is responsible for each step and all the timelines necessary for your business to *over deliver* to this client.

Creating this system may take a bit of time the first go around (short-term time and energy), but having a system in place that all team members are familiar with will save you and your team valuable time on into the future of your business (long term results).

Run the system, evaluate the results, tweak and repeat.

This process is just that … a process.  It won’t be exactly what you desire the first time around.  The idea is to implement the system for a set amount of time and review the results.  Set a date for this review and schedule the future time NOW, before you start implementing.

After you implement for a time, evaluate what you have so far.  Generously give praise for the things that worked well.  Encourage and support the things that provide opportunities for improvement.

We’re not looking for perfection.  We are iterating our way into a Business System framework that will work for you, your clients and your team members.

Leave a comment below and let me know which piece of a process in your business you will start with as you design your first Business System framework.  Take a pic of your framework and show off all your hard work!