“Staff members get more excited about doing things
because they know that there’s a bigger picture behind it.”
– Steve Napolitan

“When you think of freedom, what comes to mind for you?” I asked a client once.  

For this client, freedom came with a picture of a feather blowing in the wind, unbound, and drifting freely.

But here’s the question: who or what really has the power in determining where the feather goes? The wind, right? And if that is the case, is that really freedom?

When it comes to business, you don’t just want to be blowing in the wind.

So, what do you need so that your business doesn’t just go on by, influenced by an external force you have no control over?

You need a system if you want more freedom in your business.

… Freedom to sell your business when you want.

… Freedom to grow your business without having to spend more time working in it.

… Freedom for others to grow in your business.

With a system, you can get things done faster and better.

If you don’t put systems in place, you’ll probably never be able to sell your business (yet alone value it to come up with a price), staff will be stressed out because of the lack of consistency, and …

You get the picture.

So, in this blog post, I’m going to discuss the strategic thinking that you need to systematize your business.

Step 1: Link Everything to Your Core Purpose

Let’s look at a simple activity. If you say, tell your staff member to call a client to get their feedback on your business product or service.

Now, if you tell them, “I’d like you to call such and such to get their feedback, because we want to know how we can improve our service to impact more people’s lives including the people in our team,” that staff member is going to be clearer and more motivated to complete the task.

Why? Because there is a WHY.

If you’re going to give a system to a staff member, or if you have partners in your business, why are you doing what you’re doing?

My core purpose is to help as many people have the freedom they desire, so now the business is all built around that, and all the tasks have a purpose. So even the most remedial things are linked to that, such as doing paperwork, printing booklets for my trainings, to the way I dress for meetings or conferences. In that, there’s an idea, a love, or a care, or a reason to have it.

Getting clear and linking all your activities to your core purpose is a huge thing.

Step 2: Clarify Your Organizational Structure  

The next thing you want to do is figure out a little bit of the organization. When you look at your organization, what are the things you need? How is it structured? This varies from business to business of course, but in general, there are two main departments in your business.

The first one is marketing. Marketing is where you acquire new customers by acquiring leads, then converting them to customers who have a certain lifetime value to your business.

The second one is operations. This is where you deliver the product or service, fulfil your promise to your customers, elicit feedback, then incorporate that into improving or adjusting your product or service.

Step 3: Create Processes for Each Department

You going to need a process. Let’s use the marketing department to illustrate this:

  • How are you going to get leads?
  • How do you convert them from leads to customers?
  • What activities need to be completed?
  • Who do you need on the team to do that?
  • Who is going to do what?

For instance, if you are going to go to events, and you decide, “You know what, I need to go to more events this year.” Then you put in the process that you are going to attend one event a month. And you can put criteria for this such as:

  • What type of event?
  • How many people minimum must be at that event?
  • Where must the event be?

I am in the San Francisco Bay Area, maybe I’m going to do events around San Francisco, but then maybe the next month, I might go to Sacramento or Los Angeles. Or maybe I’m going to go to Portland or Las Vegas.

In creating a process, you need to document and write down how things must be done. In as much detail as possible, such as:

  1. Go to a specific website.
  2. List out events you can attend.
  3. Call the organizers and sponsors.
  4. Send emails with your business press kit to the key decision maker.
  5. Etc.

What are the exact steps that need to be done, because then, guess what? If you couldn’t do the job, you could hand it to someone, they could read that process and have a good chance of getting it done.

The more detailed it is, step by step, the easier it is, the easier it is to employ people to do what you or someone else might ordinarily do.

My brother, while he was acting in Southern California, he got into the serving business and restaurant business. He has a great personality, and he would bring in tips far greater than any other server. Like a lot. Sometimes he’d be in an average restaurant, not even a high-end one, and people are averaging like $80 in tips, but my brother was making $300 in tips.

I asked him, “Well, how could you teach this to other people?” Because other servers were saying, “Hey, how the heck did you do this?” I said, “What specifically are you doing, and is it just your charisma, or is there other things?”

When we broke it down, there were 6 significant things, and I don’t remember off the top of my head, but he’s like, “These are the six things that I typically do.” As soon as he wrote down the system himself, he himself increased his tips by over 30%. I think we calculated it was like 31% increased in his own tips, because he said, “You know what, I never did all six of them at every table.”

Just by him writing out his own process, he increased his own business before he even started training anyone else, and now he’s an award-winning trainer in restaurants because he’s been able to start showing other people exactly what he was doing.

Step 4: Track Progress

I want to add one more thing on here, and that is tracking. Tracking is about noticing what is working, identifying opportunities to improve it, and implementing initiatives to improve things.

This is like the feedback frame we discussed in another video.

So, for instance, as you create a process for sales, you can say, “Okay, the process is that I’m going to contact six people a day, and in hopes to book one meeting. If I book one meeting a day,” and you did that five days a week, “that means I’d have five sales meetings, and in those meetings, hopefully I close two of them into doing business with me.”

Now the next question is, is two sales a week enough?

Maybe if you’re selling a high-end product, that would be a beautiful week for somebody. Maybe they need to close 10 sales a day or more. You must decide what does that sales look like, and then track that, “Okay, how did I do today? How did I do yesterday?”

Create a simple spreadsheet, even if it was just an Excel spreadsheet, or you use Google Docs, you can just put a simple spreadsheet and say, “I talked to 12 people today, and three people wanted a meeting.” Then tomorrow, you talked to eight people, and four people wanted a meeting. And if it goes crazy, like one day you talk to eight people and eight people want a meeting, then by tracking that, I’m like, “What event was I at that that many people wanted to talk to me?”

Then I can refine and say, “I should only go to these events because I get the highest result.”

If you start tracking that, you’re going to start seeing consistent and predictable results. I even had one client that I worked with that had started implementing systems into his business, or into his position as a director, and he started not showing up at work as much, because he didn’t need to.

It was going well.  So much that he was brought into a meeting to get reprimanded because he wasn’t showing up in the office enough, and then he said, “Are you guys done?” And they’re like, “No, we’re not done, we’re about to fire you.”

He said, “Well, I just want to show you what’s going on in my department to add this to the discussion.” And he showed what he was doing, and he was far exceeding every other department in the country. Everyone in that meeting was like, “Oh my gosh, what are you doing different?”

He ended up getting promoted to train other departments.

Your Next Step

Take on task in your business that maybe you don’t like doing, or one that is a big deal. Then start implementing the steps I shared with you. There’s a ton to gain, I’ll promise you that.

Being an entrepreneur, there’s a lot of times I’ve worn many hats. There’s times in my life where I’ve done all three of these: I’m providing the service, I’ve done the sales, and I created the leads. And in that, there were certain things I didn’t want to do as much as the other.

There’s certain things that in my heart, I loved doing, and there’s certain things I didn’t love doing. I ultimately did them all, because my core purpose drove me to do it. But there’s certain things I didn’t want to do as much. So those are the things I would suggest that you start with, because you want to systemize one thing at a time.

If you have any questions, PM me on FB or comment on this post. It’ll inform future posts and training content I will share!

So, until next time, remember, as always ….

Choose Gratitude Create Freedom

Steve Napolitan

(P.S. What are the two words you don’t often hear in the same sentence? System and Freedom.)

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