I work with many designers and design business owners, and many find systems and processes highly boring. However, there are some systems every designer needs to be able to grow and scale without stress.
You might think:
“I know I need systems, but it’s just so boring. I’m a creative person, and I want more creative flow in my work”
I so get this.
But what I’ve learned in my 20+ years in business: if you want to grow, if you want to have more free time, more creative work, and more joy…
You guessed it: you need systems.
My job is to make systems and processes simple and fun. Let’s discuss the systems every designer needs, and why!
Why you need systems
Business systems are essential for the growth of any business, regardless of its size or industry. Here are some reasons why:
- Efficiency: Business systems help streamline processes and make them more efficient. This, in turn, saves time and resources, allowing you to focus on other aspects of the business that require attention.
- Consistency: Systems ensure that processes are performed the same way every time, resulting in consistent output. This consistency helps to build trust and reliability with customers and stakeholders.
- Scalability: As a business grows, its systems need to be able to scale accordingly. Having scalable systems in place makes it easier to handle increased demand and allows for a smoother transition into new markets or product offerings.
- Training: Systems help to standardize training processes, making it easier for new employees to get up to speed quickly. This reduces the time and resources required for training, enabling employees to be more productive in a shorter amount of time.
- Data management: Business systems enable efficient data management, allowing you to track and analyze performance metrics. This helps you identify areas of improvement and make informed decisions about how to allocate resources for future growth.
“When should I start setting up systems?”
Today. You already have systems though. The way you deliver your service or products > a system. The way you do your accounting > system. You might have formal systems and processes or informal ones.
But, in many cases, they are in your head only… making it very difficult for others, when needed, to jump in and execute them.
Or, they are highly manual and could be automated to improve your results!
However, I also see many business owners starting to create systems before they even have clients. While it’s good to be systems-minded, it’s way too early to set up systems if you don’t have any experience with how your business works, or how you want it to work!
“What systems do I need?”
That depends a great deal on your current stage, and what you actually want with your business (and life). But most often, you need to systemize the key activities in our business, which are about getting clients and customers and serving them well. This is your complete client experience.
The Systems Every Designer Needs
System for getting clients and customers
This is the first system we build because once that is in place, you will remove a lot of stress. A looot.
System for onboarding your customers and clients
This needs to be airtight, so your projects and client relations run smoothly. system to deliver your excellence. This could be a certain methodology or a process map you use to get results for your clients – obviously highly unique to your business model, revenue streams, pricing, and personality.
System for planning
This is about making sure your trains run on time, and you can gather information about your activities that helps you make the right decisions and plans for the future. system for visibility. When you have your sales and marketing systems dialed in, strategic visibility makes sense. So you need a system to get lots of it!
System for expanding to new markets or segments
This doesn’t happen by accident either. Our product-based clients often want to expand to international markets (even service-based ones often want that too, the vehicle is just different). Systems are needed.
System for hiring
You need systems for bringing in and training new team members to become profitable contributors to your business.
System for your back-end operations
This could be making sure your CRM talks to your Accounting System, your Logistics System is integrated with your e-commerce store, and with accounting, and with CRM… those systems 🙂
All the systems.
Now, you can easily self-assess your business to know what systems you need the most.
- If your sales are not consistent > sales and marketing systems.
- If your deliveries are giving you headaches> client experience systems.
- If your projects and products don’t end up in media > visibility systems.
- If your team is not profitable > team systems.
- If your back-end is a mess > infrastructure systems.