👨🎓 SIBG Pt. 2.1 - Create systems and SOPs
I'm always amused when people say that they don't like routines and systems and habits and procedures.
"It stifles me! I want freedom! Routines are boring! They kill creativity!"
Yeah, about that...
You might think that you don't have routines, but you do:
You make your tea just so.
You like your eggs over easy, not overdone - and don't make the toast too early, otherwise it'll get cold.
You put toothpaste on your toothbrush before putting the thing into your mouth.
You get the mail out of the mailbox, before you rip open the envelopes, because that's just the order of things.
We all have habits, routines, procedures, and best-practice sequences of actions
We are, like it or not, creatures of habit.
And if you want to do do something, and you want it to result in a great outcome with as little effort or error as possible - say, run a sales process that sustains and grows your business - you'd do well to be intentional about your habits and routines. (This is why I created the SFC Pipeline Habit Scorecard.)
So in the Grow-Up phase, we want to look at the different activities in our business, and identify the ones that bring the best results.
These are the ones you start automating first, because once you have a handy little checklist, workflow, or Standard Operating Procedure for them, you can perform the actions without having to spend any time thinking about it.
And that - misspent cognitive capacity, or: thinking about doing things that we no longer should have to be thinking about - is a major reason why we don't achieve more.
Think about it:
On any given day, you might have a maximum capacity of two or three hours of real deep thought and deep work.
The other hours, they go into meetings, housekeeping, paperwork, checking your social channels...
And what's left is a small and finite budget of deep thought and work.
And you'd better allocate that scarce resource to be spent as efficiently as possible
For instance, a while ago Martin ran a publishing campaign on social media. Took him 30 minutes a day, to create and publish article, a video, an illustration, a blog post, Twitter thread, AND a new entry here in the SalesFlow Coach app.
%%For instance, each day Martin spends between 30 to 60 minutes writing and publishing an article.
Wait... only 30 minutes, and there's an article, illustration, blog post, Twitter thread, AND a new entry here in the SalesFlow Coach app...?%%
That's a pretty high yield, if you can spend only 30 minutes, and get that many creative assets produced and published. Yep.
And the only reason he achieved that, was by using a very simple, step-by-step checklist - a Publishing SOP.
A set of steps like that, whether you call it checklist or SOP, completely removes the need to think about anything at all, except the answer to:
"What should I write today?", which is of course the most important question in publishing.
Having the routine in his task app makes it fast, easy, and ensures that he spends almost no time thinking about trivialities or anything to do with procedure.
I.e. conservation of mental energy.
That way he gets to spend more time on creating more content, and helping his clients and business partners creating great deals.
At some point, he had the systems and procedures figured out to perfection, and hired a VA to help with production and scheduling, thus saving even more time.
This - creating routines and systems that reliably produce quality outcomes, and that enable you to leverage your time - will make a big difference in your business.
It takes you from doing "manual labor" in your business at the expense of quality thinking and strategising, to becoming the top-level, CEO-type, strategic and creative visionary that your business requires, if it's going to grow beyond what you individually are able to achieve.
So look at your daily activities, and ask:
- Which actions produce results?
- Which of those recur daily, or weekly?
- Which of those are kinda boring, or would be if it weren't for having to think about doing it right?
Next, pick one of those actions or projects, and simply outline each of the steps required to get to "Done."
You don't need to put it in a todo app, like Martin does - though the positive reinforcement of checking off items to the sound of a satisfying little ping sure feels good.
Just make sure that you have a document that outlines, step by step, how that particular thing gets done.
Next, create new SOPs and workflows for other tasks as you go along, and within a few weeks, you'll start seeing how your business contains all kinds of really cool, efficient, reliable processes.
And because you have them documented, you'll start doing them faster, with fewer mistakes or dropped balls, and with more energy left to do your Zone of Genius work.
Or, you can start getting team members to do them for you.
So long as you don't formalise, structure and systemise your operations, your growth potential will always be limited by how much time you're able to put in.
So with that said, let's start looking at metrics, and why you should start keeping a score on your numbers:
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