Monthly Archives: September 2013

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A Systems Approach to Building Scalable Businesses

Everything around us is a system. Take the human body for an instance; our body is a system comprising of organs. Each organ operates independently of the cells that run the show. These organisms in turn are composed of even smaller bits of matter. And all this works without a hitch. Without systems, there is chaos. No meaningful growth can spurt without it.


Why do majority of new businesses fail, yet most franchises succeed? Systems.

So, it comes as no surprise that well managed businesses have pre-defined procedures for handling sales, logistics, marketing, IT, customer service, and finance. Any process that may need to be repeated in the future should be systematized. Procedures are important because they can be repeated and scaled without re-inventing the wheel each time. It is the entrepeneur’s job to focus on creating and improving procedures so that the employees may run them.

And how do you build a system? Simply document each and every process. Documented procedures save time by templating the initial hard work. Here are some simple examples of systems I have applied in my own startups.

1. Create a template for the weekly newsletter. (i.e. CampaignMonitor)
2. Create a procedure for managing invoices, tax receipts and business expenses. (i.e. Freshbooks, SalesForce)
3. Use a CMS to update the website. (i.e. WordPress)
4. Create a cover letter template for all business communication.
5. Use a scripted greeting when answering phone calls. (i.e. Ringio)
6. Securely store all passwords in one software (i.e PassPack)

This sort of procedural approach makes it possible to refine processes based on the success and failure associated with each sub-system.