This week we’re looking at the Framework for Systems Thinking in Business. I want to highlight the four most important systems for any business to have.
As you might have heard me say before, these systems are in every business, no matter what industry or what size. If you don’t have these systems, then you aren’t a business yet. Remember that a system doesn’t have to be well defined, thought out, or efficient. It’s just a way you get something done.
No matter what your business is or what stage it’s at, you’ll benefit from spending some time thinking through these systems and identifying any room for improvement.
Traffic systems are how you generate awareness with your potential Customers that you exist as a business and offer one or more products.
Remember our definition of a system – a system is how you get something done. A way to think about what systems you have already in your business today is to ask questions around each of these… “how does my business do ‘x’ ?”
In the case of traffic, ask yourself, “how does my business make potential Customers aware that the business exists?”
I like to break these out between organic and paid systems, although some of the content might overlap (oftentimes the outputs of your organic traffic systems become inputs into your paid traffic systems e.g. boosting a Facebook post to increase engagement).
You’ll come up with systems like –
- Writing articles/blogs
- Posting on socials
- Doing videos and lives
- Running paid ads
These are some of the examples of how you might answer the question of how you’re creating awareness. The system is then what you’re doing to make these things happen.
Take, for example, writing an article. There’s at least a general process you would follow in writing articles. You figure out a topic, do a little research, maybe check some keywords. You do the actual writing and some light editing. You find some suitable images and then post the article via your preferred delivery method.
Whatever it is you are doing, that’s your system today! While it might not be very refined, it at least gives you a starting point for looking to make improvements.
A Word of Qualification Systems
If you’ve looked over the framework diagram, you’ll notice there’s a Qualification System depicted between the Traffic and Conversion Systems.
In many businesses, the qualification work is embedded in the traffic system. Any kind of funnel (if designed properly) will start with creating awareness and qualify leads by the end of the funnel.
It’s perfectly fine to think about these together as part of a single system. If you identify traffic or lead quality as an area of opportunity for improvements, it might be worth breaking them apart since the work you do to create the traffic is different than the work you do to qualify the traffic.
The ultimate choice to keep these together or break them apart is up to you and what makes sense in your head.
Once you have qualified leads, the next question to ask is “how does your business convert those leads to sales?”
Some common answers here include things like landing pages with additional copy, pushing testimonials, email sequences, discovery calls, and more.
Without some way to convert your leads to sales, you won’t have a business.
In order to fulfill your sales/orders, you’ve got to have some way you’re getting your product to your buyers. Whether you’re selling physical, digital, or a combination of both, you’ve got to have at least one system in place here.
Going back to our pattern of asking a question, ask yourself “how does the Customer get their purchase once the sale is made?”
The answer to that question is your delivery system!
You’ve got to have basic tracking in place for at least two things here.
How do you charge Customers?
How much is going in/out?
Depending on where you are in the world and how your business is set up, there also might be a tax question that needs to get answered as part of ongoing operations more than once per year around taxes that you owe.
The system question to ask yourself here is “how do you keep track of money coming in and going out?”
There’s a second question you need to ask yourself when it comes to accounting: “How does the business take payments from Customers?”
You need to think through how you invoice your Customer as well as how you allow them to pay you.
After you’ve got these four critical systems identified and understood, you can start working on improving these systems or move on to the secondary systems from the framework.
Whatever you do, realize you’re on a journey and take it one step at a time. Reach out to me with any questions.