Even if it’s just you
Everyone talks about implementing systems, but do you need them?
Do I have the time to find or create systems for my business?
What will systems do for you, especially if you’re a one person shop?
Systems can do everything. If you like making your life easier, that is.
What Is A System?
We hear people talk about systems (or processes) all the time. But what is a system?
Systems create specific steps to follow in performing common tasks. They may automate tasks, or provide specific directions to someone. These tasks may occur every hour or only on occasion, depending on the task. For example, you may have a system for sending data to your dialer to start cold calling. This may be used every day you or your team is cold calling, such as every work day. Other systems may be used infrequently, such as hiring a new employee.
All the steps necessary to complete a process should be in the system. The entire purpose of a system is to ensure nothing is left out and that the task is completed as efficiently as possible – you don’t want to forget to deliver a signed contract to the title company because you left that step off of your system.
Taking routine tasks and putting them on autopilot is an excellent reason to use systems. Manually combing through foreclosure lists is tedious and time consuming, but having software or a service that sifts it for you both maximizes your time and ensures it is done timely and as error-free as the data allows (there can always be data errors beyond your control).
Doing repetitive tasks over and over gets boring, and it increases the likelihood of errors. Creating systems for making calls, scrubbing data, preparing closing documents, hiring employees, and so on frees up your time and lets you focus on revenue-generating activities.
I had a conversation about systems with Terry Thayer on my Real Estate Disruptors podcast (you can watch it for free on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or my website www.RealEstateDisruptors.com). Terry used to work himself ragged as a general contractor doing fix and flips, buy and holds, renovations, and other real estate work. A 70 or 80 hour work week was a slow week for him. He didn’t get to see his wife, his kids, take vacations, or enjoy the fruits of his labor.
Then Terry discovered the power of systems. He stopped being a contractor and became a real estate wholesaler. He spent a year finding or creating various systems for his business, everything from finding sellers to hiring employees. By implementing those systems, Terry now works about five hours a week and makes over six figures a year. He even has a hiring process which hands him solid, qualified candidates and has cut his time spent hiring a new employee to two hours.
Systems Are Important for Solopreneurs, Too
Being a solopreneur (the old “me, myself and I” running the business) is hard. There’s no one to help you; no one to catch your mistakes or remind you to do something. Sifting through seller lists, parsing skip tracing results, dialing telephone numbers in cold calling, knowing which offer was sent to whom and needs follow up – all things that need to be done, but take a lot of time away from doing other things.
Make these tasks accurate and reliable by implementing systems. How many times have you tapped the wrong number when calling someone? Missed an important piece of information is a large spreadsheet? Spent 20 minutes hunting for that contract because it wasn’t placed in the proper folder?
Systems are even more important for the solopreneur, because you can’t afford to miss things. You don’t want to kill a deal because you forgot to order title work, for example. As you grow and hire employees, you can easily hand off systems to the new people. Things don’t massively change because someone else has a different file organization system (or lack of one). You’re basically plugging them into the system, but the system keeps running and doing its job.
Keep It Consistent
Good systems work regardless of who is sitting in that job’s chair. If your acquisitions success rates change every time you hire a new salesperson, you don’t have a system, you have a free for all. The wheel is being reinvented every time someone else is in the acquisitions seat. You need to have a consistent method that anyone you hire can use and keep your successful processes working.
Once you have successful systems in place, you make life easier for your employees. They know what to do on a daily basis; there’s no guessing about how to accomplish duties and meet established targets. You can easily determine who is doing their job, and who is not.
Having systems also gives you the ability to diagnose what part of your business is failing if your KPIs drop. Is marketing still going out? What are the responses? Are acquisitions making enough calls each day? Are contracts being signed? If not, why? Systems make it easy to find out who is not following the system, and correct the problem. Check your systems, and see what is clogging the pipeline. Clear the blockage, and the system operates smoothly again.
Find Systems or Create Your Own?
Creating your own system may sound appealing, because you can make it be exactly what you want. However, creating a system from scratch is time consuming. I recommend finding existing systems (e.g., software, developed hiring processes, etc.) and adapting them to your business’ practices. You will save a lot of time, and likely a ton of headaches too. This approach may cost you a little more money than if you created your own system, but it is more important to get a system in place than it is to save a few bucks here. Later on, if you’re not happy with your choice of system, you can change it up or create your own. You will have more time later, once you get your systems up and running.
It’s never too early, or too late, to implement systems. Remember, systems are just tools to help you get things done faster and more accurately. That’s all. Don’t get hung up on who uses what system; find what works for you and get going.
The faster you get systems implemented, the faster you gain time and the more successful you will be.