Starting an online business requires hard work, grit, and persistence. However, growing that business — scaling it up for amazing success — requires a little more.
With hard work, you’re likely to get a solid start. But do you want to keep working hard all the time? After all, the point of starting an online business is to solve a problem and make money doing it. Many of us get into business to generate enough revenue to take control of our lives while offering value to others.
The truth is that hard work, grit, and persistence will only get you so far. At some point you need to stop working harder and switch to working smarter. The right business systems can help you scale your business and make money in your sleep.
What are business systems?
A business system is any process that helps you efficiently accomplish a task. A good business system is:
- Automated (or nearly automated)
Whether you’re looking for new ideas, setting up an email funnel, or selling a product, a good business system is the key to long-term success. You can set up systems that draw people to your website, usher them through a course, help you develop new ideas, or even a system that establishes a blog posting process.
The idea is to get your process down so you don’t have to think about it each time you work on a task.
There are plenty of reasons to set up business systems, but here are five of the most important:
- Free up more time
- Focus on where you get the ROI
- Create consistency
- Come up with and implement new ideas
- Build value for your business
“I prefer to work less than 20 hours a week,” said Rosemarie Garner, the founder of the Busy Budgeter, a successful online business. “The only way to make that work is to have dialed-in systems.”
Let’s take a look at how business systems can benefit you, no matter where you’re at in the journey.
1. Free up more time
Most of us didn’t leave the rat race and start a business because we wanted to work more. While entrepreneurs work long hours to start, the goal is almost always to shift away from working as much and live a more flexible lifestyle.
The systems I use in my own business allow me to work less today than I did five years ago — and I make more money.
Greg Johnson, the co-founder of online frugality and travel website Club Thrifty, says that before setting up a system for selling their courses, they spent a lot of time, and only sold a handful of courses a month. Now, thanks to their system, they sell seven times as many courses a month.
“We created an automated and evergreen system, setting up a regular pre-recorded webinar that funnels people to our course,” Johnson says. “The more we automate, the more we can free up time to invest back in the business or just enjoy our lives.”
2. Focus on where you get the ROI
Along with freeing up time (and making more money), business systems allow you to focus on where you get the best ROI.
“Let’s be honest, the things my contractors and assistants do account for about 30 percent of the business income,” says Garner. “What I do is 70 percent. Having systems in place frees me up to focus on the things that will make the biggest difference to our bottom line.”
Garner even has a system around how she schedules her workday so that each minute she’s working results in maximum productivity and ROI. It’s how she manages to accomplish so much in 20 hours a week or less.
On top of that, Garner has systems that her employees and contractors can follow. “I know my people, and the tasks where they will get the best return on their time,” she says. “By putting the right people in the right place in the system, everything works better and everyone is doing something meaningful to help the business.”
3. Create consistency
Business systems also create consistency. Your customers and clients want to know what they’re getting, and systems help keep you on track. Plus, you can follow a process when you’re ready to add something different. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel every time someone new joins your organization — or each time you decide to launch a new product line.
Additionally, the right systems help create a consistent brand story across different media and profiles, as well as provide a set method for handling problems and starting new projects.
Consistency can also make it easier to make changes as needed. “Everything needs tweaking and you have to keep up with best practices,” says Johnson. “With the consistent systems, though, you can go in an tweak as needed, with a ripple effect happening to keep you updated.”
For example, when you have a system for your funnel, making one tweak affects the rest of your funnel automatically, so you don’t have to go to each part individually and make those changes.
4. Come up with and implement new ideas
One of the most important business systems to develop is one that helps you find new ideas. By following consistent steps for ideation and implementation, you can launch new products faster. This type of implementation also works when you’re changing up website copy or moving through some other type of exercise.
Garner uses a system when tweaking a landing page designed to convert visitors. “We don’t spend four hours redoing the whole page,” she says. “We have a system to help us tweak things that will give us the biggest ROI, starting with the headline, and then changing the image, and then changing the call to action.”
Following this system saves time when Garner wants to implement changes, and it offers good results without the need to invest a lot of extra time and energy.
For example, a good system for coming up with a new online course can also help you work through the process quicker and easier. Your system for creating the course might include the following steps:
- Find out your audience pain points by administering a survey
- Brainstorm solutions to the pain points you discovered
- Validate your course through one-on-one calls and confirm visitors are willing to pay
- Polish the course and launch the product
Each of these steps has its own mini-system involved. However, as you break it down — and break it down the same way each time — you’ll go through the process faster and launch more useful products that customers will pay for.
And, of course, business systems designed to advertise your products and get customers in your funnel can help you supercharge your revenue streams with each new product you launch.
5. Build value for your business
If your goal is to eventually sell your business, it’s vital that you build value over time. Business systems can help you do this. When you have systems in place that promote profitability and consistency, it’s much easier for someone to buy your business and continue making money. With systems in place, your business becomes more attractive to buyers — and increases the chance that they’ll be more willing to pay more for it.
“With systems, the key is to keep reviewing and tweaking to keep adding value,” says Johnson. “You don’t need to keep doing a ton to change it, and you don’t want it to become a time suck. Your systems help you add value without taking up too much time.”
What business systems do you use to accomplish more in less time? What systems would you be most interested in learning how to implement? Let us know in the comments!