Being able to develop and manage business systems is an important skill for an entrepreneur. Business systems allow you to establish processes and procedures to solve problems as they arise, rather than being reactive to challenges or trying to solve the same problems repeatedly. Solid, established business systems and processes will provide a high level of consistency and create opportunities for growth when you continually improve the systems you have established.

Creating “repeatable” experiences.

To determine how impactful business systems can be, we can look at successful businesses such as McDonald’s or Disney. McDonald’s delivers the same restaurant experience with the same meals consistently, regardless of which location you visit. While they work with employees who are generally not highly skilled or experienced, they are able to consistently provide a repeatable experience that customers have come to expect. This experience is a result of well-established business systems and procedures that ensure a consistent and repeatable McDonald’s experience.

Establishing clear procedures fosters customer satisfaction.

The Disney Corporation also provides a great example of how a company uses business systems to deliver a repeatable experience. Disney has carefully designed processes and procedures for all departments and employees that aim to make the guest experience the best it can possibly be.

Customers filing complaints don’t get a random response that has been crafted by whomever hears the complaint. This would, at best, deliver an unpredictable and perhaps unsatisfactory response. Rather, Disney has established clear guidelines as to how all complaints are handled. All employees are trained in these procedures so there is no question as to how to handle complaints as they arise. This system of handling complaints is just one of many systems Disney has implemented to make sure the customer experience is second to none.

A model for consistency across locations.

One area where business systems have continually proved effective is in franchise operations. Most franchises are selling business systems and a way of repeatedly doing business to ensure consistency and predictability. These processes and procedures have many times been refined over years and improved as needs and challenges of a business arise.

Franchises typically have proven systems that are effective in a variety of environments. It’s these systems that convince franchise buyers to invest, in some cases, hundreds of thousands of dollars for the rights to a franchise operation. These buyers know the systems work and are repeatable, therefore giving a much higher chance of success when compared to a typical start-up business.

Every size business benefits from systems.

You don’t have to be a large national chain or franchise to establish quality business systems and procedures. Regardless of the number of employees or locations in your operation, create systems that help you run your business more efficiently. Don’t be afraid to try new systems and be sure to evaluate the procedures you have in place. It’s unrealistic to think you will establish the perfect system on your first try so be willing to evaluate and make necessary adjustments.

One last note on business systems — they are not meant to be rigid rules that turn you and your employees into machines. There is a human element to every system and even the best systems are run by humans who, naturally, make mistakes. When mistakes happen it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to rework your system and start over; you may just need to retrain or make small adjustments. The important thing is to have a system and do your best to make it work!