How to Conduct a Business Systems Audit for Growth

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Emma O'Connell

4th July 2020

You might not even be aware, but running an online business involves a lot of processes and systems. Every task you perform is linked to a process and a bigger system.

Systems don’t last forever, sadly. They are in fact an ever evolving part of your business that change as you build, grow and scale. With that in mind, it is a good idea to audit your business systems every quarter to six months by blocking out time in your calendar to take stock.

Time to step into your CEO shoes.

WHY YOU NEED TO AUDIT YOUR SYSTEMS

The whole concept of systems might seem overwhelming, but our everyday life is full of them. The way you clean your bathroom, do your washing, even putting your children to bed at night, is your own little process or system. But systems don’t last forever. Your children grow up and things need to change.

Sometimes systems just stop working.  It isn’t because they weren’t good systems in the first place, but rather our needs shift and our systems need to adjust in line with those changes.

Before the whole world was thrown into a pandemic and covid-19 created a new normal, my grocery shopping was disorganised. I didn’t meal plan. I frequently dragged my two children to the supermarket in search of food and inspiration. When the government told us that we were to “Stay home. Save lives. Protect the NHS”, suddenly things needed to change. So we actually started meal planning, making a list of the things are needed for those meals and then going shopping once a week, our one essential trip. I’ll be honest, it has been a complete game changer. The stress of looking at the fridge and wondering what the hell I am going to cook, and then making a desperate trip to the supermarket has stopped and with a new process in place it has suddenly become so much easier, even more joyful. And it is a process that is here to stay.

At times it can be very obvious that things aren’t working out and something needs to change. Other times you might not be fully aware that things are broken. This is why taking the time to check-in and review is so important, so you can actually ask yourself – is this really working? Or could this be done better?

Whilst conducting a business systems audit in itself isn’t really rocket science, blocking out time to go through every process with a fine tooth comb, is pretty dull and boring. But it is essential. Take the time to ask yourself whether the systems and tools that you DO have in place are being used and leveraged to the best of their ability or if there are further systems and tools you need to look at implementing. Doing this will save you time (and subsequently more energy) and will help you move your business forwards.

Having clear systems and processes in place will remove the overwhelm each time you have to tackle something you dread, such as client on-boarding or writing a blog post. It might not be the most fun or sexy task (like creating graphics in Canva), but trust me, taking the time to go through this will be worth it in the end because you will be able to remove yourself from a lot of the ‘busy’ work and that is the end goal we are all working towards.

Whilst conducting a business systems audit might not be rocket science, it is pretty dull and boring. But oh so worth it to see your business grow the right way, without the stress and overwhelm.

HOW TO AUDIT YOUR SYSTEMS 

The best way to approach a systems audit is to break it down into three parts: Reflect, Review and Refresh. 

STEP ONE: REFLECT

Make some time to sit down and reflect on the past 6 months. Ask yourself these questions:

 

  • How do you feel about the past 6 months?
  • What has worked well? What hasn’t worked so well? 
  • How do you feel about your business over the past 6 months? What are you happy with? What needs to be improved?
  • How was your work/life balance?
  • How did you spend your time over the past 6 months? How do you feel about that?
  • What did you prioritise over the past 6 months? How do you feel about that
  • Have the past 6 months bought you closer to your big goals, your big picture vision or taken you further away?

STEP TWO: REVIEW

Time to walk through and review all of the systems in your business and ask yourself these questions:

 

  • How do you feel about the systems you have in place? Are they working for you?
  • What systems and tools are working well? What aren’t working?
  • Do you have recorded processes and systems for ALL parts of your business?
  • Do you feel like something can be improved?
  • Are there people or automations that can replace some parts or even some steps?
  • Is there a step that doesn’t make sense?
  • Is there a step that is missing?
  • Has something shifted or changed in your business that now renders a particular step obsolete?

STEP THREE: REFRESH

Now you have identified what is and isn’t working and the areas for improvement or change. It’s time to implement. Re-record any videos you have created, rewrite the checklists, update the documentation, tell all team members about the changes and run through them. Either test them yourself if you don’t have a team or get your team to run through them and check they are working.

Now the only other thing left to do is to schedule in another business systems audit for the next quarter or for six months time.

 

I’ve created a Business Systems Audit Worksheet for you, that you can print off and reuse every 3-6 months. Click here to download it now.

If you want to join other like-minded female entrepreneurs who want to create a simplified and streamlined business that enables them to focus on maximising you impact, income and influence come and join the Facebook Group.

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