Rebel’s Guide to Business Systems

As an integrator, I work with a lot of creative entrepreneurs who would classify themselves as rebels. The irony of those rebellious tendencies is never lost on us when it comes to the business systems they know they desperately need and yet do everything they can to resist.

And I get it, business systems can feel restrictive and boring even to me – a rule follower to the core. As soon as you document what you’re already doing, you often feel an urge to shake things up. Sometimes all it takes though is to see how these business systems can actually allow rebels even more freedom and flexibility for them to truly embrace the power of systematizing.

Reframes of Business Systems to Consider

As a creative entrepreneur, the endless micro-decisions that make up the true reality of running a business day-to-day can be especially draining. These micro-decisions eat up so much bandwidth. There’s often nothing left for the expansive white space needed for a rebel to have the sparks of genius they thrive on.

Instead, they’re mired in decision fatigue that can make them feel like they’re drowning in boring responsibility. Fortunately, this fatigue can be drastically minimized by the power of proper business systems that allow rebels to make decisions once and then pass them off to a team member. By setting up a system for those procedural things that are systematizable, the rebel can stop fighting against repeating the boring, repetitive tasks that must be done to keep the business going — but don’t have to be done by them personally. They also can more easily resist the urge to rebel in ways that could be detrimental to the business simply because they’re bored.

Building business systems also generally reduces the inane, seemingly endless questions that can make it feel like your team is sucking up all your time. These questions can be hugely detrimental to a creative rebel because they so easily knock you out of the creative flow so necessary for creation. There’s nothing worse than being knee deep into a fantastic new project and getting knocked off your flow because someone can’t find the color code you like to use for buttons on an opt-in form.

Business Systems Can Remove Barriers

Another way business systems can help rebels get more done is to remove bottlenecks. If your team has a system in place to get things done, they don’t need to rely on you as much. Thus, you remove a huge bottleneck in completing tasks and projects that you’ve already moved on from as you have new and impactful ideas.

So often, creative entrepreneurs struggle to ever finish anything completely because they create bottlenecks by not wanting to go back to something that needs their input for completion. This isn’t always a crisis but it can lead to lost revenue, time and again without systems in place for the team to continue to execute independently.

A common misconception around business systems is that they’re complicated to create and keep up to date. The reality is that yes, they sometimes are. But the most powerful systems are sometimes so simple you can hardly believe it.

For example, two recent business systems in my business have been so impactful, it’s hard to see how we managed without them. One is a spreadsheet my admin created after noticing how much we wasted as a team looking for the same documents internally and for clients over and over again.

So he created a master inventory of the most frequently accessed links for my business and our larger clients. It probably took him an hour or so to create and a few minutes or less anytime we update it. And yet, this single inventory document gets used by the entire team multiple times per day and saves countless wasted hours in the long run.

Keeping It Simple

Another simple business system I recently created was a master template that documented every client’s invoice date, invoice amount with boxes to easily check off when the invoice is sent and paid. Since I generally check client calls are scheduled when I send invoices, I added another column of checkboxes to indicate the calls are scheduled.

Again, the power of this business system far exceeds its simplicity. By utilizing it, I could potentially pass off billing entirely should the need arise. While this isn’t something I plan to do regularly, it’s nice to know getting invoices out isn’t entirely dependent on me should I be traveling or out of the office unexpectedly.

Lastly, business systems like this can allow you far more freedom and flexibility once they’re in place. Many of my creative rebel clients are also spontaneous and having business systems in place allows them to exercise that spontaneity more. For the invoicing example, a business system like this would make it possible for invoices to go out on time even if you decided to go away for a long weekend without any prior planning. A trusted team member could easily take over the task so clients get billed on time while you’re enjoying a much deserved day off.

Business systems can also help creative rebels by creating structure and direction for things they want to do but tend to get lost in the details with. I recently was helping build a content system with a client who generally struggles to get content out consistently. She said something that really resonated with me and reminded me how these business systems can truly free you up so much. She said “I’m so sick of figuring out ‘what to do when’ with content. I just want someone to tell me what to do so I can focus on creating.”.

Free Up Bandwidth With Business Systems

What I hear often from clients is that it’s not that they don’t want to do things like publish blog posts, promote content on social media, or get a launch going. It’s the sheer number of steps that’s involved overwhelms them to the point they can’t get the real work done.

By adding in business systems around those things, they free up the mental bandwidth the details eat up so they can actually get to creating.

So while it may seem counter-intuitive, business systems can and do help rebels as well as rule followers.

When you’re a rebel entrepreneur, systems can feel restrictive. Here are some ideas on how business systems can help you be more productive.

What kind of entrepreneur are you?

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