Many entrepreneurs, especially creatives, feel like systems and planning kill their creative juices, and consequently, their ideas, so they resist systems entirely.

It’s common to start out super resistant to systems because it feels like the spontaneity and creativity that inspired your business will be stopped dead by setting up systems.

But the thing is, systems and planning don’t have to be restrictive to be useful. You can use them the way you want.

You can use systems for structure and support without making them overly rigid. Systems provide the framework and reminders to allow you to do things with ease, so you’re not reinventing the wheel each time.

For example, I’m working on a content system for a client right now where we’re building a series of templates to use for landing pages, launch emails, and social media content. We’re documenting the core items we want for each item, but that doesn’t mean we’re limited to just those things. The templates will make it easier and faster to write a landing page — plus there’s the added bonus of providing all the necessary pieces your team needs to build the page the first time without all those pesky questions!

Another one I’m working on is a pricing system. We’re documenting all the basic packages, add-ons, and expanded options ahead of time, so my client can easily quote prices and create proposals. This helps make the consult process easier and prevent a money leak because she won’t be undercharging.

Here are some other great system examples from Entrepreneur On Fire.

As the driving force behind your business, you get to decide how you want to do things, and systems merely help you do what you do best.

One Way Systems Fail

A common mistake business owners make when building a system is that they remove the human element, which results in cold, robotic-like systems. As with everything, if we forget that there’s a human on the other end, we fail them and ourselves. When done wrong, systems can be restrictive, annoying, and feel very cold.

For example, in a client’s business, we experienced a contractor who was all about systems in their business. They had an onboarding system, a one-month check-in system, and even an off-boarding system. They clearly prioritized setting up systems in their business!

But, in spite of those great systems, my client constantly felt like she wasn’t being heard when she worked with this contractor. She had a very legitimate issue with the contractor’s performance that she conveyed multiple times through these various system check-ins but at no point did the contractor acknowledge those concerns in a truly authentic way.

Even after ending the contract with very clear and constructive feedback, the off-boarding system only verified that the contractor was not paying attention to any of our feedback as the system kept chugging along without any acknowledgment of our concerns.

So, as the end result, the system failed to accomplish the goal of making my client feel taken care of. Instead, she felt ignored and pushed aside because the human element was gone. At no point did the contractor stop and think whether this step in the system was appropriate for what was happening in the client relationship right now.

This is why I am an advocate of smart systems that make sense and not just making a process that we follow without any real forethought or analysis.

Smart systems are the ones that can make your business shine.

Your Systems Should Always Be Evolving

Once you build a system — even a smart one — you can’t be afraid to reevaluate your systems if something seems “off.” Setting up systems is only the beginning to truly harnessing the power systems provide for your business.

Here’s the thing about systems: what was working three months or even three weeks ago may not be working under the current circumstances.

Because of this, we have to be open to evaluating the system with what’s going on in our lives and our businesses, so we can see if it’s working now with what we’re currently experiencing.

A smart system is an evolving process that grows with your business and is easy to update as the need arises.

Setting Up Systems In Action

For example, one of my clients has a really solid blog and newsletter system that she’s developed over the last few years of her business, and nearly every single step is documented in amazing detail. But even still, we make a few tweaks every quarter because how we do things changes over time.

We have to leave room for that change to happen. In some cases, it’s as simple as not preparing too far ahead. In the case of my client’s blog system, we choose to only prep the template documents we use to create content for the current quarter.

We realize that if we create December’s templates in February, the system will probably have changed so many times that it’s virtually wasted work. Plus, we’re not leaving space for those changes to happen by assuming things will stay the same for months on end.

While systems and processes help you streamline and grow your business, it’s also important to leave room for them to change and morph as the circumstances of your business and life do.

When you do, that’s when you’ll see the true power of systems.

Setting up systems for your business may feel overwhelming, but the return you’ll get from your efforts cannot be underestimated. Here’s why.