Implementing systems in your SEO business is crucial, but starting can feel overwhelming or confusing.
You may have attempted it before but gave up due to the complexity or lack of guidance. Perhaps you made some initial progress, but the systems were not effectively implemented and followed.
Systemizing your business well can provide ample time and cost savings and potentially boost your sales.
By allowing you to focus on those all-important income-generating tasks instead of dealing with the small stuff, you can turn your business from one that plods along to one that brings you closer to those big goals of yours.
I’d go as far as to say that it’s tough to scale or grow meaningfully unless you have systems in place.
What is a system?
A system is a chain of processes, each containing a sequence of individual steps that make the system operational.
So a process might be creating a form on a WordPress website but the system could be an entire marketing funnel.
Form submission > email response > discovery call booking > call script/plan > closing
Why systematize your SEO business?
Benefits of systemizing your business:
- It will free up decision-making headspace for more important matters.
- It ensures consistency.
- It helps you to stay organized.
- You can manage your time better.
- It’s easy to delegate or for team members to cover for others.
- Your customers get high-quality service every time.
- It stops things from being missed or forgotten.
- It’s essential if you ever want to sell your business.
Let’s look at each of these in a little more detail.
Freeing up decision-making capacity
Taking the decision out of your hands can help you focus on crucial work instead of making decisions about less important tasks.
Systems mean that tasks are done in the same order and in the same way over and over again.
This is why production lines always have systems in place.
Can you imagine a factory producing chocolate bars, and they all came out tasting slightly differently or in three pieces instead of two?
Systems allow you to stay super organized. In some cases, not doing so can have severe consequences – an example being your invoicing system.
Managing your time
While it is a big time investment to get all of this set up, once done, you will save hours of time across your day.
Knowing that your systems are taking care of day-to-day business means you are less likely to be pulled away to deal with issues that arise.
This enables you to focus on the really important tasks, the income-generating tasks, looking after your customers and working on business growth.
Handing work over to someone where systems are in place makes it much easier for everyone involved. If someone goes off ill unexpectedly, it is easy for someone else to pick up the work.
Giving the same high-quality experience time and time again will keep your customers coming back for more.
They know what to expect and so feel comfortable doing business with you.
Systems make sure that all customers are treated exactly the same way and that any disputes are handled according to your internal policies.
All of this helps to take the emotion out of situations, especially concerning non-payment or complaints.
Helping you remember
If you have a system, it’s much more difficult to forget to do something.
Think about an email you read last thing on a Friday, thinking you will get to it the following week.
But come Monday, you forget all about it, and it sits in your inbox for the rest of the week. It’s only when your customer chases you do you remember that it even exists.
I’m sure we have all been there. I certainly have.
Systems help to avoid this from happening because once an input arrives and feeds into the relevant system, it’s in the right place, and that individual process begins.
Do you have an exit strategy for your business?
If so, it may well include selling it to someone else at some point. If this is the case, then systemization is essential.
It is much easier to sell a business that has systems in place already. The handover becomes easier for everyone involved.
Get the daily newsletter search marketers rely on.
How to get started with systems in your SEO business
You may want to view this as a stand-alone project as it may take a little time to fully systemize everything.
Start with the big stuff, the important ones and the ones that will free up the most amount of time for you.
This may also need investment to enable you to properly automate some of these systems too, which will help free up even more time, so work out a budget ahead of time.
Start with one and map out that system from start to finish
Each system will contain several individual processes. We often see these processes recorded as standard operating procedures (SOPs).
I would suggest having a templated document with a title, version number, date, and number to identify the document and how it fits into the overall system.
You’ll also need to create an index so that at any time, if someone needs to know how to do something, they can go to your systems ‘bible’ and find the relevant one.
Testing and improvements
Once your processes are written out and system maps are created, you can move into the test and improve phase.
Test it as much as you can. Breaking the system then enables you to account for different scenarios.
Pass your SOPs to someone completely new to the tasks involved and ask them to follow them. A fresh pair of eyes can often pick out problems that might otherwise get missed.
Don’t currently have a central storage system for all of your documents? Now is the time to have one.
You could set up a Google Drive, One Drive or Dropbox account.
Whichever you use, make sure that it’s stored in a way that makes sense with filenames clearly written and simplified titles so it’s easy to find everything. Then ensure that everyone in your business can access the files.
Once you have your systems in place, it is important to make sure that they stay relevant.
Set aside regular reviews of existing systems by going through them step by step and amending anything that has changed.
Likewise, archive anything that is no longer relevant and add in any new systems.
This folder of documents is basically the inner workings of your business, it should tell anyone exactly what they need to do to run the business your way.
You should, in essence, be able to walk away from it all tomorrow, and someone else could come in, pick up the systems and be able to carry on.
Systematize and thrive
I am a massive fan of systemization. I believe that it is essential to the success of any business owner looking to grow.
That said, while every area of your business can be systemized, I also believe that our SEO clients buy into us as people too.
So don’t completely lose that human connection element and personalization you give them.
A monthly phone call or personalized email will go a long way toward maintaining the relationships you have worked so hard to build.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.