I often talk about systems when I meet with different people. It is a popular topic among business owners who want to scale. But what actually is a system? Although there are multiple definitions of systems, the common one that I see, especially in the business world, is a series of apps you use to do a thing. This is close and isn't wrong, but it is a little bit of an over-simplification and lacks nuance. So I want to bring that nuance back by redefining what a system is.
A system is a bunch of components or parts of a system that come together to do something. A component can be anything from an application you use to another system entirely!
Also to be clear systems aren't just for business! One of the greatest pieces of my system is my Kettle, that boils in less than 60 seconds. Thanks to that kettle I stay hydrated whenever I'm recording podcast episodes or working on something, because otherwise I go away after 30 seconds… and I completely forget I tried to make myself a tea (and you don't wanna take a brit away from their tea… trust me)
The business you run is a system in itself.
Your business has a number of dynamic interacting components that come together to create a business. This includes things like:
- your clients,
- your audience,
- your team,
- your marketing,
- and a multitude of other things.
However a system only works well when all the components are working together, when they fit together in a way that serves the purpose of the system.
Why does that matter when starting from you?
Put simply: You are a system (and you're also a component).
The purpose of a system can change and evolve as components are added or removed, for example, a new team member arrives or someone leaves, but there is always one component that doesn't really change and that's you, you are a key component of the system and all of the pieces need to work together to support the purpose that you define.
We are bombarded by hundreds of things every day, setting up a system that fits your needs is super important but it's even more important that you don't forget one of the key components of your system. You.