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The Eighth Commandment of Agency Ownership

Thou Shalt Build Systems to Run thy Business

The idea of building systems as part of a creative venture may seem boring. But they’re essential if you’re going to achieve sustained growth.

Building systems is hard work. They take time to think about, document, and train people on.

And then, you have the variable of people. Some will follow the system to a tee while others will go off and do their own thing.

That’s probably why so many agency owners don’t build them.

You may not even realize that your business doesn’t have great systems. But there are several symptoms that can clue you in.

The Symptoms

The first symptom that you don’t have good systems is that you spend more time working in the business rather than on it.

You’re not acting as the owner and strategist. Instead, you’re an operator who’s constantly putting out fires.

Secondly, there’s volatility in your output. It almost looks like a stock market ticker. One month may see you doing tons of work and the next could see you do next to nothing.

It’s exciting because it feels like you’re on a roller coaster ride. But it’s also a symptom that there are no stable systems within the agency.

The Root Cause

Many agency owners don’t focus on building systems because they’re not taught how to. It’s not something you’re going to find out about at school.

This is especially the case if you specialize in creative endeavors, such as design. You don’t even know where to start with building a system.

In fact, you may even think that having systems in place will stifle your creativity. You’re in the business of taking ideas and turning them into something special. Some agency owners think that systems damage their core competency and make their lives boring.

There are other possible causes. The complexity of building a system comes into play. Plus, there are some agency owners who just like being the hero. They like coming to the rescue and putting out fires, which means they don’t create systems to ensure those fires don’t happen.

Why You Should Fix the Issue

One of my clients shows why creating systems is so important.

I’ve helped the client to implement what I call my three-by-three system. In basic terms, this means they set three big goals every week and three actions to take every day to reach those goals.

It’s just a simple goal-setting system. But it’s changed the client’s life and he’ll soon roll it out to the rest of his team.

Building systems allows you to create calm and sustainable growth for your agency. It allows you to step away from the doing and focus more on how you’ll grow the business.

Dev “Systems Builder” Basu