Systems: The Key to Scaling Your Business


I’m a pretty regimented eater when it comes to weekday lunch.  Usually it’s a simple protein shake or an egg scramble.  Quick to make and easy to consume while I’m prepping for a client or writing my latest blog. But, on a rare occasion, usually when my energy is low or I’m not feeling the greatest, all I want is a simple peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  


So let me ask you this: WHO makes the best peanut butter and jelly sandwich?  


I’m going to venture out on a limb and say it’s the person reading this article…. YOU. Yes, it’s YOU! I have found it tastes best when the person making it is also the person eating it.  So why is that?  It’s because you know the right ratio of peanut butter to jelly you like, the ideal bread selection and the proper sequence of how all those glorious components need to come together to make the PERFECT PBJ.  (And I am assuming you enjoy eating peanut butter sandwiches. If not, substitute your favorite sandwich and keep reading) 


But what if you were unable to make your sandwich?  

What if you need to rely on someone else to make it for you? 

Would you be able to detail the process to a friend or family member and get the same results as if you made it yourself?  

What if someone had never made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich before?  

Would you be able to outline the steps to make your perfect sandwich?


Do you see the metaphor for my article?  It’s all about systems and the processes within.  


The systems within your business embody people processes, technology, information and innovation. Think high level, 50,000-feet-types-of-processes that are essential for your business to exist, like how you acquire customers (sales) and the system for delivering on your brand promise (marketing). Now think about the processes within sales and marketing (or shipping, accounting, manufacturing, etc for that matter). When you get into the details, there are usually multiple processes within each system. 


While your core processes may seem simple or matter-of-fact to you, can you ensure everyone on your team understands exactly what is needed and how to complete the required steps?


What happens if...

… your team is not capturing these processes, how will you train the next new hire?  

… you can’t articulate the process, how will you know how to scale? 

… a key employee (think skilled PBJ maker) leaves and takes that undocumented knowledge with them, how will the rest of the team fill in the gap?


Once you have determined what your business’ core processes are, you want to map them out – visualize! Never mapped out a process before?  (I can help you in real time with a Mural)


Let’s go back to the peanut butter and jelly sandwich. 

-  What’s the process to make your sandwich perfect?  How does it start?  

-  WIth white bead? Whole wheat bread?  If you’re like my daughter, maybe it starts with a hot dog bun. 

- Is the bread straight from the bag or toasted?  Is it soft bread or something more sturdy?

- Will it be smooth or chunky peanut butter?

- oh and the WILDCARD… choice of jelly! 


Here’s what my PBJ Process Map would look like:




Those questions revolve completely around WHAT is needed to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Then there is HOW to build it. Imagine if I took you through the entire process?  How many steps would it take?  How many details would be required?  Could you draw it out with pictures?  


Tom Wujec, business visualization expert and Ted conference regular, did an entire TedTalk on this idea, but his work revolved around mapping the process of making toast. The variations on How to Make Toast are mind-boggling! And this is just toast. 


Imagine if we walked through an entire process and mapped out the steps to fully describe how a prospect becomes a client or how a piece of wood becomes a guitar. How many steps would it take?  How many details would be required?  Could you draw it out with pictures? WOuld everyone else on your team draw it out the same way?


Systems is often the Attribute that goes overlooked. Businesses that are looking to grow need to have scalability and efficiency in their systems. That is only possible if there are clearly defined processes that all team members can fully understand and execute confidently.  


Creating and documenting systems in your business can be a game changer. 


Want to take this to the next step and determine how to map out your business’ core processes 

  1. Watch this 6-minute training video 
  2. Download this worksheet
  3. Schedule a 60 minute coaching call with me and I’ll walk you through it.  


And if this blog does not have your stomach growling, then check out my Milkshake blog about customers. You’ll find yourself driving to the nearest McDonald’s.




Cheryl Doll is a Senior Business Advisor/
Gravitas Coach at Compass Point Consulting and provides hands-on consulting & coaching to help family businesses close performance gaps; give owners practical, actionable tools that drive growth; deliver training to develop leaders and position the business for successful ownership transition - all on their terms.


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