For the past year I’ve been trying to figure out what I’ve done wrong: Why, after 21 years, am I still one graphic designer working 1:1 with my clients? How is it possible to have a design business that runs without me? How is it possible to build a graphic design business that someone else wants to buy?
“You need to have systems in your business,” I’ve been hearing from anyone who calls themselves a business coach. It sounds great, and easy, but the minute I set off to “develop my system,” I’m faced with, “So, tell me, again. What’s a system?”
Returning to the smartest person I know, I asked Cliff Martin to explain what was a system? Having spent years in corporate America as a systems engineer and physicist, Cliff said that most people confuse processes in a business with the actual system, and then sent me off to read The E-Myth.
Developing My Systems
- Building a successful business that’s more than a job means documenting everything I do and delegating. But, if I’m a one-person show, how is this possible?
Step one: Remove the “but.”
- Figure out what makes my business unique and repeat if over and over again. “The system isn’t something you bring to the business. It’s something you derive from the process of building the business.” (The E-Myth)
Step two: Give my customer the same experience over and over again. Don’t deviate. Take myself out of the equation. When I see my business in my mind’s eye, it’s not me as my business. It’s me working in my business, or better yet, it’s somebody else working in my business so I can work on making my business bigger, and more salable.
Step three: Build a design business that someone else wants to buy.
OK. It’s time to get to work.