Solopreneurs, micro-businesses, and young or small enterprises sometimes take pride in flying by the seat of their pants. They believe that eschewing structured systems, policies, procedures and processes enables them to stay agile, flexible and opportunistic.

They couldn’t be more wrong. Systems are vital for all businesses – large and small.

Integrated systems ensure that diverse functions such as sales, manufacturing, research and development, distribution, servicing, accounting, and human resources are aligned.

With integrated, interconnected systems, tasks merge in a logical way and activities come together toward a common goal.

Systems allow people to be aligned around a single purpose instead of focusing on individual tasks in isolation. This helps ensure that the entire organization is in sync, delivering a consistent message, brand and experience to customers.

What’s more, well-defined processes are key to doing things better, faster, more consistently and more efficiently, as well as to pinpoint when and where things may go wrong.

Systems can prevent you from over-promising or underestimating and they can help keep you focused on your top customers and most lucrative business.

Organizational systems, policies and processes should be:

  • Aligned to the organization’s goals and strategies
  • Responsive to changing market dynamics and economic conditions
  • Documented and communicated throughout the organization
  • Open to scrutiny and modification

Keep in mind that systems are not goals but only ways to achieve goals, so they may need to bend and flex as circumstances change or new opportunities arise. Moreover, you always need to be on the lookout for ways to streamline, strengthen, simplify or automate your processes.

How to Be Your Customers’ No. 1 Choice
Business Survival Skill: It May Surprise You