“97% of all failure is due to the SYSTEM and not the person.” W. Edwards Deming

We all get overwhelmed at times, my husband refers to it as ‘plate spinning.’

For example, you have ten projects on the go – all of which are open files on your desk and you remember you need to get back to someone you met at a networking breakfast. Now, where did you put their number?


The solution is setting up systems. Systems can be defined as; ‘putting together a sequential series of events with a specific outcome.’  It’s best to shift your thoughts from ‘What you are doing’ to ‘How you are doing it.’

“Most entrepreneurs fail because they’re working IN their businesses rather than ON their businesses.” Michael Gerber

According to Beth Schneider of Process Prodigy, in order to set up a proper system you need to know three things:

1) What process requires a system?

2) What is your outcome?

3) How do you get there?

The best way to figure out #1 is to spend a week writing down each action you take during the day. Checking emails, networking meetings, sales calls, event planning, whatever it may be. Then, choose one simple item and get started.


Scenario: You went to a River City Express Networking meeting (which was fabulous and incredibly informative) and you made a connection with a fellow small business owner who you would like to get to know better.

Define the three things necessary for your system:

1) Q. What process requires a system?

A. Following up with networking connections

2) Q. What is your outcome?

A. Get to know them better

3) Q. How do you get there? (here’s your system)

A) collect their business card

B) write on the back where/when you met

C) Within 24 hours…

1) add them to your database

2) connect with them on LinkedIn

3) ‘Like’ their business Facebook page

4) follow them on Twitter

5) file their card

D) email them a thank you and ask to set up a meeting to get to know their business better

E) check out their website to learn a little more about how they position their business

F) send them a quick, detailed reminder email about your meeting (ie: ‘I look forward to getting together at Panera on Thursday at 10am and learning more about your business’)

G) meet with them and determine how you can do business together or become a referral source for each other

This may sound like a lot of steps but once you start implementing it over and over, it will become a simple, automatic routine.

So this week, choose a task you do every day. Set up a step-by-step sequence of events and then…follow it!

Chet Holmes sums it up this way;  “the key is learning and practicing pigheaded discipline and determination.”

I think he’s on to something there.

What do you think?

Leave a Reply