What Is a System?

‘Work’, ‘confusing’, ‘mechanistic’, ‘boring’, ‘difficult’

These are just a few of the words that come to mind for people when asked what systems’ & processes mean to them.

... and now we'd like to share with you exactly why we think they rock…


  • What 'systems' really are
  • Some common misconceptions about them...
  • How to start creating your own processes

So if, like Sveta, you're a more visual person who'd prefer to watch rather than read, check out that Facebook Live below:

But if you're more like James and love reading, this summary is for you:

1) A system is just a simple, repeatable sequence of tasks that always gets you to the same outcome.

Take driving as an example:

  • Have you ever arrived at a familiar destination and then realized you were barely aware of how you got there? That’s what happens when you know the way so well that you don't think about keeping yourself on course. 
  • Effective business systems serve exactly the same purpose - they eliminate the burden of having to think about how something needs to be done.
  • In contrast, ineffective systems cause you to drive around in circles. They’re exhausting, they're confusing and the bring you right back to where you started!

In business, anything that you do on a more or less regular basis can be turned into a system, whether that’s:

  • blogging
  • creating and launching a new product
  • reaching out to a new potential client

2) What is a system? Common misconceptions

Misconception 1: You have to stop everything and put all of your systems in place in one (time-consuming) effort

Systematizing is an iterative process that is never 'done'. As you and your business grow, your processes will need to evolve. That's something to embrace.

Misconception 2: You have to be 'techie' to create systems

Documenting your process is as simple as making a sequential list with paper and pen and then, once the process is clear, creating it within a simple, easy-to-manage tool like Asana or Trello.

Misconception 3: Systems don't apply to your business

You already have some sort of systems in place - the question is whether they're efficient or are leading you in circles... 

3) How to start creating your own systems:

The KEY is clarity!

Once you’re totally clear on the structure of your business and where you want it to get to, your systems are simply the means to get you there.

Here's an example of one of our systems in action - the Systems Matter Business Hub.


  • Identify the KEY 'areas' in your business (e.g. sales, marketing, customer relationships, finances)
  • Prioritize them (typically from most to least profitable)
  • Start with the highest-importance activities
  • Zero-in on high-impact activity by outlining the steps 
  • Select the tool that works best for you (start with the Tool Finder)
  • Implement the workflow in that tool
  • Set aside a regular time to assess what is and isn't working - and what adjustments are needed

Do you have systems in place already? What aspects of systematizing do you struggle with? Let us know in the comments!