To understand systems thinking, let’s make one thing clear…
Simon is trapped as a solopreneur because he is solely responsible for managing his business and delivering the personal training services.
In other words, Simon is his business. It can’t run without him.
And because he’s always so wrapped up in the daily chaos of his business, he literally can’t see the wood for the trees.
He never sees the big picture.
James, on the other hand, understands that he is not his business…
That he is simply the owner of a business that provides personal training services.
And that his role is to oversee his business from the big picture perspective…
To ensure his business is delivering the results he wants while always moving towards his vision.
By looking at the big picture, James can see that his business is actually made up of lots of different ‘parts’.
I’ll use an image to represent this idea:
In this image, you can see the ‘parts’ I refer to are cogwheels, and that these cogwheels are working together to power a machine.
I’d like you to think of the ‘machine’ as your fitness business and the ‘cogwheels’ as the individual parts that power your business.
And also to consider that all the parts (cogwheels) must integrate perfectly with one another for the machine to operate effectively.
In business, we call these individual parts ‘systems’.
Therefore, “systems thinking” is simply to think of your business as a collection of individual systems that must work together to create efficiency.
It sounds simple in theory…
But the truth is most fitness business owners simply don’t understand this.
Like Simon, they’re too caught up in the chaos of the day-to-day to grasp the concept that their business is simply a collection of systems…
And therefore are setting themselves up to be permanently trapped in their business as a solopreneur.
Thinking of your business as a collection of individual systems
When you begin to view your business as a collection of systems, everything changes.
For the first time ever, you can start to see how your business ‘fits’ together.
It’s like a ‘business map’ if you will.
A map that clearly shows the individual systems (and subsystems) that make up your business.
Here’s a simplified version of how a fitness business map might look:
As you can see from this diagram, there are 3 ‘primary’ systems that power your business:
- A Lead Generation System – how you attract prospects to your business
- A Lead Conversion System – how you convert prospects to paying clients
- A Service Delivery System – how you deliver your fitness services to your clients
And everything you do on a daily basis can ultimately be tied back to one of these primary systems.
Underneath each primary system, you have the subsystems.
In other words, a ‘mini-system’ that is part of the primary system.
Running social media ads to generate email subscribers is a subsystem of the primary lead generation system.
Conducting a sales call or consultation with a prospect is a subsystem of the primary lead conversion system.
Coaching your client to help them achieve their goals is a subsystem of the primary service delivery system.
Can you start to see how it all fits together now?
When you have everything mapped out like this, it can help you get more organised and analytical of your business model.
You can easily identify the purpose of the tasks you’re completing on a daily basis and how these could be optimised to deliver a better outcome.
And it can be beneficial for improving your client’s experience and results, so they stay and refer others.
Mapping out your business in this way via systems thinking provides the opportunity to create a far more efficient business.
It’s a process I like to call business model optimisation (BMO).
However, not only does systems thinking allow you to optimise your business model in this way…
But it also provides the framework by which you can begin to systemise your business.
It’s systemisation that allows James to choose his involvement in his business while it continues to run and grow on autopilot, consistently.
And so from here on in we’re going to turn our attention towards systemisation so you can easily replicate this in your own business.
But for now, the key takeaway is that systems thinking and BMO are the precursors to systemisation.
Without those two things in place, systemisation simply isn’t possible.
We’ll continue this discussion on the next page.
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