Save Yourself Time, Energy & Money

Save Yourself Time, Energy & Money

Without systems your business is heavily dependent on you as an owner. Having systems will make your life so much easier! We've got Liz Illg of Liz Illg Consulting with us today to chat about the simple secrets to using systems to grow your business.

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Save Yourself Time, Energy & Money



Tim Fitzpatrick
Do you know what system stands for? Save yourself time, energy and money. Today, I have a guest with me and we are getting into the simple secrets to using systems to help grow your business.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Hi, I am Tim Fitzpatrick with Rialto Marketing. Thank you so much for tuning in. I am really excited to have with me Liz Illg of Liz Illg Consulting. Welcome. Thank you so much for taking the time to be here.

Liz Illg
Thanks for having me. Was super excited.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. Yeah. You know, I love having these conversations. I always have a ton of value from it. And yeah, selfishly, I have been looking forward to this conversation because I am a systems person.

Tim Fitzpatrick
So have you ever heard of the Apex profile.

Liz Illg
Yeah.

Tim Fitzpatrick
So Apex profile for those people that never heard of it. It is similar to a personality assessment, but it's more what you're like as a business leader manager. And they break things down into three categories. Product, systems, market focused. So product. I love the product putting out a great product or service to more customer service. Very tactical. Then you've got the system side of it where I fall, you know, processes, procedures, efficiencies, those types of things.

Tim Fitzpatrick
And then the market is your visionary strategic type leader. And the Apex profile weights where you are in each of those categories, I'm heavily systems and then the market is shortly behind that. So I can't wait to get into this. Before we do, tell us a little bit about what you do at Liz Illg consulting and how you help businesses.

Liz Illg
Yeah. Awesome. Thank you. So I started my complete business about two years ago. I did not think I was going to have a consulting business that was never a goal of mine, but it definitely is a large passion of mine. I literally got into this business because I started publicly speaking about taking business risk. And why is that topic important to me? I have five brick and mortar locations that I started in 2013.

Liz Illg
So I've grown and I know that the business is for seven years. But I was able to scale and grow to five locations in five years. I started out when I was twenty seven years old.

Liz Illg
I had no business then looking to buy a business. I had so much debt. I had put myself through undergrad and my master's degree and I was like, I don't want to work for the man anymore.

Liz Illg
I literally want to do something that I'm super passionate about. And now with pets and has still continued to have pets. Hence my background here I abide by small to all list. And it was one of those things where I had a hobby as a pet sitter. And I would love to get into an industry that's in similar service and property products.

Liz Illg
And I decided to buy a pepperoni location, small mom and pop. It was 450 square feet. I knew nothing about my roommate, nor do I bring to this day. But I literally bought it on a business model that I thought that I could take over the market. And that's exactly what I did, I started doing all of the things, creating systems and processes and really learning like what my secret sauce was to my business. And I started growing and I will never forget the day. I had two locations and I was driving for the first store-front to the second store front and two managers called me at the exact same time with the exact same problem.

Liz Illg
And at that very moment, I actually started crying because I did not set up my business for growth and for it to eagle to scale. And I didn't create systems.

Liz Illg
So they were literally relying on me to give them every process and procedure. When we called me for.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah.

Liz Illg
But behind the scenes, there was a lot of craziness going on because they literally did not prepare them. I did not empower them with information. I didn't empower them with process and procedures and all wrapped up in a bow into a system. So I literally started taking questions from them. For one year, this was 2016 to 2017.

Liz Illg
And I wrote every question that they called me about or asked me about. And little did I know I was building a standard operating procedure manual for my business.

Liz Illg
So I literally have documents of documents and I have a technical writing skill. And that's really one thing that's really important when you're building processes and procedures is not to have words from it.

Liz Illg
I always say we like to explain why for things when you're creating systems, you don't explain your why and you are very frank with what exactly you know to be done.

Liz Illg
So that's where when I started publicly speaking about taking risks that I did in the past, people were coming up to me after and saying, I want to grow and scale my business. What you have, what have you done? And at the time I was like, I just did it. So when my husband that night and I was like, people keep asking me every time if I can help them. And he's like, and I'm like, I don't know what's unique about me.

Liz Illg
He's like, you literally know how to create systems. Like you literally have a business that you can step out of now and not be an active participant.

Liz Illg
Well, revenue keeps coming in and your people are happy and you really are fueling your whole company through the steps. So that's really the story. So that's where two years ago I started my consulting business. Just helping one business owner at a time. And from there, it's been able to grow in scale. And now I'm really doing the same business model that I did for love is creating systems. How things are run so that they have to do certain things that they might as well.

Tim Fitzpatrick
I love that. I want to pull something out here because I think it's really, really important. If you do not have systems in your business, you basically created a job for yourself as an owner. You can. Your business is dependent on you to operate. And frankly, when you have a business like that, the value of it is very low. If you can pull yourself out and put systems in place so it's not dependent on you, you have a much more valuable business and frankly, your life is going to be that much easier. So that's a really, really important point I'm kind of stealing our first question here. Right. Why are systems important for business owners? There are others. What do you have to share there, Liz?

Liz Illg
Yeah. So systems are so important because as business owners, wherever you're at your business, you might and you might want to be the be all.

Liz Illg
All right. You want to be all the decisions. But the thing that you don't realize is the moment you actually step out and take a different role in your business, the possibilities of how you can grow in scale are really endless. So there was a part, right? Oh, my God, I have built such a successful business that it doesn't need me. That was kind of a freaky thing for me. Right? I do not need it now. That's a little scary.

Liz Illg
But the moment I removed myself from it, I was like, oh, I know. And the visionary of my business. I can now Devean faster on my, you know, business and start acquiring more locations, which I did. And so it literally wasn't that I didn't have anything to do. I actually had more opportunity in front of me from a revenue standpoint, but also an opportunity standpoint and systems are just so important for business owners because it literally is a playbook for how you run your business. And like you just said, it gives you opportunity. At any moment you could sell your business if you can. If you can give somebody else the information of how to run your business, then the value of your business changes.

Liz Illg
And most importantly, I believe it empowers the other people that work alongside you to know exactly what you want. You don't have systems. You are not empowering other people. And as a business owner, like I went through all of those emotions of not empowering people and feeling really, really awful about it, because when people that didn't want to work for my company because I wasn't giving them the information they needed to actually be successful at their job.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. Do you think that it's easier to hire and onboard employees as well?

Liz Illg
Oh, a hundred percent. Like, literally now isolate. Have people trained for like a month. Now it's like a train for one week. I have literally itemised everything they learn, how they need to learn it and, you know, I always said business hours when you are hiring somebody, the most important question you can ask them is how do they learn? Because you can't just put a playbook in front of them and say, hey, here you go. If they need a different type of visual, like a video. So we're also building your systems, you know, for a trading aspect of your business. You also have to be very mindful of how people received information and how people actually get information into the brain.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah, yeah. That's a great point. Which then kind of leads us into this next question of how do you create systems within a business, specially for those of us that aren't system people? This may seem like a really daunting thing to do, but I think in reality, it's if you take it step by step, it's not as overwhelming as some people think.

Liz Illg
Yup, it goes back to this word from me. We as humans love to justify ourselves and tell people why, no, why with systems. It's literally how to refund the customer. Right. All the steps, all the procedures, all the clickable links that you need. How are you logging, how you access it and so forth. And also the way when you create systems, you have to break it down into chunks.

Liz Illg
Because I've had a lot of clients that hired me because they literally open up a Word document and stare at a white screen and not even know what to start with. So I actually have a PDF downloadable on my website that will walk you through all the things in any type of business that you should identify.

Liz Illg
So some of those things are what are your core values? What is your mission? What is your vision? What is your sales process? What is your onboarding process for a client like? Right. What is your exit procedure? Right. How do you do payroll? Like, there's literally you can take all of these nuggets and decide what's more important to you.

Liz Illg
And help people identify something that's not working in your business. It's not working because you don't know how you want it done. And that also comes with discovery.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah.

Liz Illg
You have to be able to look at something and say, OK, it's not working. But why is it not working? Is it because the business owner hasn't made the decision? A lot of the times it is. So a lot of times the business owner just hasn't made a decision on how they want the system to run. So it's the business owners responsibility to also be concrete.

Liz Illg
This is how I want it done, because as a business owner, I'm what we can be a little wishy-washy based on situations.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Right.

Liz Illg
And so, you know, building systems that you can't be wishy-washy. You have to feel very firm in your foundation. And that's why I always add the foundational elements of your business into a standard operating procedure, because you have to start at the very beginning of your why.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. Yeah. I also think you made a point about mission vision values, which I think is really important. You know, one of my mentors always talked about, you know, when your values are clear, your decisions are easy. And when you have systems in place, that they take a lot of the guesswork out. But there are still times where people have to use their discretion. And you have to empower employees. And when they know what the values are, it's so much easier to make the decision of what's the best decision? Right. If I can compare my values and go yeah, this is what my values are. Yup, the company values. Yes. This is the right decision. So I think that is a really, really important point that you bring up.

Tim Fitzpatrick
I start working on creating my systems. And actually, let's take a step back. You talked about how we learn different ways. I'm guessing you need to have, they need to be written. They need to have maybe some screenshots. Maybe you have some screen capture videos, right? So you're bringing in all the different elements, the different ways people learn so that, hey, if you want to watch video. Cool. Here's the video. If you want to read it and see some screenshots. Here it is. Right. Is that typically what you recommend?

Liz Illg
Yeah. I always say get it down on paper first because you can actually see it and analyze it. And then if you wanted to add a video to support it, you can let the screen share the video. But I'll take my pick for me. I have a written procedure of how we communicate clearly when somebody first enters the building. But I can do a one minute video with me of meeting the customer service rep is the representative and basically show somebody how I want it done. So my example is somebody comes to the front door, literally, I almost get down on the ground.

Liz Illg
This is pass code or prior to coalbed, right when I had people come into my lobby. But, you know, the pet owner wants you to greet the pet first and then the owner. And so I go through a one minute video of how I would like it done. So, yes, somebody can read it, but somebody can see it and literally see my expression on my face. And that's sometimes really, really important to point out of. Like, here is what my expectation is when we greet somebody at the door. Yeah. So, yes, we have what you need to say.

Liz Illg
I also want to also be very clear that, yes, I have guidelines. But every person is unique and might put a nice spin to it. Right. And I'm not going to be robots, but I'm also saying that, like, if one person went to one storefront into the other, they should expect the same customer care.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah, it's the same experience. The communication may be a little bit different, right, but you've got that script. And I think most people, especially people that are in sales. Right. Being scripted is good, but it's just a guideline. But it gives you something to follow that you can then make your own. So I love that.

Tim Fitzpatrick
What do you use any specific tools for screen capture or recommend any tools for them?

Liz Illg
So, I mean, we use Loom.

Tim Fitzpatrick
So do I.

Liz Illg
But if we're also doing a procedure, we'll actually do a screenshot of the image and then put it into the procedure as well.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yes. OK. Yeah. Awesome. Awesome. This is so good to know I'm doing some of this stuff right. I love it. Yeah. Loom is one of my favorite tools. I use it every single day. So it's L-o-o-m. It is so easy to use and highly recommended. So I've got to start putting my systems together. Then I got it. It's just on paper, you know. Doesn't do anything. I've got to implement it. So what tips do you have for business owners to successfully implement these systems once they get them down on paper?

Liz Illg
Yeah. So the first product implementation is getting onto a platform that supports your team members duellists search things. So there's a lot of different ones. Trainual is a great one. They're actually a Phoenix, Arizona. The CEO is from here. And I also use Google Sites. So Google Sites, it comes with your G Suite account as you pay for one. And it's important to get it off the Word document because where documents get confusing and you can't really see things well.

Liz Illg
So I always like to categorize my systems into axis plates. Should the whole team see this information or should the executive team see this information? And who has it for who has access to the information? So you have to be able to separate it and understand which people within your team should see certain things.

Liz Illg
And then from there, I always encourage a team meeting to really go over and really set the tone for how you're going to implement this, because you think most businesses probably do some of the things that they wrote the systems on.

Liz Illg
But now it gives people a foundation and a benchmark place to say, hey, moving forward. This is our go to playbook. And we if we are going to implement a few of these things or we've already implemented, um, but it's a guidebook of how we do business.

Liz Illg
And, you can stop calling me. Right. If you're the business, you know. And this isn't to say that you can't ask questions, but empower your people to look for the information even for one or two minutes, because it's probably there. That was my issue is I keep answering my phone for my people when they go search something and not interrupt. You know, my time.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. So it's getting it. It's not, it's like knowledge base type software, right?

Liz Illg
Yeah, totally.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. Okay. So if people are looking for that, do a search for knowledge base software, there's a ton of them out there. I think it's just a matter of finding one that is easy enough food for a business owner to understand and implement. Once you've implemented. Who do you recommend? Who is the person that owns each particular process? Right. Because sometimes our businesses evolve. Right. Things change. We need to update these things. They're not static. Who do you recommend owns each of those individual processes?

Liz Illg
Yeah. So I always say divvy it up based on, you know, job responsibilities. So within my company, I have all of my managers and all of my store fronts manage the sites. We also do audits once a year and we go through and as a team, we work together. So, yes, I built it at the very beginning. But there is a lot to say about buying in on it, having everybody work as a team to say, hey, that process actually changed.

Liz Illg
We. We helped start because we actually thought that it should be done this way. That's a team by which is a beautiful thing. And they also feel empowered that they're building the more foundations of the company. You couldn't ask for something better. So I would definitely assign it into the wheelhouse, is it fair if you have an operational manager? That would be a great person to, like, make sure to see your head. Human resources would be its own component.

Liz Illg
So just really know who your right-hand person is or if you're going to really create the kind of culture where you keep them up to date.

Liz Illg
I do have to say that when whoever is writing them, you want to make sure that you keep the language. And that can be sometimes really challenging. If you have many hands in it, because I'm talking technical writing and we work learned technical writing in school.

Liz Illg
Right. Not a lot of people actually know how to technically write and be very straight to the point. So in some companies, there might only be one person that has a skill trait. So in that case, all the people can send the information to that person and then that person can go in and upload, because even for my company, I don't get the access points to edit, not audit time because it's actually just it's just not appropriate to just have anybody go in and get it.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. So you want to know what's being edited and updated, which I think is important. Right. It gives you a certain level of control. But at the same time, I think it's really important for us as business owners to understand we don't have our feet on the ground on a daily basis. And as things change, I mean, our people know how these prosti should be done better in a lot of cases than we do, especially if we're not doing it day in, day out.

Liz Illg
Totally. And I think that's like a powerful thing that you just that is it's literally empowering other people that work alongside you to help you enhance your business. I mean, there's nothing better than that.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. I mean, I always tell people, hey, look, this is the process. But if you see that it can be done better, I want you to communicate that. Don't be afraid to say that this is the starting point. It's not the endpoint. So communicate and let's continually iterate these so that they get better and better. So I love that. Liz, you dropped some serious value bombs.

Tim Fitzpatrick
So I really appreciate that. And I hope people really understand how important systems are in your business. If you want to get off the treadmill as a business owner, you cannot do it without a system. So even if you're not a systems person. Find somebody like Liz to help you do it, OK, because you will never get off the treadmill. So, Liz, where can people learn more about you?

Liz Illg
Yeah. So my website is the best place to find me. Feel free to make a discovery call with me on and just bounce ideas where you're at with their systems. You know how it can help you. I mean, we really take the homework and I take the secret sauce in the business.

Liz Illg
I learn the business and I create all the processes and procedures for my clients. And so that's really where you don't have to look at the white screen on a word document and wonder what's next. I'm going to ask you, I'm going to kill you with questions. You're going to give me the answers. And then I'm myself and my team are going to get to work and let you fill out every process and procedure. And I can start from 30 pages to 100 pages.

Liz Illg
It depends on, you know, the intricate parts of each business. I also read on Instagram and I can be found at Liz dot my last name I-L-L-G and I share a lot of fun tips on there and so forth.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Awesome. Well, I really appreciate you taking the time to share for those of you there watching. Listening. Thank you for tuning in. I am Tim Fitzpatrick with Rialto Marketing. If you are looking for clarity on where to focus your marketing efforts next, please just pop on over to our website. rialtomarketing.com. Get a free consult button. I guarantee you will get a ton of value and you will leave knowing exactly where you need to focus right now based on where your business is at.

Tim Fitzpatrick
So pop on over there. Remember, marketing your business shouldn't challenge. All you need is a plan. Till next time, take care.


Connect With Liz Illg



About the Author Tim Fitzpatrick

Tim Fitzpatrick is the President of Rialto Marketing. At Rialto Marketing, we help small businesses & entrepreneurs eliminate the confusion of marketing by focusing on the fundamentals. As a marketing partner, we help clients put in place and manage a simple marketing plan so they can grow. Marketing your business shouldn't be a challenge. All you need is a plan.

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