I’m a Creative, Why on Earth do I want Structure and Systems?


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This is the first post in Brad’s Business Systems blog series, where we will connect creativity and business processes. We’ll show you our own processes, what’s working and what’s not, and give you advice and templates you can put to right to work.

I get it: you’re resistant :-) In your experience there is very little overlap between your creative art and some rote procedure. I would argue that you are right. But where you might need to change your mindset is to understand that those rote procedures are important to running a business effectively. Don’t worry, implementing business systems isn’t going to destroy your creativity. In fact it will probably increase that unstructured, creative, flow time that you crave. Hey, even Pantone swatches are a system.

What qualifications do I have to talk to you about business systems? Well, I’m one of those people that spans both worlds. I write … software and music. Both are intensely creative activities but are also firmly rooted in math and structure. Weirdly, I enjoy both. And I have the Integrator role (see Rocket Fuel by Gino Wickman and Mark C. Winters, more on this later) in the Path to Profit Academy, the business I run with my wife. It’s my job to make us more efficient and I do that through business systems.

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What are business systems? In short they are anything that provides a documented, repeatable procedure. It could be a script you follow when on a call with a new lead, an autoresponder email sequence, a weekly check-in call with your accountant, or some tape marks on the floor where you put your tripod every time you record a video. The emphasis is on repeatability. Anything that you can repeat is something that makes you more efficient in some very important ways!

Optimizing

Every time you repeat an activity your body and mind get better at it until it becomes habit and muscle memory. If you do it differently every time, you don’t get better at it. When you repeat something multiple times you start to see where you could tweak it and improve it. Suddenly it’s a quick activity that you can do on autopilot.

Cadence

Repetition and Cadence go hand in hand. Finding a regular rhythm to any activity, be it daily, weekly, or monthly means you are giving yourself something to plan around. This is an opportunity to keep your business activities regular and schedule your creative time more effectively.

Reducing Decision Fatigue

Decision Fatigue is something that’s come up quite a bit lately and I really buy into it. The concept is that you have a finite amount of brainpower in a day with which to make decisions. In short, following rote procedures reduces the number of decisions you have to make (how do I upload a video to youtube again? Where is the Wells Fargo password?). Give your brain a break and make it easier to let your free-flowing creativity expand.

Delegation

If a business system can reduce the decisions you make why not take it to the extreme and give it to someone else to do? Of course you’ll pay for it and there is still some time involved in managing a delegated task. The point is that only you can bring your unique brilliance into the world and the more time you spend doing that the more successful you’ll be in business. Just remember that the ease of delegating a task depends heavily on how well it is documented!

Conclusion

Still not convinced? I can hear you … “I just can’t do it. My creative mind just can’t do structure. I want to make my art … now!” If I can’t convince you to do it yourself there is still another way: find someone who can do it for you. Maybe it’s your significant other that does your website and your books. Maybe one of your kids has rebelled against their crazy artist mother by being more straight-laced: grab them and pay them.

If you can see the value, let’s take this little journey together. I’d love for you to chime in with your thoughts and systems as I post more about the systems we use in the Path to Profit Academy.

Brad Dobson
Brad Dobson is a co-founder of the Path to Profit Academy, and husband of Minette Riordan. He handles all the techy stuff and shares parenting duties. He is a 2-time marathon and 2-time Ironman finisher and for some reason enjoys endurance athletics. After 25 years in the software industry he quit his job to become an entrepreneur alongside Minette.

About Brad Dobson

Brad Dobson is a co-founder of the Path to Profit Academy, and husband of Minette Riordan. He handles all the techy stuff and shares parenting duties. He is a 2-time marathon and 2-time Ironman finisher and for some reason enjoys endurance athletics. After 25 years in the software industry he quit his job to become an entrepreneur alongside Minette.

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