Strategically Developing Systems for Scale

Strategically Developing Systems for Scale

loyb podcast systems for scale Aug 30, 2022

If you ever find yourself feeling trapped in your business with too much dependent on you...

Or if you find it challenging to step away and take a real break without fear that things will fall apart without you and that your team won't be unable to effectively handle things on their own...

Then it is likely time you uplevel your systems.  

Having the right combination of systems and team is what will allow you to scale your business while ensuring everything is no longer dependent on you.  

In the first part of our 4-part series on simple sustainable scaling, we looked at the 4 layers of your lean dream team.  

Part 2 focuses on strategically developing your systems for scale leveraging the 4 layers of systems and in Episode 87 of the Lean Out Your Business Podcast, dive into the different layers of systems that your business needs to scale sustainably.

Businesses often invest a lot of time in SOPs but there are 3 other levels of systems that are what truly allow you to scale and you need each of the 4 levels at different times. 

In episode 87, I dive into:

  •  The importance of having systems in your business
  •  How to simplify your approach to systems
  • The 4 layers of systems you need 
  • What Strategic Systems are and why you need them
  • What Summary Systems are and why you need them
  • What Sub-Systems are and why you need them
  • When you need SOPs
  • Which systems to develop first and why
  • Sneak peek into our special edition of Simplify to Scale Ops Academy


Tune into Episode 87 of the Lean Out Your Business Podcast or keep reading below.


Why Develop Systems 

Some businesses jump into creating their systems but many resist doing so out of fear that no one will use them or that they will be too restrictive and limit innovation and creativity.  When done right, systems actually give you freedom, flexibility, and autonomy.  

Here are just a few of the benefits you get when you implement the right systems in your business:

  • Systems help you consistently improve your business results, client impact, client retention, and your profitability
  • Systems help you delegate more effectively so you can have confidence that the things that you're no longer checking in on are going to get done really well 
  • They let you take time off and be fully present once you check out of your business
  • Systems promote efficiency and productivity & let you get more done in less time
  • Systems help you minimize rework and waste
  • They let you repeat your positive results
  • They build assets in your business, which ultimately increases the value of your business 
  • They enable you to work smarter and not harder


The 4 Different Layers of Systems

There are so many misconceptions about systems that can lead to overwhelm and overcomplication, so let's simplify your approach to systems by looking at the 4 different layers of systems.

Where most people typically tend to think of SOPs, there are 3 additional layers of systems that your business should have in place starting with strategic systems, then summary systems, then sub-systems, and then finally detailed systems / SOPs.


Strategic Systems

  • Strategic systems are the most important and often overlooked systems. If you feel like you are doing a lot of the right things but everything feels harder than it should be, or like you should be getting better results faster, your strategic systems will show you where the gaps are.
  • They provide a visual display of what you do to generate and provide value to your clients and the business, why you do it, and how the major pieces fit together to provide results in alignment with your vision and values.
  • They are not "how-to" systems - they show interconnectivity and relate back to your value streams in your business.   


Summary Systems

  • Summary systems tend to be visual (although they don't need to be) and break down each element within your strategic system into the high-level activities or stages needed to bring it to life. 
  • They are not "how-to" systems - they show high-level stages and flow.
  • Ex: If one of the components in your strategic system was producing a podcast, the summary system would show the major stages to do so - prepping for the episode, recording the episode, processing the episode, producing the episode, publishing the episode, the promoting the episode. 
  • Lean Tip: To minimize wasted time and delays, it is ideal to have one role or individual fully own a stage in your summary systems.



  • Sub-systems get more granular and break each stage down into the activities that must be done to complete that stage.
  • Ex: there are multiple steps to producing a podcast episode.
  • They specify what, where, and who.  Your sub-systems and detailed systems / SOPs can be combined into one document or tool.  In some cases, your sub-system is as granular as you need to go, whereas in other cases, the items in your sub-system need to be broken down further into detailed and step-to-steps processes and SOPs. 
  • Lean Tip: Build out your systems directly into your project management tool instead of having a separate external doc. 


Detailed Systems and SOPs

  • Finally, you have your SOPs and detailed systems that specify the who, what, when, where, and how to. 
  • They provide step-by-step instructions for doing something and may include screenshots or videos in addition to text.
  • Ex: showing the detailed instructions on how to create the social media images and quotes to promote a podcast episode, including screenshots and links to Canva templates.
  • Lean Tip: When possible, build out your detailed systems / SOPs directly into your project management tool instead of having a separate external doc.  When a separate doc is needed, link to it directly from the sub-system in your project management tool.


Where to start - create an ecosystem for success

How do you know which systems to develop first?

There are many different strategies you can leverage but the important thing to remember is that systems help you consistently repeat positive results so start by identifying what's working well in your business.  Then develop a system around it so that you can replicate those results.

The 2 strategic systems we always start with when working with our clients are their strategic planning/project management system and their end-to-end sales and marketing system. 

The first helps to ensure that everyone is focused on the most important things to achieve the big bold vision and goals as quickly as possible and the second ensures you have a steady flow of leads and a way to convert those leads into clients and ultimately brand advocates.

When you combine systems with your Lean Dream Team, you get a self-run, self-scaling company that is no longer dependent on you. 


Want help developing your 4 levels of systems for scale in your business?  Schedule a call to learn more about how we can support you via our done-for-you or done-with-you services and programs.




Work with Crista:

Want to learn more about working with Crista and the Lean Out Method team to simplify and scale your business? Explore our limited series podcast Do Less, Scale Faster and learn more about our services and hear from our clients what it's like to work with us.   

Want to join Crista and a group of high-achieving entrepreneurs IN PERSON to take yourself and your business to the next level this year? Join us for our luxury VIP retreat and mastermind experience. 

Ready to eliminate complexity from your business and scale to multiple-7+ figures in simple and sustainable ways? Apply to join us inside the Simplify to Scale Ops Academy, a transformation group-mentorship experience for successful entrepreneurs ready to transform their business into a self-run company that's no longer dependent on them to scale. 

Love this podcast? Then you'll want to join the Simplify and Scale Society, Crista's private FB community where she hosts a weekly live training + Q&A. 


by Crista Grasso

Crista Grasso is the go-to strategic planning expert for leading global businesses and online entrepreneurs when they want to scale.  Known as the "Business Optimizer", Crista has the ability to quickly cut through noise and focus on optimizing the core things that will make the biggest impact to scale a business simply and sustainably. She specializes in helping businesses gain clarity on the most important things that will drive maximum value for their clients and maximum profits for their business.  She is the creator of the Lean Out Method, 90 Day Lean Out Planner, and host of the Lean Out Your Business Podcast


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