How to build any business system from scratch
Today, I built a plug-n-play content system for Dickie Bush and Nicolas Cole at Ship 30 for 30.
Dickie asked his Twitter followers for resources on documenting business systems.
This told me that it’s something Dickie is working on and I saw an opportunity to pay forward by creating a system ready for Dickie & Nicolas to plug into their business.
And I recorded every step of the process.
You can steal it to create repeatable systems in your own business so you can hire employees, scale or just make sure everything gets done.
For clarity: I’ve never spoken to Dickie. I’m a customer and fan but that’s as far as the relationship goes.
I did this because I wanted to provide them with value, learn from the process, and help other people learn how to build systems - and grow their business - quickly and easily.
Ok, here are the steps I followed.
Step 1: Extract the raw material
Dickie and Nicolas wrote a blog post about the content strategy they use to grow their email list to 100k.
The article is transparent about what they do and when, so I knew I could create a system from it without their permission or collaboration.
Most businesses don’t have any systems documented in blog posts. But that’s fine! Because there’s an easy way to get going:
Simply record someone performing the activity you want to document (on your phone or a screen recording using Loom or similar).
Transcribe the recording.
And Bob’s your uncle.
You have the raw material for your system.
Watch me go through this process for Ship 30 here:
Step 2: Build the systems
I found that the content strategy in the blog post actually contained 5 systems:
Publish short social posts
Share a screenshot of a tweet on LinkedIn
Publish a Twitter thread/long-form LinkedIn post
Schedule asset “plugs” on social media
Re-publish the best content on social media
So I sorted through all of the raw materials, figured out what system it belonged to, and began to organise it accordingly.
Most of the info in the blog post was valuable for people who might want to “steal” their content system, but not especially helpful for an employee tasked with following the system on a daily basis.
So I delete a lot of irrelevant stuff and organised the rest of it into my systems template:
Watch me do this here:
Step 3: Organise the systems
Next, I chose two pieces of software:
To document the systems
My personal preference for systems software is Workflowy - it does everything you need with no fuss… and costs $0-5 per month!
To assign tasks
I used Asana for project management (who does what by when) because it’s simple and free. You could also use Notion or a myriad of other software.
Important: it’s tempting to find one piece of software for systems and project management but experience tells me this is a major mistake.
Project management software is good for getting stuff done.
Systems software is good for documenting and reference.
Try and make one do both and there are sacrifices.
There are more reasons that I won’t go into here but my advice is to separate them. It may not seem like it on the surface, but it’s much easier to actually implement the systems (and convince your employees to) when you separate the detailed systems and keep day-to-day project management super simple.
Watch me organise the systems into Worklowy and assign tasks in Asana:
Step 4: Test and improve the systems
I’ve yet to follow this step with the system I built.
I have no idea whether it will be valuable for Dickie and Nicolas.
If it’s not; no big deal.
If it is, I’ll offer to help them move the systems over to their choice of software and improve them based on what they actually do.
After that, I’d advise them to get someone to follow the systems, screen record it, and improve them.
then they’ll have a plug-n-play system that functions like a well-oiled machine in their business and grows their email list day after day after day.
Hope this helps you in some way!