Systems are not a one-size-fits-all-fix that work for every business or every business owner. Today, I’m talking with Veronica Yanhs, CEO of Business Laid Bare about what a system really is, how often you should audit your systems, and how to approach auditing your systems so that you are building operations that work for you and your unique business every time.
Ready? Let’s get started.
In this episode:
- Why you need to audit your systems and how often you need to do it
- What a systems audit looks like
- Why you shouldn’t set up your systems the same way your business bestie does
Listen to the podcast here:
Auditing Your Systems with Veronica Yanhs
I am excited to finally get you on the podcast. I’ve wanted to have you on the podcast for months now. And we’re going to be talking about what I think is one of your favorite things to talk about, which is systems. But before we get into all of that, tell us who you are and what you do on the internet.
Thank you so much for having me on your podcast. It’s great to be here. Because as your podcast is titled, this just speaks to my heart so much because I am totally a hardcore feminist. I didn’t start out thinking I was a feminist until I probably took feminist studies 101 in college.
But I digress. I’m Veronica Yanhs and I am the CEO of Business Laid Bare. Essentially, I love everything that has to do with business backends. I love butts. And so the goal of the business is to help other CEOs create well lubricated and orgasmic operations, so that their next level of business is insanely pleasurable, productive, and ultimately profitable. So I’m unapologetically kinky, I love butts. I love systems and processes. All these things turned me on like no other and I live a great life. I don’t hate what I’m doing.
Which is the hallmark that everyone should strive for, to be exactly who you are. So you can live a life that you love. In every way.
I don’t know how else to be. People say my branding comes out so natural and I’m just like, because this is who I am offline. If I had to have two separate personas, I would die. But also because I know what it’s like to not have a persona.
Childhood trauma coming up. Throughout my life, I learned how to appease10 different people. If you were to put them in front of me, I could put on 10 different masks, but I forgot which one was my mask. So now I’m just taking life by the horns and owning who I am and not having to appease other people.
I mean, that’s exactly it. When I first started my business, I had just come off of teaching and teaching you wear your mask all the time. You do not say what you feel on the internet unless you want to potentially risk your job. And so coming off of all of that was a big change for me because I had to figure out who I was without my mask on and then own that and go for that. And that has been a journey for me, which really led to this podcast. So I’m super grateful for that.
Let’s jump into systems. I know you love them. I know you love to talk about them. Let’s start with auditing our system. So I think a lot of people will buy a system because so-and-so recommended it or they heard it on Amy Porterfield’s podcast or something, right? Somebody told them they needed to buy the system. So they buy it. And they either never never set it up, or they set it up so that they’re not using it all the way or whatever. Why should they sit down and audit their systems?
When we talk about a system, a lot of business people actually don’t know what a system is. They assume that an app is the system. And it’s totally just like the tip of the iceberg. Here’s my soapbox.
When CEOs ask what’s your favorite system for project management, you’ll see a lot of their friends say Asana or Trello or ClickUp. However, an app is not a system because it’s actually the catalyst that makes your system run. What they’re actually asking is a project management system in which you have strategy and infrastructure.
So if you imagine a triangle, your apps are just the tip of your iceberg. Most people flip that triangle and focus on the tip first. And you’ll notice that there’s no strong base. And that’s what causes systems to not work in the end. Because if you’re just focusing on the app, the software, you’re missing the strategy and your framework.
If you’re poor, if you’re trying to balance a triangle on the tip, it’s not going to be sturdy, right? So I think that’s why a lot of systems don’t work for people or they get frustrated or they sign up for something that they never use. Because they never truly understand what their need is.That's what causes systems to not work in the end. Because if you're just focusing on the app, the software, you're missing the strategy and your framework. Click To Tweet
Before we even audit, which I’m still on that soapbox, you need to figure out how you work. Get to know thyself. How do you visualize information? Is it a list? Is it visual cards? Or is it something else like a spreadsheet? And because that’s how your brain works, there’s no wrong answer, but you have to first figure out what your needs are and then figure out a way to visualize your needs in that sense.
When it comes to auditing, you always need to audit. Humans are like complex, emotional, ever-evolving creatures, which means that your systems should be as well. If your systems are not breaking for a good reason, or if your systems are non-existent, it means that there’s no growth in your business, because you want to break. Because your systems should be able to evolve with you. Sometimes it’s okay if you don’t create it for the long-term because you don’t know what you don’t know. But that’s also why it’s a good thing to audit your systems.
I’m constantly auditing mine. If I have to do something more than once, I’m always wondering, Is this the best way to do it? Is there a way to make a system more efficient? To me a system is a specific and repeatable method to achieve a specific result. When people say their favorite system is an app, that negates the whole definition.
So I’m always auditing to see if this is the best way to achieve this result. Is there a better way that I can do it. And by constantly challenging this, it allows me to see how I can run my business more efficiently and more efficient businesses and business backends means less dollars are leaking out of your business because the most insidious way you lose money in your business are inefficient operations. So that is my huge soapbox right there.
I love everything you just said because it’s so true. A lot of people think a system is a tool. And a system is not a tool. The tool is part of the system. But it’s not the whole system itself because that’s why you can have five different people on ClickUp and you can have five different setups.
I think we were talking about this in our colleague chat the other day where three or four of us use ClickUp and literally all of us use it in a different way. Because we each have our own system that the tool operates inside of and we love that great distinction.
But a lot of people on the visionary side or CEOs don’t necessarily think of it that way. Because they think a system is a tool whereas your tool really is just a part of the system. So I love that distinction. When we invest in tools and systems for our businesses, we tend to invest in what you need the tool to do in the moment. And then also, what’s inside of your budget, right? Because tools that will support massive growth cost more money. So you’re not necessarily going to use something that’s more expensive right now.
I also love what you said about if you’re not breaking your systems, you’re not growing because you’re kind of stuck at whatever level of growth fits the tool and the system that you created for yourself at the time. And your goal really is to break the system and expand beyond that and then need something else.
I love it. And then on the flip side, there are people who want a one stop shop. I’m talking about you, Kajabi. I’ve had so many clients come to me and they’re not even using Kajabi to its fullest extent because they don’t know what they need Kajabi to do for them. They bought it because someone said this is the place oto get the job done.
It will change your business, help you run a more efficient business, but you’re spending $100 a month for Kajabi and not using it to its fullest potential. I had a client who came to me to do a business backend assessment. They had Kajabi and then they also paid monthly for an email marketing software. And granted, Kajabi is not a full email marketing software, but she was using neither platform to its fullest potential. There was no email marketing strategy. And she wasn’t even really building a list.
If this app costs $30 for email marketing, then Kajabi is $200, then you have $230 you’re not really using and it’s going down the drain. That’s why apps should be the end. I want this app to work for me and I don’t want to have to limit myself and contort my needs to fit the limitations of an app. Which is why I think a lot of people jump around to different apps, because they think the app isn’t working or it’s too complicated, but yet everyone says it’s the one to use. So there must be something wrong with me, right? There is nothing wrong with you.
We all have different businesses, like Meaghan, you’re very ops minded, right? So what you need may be different from what I need, even though we could be running the exact same business. And that’s a good thing. We’re celebrating our uniqueness.What you need may be different from what I need, even though we could be running the exact same business. Click To Tweet
I think that’s where people get hung up because they go and they ask their friends for recommendations all the time. Who should I hire? What system should I use to do X, Y, and Z? And their friend loves this system to do X, Y, and Z.
I’ve hired off of recommendations that people just raved about this person and they weren’t great fits for me. Because what that person needed in their business and what I needed in my business were very different. And I think that’s a good distinction to consider. It’s a good place to start but you have to take into account that you are your own person, your business is different. How you operate is different.
You need to take a real holistic approach when you’re designing your systems and figuring out what works best for you, rather than being like, Oh, I can’t make this work exactly the way Suzy Q does. So that must mean that I’m doing it wrong.
I can guarantee that if you and I each started our own bakery business tomorrow and we only baked one item, the exact same item with the exact same recipe, I can guarantee you without a shadow of a doubt that the way we approach our business is going to be so different. And that’s beautiful. And not to say that there’s a competition or not. But it’s that you might approach your business from a different standpoint, I might approach it from a different standpoint, because this is what’s important to me.
You’re amazing at what you do with teams and thinking about long-term. Thinking about, Who do I need in my business? And how do I design my business so that when these people come into my life to work for the business, it is going to be really well lubricated? I’m just pulling things out of my ass once again. Oh, shoot, is this podcast explicit rated?
We have the ‘E’ next to our episodes all the fucking time so don’t worry about it.
I have a huge SOP library that I go through once a quarter and look over everything and make sure that it’s all running smoothly. We’re also using those SOPs a lot, so as we use them, if a piece isn’t working anymore, we’ll update it in the moment.
But for all my tools and those kinds of larger overarching systems, I also audit them regularly. But not everybody does. So do you have like a suggested timeline for people who aren’t in their operations zone? A suggested timeline for when they should audit their systems. And then what a basic audit looks like? What should they be looking out for when they’re sitting down to do that?
Before I jump into a timeline, it’s more important to decide what to audit first. I don’t know if you’ve touched upon this before, but in business, in my humble opinion, everything can be and should be systematized. Because the more you systematize, the more you create documentation processes, then the more you’re not the one thing holding your business together anymore. The more you’re not tied down to your business in the not-so-fun ways.
You want to be intentional about what you choose to audit. And for me, you need to identify what are the things that are your moneymakers? If you are a service based business, is the way you have consult calls or discovery calls well lubricated? When you bring them on, are you asking for all the right things? What does your onboarding sequence look like?
And so before you figure out that timeline, figure out what your moneymakers are first because those are the things that you should be auditing. Every time you’re using it. Every time I jump on a consult call, I ask them how was the process? Because as an operations person, I want to walk my own talk and I want to make sure everything is slick and well lubricated. Most times it’s great feedback and more rarely, they’ll say something like the form was way too long. And I’ll take that feedback but at the same time, I need what I need to do my job.Figure out what your moneymakers are first because those are the things that you should be auditing. Click To Tweet
I’m auditing constantly because a good client experience leads to raving reviews and referrals. We are sprint project people meaning we batch our content. We do projects in two weeks sprints so that we’re not doing everything and anything all at the same time. So we audit those pretty much at the end of the sprint. My sprint project for the next few weeks is to record two to three months worth of podcast episodes. At the end of that sprint, I’m auditing how was that process? What was that system like? Did I record everything on time? What was stopping me?
There’s no hard and fast rule is what I’m trying to say. Different systems need to be audited differently. If this is not something you are good at, I would audit your systems a lot because it seems like things could change at any moment. But if you have a well done system and you’ve written things down, but it’s not the most efficient system, then you need to ask if it’s getting in the way of you making money. Yes or no? And then if it is, I would audit that constantly because you constantly want to be generating money with the most ease.
The goal of operations and your systems is to expand your capacity to receive revenue with ease. And things like marketing that are not so high caliber, like your marketing app that schedules your Instagram posts is not the most perfect but it also isn’t a huge ROI for you. So at the most minimum, I would start out with quarterly audits for beginners because if you do it too much, you might get overwhelmed. I think that’s just a really generous starting point. I am of the opinion that you should audit constantly, but not everything constantly. Being really strategic and intentional.
It does. Just to recap what you’re saying, if you need a starting point, just tell me what the fuck to do quarterly. Veronica says start quarterly and then start with the things that are closest to the cash in your business. So maybe for you, if you’re a coach, or a course creator, that is your onboarding sequence. Someone has said yes to you. What happens next? You get a phone call or you get an email or whatever, and somebody’s like, please tell me how to give you my money and work with you. What does that system look like? Do you have to draft a contract? Who on your team drafts the contract? Is that you? Or is it someone else? How do you send the contract to them? How do you send the invoice to them? Who’s drafting the invoice? Are there things on the invoice that have to be added? All of that is a system.
And that’s where the tools come in. You need like a contract signing app or an invoicing system or whatever. So you can sit down and you can look at that and ask if it’s unnecessarily complicated? Where can this be automated? Can I automate the welcome email that sends them all the information that they need to get started with? Redeeming whatever it is that they’ve just purchased? Or logging into their course platform or whatever? All of that stuff is a system. And yes, ideally, you would want to audit that pretty much every time you’re using it, which is what I know Veronica does.
That’s what I do as well. Every time I onboard a new client, I ask myself if that is the most efficient way to do it. Is there a better way I could do it next time? And then if the answer is, yes, then I’ll update the system. I’ll try it that way the next time and see how it works. If it’s faster, more efficient, provides a better experience, etc.
I love the advice to start close to the cash and then you expand out from there. So maybe you’ve started with your onboarding process, you’ve really dug down into that and tweaked it. Maybe that’s your two week project. I love that idea, by the way. You’ve dug into that and then the next thing you can do is identify what’s the next thing that gets them into the onboarding process to say yes to you. That’s probably your discovery call process. Then it would be your marketing. So you’re stepping further and further back from your money every time you choose a system to audit. Auditing really looks like asking, is this the most efficient use of your time, your team’s time and whatever tools support that system
When you make a system more efficient, when you audit your systems, your gauge for success is totally up to you. If you just want to feel better about a system, there’s no number you can really attach to that. If this is new to you, you can start out with feelings like this system sucks. And it takes me three weeks to onboard a client. What can I do to maybe get it down to two weeks? Or if weeks aren’t a good way to measure, then ask yourself why was this was so stressful? And then what would make it less stressful? And then the next time you do it, you think it still sucked, but it was better than that last time.
So the onus is really on you to choose your level of success. And sometimes it could be a system where your goal is to get 10 consult calls scheduled every month. And the next goal is how do I get 15? So there’s no right or wrong way. So long as you’re constantly analyzing and sitting with your systems and understanding, how could this be better because the better your systems get, the more freedom you have. The more peace of mind you have, the more consistency and ultimately the more profitability. So just make what works for you.
For me, sometimes I have a system for team meetings and the other day, I thought the system doesn’t feel good. I feel like I’m the only one talking. Right? So that’s a weird metric to measure. But I asked myself how do I create a system that fosters conversation with everybody? And I’m not just talking at people. So that’s not an easy thing to measure sometimes, right? But you work with what you’ve got.
When I audit my systems, I always ask, am I the person that needs to be doing this part? Because sometimes you get to a part of your system where you can’t necessarily automate it. It’s not something that can be scheduled and it’s not something you can hand off to a tool. It has to be a human being who’s doing that thing. But that human being doesn’t always have to be you. It can be another human being on your team. And so you want to get to a point where you’re realizing that the people on your team are also a part of your system.And so you want to get to a point where you're realizing that the people on your team are also a part of your system. Click To Tweet
Even the human element is part of the system that works as a whole. When you’re sitting there auditing your systems, one of the things I do is a gut check in and ask, where’s the part of this whole process where I just straight up didn’t want to fucking do it? Like this onboarding thing took me three weeks because I dragged my feet for a week doing this one part because I hate it so much. And then, how can you either outsource that to a different person who likes doing that or potentially automate it? Those things are both options when you’re looking at your systems and how you can tweak them. It’s not always necessarily a tool, sometimes you need a person in that role who’s doing that thing so you don’t have to.
Listeners, if there is nothing you take away from this episode, here’s your one thing. Do not one night stand your operation system. Now I have nothing against a one night stand. They’re great. I’m saying for the sake of your business, sustainability and scalability. And for your sanity, do not one night stand your systems.
Build a healthy, long term relationship with your systems, people.
This is such a good conversation, I really appreciate you being here. I think systems and tools and operations, they kind of freak people out. Because they feel like they’re this big, scary thing. But when you chunk them out into things that are easy to tackle one at a time, you don’t have to sit there and look at your whole business and go, Oh my God, this whole thing needs an overhaul. How am I going to get it all done? I’ll just keep doing it exactly the way I’m doing it because it seems too hard to change anything. When you break it up into manageable pieces, then you ultimately end up building a business that runs smoothly, makes you lots of money, and is not leaking money out of messy operations. And you get to do what you enjoy. While everything else kind of runs smoothly behind you, which is such a nice feeling.
Yeah, and I love that you brought up that people are important because in the Orgasmic Operations Method, the first part of the framework is we always put people first because at the end of the day, we’re not robots. We’re humans. We have needs, we have goals, we have feelings. And so I think a big part that’s missing from a lot of operations work is that people don’t put the humanity back into it. And that’s where we come in.
The whole thing about Orgasmic Operations is your business should be giving you orgasms. I know that I’ve done my job when three separate clients in one day say I think I just came or felt like I just had an orgasm, but in my brain, based on the things that we were talking about or the solutions that I’ve given them. That’s when I know we’ve done a good job.
That means that we’ve not only honored them and we see them as a person and hear them and they felt understood, we were able to create a solution that fit because as a CEO, you are the center of your business universe. And if things don’t align with you to begin with, it’s never going to work. So before you audit, really step back and ask what do you need? How do you need your business back end to support you? And be unapologetic about it? Because why should you have to conform yourself to somebody else’s standards and norms? You are your own person.
Yeah, as much as we love making money, we’re not buying into the whole capitalism, productivity until you die, productivity at all costs kind of bullshit. We don’t do that here. So it really is about creating the unique system that works for you, that feels good to you in your business, that pushes you to grow. Because really auditing your systems and looking at your operations helps you to grow. It makes you more efficient in many, many ways. But it also forces you to step back and be like, where in my business does this not feel good? And how can I get to a place where it does feel good? And what did those changes look like? If you boil it down to the simplest part, that is what operations are. How you effectively run your business over and over and over again, constantly changing it so that it feels good to you.
And it takes a lot of hard work to work smart. Because we’re so used to our own methods of doing something and even if it’s the most inefficient way, it might be the only way you know, so it takes a lot of hard work to carve new neural pathways in your brain to change. So evolution is not easy. But also you can imagine what beauty comes from being able to evolve and to grow and to be able to do things that you never thought were possible with your life or your business because you challenged the status quo.
Yeah, absolutely. I love that. All right. We’re challenging the status quo. We’re going to leave it there because I think that was absolutely perfect. We’re going to have all of Veronica’s links on the show notes page. So definitely go check her out, give her a follow on the internet, wherever you like to hang out on the internet and make sure you look into working with her company, Business Laid Bare, because Veronica is fantastic.
Thank you so much for being here. I really appreciate having you.
Thank you so much.
About Veronica Yanhs
Veronica Yanhs lives her life unapologetically laid bare. From the spreadsheets to the bedsheets, she’s completely open about who she is: CEO, kinky, feminist, foodie, and a lover of puns. Since 2012, following a career in Product Design + Operations, she’s helped CEOs unkink their businesses. Using her Orgasmic Operations™ method, she helps CEOs create well-lubricated and orgasmic operations to make their next level of business insanely pleasurable, productive, and ultimately profitable. On the side, she teaches kink and BDSM to beginners in a fun and easy way.