Four Systems Every Small Business Needs

Published on August 16th, 2022

One Way to Think About Your Business

It was Susan's turn to present her organization chart (org chart) to the group. "This is silly," she said. "I only have 10 employees. Why are we doing this again?"

"You only need it if you want to grow," I replied with a disarming smile.

When I started GameTruck, I felt just like Susan. I thought an org chart was a big company thing. My friend Stephen Fairly, however, taught me, a business is run by systems. Employees run those systems. Done correctly, an org chart (also called an accountability chart) can do two things. It can give you a system-level view of your business. It can also make it clear who is responsible for running those systems. In my experience, all small businesses need four core systems to thrive.

They need a system for:

  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Operations
  • Accounting

Most small business owners think of people and task work, making it easy to get lost in the weeds. A little abstraction, however, can create clarity. These are not just boxes on a graph. They are mental models to help you understand your business better.


At the small business level, marketing is only one thing; lead generation. Marketing is about reaching the people who have the problem your company was built to solve, and letting them know you can help. Marketing owns the channels, mechanisms, and tools to convert interest into leads.


Once you have a lead, the conversation flips from outbound (one-to-many), to inbound (on-to-one). This is the domain of sales. Many owners are afraid of sales. The reality is that any process which converts a prospect into a customer is a sales process. The receptionist who books an appointment at your clinic? They're in sales. Sales today is much less about persuasion and much more about streamlining. Sales is the bridge between prospect uncertainty and confident customer action. Converting interest into revenue as easily and painlessly is possible is the goal of sales.

Sales is the process by which a prospect becomes a customer.


Once a customer accepts the promise promoted by marketing and offered by sales, Operations must follow through and deliver. Most small business owners focus on operations because it is the "what we do" part of the company. Most founders started their business by dreaming up a better operation. Operations is the fulfilling commitments department.


Finally, the accounting bucket includes everything your customer doesn't care about. You could call this administration systems; however, I focus on accounting for one critical reason. Accounting is how we keep score in business. Not having proper accounting is like driving a car without a dashboard. You just wouldn't do it, not for any length of time. Business is the same.


Thinking about your business as four interconnected systems lets you optimize your effectiveness in each area. It is also a guide for your staff. Small business owners struggle with delegation. Organizing work into these four conceptual systems creates a roadmap for you and your staff. It identifies where your team can help. Growth occurs when the team manages the business, and the owner manages the team.

If you have questions about any of this, or want to know more about GameTruck, or might be considering a franchise, reach out to us. We can help.


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