As an entrepreneur, you have to own a business -- not a have a job. Wait, how do you tell which you is your case?

It all depends on whether your company can still run while you're not there. If your company depends on you to survive, then you don't own a business. You own a job.

But if you can take a vacation to Hawaii whenever you want, and this doesn't create a dent in your operations or revenue, then congrats -- you own a business!

Now the question is: how do you do this? The answer is simple: create effective systems.

Don't worry, this isn't rocket science. All you need to do is to have three elements working together in harmony: people, processes, and technology.

Once you've got those elements in place, then creating an effective system will be a breeze.

1. People

Look, you can have the most advanced, efficient systems in place... but they'll still fail if you can't get your team onboard.

Here's the bad news: humans are creatures of habit, and we don't like change.

So how do you influence your team and get their buy-in?

First, get them involved in the process. Don't take a top-down approach by just telling your team to use a specific system. Instead, let them explore all the options, and come to the conclusion that this system is the best fit.

Personally, I like to lead with questions such as "What's causing this issue?" and "What in our process causes this to happen?" to steer my team towards a specific system or solution. This way, they take ownership of the idea, and they're more motivated to make it happen.

If a few bad apples refuse to adopt the new systems, get your HR to speak to them about company culture, and if things don't get better, drop them from your team.

2. Processes

Next, it's time to identify the processes that you want your systems to simplify. Think about your biggest pain points -- which are the tasks sucking up most of your time?

Remember, the end goal is to do more with less. If something is taking up 5 hours of your time per week, it's worth sacrificing a week to come up with a system that automates this task, and have it disappear from your To Do list forever.

Once you've got your systems up and running, you should also keep refining them. For example, I have frequent meetings with my team to discuss which of my systems are working, and which can be improved.

3. Technology

The final piece of the puzzle? Technology.

Your system has to be user-friendly, and it has to allow your team to keep track of their progress.

Think of it this way: if no one can figure out how to work the system, then the chances of your team adopting the system (and sticking with it) are going to be close to zero.

So take the time to build your system properly, and make sure it addresses your team's needs.

Here are a few questions that I always ask myself: is this technology easy to use? Is this system going to work when I scale my business from X to Y? If not, how much time and money will it cost to replace it?

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What do you want your life to look like when you're 60? Do you want to be enjoying yourself with your family and friends, and maybe travelling the world? Or do you want to be stuck in the office, running your business like how you're doing today?
To make that first scenario a reality, you've got to have the right systems in place.

Published on: Jul 13, 2018
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.