I’ve heard it said that the scarcest resource in scaling your company is your time as the business owner. I don’t agree.

If my company’s work with thousands of business owners has taught me anything it’s that while time of the business owner is scarce, the owner’s attention is even more finite.

In essence the scarce resource isn’t time but rather attentional units.

If this is true for you the owner, then it’s also true of your key staff that work for you.

Hence why I wanted to share with you a simple, five-step process to build out your baseline lead generation system.

The value of having a concrete system is that it allows you to more easily refine the system–to make it better, cheaper, faster, and more reliable.

It also allows you to get a great result with far fewer attentional units (yours or your key staff’s) than doing your lead generation activity ad hoc.

That is why we consistently emphasize the importance of systems to help you scale with our business coaching clients.

One more problem with informal systems you keep in your head are how they leave your business vulnerable. If you get hurt or busy, no one else knows how to do that key process.

Here are five steps to building out your baseline lead-generation system. As you go through all five steps it’s possible that you’ve created parts and pieces of your system already, but you may have never connected them together into one flow, or you may not have formally written down your system, building out the tools (e.g. score card, scripting, etc) in a concrete, formal way.

Step 1. Determine which marketing tactic(s) to focus on first.

Your company likely does several different lead generation activities. Don’t start trying to systematize them all, instead, pick your single most important lead-generation tactic to systematize first.

If you’re not sure which of your various lead generation tactics are most important, ask yourself the following: If you could only do one thing to generate new leads for your business, what one tactic would you pick?

Step 2. Draft the “process layer” of how to implement that marketing tactic.

The process layer of your system is the step-by-step recipe of how that process is laid out and flows.

I suggest you try the “sticky note” approach to laying out the process layer.

Grab a pad of yellow sticky notes and lay out the sequential steps to implement this marketing tactic. Put one step on each sticky note.

The reason this is such an effective way to document your process is that it frees your mind to lay out all the steps, and even edit the steps as you go, into a simple flow of yellow post it notes.

Don’t like the order or missed a step? No problem; just move around the stickies to suit your needs.

Once you have the process of executing this marketing strategy or tactic clearly laid out in your yellow sticky notes, write it up into a simple, step-by-step recipe.

Step 3. Create a rough scorecard to track this marketing tactic.

The key here is to make sure you’re gathering relevant, objective data that will tell you how well your marketing efforts are going and allow you to compare tactics in order to make smart strategic decisions about where to invest your company’s time and money.

These numbers will root any forecasts or projections you make in reality versus the “go by the gut” fantasy too many entrepreneurs accept.

Simply track how much you spent on this marketing tactic (i.e. “Cost”); how many leads it generated (i.e. “Leads”); how much your spent per lead (i.e. # of Leads / Cost = “Cost per Lead”); and how many sales you generated; and your cost per sale (i.e. # of Sales / Cost = “Cost per Sale”.

At a minimum, this will give you a rough guide to compare lead tactics one with the other. (NOTE: Ideally you’d track one more thing on your lead scorecard–“ROI per $1 Invested”. This is the total sales generated by this tactic divided by the total cost of marketing for that tactic. It gives you a way to compare lead generation tactics on a level playing field to see which have the highest total return for your company.)

You don’t need a fancy, automated tracking system (although that is ideal), you can even set up a simple spreadsheet to track leads and sales as they come in.

Over time this data will let you determine which lead generation activities to eliminate so that you can take the freed up resources (e.g. time and money and attention) to reinvest in your proven winners. This is one reason why successful companies can scale so quickly–they invest their marketing energy in those fewer, better tactics that have been proven to get great results versus squandering them across too broad a front.

Step 4. Package your “process” in a way that ensures your team and business consistently follow the steps to get the results you want.

A cardinal rule in building systems that your team will actually use is to remember that every system has two layers to it–the process layer and the format layer.

In step two, you wrote out your process layer to this system. Now it’s time for you to give some thought to the best way to package each of these steps so that the system is easy to use and works.

For example, if the system you’re focused on is search engine optimization, giving your team a 1-page list of the top keywords to focus on, along with a weekly checklist of the five most important SEO tasks you want your marketing team to do; and an instruction document with screen shots that shows exactly how to post text or video blog posts to effectively emphasize keywords, will be much easier for your team to use on an ongoing basis than just a long form recipe document that is 15 pages long that they will likely ignore after they’ve “learned” the process.

So now that you have a solid process and scorecard, in step for you ask yourself, “What is the best format to package the key steps of this system so that our team can more easily use this system it to consistently produce quality leads for our company on an ongoing basis?”

Step 5. Implement, track, and refine.

You already created your scorecard for the system in step three, now in step five you are prompting yourself to pause to analyze your results and refine the system to get even better results.

It’s this kind of consistent refinement that, over time, will result in a finely tuned lead-generation machine.

For more ideas on growing your business, including a free tool kit with 21 in-depth video trainings to help you scale your business and get your life back, click here.