What’s the owner’s success formula? It’s very simple; Systems = Freedom. If you as the owner of your firm go on a 4 week vacation, what happens to your business? What happens to the quality and quantity of activity? Some authors have defined the strength of a small business as being directly proportionate to how much of it can continue in the owner’s absence. Whether you own a large firm or a micro business, having simple and effective systems in place will make it much easier for you to step away from your office without waking up at 3 AM in a cold sweat.
A system is a documented way of performing a task that solves a problem and ensures that the task is performed properly and consistently. Creating successful systems means having effective forms, scripts, follow up, marketing processes etc. that are used by you and your staff. In also includes an effective carrot and stick management plan that helps your staff to manage themselves.
Here are some ways that systems give the owner and staff more freedom:
Each owner needs to decide what percent of his or her business needs to be systematized. If you have a large firm you will need more complex systems whereas if you’re a micro operator you just need simple systems. If you were a systems purist you might say that if an owner goes on vacation for 3 months and the business proceeds without a hitch then he has a fully systematized business.
Obviously for smaller operators or soloists that’s not going to be practical or realistic. So if you can’t systematize your entire business then choose percent as a goal. Try to systematize 25% of your business. You may use automation or support staff to do this if you’re small. So what that means is that if you go on vacation, 25% of your business functions continue without you. Be sure to consider your firms size when deciding what level of systemization is relevant for you.
Examples of systems:
Every time you walk into the Starbucks it’s the same experience; same quality of coffee, same uniforms, same ambience. They’ve been able to kill their competition due to their precision. The subtle message to you as a customer is: we offer a consistently good service and you can trust us. This consistency makes people feel comfortable with your service.
Here’s an example that comes from professional football. The most popular offensive system in professional football is the West coast offence. This system was perfected by Bill Walsh and the 49ers. Joe Montana is considered by many to be the best quarterback to ever play the game and he worked in this system. The West Coast offence is a system with unique characteristics; lots of passing, screen passes, fast receivers etc. It is a system that started in San Francisco and has now been successfully duplicated in many other cities. So systems apply to business and they also apply in many other contexts as well.
The Franchise Prototype:
Could you explain to a prospective buyer how your firm ticks and hums and makes a solid profit each month? Is there a documented “operating system” that you could hand to that person? If not, then you may want to start to think of your business in a new way. It doesn’t matter if you will ever open a second office or sell your firm because it’s the process of thinking this way that will give you the payoff.
So, if you want more freedom and peace of mind then you need to systematize and “bottle” your very own proprietary success formula. Once you have these systems in place you will be able to enjoy much more freedom whether you decide to grow or stay small because you will be able to trust in your formula.
Gary Stauble is the principal consultant for The Recruiting Lab, a coaching company that assists Firm Owners and Solo Recruiters in generating more profit in less time. His free monthly e-zine, “Creative Recruiting” will help you to attract premium clients, make more placements, and still be home in time for dinner. Subscribe today at www.therecruitinglab.com. There are also over 20 Free Special Reports online covering advanced marketing, firm management and recruiting best practices. For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation, visit the site or call 408-847-5049.