Systematize and Streamline Your Business
The entire universe operates on systems. The earth revolves around the sun, and rotates on its access, and is tilted at the poles. These things create seasons and day and night. Animals, plants and humans reproduce thus continuing life on the planet. And there are so many other examples of systems on earth, and throughout the universe.
This is the premise that Sam Carpenter uses in his book “Work the System.” In this book, he talks about using systems in business to improve your marketing, your profits, your return on investment, and everything else that we do. Creating systems means creating step by step processes that are followed each time a situation arises. These systems could include how we answer a phone, how we make a bank deposit, or anything else that we do. Having a system avoids mistakes, makes actions teachable and duplicatable to other staff members, and streamlines every action making the business more efficient.
I read Mr. Carpenter’s book several years ago when I was working with a company that decided to take the book seriously. They contacted Mr. Carpenter, we set up coaching arrangements with him, and I was one of the individuals who got to work directly with him in breaking down the actions of several departments and creating step by step instructions on how various actions were performed. It was like creating recipes, we identified the items that were needed to compete a task, like a list of ingredients, and then carefully assembled the list of step needed to complete the task.
It was a little tedious at times, but as we saw the results coming together, the lists were printed, and kept in loose-leaf binders by each department, and were also stored in company files so that they could be easily modified.
The whole organization gradually got behind this process. At first, some people were concerned that their jobs would be in jeopardy if everyone knew all the steps that they performed daily, but they started to see that these lists of steps were also providing them with the information necessary to broaden their skills in the company and become more valuable for raises and promotions.
Some of the team members took the ideas home and started using them to create instructions for home tasks. I recall one individual bringing a book that they were compiling on systems for their babysitters to perform.
Some of the systems instructions required staff members to collaborate with other departments and even contractors who worked with the company, such as our accounting and bookkeeping.
I think that you are probably getting the point that I have become an advocate of creating systems and working the systems that you create. Ever since that time, I have been much more conscious of using systems in the things that I do in business and otherwise. As a real estate investor, some of my systems are scripts that I use on the telephone to improve my results, and I have shared these scripts with real estate investor clients I have had the privilege to train and coach. When I make offers on properties, I know that there are four ways that sellers can respond to an offer—yes, no, counteroffer, or no response. While it may seem like a small thing, my reactions to any of these four responses are pre-programmed systems that I simply implement as a part of my system.
I have found that there are myriads of decisions that business owners must make, and the more of these that are repetitive enough to convert into a written system, the less time I must spend making those decisions, and the more time I can spend evaluating and making wise decisions on other items that are not repetitive.
I also have systems for dealing with General Contractors in a rehab project, and I collaborated with them in developing these systems, which includes daily reporting, expectations regarding their implementation of our contractors’ agreement, and systems that they can use to post pictures and completion lists so that all of our team can access this information in seconds.
I have worked with accountants and attorneys regarding their services that are regular and repetitive so that we are improving their efficiency as well.
I’m not trying to tell you that we are perfect, we still have a long way to go, but the systems approach has made it easier to sleep, has actually helped protect our bank account from needless expenditures, and perhaps most importantly, has allowed us to spend more time on the things that have the greatest importance.
Something as simple as a one-touch system for dealing with email can save massive amounts of time every day keeping us from having to go back over emails multiple times. And meetings have generally been reduced to 20-minute standing meetings instead of an hour to two hours seated around a table.
Now it is up to you to determine if your business needs to develop and map out on paper the systems that are required to help you become more effective and more productive. I’m including the website for Sam Carpenter’s book below, although I am sure there are many other places online that you can find it. Most importantly, I hope that this information helps to de-stress being a business owner and catapult you and your business to a whole new level of success!