Systems Set You Free

You’ve fallen into the trap of doing it yourself rather than getting your people to do it and messing it up.  You are constantly interrupted to help others do their job.

You’ve been working at your business for years but every time one of your key people gets sick, or goes on holidays, you get dragged right back to the coalface.  You’re too scared to take more than a week’s holiday because of what will happen to the business while you’re gone.

Everyone seems to have their own way of doing things and their way isn’t exactly the way you like it done!

If this sounds familiar to you, it’s probably because your business lacks systems.

So often we hear business owners say, “what we do is unique, you can’t systemise it”.  But when you think about it, even if you are a surgeon, most of what your business does is actually routine.  Preparing the operating theatre, sterilising equipment, prepping the patient, inserting intravenous lines etc.  If you don’t believe us read the book “The Checklist Manifesto – How to Get Things Right,” which is actually written by a surgeon, Atul Gawande.

Being systemised in the mundane areas simply allows you to excel in the important areas.

Quite often the glass ceiling stopping a good business from becoming a great business is the lack of systems.  Take for example a “design and construct” renovations building company we worked with some years ago.  They used to say every single job they did was unique.  There was “no way you could systemise their business”.  As a consequence, the directors were trapped in the business working long hours and the business just wasn’t growing.

Over the course of about 18 months we worked with them to break their process down into the 141 steps it took to build an upper-storey addition.  For each step they ultimately developed a simple procedure for achieving that step.  For example, the step of “how to lodge plans with council” was simplified so much that their receptionist was easily able to do it after a couple of hours of training.

By systemising their business, this building company was able to grow from $4million in turnover to $8million in a few short years, with an even greater percentage increase in their net profit.

How much is your lack of systems holding you back?  If you feel like you’re reinventing the wheel everyday then perhaps it’s time to make a change.

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