Creating Systems

Creating a systematized way of doing things is the key to breaking this cycle.


In your own business How many of those goals have you actually attained?

The fact is, most of us jump or fall into business. Before we know it, we are so busy that we have no time to think about what we want from the business, how it will be shaped and what it will be like the day we retire or sell it.

Steven R. Covey, in his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, says to “begin with the end in mind.” In other words, whenever you start a process, understand exactly what the end point is before you start.

When Ray Kroc founded McDonald’s he had absolutely no intention of working behind a counter.  In fact, he never even made a hamburger. He began with a different end in mind. He envisioned thousands of McDonald’s stores around the world, each doing exactly the same thing in a predictable manner. Knowing that, he knew he wouldn’t be able to work in them, hence they would have to work without him! He then developed processes and systems structured around how to hire people, the color the restaurants should be, the way a restaurant should be managed, right down to the way they should heat their buns.  All of this occurred by having a vision, determining what needed to be done to get there, and then carefully going over every little detail.

Contrast that with owners who run a typical hamburger place. They’re doing it, doing it, doing it, every single day. And that’s precisely because they didn’t begin with the end in mind. They set up a business that depended on the owner doing everything. Their only vision was of ordering the goods to make the hamburgers, doing the stock control, frying the fries, grilling the burger, buttering the buns, wrapping it all up, ringing up the sale and hoping to make ends meet at the end of the day.

That is, instead of creating a business that works, we create a business that is us. A business that often becomes all-consuming. And worse yet, when it all becomes too much, we sell our most precious asset for far less than it would have been worth if we had started with the end in mind.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. There really is another path. Consider again the true purpose of your business. Once you get the thought processes of beginning with the end-in-mind going, the true purpose comes out. Isn’t the purpose of a business to create life – for you and for the people with whom you interact?

A central theme in Gerber’s E-Myth is that most businesses fail or never reach their full potential because their owners spend too much time doing the work that the business does, rather than managing and growing it. Creating a systematized way of doing things is the key to breaking this cycle.

Think about this concept by comparing the local hamburger restaurant to McDonald’s.

In which company would you rather own stock?

McDonald’s, most likely. Why? Because McDonald’s makes better hamburgers? Probably not. You’d pick McDonald’s shares because the company works like clockwork no matter which restaurant you visit. They all have completely systematized processes that make them consistently high quality and very successful.

These days the way we do business can be just as important as what we do. As customers become better educated and more discerning, they often expect more in terms of customer service – the way they are treated and how the product or service delivers. Given that, it’s important to review the processes – those actions that make up your business – and implement strategies and systems to improve them.

This could range from picking up the phone no later than the second ring (which shows you’re attentive to their needs); using ‘awesome service’ to show customers how special they are to you; improving the sales process; better educating your team members on the products and services you offer and more importantly the benefits to the customer of each; going the extra mile when it comes to serving them; improving speed of delivery and more.

So, an important step to start working on your business is to simply develop systems for everything.

Systematizing your business makes it worth more because if at some point, you decide to sell the business, you’re handing over a business worth many times more than when you stated. Simply, because you thought about and developed the systems that allow the business to function successfully without you.

And if you decide to stay involved in the business in some way, you know that it can function independently of you. It’s not your life. You’ve developed a business that you’re a part of…yet you’re still apart from it.

See this article in the New York Times