As the owner of a contracting business, you have a lot of challenges to navigate daily. From marketing to sales, from employee management to financial management, from customers to vendors. Your day is filled with dealing with one of these after another.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could make it all just a little bit easier? It would be more than nice, it would actually be a game-changer for you, wouldn’t it? If all of the challenges you were juggling in the day just went a little more easily, you might find yourself with more time to focus on growth, and less time spend on hassles; more profit, and less waste; more happier customers, and fewer frustrated employees.
Although this might sound like some kind of unicorn idea, I believe there is a magic pill that can make all of these happen—to amplify the best aspects of your business and minimize the biggest challenges.
That magic pill is:
A system is any automated sequence of steps, one after the other, that is done in the same sequence every single time. I’m not just talking about software that automates something, although that’s often everyone’s first thought when I mention systems. Rather, a system can be anything that makes a sequence of steps automatic, consistent, and predictable.
One example of a system you probably have now, and don’t even realize it, is a system for getting to the office first thing in the morning. You probably unlock the door, turn on the lights, deactivate your alarm, and put on the coffee—and you’ve probably done it in that order since you got your office. It’s a system because the steps are automated; that is, they are done without you really thinking about them. The only time the system is disrupted is when something is done out of order, such as when you turn on the light switch and the lights don’t come on. Otherwise, you run through the same system day after day without a second thought.
There is a lot of power in systems:
- You make the steps consistent so that they can be done without really thinking about them. This gives you more mental bandwidth so that you aren’t expending that mental energy on unnecessary thoughts like, “okay, now I need to turn on the lights.”
- Doing everything in the same order all the time will actually speed them up. Implementing one system might save you five minutes in your day, but implementing multiple systems in every aspect of your business can save you hours of time and even reduce having to circle back around to re-do something.
- Creating systems allows you to delegate different parts of your business. Now, the responsibility for certain things no longer falls on you but can be shared by your team who have a step-by-step guide for the way you want things to run.
What Systems Should You Create?
You can create a system for any and every aspect of your business where something is repeated. Whether it’s done daily, weekly, or monthly, if any action is done more than once, create a system. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Start with the beginning of your day and write down the sequence of steps you take as you get ready for the day. There’s your first system done already. Now, want to see just how powerful it is? Hand the keys to an employee and tell them to come in tomorrow and follow those documented steps. You’ll discover very quickly the power of a system when you no longer have to be the first one to the office.
Create a system for the end of the day, too, to ensure that whoever leaves the office last will make sure the coffee pot is off, lock all the doors, turn off all the lights, and set the alarm. Hand that one off too and now you don’t have to be the last person out of the building at night.
Do any of your team interact with customers? They probably do. The next system you should create should be a customer-interaction system that outlines step-by-step what your employees should do from the minute they leave your office to head to the customer’s house to the minute they get back to the office after the job is done. Even within this system there will be sub-systems: for example, if your team members accept check payments, set up a simple checklist that they run through with every check to ensure it is made out to the company name, it has the correct date, it has the correct amount, and it has been signed. This simple checklist will eliminate a wasteful trip back to the customer’s house to get them to correct the check.
After that, create systems for how employees stock their trucks, how your inbound team answers phones, how your outbound team makes calls, how your teams are scheduled, how your accounts payables and accounts receivables are handled, and so on.
Everything in your business can get a system. Even the small stuff.
How To Create A System
Simply write out the steps that you do something. Then use that written document as a guide and checklist to make sure everything gets done in that order all the time.
Bonus tip: Keep all your systems in a big binder and review them regularly to ensure they are still accurate.
Systems Can Help You Grow
When everything has a system built around it, you create a business that can scale and grow because people are no longer expending mental energy on small things. Everyone can move faster and more confidently in their jobs because decision-making is focused only on important decisions. And, customers get a consistent, positive experience no matter who they are interacting with.
Start small, with a few systems and grow from there. And when you grow your systems, you will grow your business.
Mike Agugliaro is the “Business Warrior” and founder of CEO Warrior, a business consulting, training and mentoring firm, providing tested and proven methods to defeat the roadblocks that prevent small to mid-sized businesses from achieving their ultimate success. He has played a key role in building and selling Gold Medal Service, New Jersey’s largest and most respected home service company. For more information about CEO Warrior, visit www.CEOWARRIOR.com.