By Andrew Houston
June 30, 2016 – You’re driving home after a long day of work, and your phone rings with yet another call from your team. They need your direction on something that should be routine for them. Yet again you have to pull up your sleeves to do a task you know is way below your pay grade.
The task should be delegated to a team member but you just can’t shake free of it because you fear that, if you don’t tackle it yourself, something will go wrong. Sound familiar?
Unless you do something about this boomerang effect now, you’ll be trapped for life with a business that cannot survive without you.
So how has your business come to be like this in the first place? The No. 1 reason is the lack of systems. Instead, you are the system; you’re either giving step-by-step instructions every day, or you’re the one doing the tasks you really need to relinquish.
Supporting your team with tools, templates, checklists and other forms of systems is important for a number of reasons, the most compelling of which is so you, the owner, can run your business without being run by the business. Systems should run your business; your team should follow your systems, and your task is to lead your team.
When you don’t have systems in place, you’ll find it difficult to:
• Scale your business
• Create consistency among your team and its tasks
• Concentrate on high-value tasks (as the owner)
• Maximize profits
• Assess employee performance
• Set targets for growth
Henry Ford made a profit by building and selling some of the first automobiles in America, but he became one of the wealthiest and most successful entrepreneurs in the world by figuring out systems that produced, marketed and sold his cars for him.
You need to do the same for your business. I’ve created a tool called “The Service Call Success System” that will help get you started. CLICK HERE to download.
In just 6 weeks, “The Service Call Success System” allowed Vickie Brunet from Day-View Electric months to:
• Increase sales by 15%
• Eliminate 100% of call-backs
• Stop chasing paperwork
• Increase capacity by 20%
• Create raving fan clients who are willing to pay more
• Free up 15 hours/week
• Delegate 100% of the system to the team
Now that you’ve got the tool and you’re ready to follow along, we need to figure out where to start. What are some of the areas in your business lacking systems? For example:
• Administrative duties
• Tracking labour and material
• Marketing and sales
Create a list of areas lacking systems then determine which tasks can be delegated. Start by delegating the lowest-value tasks first, which is part of the strategy for creating systems that will increase your team’s ownership and accountability so it doesn’t always fall on you.
Now you can begin focusing your time on higher-value tasks. You may want to do this in a team meeting to help them understand the benefits for the business and for themselves, and what this means moving forward.
Time to create a system:
Break the steps down into phases. For example, your service department would include 3 core phases of START (prior to the service call itself); RUN (during the service call); and FINISH (service call is complete.) Use different-coloured sticky notes to list tasks specific to START, RUN and FINISH.
Measure each step. Out of 10, rate how well each step is being performed. Once finished, you’ll see the lowest rating is the weakest link, and that’s where you’ll need to create your first system.
Create a system. Ask yourself what type of system is going to work best for each step. Is it going to be a checklist, a form, a white board, some type of spreadsheet, or maybe new software? Get your administrative assistant to create something on paper and research software systems that may help, then test your new system for a couple of weeks and tweak accordingly.
To learn about more tools for enhancing your business, check out to my live webinar Cash Flow Problems? 5 Ways to Maximize your Profits sponsored by Electrical Business Magazine on August 23, 2016, at 2 pm EST.
Andrew Houston is the owner and founder of Profit for Contractors. He has been consulting to trades business owners for nearly a decade, helping them improve their business skills so they can achieve their personal and business goals. A graduate of George Brown College, Andrew achieved Industrial Controls Licensed Electrician as well as Electronics Engineering Technologist. Visit www.profitforcontractors.com.