Work The System: The Simple Mechanics of Making More and Working Less (Book Review / Synopsis)
For small business owners, running a small business often requires performing multiple roles on a regular basis. On any given day, you may find yourself providing sales calls, performing customer service duties, managing your accounting, doing technical work (creating your products or services), and putting out “fires”. All of which leaves little to no time to focus on growing your business, improving your products and services, and providing vision and leadership to your employees.
If you were to examine successful larger companies, you will find, in nearly every case, system-based protocols at work. Managers and owners of these businesses are not spending their days putting out fires and switching from one role to another. Instead, they are managing their systems and continually improving upon them. As a result, these companies are able to provide better products and services, and achieve continual growth and success. This system-oriented approach is something often not found in small businesses and is a fundamental reason 95% of all small businesses fail.
Sam Carpenter’s book “Work the System” asserts that improving your business’ systems is the key to being able to pull yourself out of the day-to-day operations of your business and ultimately be able to work less and make more.
Examining and improving your company’s systems will provide revolutionary results. Doing so will allow you, as a small business owner, to hand-off many of the tasks you were doing on a regular basis. This will free up your time to continue to improve upon the company’s systems and provide better services and products, and customer service, as a direct result.
Working your system involves the following steps:
- Create a strategic objective that outlines your business’ reason for being, its purpose and overall goals.
This objective should be what drives the direction of the company and every business decision.
- Identify each system and sub-system within your business.
- Create working procedures for each system and sub-system. Put everything in writing. Set-up these documents as if someone “off the street” were going to need to perform these tasks and outline each and every step of the process within each system.
- Examine each system’s steps and procedures and look for ways to improve the systems and make them more efficient on an ongoing basis. At the core of each system, keep simplicity in mind. Simplicity is the key. Get rid of out-dated or inefficient systems. Add new systems when warranted. Ask for staff involvement and make it easy to change and improve the working procedures, as needed, in a quick and simple manner.
Once you start to internalize this systems perspective, you will see that there are systems operating all around us. In nature, for example, many systems exist in a highly efficient manner, all without the need for human management or interaction. Your goal, as a business owner, should be to create similar types of systems that can operate in a highly efficient manner and produce desired results consistently, without you needing to intervene and operate the systems.
Since every process is documented, the quality of your output and customer service will increase. Customers will appreciate and know what to expect each time they interact with your company and employ your services or purchase your products.