Tools for Success – Systems Run Dependably; People Let You Down
Remember only you can make business great!
The first article in this series listed more than 25 tactics that worked for me and that you can use to increase your business success. I started with nothing and didn’t get to college so I know you can achieve maximum success, regardless of your level of education. E-mail me to get the first article or any of the others. Each of the other articles takes a closer look at one of the tactics.
As your business grows, you should focus on installing scalable systems. The reason to devote time to putting the right processes in place is simple. Systems tend to run reliably and can rescue you when people occasionally let you down.
The systems that you put in place have to include the capacity to monitor and gather key performance indicators. For instance, one of the simple sales systems that I used as I was growing my yard was requiring my salespersons to write their results for the day on a whiteboard at the end of every business day.
The data that they had to put on the board included the answers to these questions: How many calls did they take, how many outbound calls did they make, how many quotes did they give and how many invoices did they write.
If you are using software that tracks these items for you, that’s even better. But you still should have a board so that all of your salespeople know how they are performing relative to one another and relative to your sales goals. You should run a daily report and give it to each of your salespeople.
You should think about all of the systems that you need to make your business run smoothly. You need systems for making the phone ring, for production or order fulfillment, for lead generation, etc. The crucial part of good systems is that they will let you know sooner when things are not working the way they should.
In some cases, you might not know what the right number should be, but you certainly can spot a number that is not right. For example, if you know that most of your new salespeople write ten invoices on their first day, and your new hire writes only two, you know that you have a problem and can see whether you need to do some extra training to get him or her on track.
Systems do not have to be complicated. Simplicity is a real virtue for some systems. I remember when we had a requirement that salespersons mail at least three thank you notes to customer per day. We knew that salespeople would not remember to do it, so we built an envelope rack with a slot for each salesperson. It became easy to walk by at the end of the day and see if each salesperson’s slot had at least 3 envelpes in it. Suddenly, we knew who was doing them and who was not.
We had a problem keeping the dismantling area clean. Why were there always broken parts, junk, tires, whatever laying around? Because people let us down. The answer was to create a system. We gave every dismantler a chrome wire rack in their workspace. We told them that they could put WHATEVER THEY WANTED on THEIR rack but nothing else was allowed in their workspace.
After every car, we made it rule that they had to sweep and pick up their space, leaving only their tool box and the rack. The system kept the area clean and gave the dismantlers control of the space. With the control came accountability. We got a super neat area that stayed clean because we had a good system in place.
This worked even though we used cradle to grave dismantling. Our dismantlers pulled everything, cleaned everything, stocked everything, and then did the paperwork and turned it in. Then they cleaned their area and started on the next car. It worked beautifully and allowed us to get nearly twice the production per employee as compared to a typical dismantling arrangement that divided the tasks among several employees.
Ron Sturgeon, Mr. Mission Possible, has been a successful business owner for more than 35 years. As a small business consultant, he can deliver wisdom and advice gleaned from an enviable business career that started when he opened a VW repair business as a homeless 17-year-old and culminated in the sale of several businesses he built to Fortune 500 companies.
Ron has helped bankers, lawyers, insurance agents, restaurant owners, and body shop owners, as well as countless salvage yard owners to become more successful business people. He is an expert in helping small business owners set the right business strategies, implement pay-for- performance, and find new customers on the web.
As a consultant, Ron shares his expertise in strategic planning, capitalization, compensation, growing market share, and more in his signature plainspoken style, providing field-proven, and high-profit best practices well ahead of the business news curve. Ron is the author of nine books, including How to Salvage More Millions from Your Small Business.
To inquire about consulting or keynote speaking, contact Ron at 817-834-3625, ext. 232, rons@MrMissionPossible.com, 5940 Eden, Haltom City, TX 76117.