In The E-Myth, he says that a business must become systems based to survive. Having systems in place makes it so much easier to hire & train employees and allows you to hire someone that may not have previous skills, opening up the employee pool. Let’s look at an example from my own business, since I know that very well.
A couple of years ago, I received an obscenely large order from a major retailer. I was still the only person that worked here, so I had to either figure out a way for me to accomplish everything quickly or get help that I could easily train. Both would only work if I figured out a system for making and packaging my stationery that was easy & quick. Now, this isn’t rocket science. Ford came up with the assembly line and it’s a great way to get things done. I came up with a step by step plan which I could either do myself or easily layout for another person. It’s so much better to hand an employee a numbered sheet of steps than just saying “this needs to be done, figure it out”. Now, I know that there are some cases when the latter can be very helpful, but if you already have the quickest & best way figured out, then tell them to do it your way. This is the best way to ensure that your standard of quality stays consistent regardless of who is in the driver seat.
Then, when the next employee comes along, because your business is growing and you don’t personally have time to train them how to make & package stationery, you can just hand them the same sheet of steps. Now, I know that this is a very stripped down implementation of this concept and that managing employees is far more complicated and nuanced than I am exploring, but this is a very helpful tool.
Even if you are the only one at your company, try out a few systems and see how they work. If nothing else, it can help you to be very productive when you can’t get your brain up and running. It also helps me to be more efficient and consistent. Which we learned last week is oh so important. I have the same set of steps that I go through with each order, email, blog week. I really urge to try this with your business and see how much it helps.
On a related note, Atul Gawanda wrote a book about how implementing a checklist system in our hospitals can save significant lives.
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