Highly Chilled Habit #7: Be Systematic

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The 7 Habits of Highly Chilled Small Business owners

This is the fifth article in a monthly series on small business owners I have met or worked with over the years who developed beautiful successful businesses.

Stories of successful real business owners

In 35 years of doing business and working with some of the most inspiring people I’ve ever met, I’ve learned a very important lesson: Success in small business starts by building great habits. I call these practices the “7 Highly Chilled Habits” and I find they’re best illustrated with the stories of real business owners who I happen to have had the pleasure of coaching.

The articles are based on my E-book, The 7 Habits of Highly Chilled Small Business Owners. All of my books and other resources are available for free here

Habit #7:

Highly Chilled Business Owners are Systematic

systematic accuracy

In order to build a Highly Chilled business, you must always be on the prowl for parts of your processes that can be turned into repeatable systems

BTW, You can read up on Chilled habit #1: Be dependable here

If McDonald’s Did Flowers

Amanda sells bunches of flowers. It’s a simple concept, but she manages the process in a way that no one else thought of before she came along. Amanda wants her business to be the McDonald’s of floristry by keeping repeatability, dependability, expandability, speed, convenience and price at the heart of what she delivers.

In order to achieve this, Amanda has had to invent her whole business model and production process from scratch. It had never been done before in her industry because, as is the case with restaurants and chefs, the success of a floristry business relies on the creative vision and genius of the florist. Besides, flowers are natural products and one night’s unexpected frost can leave said creative vision in tatters.

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Be Analytical, Like Amanda

In Amanda’s business, a limited number of different bunches of flowers are created and produced in large quantities every day, 7 days a week.

The composition of each one is determined by the market purchaser on the day.

The purchaser makes decisions dependent on that early morning’s availability and market prices.

Getting the day’s bunches right was historically a hit and miss affair – and something that gave Amanda sleepless nights.

So, Amanda set about creating a database of every bunch produced in a year. By the end of the year, there were hundreds and hundreds of bunches recorded.

Each record held photos of the completed product, a list of the components, the cost of the ingredients, the total cost of the bunch and the time taken to create each one. The bunch records were further categorised by month, by the person who created it and its popularity with customers.

Making it Easy

A year later, Amanda can send her purchaser to the day’s markets with simple instructions relevant to the season and state of the markets. All the purchaser has to do is pull out a tablet with the records of previous bunches from the same season and compare what’s in stock at the right price that day. The result? Making precisely the right flower purchases for that day’s production.

What was previously a hit and miss affair has become one of the simplest aspects of Amanda’s business.

That’s because even something as creative and dependent on external factors as flowers can benefit from systemisation. Many times, you might have to imagine your own systemised solution to a problem. However, getting into the habit of looking for opportunities to systemise your business is what will turn an ordinary business into a Highly Chilled one.

Amanda’s is a Highly Chilled business and Amanda is a Highly Chilled small business owner.

Your Homework (The Chilled Kind)

Here’s a short exercise you could carry out to start the process of making this habit your own.

Practice Highly Chilled habit #7:

Your business consists of many, many processes (from answering the telephone and sending invoices to building the products and delivering the services you sell). Start by creating a list with as many repeating processes as you can think of in your business. Now, go and pick the low hanging fruit first.

Ask yourself: What’s the easiest process to create a simple system for? What’s the next low hanging fruit?

Don’t panic. You don’t need to tick them all off at once. Just do this exercise once a week or even once a month – but do get started this week! And remember, building a Highly Chilled business isn’t rocket science. All it takes is baby steps, time and consistency. Keep at it and you’ll be surprised by how different your business and life will look.

Next, you might like to carry out my business owners self assessment survey, I’m sure it will give you some food for thought

More on this topic:

1001 Business Bedtime Stories… Rebecca Builds a System

The system works! Rebecca gets systemised… Truth 8

Read on to find out how Rebecca learnt that systemisation = less effort + more profit.

Once upon a time… a long, long time ago in a country not unlike Australia… Rebecca ran a consulting business.

She had a team of six consultants and two administrative assistants.

While all her stafff contributed in their own ways, Rebecca was finding there was no consistency across their output. Some jobs would be completed with great results while others were done haphazardly with outcomes all over the place.

Rebecca was spending hours fixing the other consultants’ work and making sure the admin assistants were on track. She was becoming increasingly worried about the quality of the business’s output and concerned her clients might get fed up and leave her.

Rebecca felt she could never relax because she needed to check up on everyone and everything all the time.

She wondered, “How can I make sure everyone in the team is producing consistently good work?”

Rebecca was going nuts.

The Bootcamp

Working in The Bootcamp with me, Rebecca came to understand that she needed an overarching system so that everyone knew what they needed to do.

The biggest lesson Rebecca learnt was that once you put a system in place you don’t have to think about it again (well, not immediately at least!). Good systems free you up to get on with the real work of your business.

In the Bootcamp Rebecca and I talked about the principle of, “Do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.” She started tracking different jobs and looking at what was and what wasn’t working, and found that:

Result 1: Successful jobs always had more time in the briefing stages than jobs that were rushed in.

Result 2: Successful jobs always had a simple document register attached to the filing system for the project.

Result 3: Successful jobs had one person who was responsible for keeping the documents register up-to-date and the filing system organised.

From these findings, Rebecca was able to put in place the following actions:

Action 1: She created a series of minimum benchmarks for the briefing stage of any project, no matter how rushed the client was.

Action 2: She assigned one person as the responsible officer for the filing system and document register for each job.

Action 3: She implemented a monthly ‘systems meeting’ where she would go through each job with the responsible people and check on the briefing stages, the filing systems and the document registers.

The difference in just a few months was remarkable. Peace and calm reigned in Rebecca’s office because everyone knew what they should be doing, how they should be doing it and when they needed to have it done by. Happily Rebecca can now take a day off here and there to focus on her favourite hobby… photography.

Systemisation really does mean less effort and more profit.

Ask yourself… Where will you find the courage to build a remarkable business?