Mistake 1, Part 4: Trying to do Everything Yourself (or at least too much)?

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Each business owner has their own style for implementing new initiatives, but there can be no better opportunity for a team effort than in identifying all the elements of the business. Once you have decided to go for your own systems, involve all personnel in this discussion and start with the business goals, breaking these down into a series of procedures and tasks, i.e.:

  • Set up a systems ‘office’. This can certainly be a virtual office to save costs, but there is also need for a central office or location.
  • List (or set) strategic goals.
  • Identify tasks necessary to achieve those goals.
  • Develop effective procedures for completing those tasks; that is, write the procedures manual that can be replicated from the prototype.
  • Build confidence; it’s important to get a systems design completed early to create momentum and confidence among management, staff and external stakeholders. Get some runs on the board from day one!
  • Identify transitional systems. More good luck than good management would get everything to go the systems way simultaneously across the organisation. There will usually need to be a staged transition to allow for slower segments to be implemented and for re-training to occur where necessary.
  • Create the desired turnkey environment. What worked in your pre-turnkey era may no longer work; there may be shifts, not only in job descriptions, but also for working hours, flexitime, meeting times, etc.
  • Explain this new strategy. All key employees and stakeholders need to be told what is happening and when, especially if they will be affected as above.

This process is about both simplification – finding a better way of doing things – but also creating new roles. This may require a training effort. The ultimate goal of imposing structure and instituting systems and procedures is, of course, predictability. A system is any method or procedure that simplifies or automates part of the business, making it easier for ordinary people to operate it. As one business owner said, “I’ve set systems in place – the policies and procedures – documented down to every task so that staff know exactly what they are to do and how they are to do it, and how they are accountable for doing it well.” She went one step further to ensure the business invested in training, because some tasks would be totally new tasks. “Then we train, and train them all over again.” Continued in Part 4. An extract from the book “The 7 Biggest Costly Mistakes Business Owners Make And How to Survive & Thrive” by Richard C. Cooper (c) 2011.

Mistake 1, Part 3: Trying to do Everything Yourself (or at least too much)?

@richardcooperCH the blog

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How do you build a business that works without you?

Every business has its own unique characteristics, but there is always a flow of work that makes up the overall concept.  Your task as the owner is to identify and build your own systems, detailed in a ‘procedures/tasks manual’ (sometimes called an ‘operations manual’). Every segment of your business must have definite procedures that make up the workflow. These procedures are totally consistent with your strategic goals in the business.

Just being armed with a business plan or a set of strategic goals does not mean that running your business will be easy. Work must be done to get the systems, procedures, and organisational structure right. Ray Kroc sweated over this for a considerable time before he was confident that a franchise operator could come in, switch on the register and lights and stovetop, and deliver the same high-quality hamburger…

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Mistake 1, Part 2: Trying to do Everything Yourself (or at least too much)?

@richardcooperCH the blog

The turnkey solution

When you buy a new car, you don’t expect to have to open the bonnet and fiddle around with the bits under the hood. You should be able to just turn the key and start driving. That’s what ‘turnkey’ means. In business, it’s a system so perfectly crafted that it requires no debugging or fiddling with, or any sense that things won’t work from the outset; just turn the key, and start making money.

If your business is starting to feel more like a rut than a business, it is time to take a turnkey approach – that is, any method or procedure that simplifies or automates part of the business, making it easier for ordinary people to operate.

This is the essence of what author Michael Gerber calls the “prototype”. Gerber is an entrepreneur guru and author of ‘The E-Myth’. He often talks about how 80%…

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Simple is Difficult for Entrepreneurs

Not doing the basics well is a problem that I see every day for startups. Often a case of being more “keen” than “prepared”. If the inputs, people and processes aren’t right or ready then the outputs aren’t going to be.

David Cummings on Startups

Many startups talk about keeping things simple, almost like a badge of honor. When trying to solve a problem, present a message, or interacting with a user, complexity is the natural response. Humans, especially engineers, enjoy providing comprehensive solutions that meet the needs of as many people as possible. Or do they? On average, making something simple and good is much harder than making something merely good.

Here are several areas where I’ve seen startups have difficulty with simple but good:

  • Elevator Pitch – More often than not, elevator pitches are too complicated and don’t leave the recipient with a decent understanding of the idea (see Offline Analogy to Describe a Startup)
  • Messaging – Quick, go to five startup sites and read their homepage or most recent press release. How clear is the message? How much jargon and corporate-speak is used? Overwhelmingly, startups struggle with clear messaging.
  • Metrics – Typically…

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The three critical factors wearable devices need to succeed

Good read. At this point in time this leaves me thinking wait and see what they all produce in the future – BUYING DECISION still = WAIT.

Gigaom

At least 10 new wearable devices were introduced at CES in January, from makers such as Sony, Pebble, Meta, LG, Garmin, Razer and more. Yet despite the enthusiasm in the market, the dirty secret of wearables remains: almost all of the current generation of products fail to drive long-term, sustained engagement and behavior change.

Endeavour Partners’ research recently found that while one in 10 US consumers over the age of 18 now owns a modern activity tracker, one-third of US consumers who have owned a wearable product stopped using it within six months, and more than half of US consumers who owned an activity tracker no longer use it. Consumers are buying them and trying them, but rarely end up relying on them.

Key challenge of wearables: Long-term engagement and behavior change

Sustained engagement is the key challenge for companies developing wearable devices or complementary services. A surprising percentage of…

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Mistake 1, Part 3: Trying to do Everything Yourself (or at least too much)?

Image

How do you build a business that works without you?

Every business has its own unique characteristics, but there is always a flow of work that makes up the overall concept.  Your task as the owner is to identify and build your own systems, detailed in a ‘procedures/tasks manual’ (sometimes called an ‘operations manual’). Every segment of your business must have definite procedures that make up the workflow. These procedures are totally consistent with your strategic goals in the business.

Just being armed with a business plan or a set of strategic goals does not mean that running your business will be easy. Work must be done to get the systems, procedures, and organisational structure right. Ray Kroc sweated over this for a considerable time before he was confident that a franchise operator could come in, switch on the register and lights and stovetop, and deliver the same high-quality hamburger, time and time again. Every detail of the business must be handled, examined, improved and documented, and improved upon again.

Up until now, whether making a sale, negotiating with a supplier, or keeping track of expenses, it has been you, as the business operator, just getting the job done.  This is fine, if the business is just you. But if you are ready to grow into developing your ‘systems and procedures’, then a change is needed.

This exercise requires all key people to be considered. Each person in the business must ask, ‘what would best service our customers here? How could I streamline or adapt the practices, in order to give the customer what they want most easily, while at the same time maximizing profits?’

To kick off this process, ask yourself: do you have the time, the skills and the capacity to execute these activities to develop your “perfect” business model?  If not, you could plug into an existing system – which is, of course, already the domain of franchises, but also exist in many network-marketing businesses. From The 7 Biggest “Costly” Mistakes Business Owners Make (And How to Survive & Thrive) by Richard Cooper – Continued in Part 4………

Mistake 1, Part 2: Trying to do Everything Yourself (or at least too much)?

The turnkey solution

When you buy a new car, you don’t expect to have to open the bonnet and fiddle around with the bits under the hood. You should be able to just turn the key and start driving. That’s what ‘turnkey’ means. In business, it’s a system so perfectly crafted that it requires no debugging or fiddling with, or any sense that things won’t work from the outset; just turn the key, and start making money.

If your business is starting to feel more like a rut than a business, it is time to take a turnkey approach – that is, any method or procedure that simplifies or automates part of the business, making it easier for ordinary people to operate.

This is the essence of what author Michael Gerber calls the “prototype”. Gerber is an entrepreneur guru and author of ‘The E-Myth’. He often talks about how 80% of businesses fail in the first five years.  Most people become sick of working for their idiot bosses, as they call them, so they decide to start their own business, and end up becoming the idiot boss. Instead of working five days per week for a guaranteed pay cheque; they work six to seven days per week, often for no cheque at all. You may be able to relate to these sad statistics.

In his book, Gerber walks you through the steps of a business life cycle – from entrepreneurial infancy through adolescent growing pains, to the mature entrepreneurial perspective and guiding light of all businesses that succeed –showing how to apply the lessons of franchising to any business at any level. Most importantly, Gerber draws the vital, often overlooked, distinction between working ON your business and working IN your business. This is also core to our work in this book, which is ultimately about freedom, not servitude to business!

A true business is a profitable enterprise that will work ideally without you. Most people do not really have a business; they just have another job that creates a lot more stress. The idea of a real business, as Robert Kiyosaki describes in the ‘Cash flow Quadrant’ is becoming the owner of an organisation or business that will work without you having to be there. In other words, if you wanted to go away for six months, you could; it would still bring in a passive income. Most people do not know how to set up a business like that.

Just as McDonald’s stores have been replicated tens of thousands of times all around the world, any business can be run on a turnkey basis, if it has the right systems and procedures in place.

This ‘systems’ approach allows a small business owner the means to integrate his activities via a set of systems and procedures. For a manager, this approach provides the order and predictability that is so important to the running of his or her business. For a proficient technical specialist or business owner-operator, it allows you to have the systems and procedures attended to by other people, so you can be free to do the ‘technical’ or the strategic work that you love. From The 7 Biggest “Costly” Mistakes Business Owners Make (And How to Survive & Thrive) by Richard Cooper – Continued in Part 3………

Cloud Accounting Company Xero Adds A New Chairman, Director, And CEO Of North America

TechCrunch

New Zealand-based cloud accounting software company Xero is looking to step up its game in the U.S., and to do so it’s boosting its board and senior management ranks. That includes adding former Microsoft and GM CFO Chris Liddell as non-executive chairman of the board, bringing on HP exec Bill Veghte as director, and hiring former PayPal exec Peter Karpas as its CEO of North American operations.

Let’s start with Liddell, who has led the financial operations of a couple of major heavy hitters. In 2010, as Vice Chairman and CFO of GM, Liddell led the company through a $23 billion, and had previously served as SVP and CFO of Microsoft from 2005 through 2009. He replaces Sam Knowles, who has resigned as Chairman today.

Then there’s Veghte. Based in San Francisco, he runs HP’s Enterprise Group as Executive Vice President and General Manager. Prior to that, he was at…

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Whose Customer Is it, Anyway? 3 Ways to Balance Individual and Organizational Roles

Very interesting, in larger professional services firms managing the balance between personal ownership and the firms ownership is often challenging. Without a significant personal relationship customers or clients may not get the attention that they deserve on the other hand if they are too dependant on a single relationship they often don’t get access to other professionals skills. This is a good article to help with some internal conversations, internal conversations that must always focus back on the customers.

Blanchard LeaderChat

Customer service team restuarantHave you ever had employees in your organization argue over customers?

I was recently working with a client in Toronto where one of the company’s salespeople was emphatic that a certain customer “belonged” to him, not to the organization.

The organization, on the other hand, tried to get the employee to see that while he did serve this particular customer, others in the organization did, too—not only other departments within the company (finance, project managers, shipping, etc) but also other salespeople in other geographic areas .

The bottom line is that a customer can “belong” to both the employee and the organization.  Let me give you a perfect example of this.  While staying at a hotel, I ordered room service for dinner. Upon entering my room and throughout the seven minutes he spent verifying my order and having me sign my bill, the hotel employee made small talk with me…

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