For many entrepreneurs, the ultimate achievement would be owning a business which makes stacks of money without you needing to spend hours every week earning it yourself.
So why do 99% of CEOs never take steps towards systemising their company?
I spend a lot of my time talking about the importance of making passive income and leveraging your assets, and having other people do the tasks you’d rather avoid and the jobs that don’t bring you in enough cash. You can read about some of my methods and advice in my book Life Leverage, but today I’m going to show you how my business partner and I forced ourselves to successfully systemise our company Progressive Property.
Most CEOs never systemise their companies for a range of reasons.
Some just love working with their company too much.
Others never find a team strong enough to trust with the day-to-day running of their successful business.
And, let’s be honest: others are just too controlling and paranoid to let go, even if their teams are good enough to trust.
However, the benefits of having a truly automated business are enormous. While the idea of having someone else do your job may seem horrifying at first, in the long term you will be protecting your own interests. A fully systemised business means that whatever happens in your own life and whatever happens to the market, you will have well-trained team members ready to ensure that your company continues to run as smoothly as possible. When you employ new staff, a systemised business with a systemised role and an operating manual will mean that your new employee has a step-by-step guide to doing their job the way that you want it to be done.
Systemising a business also creates more opportunities for passive income, meaning greater freedom for you to spend your time doing the things you love and less time on the more menial, less lucrative, less fulfilling tasks.
For those who are hungry to find more routes to passive income, and those brave enough to place their business achievements into someone else’s hands, read on to find out how we at Progressive Property managed it.
Have you achieved a “real business”?
A mentor of mine once told me that until I could leave my business for a month’s holiday without needing any contact, internet connection, and so on, and then come back home to find it in just as good shape or better than when I left, I wouldn’t have a real business.
That offended, that hurt, and that annoyed me a bit. I thought that Progressive Property was doing well. I enjoyed what I was doing there. I was in a leadership role, so of course I couldn’t just abandon the place on a whim! They need me there, don’t they?
Well, yes they did – but that was my fault. The truth was that I could have fallen ill at any point, or something could have disrupted me from working with the business, or I could simply have had a lack of inspiration, and there would have been no one around to cover the roles I was fulfilling at that time.
I was a bit of an octopus really, working in the office, training at events, and at one point delivering 250-odd speeches in a single year. It got to be too much, and I woke up to the fact that my determination to do everything was standing in the way of the business.
It was time for me to let go of some of the reins.
Then the fear began.
Taking the 1st step
You need a reason to get yourself organised and to pass your duties into the capable hands of your staff – and it all starts with booking a holiday. For those who don’t own a business, this might sound like an easy, exciting task, but for some disruptive entrepreneurs, it’s terrifying.
My business partner Mark and I booked a trip to the Cayman Islands, and gave ourselves a full year to prepare. However, never ones to do things by halves, we made sure that all of our most important calendar events fell while we were away.
Since then we have taken on over 100 trainers to teach at our events and about 100 outsourced staff, but at the time, stepping away and letting the “machine” run itself felt like a foreign concept. Entrepreneurs who are passionate about their companies put a lot of themselves into it, and to systemise your successful business you essentially have to make yourself redundant. It’s a bit disorienting at first, but in many ways it’s the only path forwards if you are hungry to do more of what you love and make more passive income in the process.
Preparing for systemisation
When we booked our holiday, we were sourcing 6 or 7 property deals every week. Who was going to take on the responsibility of sourcing further deals? Who would oversee the completions? Who could cope with the mountains of paperwork, and the tough day-to-day decisions that usually fell to Mark or me to make?
We had 52 weeks to decide.
Just like we did, I recommend that you book your holiday to last for somewhere between 2-4 weeks. Depending on the size of your business, you could book it a month, 3 months, or even a full year in advance. Importantly, you should book it somewhere without internet access, or at least make a vow to yourself that you aren’t going to check in on your business and see if things are running as you would like them to.
Next, take a week or so to write a list of everything that will, or even could, happen with regards to your business while you are away.
Everyday stuff, uncommon stuff, rare stuff and emergencies.
List staff members who need direction, as well as accountants, clients, partners, and contacts who would normally get in touch with you directly.
Work out every duty, every responsibility, every decision and every eventuality you face during an average week, and an average month.
Take your time doing this, and then set about leveraging and outsourcing the tasks you can, creating systems and allotting different ports of call to cover each of your daily and weekly responsibilities. Get other team members to sit in on meetings, set up voicemail and automatic email replies suggesting who to contact instead of you. Decide who each duty should be assigned to and make sure that they are aware of what is expected of them.
A week before you leave, let everyone on your contacts list know that you are going to be unreachable for the next few weeks, and then get ready for your first significant step towards a fully systemised business.
Returning from the holiday
If you are at all like me, you might half-expect a fanfare and a round of applause from the office when you return, because everyone had missed you so much and were just so relieved to see you back.
And if your business is anything like mine, you’re going to be seriously disappointed.
The truth is, if you have a strong team working your office, and if you have trained everyone and let them know what you want them to do while you are away, they probably loved the fact that you weren’t there in the office. Without you even realising it, you probably get in the way, stare over their shoulders and micro-manage them. The team may even have done better with you away, and without having to endure the added pressure of a boss so close by.
Achieving more with a successful systemised business
Systemising a business creates repeatable, streamlined processes that help your team to manage the running of your company, your way. Ultimately, systemisation offers peace of mind as well as helping your company to thrive with less requirements for outside
The biggest and best corporations across the world, such as McDonalds have operating manuals that can be passed on to new teams and replicated in new locations. You may not yet have reached the stage where you are looking to build new companies elsewhere, but systemising your successful business is an important stepping stone between spending your time on low-impact tasks, and freeing up your time to streamline your business further or even seek new opportunities elsewhere.
Are you ready to book that holiday yet?
If you would like to learn about getting more done in less time, you can find my book Life Leverage here
Read more about systemising your business in 5 simple steps here
Any questions or comments, let me know below, or tag me into a conversation on Facebook!