How to systemize your business so everything will run smoothly, even when you’re out of the office

This guide is based on Mixergy’s interview with Sam Carpenter.

After fifteen years of working 100 hours a week on a failing business, Sam Carpenter acted on an epiphany that helped him earn 20 times more while working just 2 hours a week. He did it by systematizing his business, so we’ve invited him to teach you how to do the same with yours.

Sam is the CEO of Centratel, which provides commercial telephone answering services to firms all across the United States.

Here are the actionable highlights from the course.

1. Don’t do it yourself so the system won’t rely on you

Sam used to do everything in his company before he stepped back, looked at things from an “outside” perspective, and systemized it so that other people could do the tasks instead.

Take Action:
Reflect on what’s happening in your company, create outlines for your systems, then remove yourself from the middle of it.


2. Create a Strategic Objective so everyone is on the same page

Sam created a Strategic Objective where Centratel’s goal was to be the “highest quality telephone answering service in the United States” while “relentlessly working the systems of the business to perfection.”

Take Action:
Start by listing down your company’s specific goals, strengths, and strategies in a single-page document.


3. Create General Operating Procedures so staff will make the right decisions

Sam established 30 principles for Centratel including “Do it now,” which discourages his employees from procrastinating.

Take Action:
Expand upon your Strategic Objective by drafting a set of principles that are tried-and-true, sensible, and simple to understand and remember.


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4. Create Working Procedures so you won’t have to do tasks yourself

Sam devised the “Deposit Procedure,” which contained directions on how client payments were to be processed.

Take Action:
To do this, analyze your system, devise an improvement plan, create a Working Procedure prototype, test and tweak it, then have your employees follow it.


5. Tweak your systems to get a highly efficient set of procedures

Sam’s “Deposit Procedure” initially contained 53 steps that were cut down to 32 after he and his staff continuously tweaked and updated it.

Take Action:
In the process of creating a Working Procedure, discuss possible changes with your coworkers and document improvements that can be made.


6. Keep systems simple to make it faster to train new employees

Sam makes the procedures in his system really simple so that anyone with an average IQ can get the job done.

Take Action:
Remove any technical jargon or complicated terms and replacing them with simpler, easier to understand words.


7. Stop multitasking so you can do a better job

Sam gives his full attention to whatever he’s doing and finishes it first before working on anything else or talking to an employee who steps into his office.

Take Action:
Set aside all other tasks and just focus on doing one thing at a time.


8. Stop systemizing a process at 98% done so you won’t waste time

Sam gave an example of how one of his employees wasted a great deal of time trying to perfect a marketing plan when it would have been more efficient to stop at 98%.

Take Action:
When you recognize that your system is almost perfect (or figuratively 98%), stop tweaking and move on to other things.


Want to make sure you get results?

Written by Hazel Chua, based on production notes by Jeremy Weisz

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