I’m too busy. Clients come first. It’s too tedious. I’m intuitively creative—I don’t have a process.
What’s your excuse for not writing down your business systems?
(C’mon, everyone has them).
But what if I told you that written procedures could make you wealthy? Does that make them more enticing?
1. Returning clients. Clients love consistency. That’s a key lesson I learned from Michael Gerber’s The E-Myth Revisited (a classic! Must-read!). Systems = consistency = returning clients = recurring revenue. Recurring revenue = wealth.
2. Clients pay faster. The longer you wait to invoice, the less likely clients pay. Having a system for sending invoices timely, regularly, and with greater clarity means money in your pocket faster. Which = wealth. COROLLARY: A documented system for following-up on late invoices takes the personal element out of it. You’re not trying to be a hard-ass. It’s simply “company policy.”
3. Protection against defection. My client, Jack, ran a consulting firm. He turned over client services follow-up to Sandra, who did it really well. When she left abruptly for another job across the country, Jack was left with a gaping hole in his business. Avoiding a huge expenditure of time and money to fill the void and start again = wealth.
4. You won’t need psychic employees. I’ve had clients moan they can’t find good help … but don’t take the time to train them properly. Team members aren’t mind-readers. Written workflow processes give them a roadmap for how you like things done. Retaining good talent and avoiding turnover? Major money savings = wealth.
5. You can get away guilt-free. You didn’t become an entrepreneur to be a slave to your business. But if everything blows up like a seventh-grade volcano experiment whenever you turn your back You. Are. Stuck. Documenting your systems ensures the business can run like a well-oiled machine. Time off = wealth.
6. You can cash out big. When buyers look at a business, they want to see recurring revenue, a strong management team, and solid systems. Policies and procedures are the “winning playbook” that can double the value of your business and let you fetch a higher asking price. That’s money in your pocket. Without an extended earn-out. Ka-CHING! = wealth.
7. No mess for your heirs/family. Let’s face it. You’re gonna die. (At some point. Hopefully, not soon). When Dave had a heart attack at his desk, vendors, employees, clients all freaked out. Without a manual or knowing passwords, the employees and his grief-stricken daughter couldn’t run the business. So Dave’s $5M construction company was reduced to -0-. Preventing disaster = wealth.
8. You find stuff faster. The average employee spends 1.5 hours a day looking for stuff. That’s six weeks a year. An operations manual can document procedures and file management. And anything else that regularly costs you time and money. Ability to focus on high-value tasks = wealth.
9. Your business can grow. The only way to grow your company is to reduce its reliance on you. In the early stages of her graphic design firm, my client Michaela complained, “If I grow more, I have to do more!” Wrong. To grow more, you find other people—or technology—to do the heavy lifting. Not. You. A growing business = wealth. A stalled business does not.
10. You reduce risk. Without standards, things fall through the cracks—often, important legal and compliance issues like taxes. Contract obligations. Employee discipline. Standards support a fairer work environment … which reduces claims of discrimination and favoritism. Avoiding sub-par clients and staff that otherwise suck the life-blood (and cash) out of your company = wealth.
BONUS: You can create valuable intellectual property. Systems, codification, and documentation are the foundation of IP you can sell to others. A springboard to greater things, like passive income or recurring revenue that gives you leverage well beyond time-for-dollars. Useful IP = wealth.
So there you have it. Ten ways written business systems makes you wealthy.
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