January 20/27, 2014; Volume 27/Number 19
By Jim Armstrong
(Third of three parts)
About two-thirds of my coaching for flooring retailers focuses on marketing and making more money. The other third focuses on helping dealers engineer their businesses so they can have the time and freedom to enjoy the fruits of their labor. After all, what’s the point of investing the enormous amount of time, energy and money required to build a flooring dealership if you remain enslaved to your business, never able to enjoy life outside of work hours?
In my last column, I gave you an assignment to take a calendar somewhere you could sit undisturbed and build your ideal week. In this installment I’m going to give you some tips on engineering your business so that it funds and facilitates your plan.
Let’s look at a workweek for a fictional dealer named Floyd. Floyd works 10 hours per day, Monday through Saturday. He wants to take Wednesday afternoons and all day Saturday off so he can improve his golf game. In order for this to happen, his business will need to become system-dependent (rather than owner-dependent), at least initially, when he is out. By system-dependent I mean the business continues to operate correctly even when Floyd isn’t there to personally oversee things. There are some basic steps he should take to make that happen.
First, what tasks does Floyd have on Wednesday afternoons and Saturday? Let’s say one is working the sales floor.
Second, he needs to delegate. What personnel does he need to add so he doesn’t have to sell on Wednesday afternoons and Saturdays? Obviously, a salesperson.
Third, does Floyd’s budget allow for the extra expense of hiring a salesperson? If so, he’s golden. If not, then he needs to implement a marketing plan to grow his revenue so he can afford the additional expense. It’s critical that Floyd create a written financial benchmark for when the new hire comes along. For example, if he needs to generate an extra $20,000 in monthly revenue to pay for the new hire, then he should write this down, along with marketing strategies that will get him there, and a deadline to make it happen.
Fourth, he needs to put a written system in place for the tasks he is delegating and train his replacement.
In essence, Floyd must make his business system-dependent rather than owner-dependent when he is away. He can then expand this systemization to other areas of his business until it’s 100% system-dependent.
Floyd is now able to take Wednesday afternoons and Saturdays off to improve his golf game.
There’s more you’ll need to learn about systemizing, but in the limited space here I wanted to give you a picture of the process. I’ve seen this system work many times, and the results are truly life changing. Dealers who once were slaves to their stores are now working less, taking time off for travel, leisure or whatever is important to them. They enjoy life again, the stress is largely gone, and they get to spend more time with their families. Their dealerships continue to run like well-oiled machines while they are away.
And that’s what “ideal business, ideal lifestyle” is all about.