February 1/8; Volume 30/Number 16
By Jim Augustus Armstrong
(Third of three parts)
In part one of this series, I revealed how Craig Bendele, a dealer from Florida, increased his revenue 50% each year for the past two years while simultaneously cutting his work hours. In part two, I covered some of the strategies he used to achieve this impressive growth in revenue. Now I’m going to discuss how he was able to cut his work hours.
If you walk into any McDonald’s, the odds are you won’t see the owner in the back flipping burgers, taking orders, wiping down tables, bookkeeping or performing any of the other day-to-day tasks of running a burger joint. In fact, you probably will never see him. He is too busy either pursuing other business opportunities like opening more McDonald’s franchises or jetting around on his ski boat. However, if you walk into the average flooring dealership there is an excellent chance the owner will be working the showroom, managing the warehouse, handling employee issues and generally running in 27 different directions with his hair on fire. And it is likely he is doing this 50 to 60 hours per week, including weekends.
So what is the difference between the McDonald’s owner and the average dealer? Furthermore, what is the difference between a dealer who owns 10 stores (and can’t possibly spend 60-plus hours per week in each location) and the single-location dealer who can’t figure out how to stop working 60-plus hours per week? Systems.
McDonald’s and the 10-store dealership are system dependent, which means the business runs on systems even when the owner isn’t around. By contrast, the typical mom-and-pop dealership is owner dependent; if the owner doesn’t show up every day to babysit, things start falling apart.
Bendele was able to cut his work hours because he transformed his business from owner dependent to system dependent. Following are the basic steps dealers should take when making this transformation.
First, make a list of all the day-to-day tasks you are personally handling. Next, create written, step-by-step instructions on how these tasks should be performed. If it’s not written down it’s not a system, so make sure you write down the steps. Then delegate these tasks to different team members, training them on how to perform each task and holding them accountable.
You should have a written sales process with scripts and procedures. This should include how the prospect is greeted, how she is led into the sales process, how the in-home measure is scheduled and conducted, and so forth until the sale is closed. I recommend weekly sales training to ensure each team member is following the steps.
All the steps after the sale is closed should also be outlined with detailed instructions and procedures for each step.
Working on vs. in your business
Once your systems are in place and tasks are delegated to team members, your job shifts from doing tasks yourself to managing and refining the system. If a system breaks down, resist the urge to jump back in and do it yourself. Instead, fix the system. This is called working “on” rather than “in” your business. Getting there is a process that can be done a little at a time over a period of months.