Marketing Mastery: How to make more while working less

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April 11/18, 2016; Volume 30, Number 21

By Jim Augustus Armstrong

(Third of three parts)

In the third and final installment of this series I’m going to continue to discuss how Craig, a dealer from Florida, was able to cut his work hours significantly.

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 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. So what is the difference between the McDonald’s owner and the average dealer? Systems.

McDonald’s and the 10-store dealership are system-dependent, which means the business runs on established processes 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, things start falling apart.


System-dependent dealership

Craig was able to cut his work hours because he transformed his business from owner-dependent to system-dependent. Following are the basic steps you can take when making this change.

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, through how the sale is closed. I recommend weekly sales training to ensure each team member is following the steps. This is a good time to troubleshoot and refine your process.

All the steps after the sale is closed should also be outlined with detailed instructions and procedures for each process including ordering the product, tracking the shipment and delivery, scheduling the installation and following up with the customer.


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 “working in” your business. Getting there is a process that can be done incrementally over a period of months.

Some of you might be thinking, “Wow, Jim, that seems like a lot of work.” It is. But what’s more work—implementing systems or spending your entire career working 50 to 60 hours a week?

Free book! For a complimentary copy of Jim’s new book, “How Floor Dealers Can Beat the Boxes and Escape the Cheap-Price Rat-Race of Doom Forever,” visit

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