Most small businesses stay small because the owner does everything. Simple maths means 24 hours x 1 = not very big.  24 x 10 = much bigger.  So if you do all the estimates and present the quotes; sign all the contracts, subcontracts, and change orders; make the big site decisions; purchase all materials and equipment; organize subcontracts; go to all the job meetings; and make every staff decision, do most of the admin, you will either stay small, go crazy, or both.

To go from 24 x 1 to 24 x 10 can either be done by cloning yourself and employing a lot more people, or levering your time through better systems, and then employing a few more people.  I recommend developing systems first, then looking to hire.  A systemized business produces consistent performance and the same results every time. How much money are you losing relying on your people to do their best and not following company operational standards? The results of owning a systemized business include:

– Quality workmanship

– On-budget

– Safe projects

– Repeat customers

– Always make a profit

All these, with or without you being everywhere all the time!

Good systems are simple!

Excellent companies have simple systems. Outline each system on one piece of paper, written or drawn detailing a picture of the end result desired to meet your company, customer, or project specification. The best systems are team designed by the people who actually do the work and know how to do it best. Then ask someone NOT involved in that exact task to check the documented system and see if it is clear and no vital steps have been left out.  By doing this you should have a system that a less experienced person can follow, but still produce the consistent quality that a more experienced person does.

Systems should be documented for ALL parts of the business, not just the core operation.  Start with a some simple processes to “get the feel” of writing a clear documented procedure and then expand out to the more complex task.  It may take months, or even years, to fully document all the systems in a business, but the end result will be a a more valuable business, running better, more profitably and without you having to be there 24/7.

Need some help to start your systems manual?  I love developing systems and documenting them!  Must be my brain type, so if you want some help go to and make contact with me through the contact page.

Andy Burrows

The Trades Coach