Can you identify with this situation?

You are very good at what you do.  You are a great tradesman and take pride in completing jobs to a high degree of quality.  You enjoy being on the tools.  This is what you enjoy most.  But the other parts of your business also have to be done. Those you enjoy less: admin tasks, bookkeeping and the compliance bits. They seem to take up an increasing amount of your time (including weekends) and you seem to have less and less time for the enjoyable parts. The reason you started the business in the first place!

You start to feel overworked and trapped by your business. You feel like your business wheels are stuck in the sand.

If you can identify with this picture, you’re not alone. Many small business people feel trapped and frustrated by the multitude of things they have to attend to.

So how do you escape this trap?  Through the power of SYSTEMS.

You need to first realize that the business environment has become more complex and is likely to continue to get worse.  Realize also that you can’t work 24 hours a day and through well documented systems you can leverage your time better and shift some of the burden on to others.  Standard operating procedures can help you maintain your quality standards by ensuring tasks are done consistently time after time.  They not only make your life easier, they help to empower less experienced staff by providing them clear and consistent advice on how to perform a new task.  It helps make average people great.

Start by having current staff document what they do and how they do it.  These can be the base for procedure documents, once all the extra fluff is removed and the language made consistent.  Start to work your way through a list of business systems in your company.  It may take months, but that’s okay.  Just make a start where you feel the biggest frustration is and work through the list.

Business systems for review

Here’s a list of some key business systems. At this stage tick the ones you may wish to review and then pick your top 5 priorities:

Financial systemsAccounting systems; Debtor and creditor control; Key performance indicators.
Tax and compliance systemsTax planning; Compliance systems (ACC and OSH records; Risk reduction).
Employment systemsRecruiting and interviewing procedures and templates; Staff payroll records; Holiday and sick leave records.
Production systemsHow goods and services are produced; Production schedules and flow charts; Project management and quality control systems: Supplier and ordering systems.
Management systemsBusiness planning; Responsibilities and chain of command chart; Risk management and insurances.


Strangely enough I love this stuff!  Most of my trade clients hate it, so it’s a match made in heaven.  If the idea of documenting your standard operating procedures makes you think, “god, shoot me now”, then give me a call and lets talk about how I can take that problem off your hands.

Andy Burrows

The Trades Coach