Watching, with much anticipation, California Chrome's run for the final leg of the Triple Crown, I was a little saddened, along with many others, to see this horse and owner come up a bit short. Nevertheless, just the fact that this horse even had the opportunity to make the historic run, is a monumental accomplishment in itself.
Obviously, to get to that point of a competition like that, long hours of strategic and systematic training and planning must have taken place.
With the Triple Crown horse races in mind, I thought to blog this week about the main "legs" that make up a thoroughbred business. Winning or placing in these legs is what separates a business from the rest of the herd of standard-run businesses.
The owners of most thoroughbred businesses have a vision as to where they want to take the business and how that business will look and operate. However, these owners are more than visionary planners—they execute what they plan and are not side-tracked when it comes to entering and competing in the three legs of what I will call a "Triple Crowned Business."
In thoroughbred horse racing, the three legs of the Triple Crown are, of course, The Kentucky Derby, The Preakness and The Belmont Stakes. Apparently, the Belmont Stakes is the toughest, simply because it is the longest race and the horses are tired from running in, and training for, the first two legs of the Triple Crown. Only less than a dozen horses have won all three and received the coveted prize. The stakes are high, and the competition is meant to be tough!So, what are the three legs that make up a "Triple Crowned Business?"1.) THE FIRST LEG
involves completing a detailed Operations Manual of how the business runs, from the starting gate in the morning, until the day or final shift is finished. A thrown-together book of documents and other forms spread all over the office does not qualify as an Operations Manual. A business without a written, detailed operations manual may find they are disqualified to run, much less compete with other thoroughbred businesses in the hunt for a Triple Crown.
Read our book, or visit our Website www.system100.com,
to get FREE information on building a great Operations Manual. It took us many years and thousands of hours to achieve and win the first leg of a "Triple Crowned Business." This leg of the race is laid out in great detail in my book.2.) THE SECOND LEG
of the race is obtaining a STABLE of moral employees with servant hearts; well-trained, and who have been provided the necessary tools to do their jobs without constant supervision from the owner or management, in order to complete their work load in the estimated time, cost effectively. This type of stable, of pedigree employees, doesn't require someone riding their backs and whipping them to make them go the distance.
Many owners hire and attract staff similar to their own personality and habits, which in some cases makes for a less-than-average stable of good employees. Many owners have had the experience of seeing great employees hired, only to see them looking over the fence and then leaving for greener pastures not long after coming aboard.
From my experience, most thoroughbreds don't like living or working in chaos or dirty stalls. They perform much better in clean and peaceful environments.
Again, our book or Website has information on what makes up a pedigree employee, and how to create the right environment to compete effectively.
Our printing business has many great employees; however, we are still training and developing the talents of others in our stable. We have won many races and contended for many more. But, to be perfectly honest, at this writing I can't say we've received a crown for this second leg of the race, even though our employees have been with us for an average of more than ten years. 3.) THE THIRD LEG
of the run is the SALES a business generates. Like the Belmont Stakes, it's also the toughest leg of a winning business, as far as I'm concerned, due to the fact that it's a long race with many unforeseen pitfalls and obstacles.
For most businesses owners, the SALES race is their main concern and it's ALL they focus on, believing if they can win or place high in the SALES race, somehow all of their problems will be solved. That's why so many books and blogs are written about sales, sales management, sales tactics, salespeople, sales solutions—SALES, SALES, SALES.
I went into much detail on sales in our book: "System Busters; How to Stop Them in Your Business."
Although SALES is thought to be the main leg of a business and "the only race that counts," I believe that winning only this leg of the race will NEVER make for a true, thoroughbred business.
Many owners are afraid of the sales race, thinking they might fail when performing in front of strangers and asking for their business. Other owners just don't like the process of selling. Owners must come to grips with the fear of selling, by learning that sales is a process that can be systematized just like any other process they do.
No one likes to hear the word "No," and some owners avoid the experience at all cost, even to the point of watching their business being dismembered right in front of them, due to lack of sales.
The crash in 2009 decimated many businesses that were not in a position to sustain the onslaught of a bad economy—customers using foreign competitors, Internet competition and replacing printed materials with downloadable documents. Just as many of these businesses thought they were in the stretch.
We all felt it, and it has been a painful time for many. In fact, the printing industry has lost over half of its establishments. This not-so-perfect storm knocked our own printing business out of contention for a time, trying to compete in the "sales race."
The good news about the sales leg of the Triple Crown is, if you run well in the other two legs, and/or place in the "Sales race," you will have obtained a valuable thoroughbred business. Who knows, you may still achieve that "triple crown!"
Did I mention? Great systems work!