That Hands-in-the-Air Feeling
Listening to a talk radio program recently, I was taken by a young man who was going through a difficult time in his life, and had called the radio host to ask for advice. The young man told the host he felt hopeless, and described his dilemma as, "that hands-in-the-air feeling." Apparently, he had just given up; thrown his hands in the air, and didn't know where to turn.
This guy's problems had nothing to do with business process systems. Or did it? After listening to the rest of his story, it occurred to me that, a little better management of his personal life would likely have avoided some of his issues.
So, what does this have to do with Systemic Success?
I like the term the young man used—"That hands-in-the-air feeling"—as it describes accurately the sentiment of many business owners I hear from across this nation. AND I needed a title for this blog.
You see, this past week I had another encounter with a young business owner who also had that hands-in-the-air feeling about his company. He called me, asking for help and wanting me to come to his place of business to show him and his staff how to implement quality and service control systems, using our software as a tool. I assured him I would be there ASAP, along with one of our trainers, and we would get him on track, using the power of systems.
Even talking to him over the phone I could tell he was close to panic mode. His business is growing (a good problem to have these days), but he felt he could no longer keep up and his personal life was suffering. He said he was working day and night and on weekends, trying to keep up.
"I just don't have any more time to spare in order to implement systems and, quite frankly," he said, "I don't even know where to begin."
Isn't growth good in a business? Doesn't growth give you extra resources to hire more employees to take on some of the workload? My answer is YES and NO.
Before explaining the yes and no, I want to say this young man who said he didn't know where to start was mistaken. He DID know where to start, because he started by admitting he didn't know what to do and he asked for HELP. That's HUGE! Many business owners let pride get in the way of improving their business.
Now, back to the YES and NO answer.
My answer would be YES, that growing a business is good, as long as your growth is managed and well-ordered; having good written systems in place to handle the growth.
How many times have you heard about a business acquiring several other businesses, only to hear a few years later the whole empire crumbled? The WHAT, WHEN, WHERE and HOW becomes blurred.
In many cases, the reason for the collapse is that the systems of the acquired companies are very different from the systems at the mother company; and therefore chaos increases at an exponential rate. Management can't keep up with the mistakes and poor customer service, etc., so the company starts hemorrhaging money, and staff begins to jump ship due to the stresses and strains of the entire mess.
When a franchise like Starbucks opens a new location, they are up and running with great service on day one. Imagine, if every Starbucks operated with different business processes; there would be no way to have the thousands of locations now currently operating worldwide, and with more coming.
So my answer would be NO to adding new business, IF you can't handle the business you already have, without working 12 to 14 hours a day and weekends to keep up! I would tell you to, FIRST use the hours you spend trying to acquire new business and bring your business to order.
When you have detailed written systems in place, it is easy to duplicate the systems as you add staff, vendors and new customers...just like Starbucks, McDonalds, and many other great and successful companies! Then when you have that hands-in-the-air feeling, it might just come with a rousing, “Hallelujah!!”
Did I mention? Great Systems Work!
Philip Beyer, founder/president of Ebiz Products LLC and founder of Beyer Printing Inc. in Nashville Tenn., is a chronic entrepreneur, business systems analyst and consultant. Author of "System Busters: How to Stop Them in Your Business" and recipient of an InterTech Technology Award for the design and development of System100 business process management software. Beyer speaks to business owners across the country on how to bring lean, sustainable order to their businesses. Contact him at (615) 425-2652.