Systematize

Most people work IN their business. However, the secret is to work ON your business so that you don’t have to work in it.

What does “working ON it” mean? Simply developing key systems — systems for everything!
A number of things happen when you systematize processes. First, YOU don’t have to do the process. Second, others less skilled than you can do it. Third, when you systematize, you automatically develop what we call “a way of doing it here.”
That “way of doing it here” not only makes things happen in a totally predictable way, it makes your business worth much more. Why? Because you have a way of doing it here.
Think about this concept by contrasting a local hamburger store with McDonald’s. In which would you rather own shares? Most likely, McDonald’s. Why? Is it because McDonald’s makes better hamburgers? Probably not. You would take their shares because they have a better “way of doing it here.”
It’s a different way of thinking and it depends on the systems of operation. We’ll be talking about the impact of applying those thought processes and those systems to your business.
To do that, were going to draw upon the work of some extraordinary thinkers — among them, Dr. Steven Covey and Michael Gerber. Fortunately, both have committed their thoughts to writing so we can explore and develop them better.
Let’s start with Covey. In his brilliant book called “The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People,” he discusses the theory of going back to “first principles” — to understanding and practicing integrity and ethics. 
One of the most incisive chapters in the book is Chapter 3. It’s entitled, “Begin with the End in Mind.” In other words, whenever you start some process, understand exactly what the end point is before you start.
Think about that in the context of a business. How many of us actually do that? How many of us actually begin with the end in mind?
The difference that kind of thinking makes is absolutely profound.
Let’s take those two different hamburger businesses as an example.
When Ray Kroc founded McDonald’s or, rather, when the two McDonald brothers gave him the rights to it, he had absolutely no intention of working behind a counter serving hamburgers. I’ve heard it said that he never even made one.
Contrast that with the person running a typical hamburger place. They are doing it, doing it, and doing it, every day, day in and day out.
And that’s precisely because they didn’t begin with the end in mind. They set up a business that depended on them doing it, doing it, and doing it. Their only vision was of them ordering the goods to make the hamburgers, doing the stock control, frying the fries, grilling the burgers, buttering the buns, wrapping it all up, taking the money, and then counting it, hoping to hell that they made ends meet at the end of the day.
Ray Kroc began with a different end in mind. He envisioned literally thousands of McDonald’s stores around the world, each doing exactly the same thing in a totally predictable manner.
Take a minute to get inside Ray Kroc’s head. This is how he started thinking or, in other words, how he began with the end in mind. “I’m going to have hamburger stores that do the same thing in a totally predictable manner. What do I have to do in order to make that possible?”
He then developed processes and systems structured around how to hire people, what color the restaurants should be, the way a restaurant should be managed, right down to the way they should heat their buns.
All of this occurred by carefully going over detail after nitty-gritty detail. In doing that, he developed the perfect little money-making machine — something others would pay a high price to get.
Now, contrast that with the way that most people go into business. As Michael Gerber points out in his first book, The E Myth — Why Most Businesses Don’t Work and What To Do About It, it’s a myth to even suggest that most businesses are started by entrepreneurs. Michael puts it this way — most businesses are started by a person suffering from an entrepreneurial seizure.
Think about how true that is. The hairdresser who’s working for a hairdresser gets fed up working for a boss and opens a hairdressing salon and, in doing so, she creates a worse job for herself. 
Where, in the past, she used to go home on a Friday and enjoy the weekend, now she’s doing the books, thinking about the new advertising campaign, paying payroll tax, getting involved with the fact that Sally doesn’t like working with John and vice-versa, worrying about what her prices should be, and worrying about the fact that a new salon just opened across the street.
What was once a 40-hour-a-week job has now turned into an 80-hour-a-week grind.
This is not related only to hairdressers — the butcher opens a butcher shop, the plumber opens a plumbing business, the auto mechanic opens a car repair shop, and so on.
Instead of creating a business that works, we create a business that is us — a business that we can’t walk away from, a business that we have to go to each day, a business that we finally heave a sigh of relief when someone buys it from us at a price nothing like it could have been worth if we had started with the end in mind.
Gerber has a way of saying things about that process. He conjures up phrases that impact you like a bullet because of the way they tell the absolute and direct truth. Here’s what he has to say about the process I’ve just described:
“Most people work IN their business. The secret is NOT to work in it, it’s to work ON it so that you don’t have to work in it.”
We’ll come back to that time and time again. The secret is not to work IN your business, it’s to work
ON it so that you don’t have to work in it.
Imagine your life if you could do that and, if that’s not a vivid enough picture, imagine what your business would be like. Absolute order replacing confusion and bewilderment.
Working ON, not working IN — it’s a major, major key, isn’t it?
But, let’s go a little further and deeper. To do that, consider the true purpose of any business.
Once you get the thought processes of beginning with the end in mind, then the true purpose comes out. The purpose of a business is to create life. Life for whom? Life for you and for the people with whom you interact.
Yet, so often the reality is that a business doesn’t create life, it gradually takes away the life we had. Our business becomes our life.
That’s nothing short of a tragedy. We don’t see our kids and our families. We don’t create life; we let it ebb away.
It really doesn’t have to be that way. There really is another path.
To find it, let’s go back to Steven Covey. Think about this: if we really can begin with the end in mind, then when we apply that to our businesses, it means that the business must have an end point. That is, there must be a point when we can stand back and say, “Now it’s finally done.”
At that point, we can choose to keep it or we can choose to sell it. In fact, suppose we planted this thought in your head to help you begin with the end in mind.
Suppose we said that the purpose of creating a business was to sell it (whether or not you wanted to). When you start to think that way, you start to create different pictures and processes.
When you sell it, you’re handing over the key to a perfect little money-making machine worth many times more, simply because you thought about and developed the systems, you thought about and developed the structure, and you thought about and developed the processes.
You know exactly what the return on investment is. You know exactly what it’s worth and, above all, you know that it’s independent of you. It’s not your life. You’ve developed a business that you’re a part of, yet you’re still apart from it.
To do this, we need to get the systems and the processes right.
We do have the choice — to build a business that works rather than a business that consumes our life.
Creating systems is part of taking that choice.