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articles > Systems, Systems, Systems
Article > Systems, Systems, Systems


Article kindly supplied by John Paul
Suite 1, Easington Business Centre,
Seaside Lane, Easington, Durham, SR8 3LJ



Pretty much everyone who knows me, know I’m a huge fan of systemising businesses. Every business im involved in, whether it is property management, construction or investment is systemised as much as possible. Why?

The answer is simple, to make it run easier for all concerned. Now that does not mean we don’t have problems and make mistakes, of course we do we are all human, but what systemising a business does it dramatically cut down on most of the more common and simple mistakes, and it does work.

Why systemise
As mentioned it makes running a business far simpler, especially if you employ staff. It allows you to differentiate who does what and when, which as everyone who has employed staff knows is a major problem.

You always get a cross over of responsibilities where staff are concerned and if they don’t have clear defined roles and responsibilities then I guarantee you will here this excuse “ I thought he / she was going to do it”. It’s an age old classic, if you have two people supposed to do the same task; it’s a great possibility that no one will do it.

By systemising you business and informing the staff of their roles, they have no excuse not to carry out certain tasks, you are essentially writing an idiots guide to your business and how it works.

Systemising is more that just writing a manual though. Its much more of a powerful tool than that:-

It makes you fully aware of how YOUR business works and if things need to be improved.
When we first systemised Castledene it highlighted the amount of time it took to get quotes back for building work, far too long. What we then did is set a limit of how long it took, thus improving the response time. I also got a good over view of every aspect of the business. When you employ staff, you can’t know everything about everything but it does allow you to sit back and see if any of the processes are lacking or need to be improved, which we did do.

Increases productivity.
This is an obvious one, but sometimes overlooked. Systemising your business will definitely reduce the mistakes made by staff to the point where you will not know how you operated without it. We saw immediate results when we gave each person defined roles, we managed to not only increase the amount of properties a portfolio manager could manage, but they also were more effective and efficient in looking after their portfolios.


Stops Bull Sh*£
This is a favourite of mine. If your manual is well written, you will be able to see through pretty much any excuse or reason as to why a task was not completed. We originally trained all the staff in the procedures and carry out continual training when any amendments occur, they then sign to say they understand and will carry out the procedures. People will always make mistakes, and if they say they don’t their lying or not trying. However I would rather have a staff member make an honest mistake and hold their hands up than try and lie their way out of it, which does happen. By having an operations manual and training the staff, there is no excuse, other than an honest mistake.



What businesses can be systemised?
Any business can be improved by systemisation; we have done it on a property management, construction and a property sourcing company so it can be done. Obviously it will vary from business to business, but essentially what you are doing is writing the best practice way of operation and running your business, so as long as you have a business it can be systemised and improved.

When should I systemise
From day one! Bit blunt I know, but after being involved in business in the past that have not been systemised compared to now, I can honestly say that systemising the my business’s is one of the most important things I have ever done and is a major reason, apart from my staff, as to why we have been successful to date.

It makes life so much easier straight away, and as mentioned before, if productivity increases then you will have to be systemised to cope with the increased work load. It’s like a viscous circle.

You’re never too small to start, when I had my portfolio and only I was looking after it, I was running around trying to collect rent, carry out repairs, deal with councils and loads of other stuff that seemed to get on top of me, I also had another 2 jobs to contend with. I then decided to try and simplify things; I hadn’t read the E-myth yet, so didn’t know that I was unofficially systemising the business. I made sure I only did viewings on certain days, went to visit the council every other day, graded the repairs into urgent and non urgent and by tweaking a few things, made life a lot easier.

It wasn’t until I read the E-Myth by Michael Gerber that I had the light bulb moment. Things just clicked and I wrote the manual in a couple of months. At that time, Castledene was still quite small, I think we managed around 200 properties, the construction company only had a few extensions and investment side had only sold 20 odd houses. I still feel to this day that I should have done it earlier but was glad when I eventually got round to it.

It’s too complicated
You should always try and improve your business from the start, always evolving and changing for the better. It doesn’t have to be a complicated manual with charts and diagrams, just a few pages of do’s and don’ts that you must follow religiously to get the best effect for your business. Once your business grows you can increase the complexity of the manual, and if you employ staff its imperative that roles are clearly defined and your staff know implicitly what is expected of them. No stone should be left unturned when you employ staff. The more information you have the less chance there is of staff making mistakes or blaming each other.

If any one has had a franchise before they will know all about systemising a business and the operations manual. It’s the bible and the life blood of running the business. It can be made as complicated or simple as you want. The purpose of it is too making life easier for you.

Is it worth the hassle?
Let me put it this way, is it worth the hassle NOT to systemise your business. I can only speak from personal experience when I say it’s definitely worth it. The way we have systemised Castledene, I don’t get involved in the day to day running of the offices, I have employed managers for that. This allows me to get involved in other parts of the business such as acquisitions, we have now bought a third letting agent and are in talks with another 2, something which I certainly couldn’t have done if I was working in the business rather than on it. I do like to keep an eye on what is going on and have regular meeting with the managers but because we are systemised and employ great staff I don’t have to worry about anything, but they do know I’m only on the end of a phone if needed.


As you have probably guessed by now I’m a big fan of systemising business’s but can honestly say it has improved our business no end and highly recommend it. You’re never too small and never too late to start, and once you take the plunge I guarantee you will wonder how you ever ran your business with out it


John Paul


“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing” Walt Disney


The LHA Expert



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