Clockwork: Design Your Business to Run Itself

Mike Michalowicz is one of my favorite business authors because he provides practical ideas that are easy to understand and implement to help a small business succeed. “Clockwork: Design Your Business to Run Itself”   offers workable strategies to anyone looking to create a self-sustaining business model.

The book is broken down into three phases: 1) Align, 2) Integrate and 3) Accelerate.  Each phase shares numerous concepts and examples for each of these phases. The overall focus of the book is to exp

lain that a business owner does not need to be held hostage by his or her business but needs to create systems and a culture that will create a profitable business without their 24/7 involvement.  He even dedicates a chapter to the concept of taking a four-week vacation away from your business.

Check out these other key concepts from the book.

Avoid the productivity trap.
Don’t take steps to free up your schedule to do more work “in” your business. The real solution here isn’t to work more, you have heard it before—you need to work smarter. You need to implement systems that will enable you to work less, this will allow you to focus on the big picture of growing your business. If you are stuck “in” your business, it will hold you back.

Design the work but don’t do the work.
When you started your business, you were in the “doing mode”, meaning you were doing everything on your own. As the business grew you started to move into the “designing mode”. When you’re stuck doing, you don’t have time for designing. In designing mode, you implement the ideas and innovations that’ll let your business grow. The work you do as a designer has a far greater payoff than the work you accomplish in doing mode.

Understand the Queen Bee Role in your business.
Every business has one critical task that drives growth this is the Queen Bee Role. This is not a person but a function or a set of activities that are central to your success to keep clients and customers happy and keep them coming back. Once you’ve identified the Queen Bee Role, everyone must work to support it. All roles in your business are important but the Queen Bee Role is your top priority.

Standard Operating Procedures are key

He talks about AC/DC.  Not the band but the ACDC Model of gaining a valuable insight into the operation of your business.  Putting all your business functions into four categories: 1) Attract, 2) Convert, 3) Deliver and 4) Collect. When you get systems in place for these four categories, you will be ready to rock.

Find your niche and maximize revenue
The quickest path to success is to determine your niche, then outperform your competitors by serving that niche obsessively. Look at your existing client list and find the ones that spend the most on your products or services. They are the ones you value the most BUT they’re also the clients that value you the most. Identify their congregation points and become part of their network to better understand their needs.

Metrics Matter
We have all heard it, “what gets measured—gets done”. Establishing metrics, in other words, finding concrete ways to track your progress – can be surprisingly simple.  Use the ACDC categories and identify the key functions of each and determine how to measure and track it with one key number.

To wrap up:  “Clockwork: Design Your Business to Run Itself” is an engaging and often humorous  guide to building and running a self-sustaining business. It has a ton of innovative ideas with its actionable steps.  Don’t just keep it on your bookshelf, use it to grow you business and increase profits.

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