How To Build A Business That Runs Effortlessly

Are you running your business - or is your business running you? Systems are the glue that holds everything together so you don't have to.


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by Daniel in Staff, Systems


“Being my own boss” is the #1 reason Kiwis start a business, according to a recent survey by Xero. But after the excitement of going out on your own fades, many tradies start feeling like a slave to their business and find themselves wondering…

…Am I running my business… or is my business running me?

If you are finding things are getting out of control, you aren’t getting the important stuff done, and everyone is too reliant on you, these are signs of poor systems.


  • Is your business demanding too many hours of you?
  • As you grow, are there more surprises, more problems, and less time to deal with them?
  • Doing more work but your accountant is saying you’re not making much money?
  • Short of cash in the bank and stressed out, scrambling to pay wages and suppliers?
  • Are you wearing all the hats and trying to do everything yourself?
  • Are you getting frustrated, working harder than ever, and does it seem like the harder you work, the more people want of you?
  • Are more jobs going wrong? Do your staff seem to be getting less done, making too many mistakes, and always complaining about something?
  • Do you just seem to be spending most of your day putting out fires, and not getting any of the important stuff done?

If you’ve said yes to all or some of these, systems are what’s lacking.


When you were first starting out, you had control of every job.

Not much went wrong because you were always right there, telling your staff exactly how you wanted the job done.

Customers knew you, and you kept in contact with them throughout the job.

You’d know straight away about anything that was not quite right, and it could be fixed easily.

Now you are busier and have more staff, you can’t be at every job all the time.

But the methods, all the details and processes of the job are still in your head, so your staff become less efficient.

They don’t know what to do next, or even worse, they think they do, and make a mess that you have to go and clean up.

The basic problem is that everything is in your head so everyone relies on you.

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You’ve outgrown your old ways of doing things. This shows your business is growing. But the only way out of this – the next step – is to start creating systems that can run without you being there.

Systems will maintain the high standard of work and quality that your business must have to flourish, but at the same time, the business can continue without you being there (or you being there at least less often).

Systems will even give you the freedom to go on holiday and know the work will still get done.


This principle of systems is why essential services like hospitals can run somewhat efficiently with literally hundreds of different staff in different departments working around the clock.

For example, an operating theatre has a system for everything, and it must work, or bottom line, people will die. There is, amongst other things –

  • A maintenance schedule to make sure all equipment is functioning properly (if a simple thing like a light bulb goes out at a critical time in the operation, it could be disastrous)
  • The anaesthetist has full details of the patients stats and monitors the patients breathing every second of the operation (if he says at any point the operation is unsafe, the operation is put on hold immediately)
  • A whole control board devoted to theatre schedules with every operation, time, patient, and surgeon on display
  • A list of all instruments that must be checked off before and after the operation
  • And vital signs for patients to be closely monitored before they are able to be dispatched back to the ward.

These are just a few of the systems required to run an operating theatre.

Every possible eventuality has been covered and a system created for it.

Nothing is left to chance – otherwise lives are in danger.

As you can appreciate no one person can run a hospital or an operating theatre.

It’s impossible.

There is just too much going on for one person to keep track of.

Yet is this what you are trying to do with your business?

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The systems are what hold everything together.

Without systems, your business will only work as many hours as you can, can only finish as many jobs as you are involved with, will only hold your high standards of workmanship when you physically are there to ensure they are kept.

You restrict both growth and profits and send your stress levels through the roof.


So what systems do you need? Well, this depends on how free you want to be.

You’ll need things like job tracking and checklists for your staff onsite at the end of each job (or at each important step), that they must sign off on, so you know standards were kept. A template for preparing a quote. A process everyone follows for converting the quote to a job. A system for invoicing and collecting the money. And more.

Systems for each part of your business –

  • Profit systems (for your financials and your numbers) to ensure you are consistently making good margins and profits, and always know if you’re winning or losing (so if it’s going south, you can change it before it’s too late). And cashflow systems so you’ll know cash is in your bank account when you need it.
  • Marketing systems to attract you a steady flow of enquiries and quality customers so you don’t have to worry where the work is going to come from.
  • Sales systems which land you plenty of the right kind of work so you can pick and choose the best jobs.
  • Staff systems to attract and keep excellent staff that are both skilled and reliable. Then systems onsite and in the office to make sure the work is done right (which in turn gives you the confidence to delegate).
  • Time systems to help you stay in control and stay focused on the tasks that matter so your company is profitable and improving – and you have more options and more time off for leisure and family.

You need trackable systems for each of part of your business.

This is a game-changer.

Will this take a bit of time? Yes – some.

But there’s the thing, once you good systems in place, you now have the beginnings of a business that will run effortlessly. 

Now every staff member will know how to do the job. It will save you time training them, and you can check at any point if your system has been followed.

Because you now have a system, there is now no excuse if a part is not followed. No more “I forgot” or “I didn’t know”.

Now if a job does go wrong, you can track back and find out where it went wrong and who dropped the ball.

Your staff now shoulder more of the responsibility, rather than it all falling on you.

This is why W. Edwards Deming famously said “94% of problems in business are systems driven and only 6% are people driven”.


  • Check the list at the top of this blog to see if you have signs of poor systems.
  • Systems are essential if you want your business to be less reliant on you.
  • As soon as you put structure in, you’ll be well on the way to being in control again, and building a successful business and lifestyle.

Want to take the guesswork out of building your business from scratch? Get my free e-book here 



Get my new guide and find out the 5 simple steps to make your tradie business grow financially and get more cash in the bank. It's all steak, no popcorn.

Get it now