The fall of 1996 changed my life forever. That September I flew to Los Angeles with barely two nickels to rub together to hear a man named Jay Abraham inspire me for three days straight.
He was my first direct marketing mentor. That seminar was like discovering religion for the first time. For three solid days I was surrounded by fellow believers. Their marketing success stories were like people testifying to being saved.
Now Jay Abraham was the first in a long line of Marketing Preacher’s who’ve inspired me like Dan Kennedy.
During that long marketing weekend, many people were talking about Michael Gerber’s E Myth. This must-read book walks you through how to systematize your business like you’ll be growing a major franchise like McDonald’s.
Gerber talks about building your building on processes not personalities. You want to rely on systems to make things happen, not you hovering over everybody; fingers in every pie. Because at the end of the day, there is only so much you can accomplish.
I have turned countless people onto Gerber. Now Tim Ferris, author of The 4 Hour Work Week, is a tangential version of Gerber focused on streamlining your time wasters. He is a big believer in outsourcing as much as possible to free yourself up.
In the restaurant business four hour work weeks are nearly impossible to have, but Gerber’s and Ferris’s principles can still save you a ton of time and sleepless nights.
At RCS, we have been on a kick to make things as “lean” as possible. My team and I are examining everything we do. Is it still relevant and necessary? Can it be streamlined or eliminated? Is there a technology available to save us time?
Let me give you a few examples: Jillian, our Marketing Director holds marketing meetings with our clients to manage their marketing projects. She has between two and four meetings a day.
If you’ve ever tried to set a meeting with a client, you know it can be a back and forth email ping pong match to find dates and times that work for all parties. I have turned Jillian on to Schedule Once, an online booking service she and her clients can use to easily set meetings; thus eliminating the back and forth. Weekly time savings? At least 2 hours.
Meredith, our Direct of Operations, spends about four hours a month entering and maintaining our company stats (client wins, losses, revenue, etc.). We are going to get our programmer to create a stats interface in our software, so anyone on my team can log in and instantly see past and current stats.
The time Meredith saves will allow her to focus on higher value work.
I just signed up to use Receipt Bank. It is a service that allows me to scan credit card receipts and invoices from my smart phone and automatically upload them to my Quick Books software. I even have my vendors sending PDF versions of their invoices to my special Receipt Bank email account for auto-uploading.
The will save me an hour a week, and the need to save hardcopies of these invoices and receipts.
I could go on and on about all of the streamlining we are doing around here. Ultimately, our clients benefit, because we can focus even more effort on helping them out.
I know running a restaurant and catering business is like waking up every day fighting a fire. But as Michael Gerber talks about in The E Myth, “You must work “ON” your business; not just “IN” it.
I want you to find one hour in the next week and find a coffee shop to work in. Leave your cell phone in the car. Now examine everything you as the owner does day by day.
What do you dislike doing? What takes up a lot of your time? What can be streamlined, systematized or outsourced? What never gets done consistently by your team?
Now tackle one problem. You may have to go back and brainstorm with your team. After you streamline some of your own challenges, get your managers involved in doing the same for their jobs and areas of responsibility.
It can be as simple as creating a checklist or training guide. You may find one of thousands of outsourced services that can save you time. You may even find you can eliminate something no longer needed.
Get The E-Myth and The 4 Hour Work Week. Read it and share it with your team. When you’re ready to save yourself some time and make yourself some more money with your catering profit center, please think of Restaurant Catering Systems. We have lots of great ideas for you.
For now, make plans to block off that hour and get going!