I’m super pumped to tell everybody about this book. I’ve already caused a few people to buy it. And they will earn thousands, if not millions, of dollars because they read SYSTEMology.
It’s the ultimate book about creating, and using!!!, systems in your business.
However, it is not without the…
1. Page 66 – Not for Solopreneurs.
This book is not thick; it’s below 180 pages of pure content (which, by the way, is a PRO for me). However, only in the first third of it, exactly at page 66, I discovered it is not for me.
The first paragraph on page 66 said that if I am the owner of most processes in my business, I’m not quite ready to systematize. In other words, if you are a one-man army, SYSTEMology won’t help you much.
I was disappointed. SO disappointed!
There is a section, “Is this the right book for you?” on page 20. I couldn’t find myself disqualified by that section. That section spoke about some prerequisites (like vision, target audience, and so on), which I already had and didn’t need to find them in SYSTEMology. Checked.
It talked about having some traction, good cash flow and referrals. Checked.
It talked about being overwhelmed and not being able to step away from the business even for a few days. Checked.
Hence, I thought I’d hit a jackpot with this book. I read eagerly up to page 66 to discover it is not for me.
Is This the Right Book for You?
So, I need to pause and make it clear for whom this book is… And for whom it is not.
If you fall into any of the below categories, this book is definitely for you:
You have a small team (1-9 people) and:
-zero or only rudimentary systems and processes implemented
-your lack of systems is due to zero to only rudimentary knowledge about documenting business processes
-you tried to document or implement business processes in the past, but you failed miserably (especially because your team didn’t use the processes you documented)
If those characteristics pertain to you, in my modest opinion you should pay about $1,000 for SYSTEMology. It will be worth many times more than that.
If your team is more robust than 1-9 people, if you have any management personnel, and any of the above characteristics apply to your business, you should pay $10,000. Seriously. This book is a gold mine.
SYSTEMology is not for:
- Business owners, even with a small team, who are responsible for all the decisions.
I’m somewhere between those two points. I work with several people on a regular basis, but they always wait for my orders – when to contact a customer, when to create the ads, what bids to use in those ads, when to mine the search terms from existing ads, and so on.
It doesn’t mean this book will be worthless for you. It is well worth the price. I think you will always get some benefits from implementing systems into your business, no matter the size of it and the phase you are in.
Which brings me to the second CON…
2. Page 66 – A Heresy.
David suggested on the same fateful page that you won’t get leverage from your systems in the early stage of your business:
“To make impact on your business, you need to have at least a few team members or contractors (…) This ensures (…) you will get some leverage from the systems you create.”
You will always get some leverage, even if currently you are your whole business. Yes, it takes your precious time away from making sales or doing the work for your customers. Still, it is WELL worth it.
You see, the trouble 99.99999% of entrepreneurs have is not that they don’t get leverage from the systems they have built. It’s the fact that they have no systems at all!
So, ‘no leverage from systems’ is a very wrong thing to hint at in a book about building business processes. It’s like Dave Ramsey hinting that debt can be good.
You will always get some leverage from your systems. Let me demonstrate it on my business. My business resembles a Frankenstein… which has been hit by a truck and patched together once again.
I’m an employee turned author turned entrepreneur. I knew nothing and made most of the mistakes in the book.
The first leverage I got from creating systems -and it is available for everyone, especially solopreneurs – was clarity. Writing things down forces you to activate your conscious brain. You turn everything you thought you knew, and many intangible pieces of the process – into a single, coherent whole. You gain a lot of benefits from that – from finding holes and cracks in your business to getting a customer’s perspective on things.
The second huge benefit for an overwhelmed solopreneur is that you can delegate out bits and pieces of your business. My agency creates thousands of ads, sometimes tens of thousands of ads, on Amazon every month. It was the first thing I delegated. I created a manual for ad creation and taught my son and my wife how to build an ad campaign in the Amazon system.
Suddenly, I could onboard a new customer, create a template ad and let my “team” create another 100 or 200 ads for the customer.
I repeated this with many bits of my business many times over. Documenting your systems gives you a chance to delegate tasks in very small batches. You don’t need to hire and train a full-time employee. You can give a 30-minute monthly task to your son.
I showed my son how to download invoices from PayPal. It freed up about half an hour a month of my time.
When you delegate one piece of the process, it often forces you to systematize even more. I taught my son how to create ads, and it immediately forced me to systematize the way I was giving him tasks. When another person joined the team, I had a process ready. Soon, I had to figure out how to replicate ads orders when I had a batch of helpers available.
When we started to create thousands of ads a month, I figured out how to delegate even creating the orders for ads to my sister. Because I had a system, she could replace me with this task after only a rudimentary training.
So, skip page 66! Don’t listen to David. You will ALWAYS get some leverage from creating your business systems.
OK, let’s switch to many awesome…
1. Page 66 – the Core of the Book.
Actually, you can’t skip page 66. It contains a sentence I consider the most impactful in this book:
SYSTEMology will replicate what’s already working but you must get some traction first.
You don’t systematize your business when it’s not working. If you just have the idea, but not a single paying customer yet, of course you have nothing to systematize. If you are in the early stages and you don’t even know what you are doing, you should keep experimenting, not systematize your experiments.
And if you have a faulty business that doesn’t really work, don’t create the systems. Build a healthy foundation first.
But if you have anything working at all, by all means – create your systems (see the Leverage section in #2 CON above). Meaning, you can apply SYSTEMology.
2. Practical Approach.
SYSTEMology is so cool because it is built on David’s experience. He was the proverbial overwhelmed business owner and he figured out how to create business processes when you feel like you have not even a second to spare.
So, it is not like an ISO system invented by a bunch of eggheads and serving mostly to assure shareholders that you have everything under control. The ISO’s red tape overhead is simply a killer for small businesses.
SYSTEMology is more like the ITIL methodology. It’s a quality and process assurance system in IT support. It has been created by documenting the good practices already existing in the IT industry. They looked at the successful projects and asked: why were they working so well? Then, they put their discoveries in the form of the ITIL methodology.
But SYSTEMology is even cooler.
I’m certified in ITIL. I passed the exam easily exactly because I was a practitioner. But I also needed a 3-day training to get familiar with their naming convention. Whatever they meant by “incident,” “problem” and so on.
SYSTEMology is stripped to bare essentials. It’s all common sense. Zero red tape. You just read the book and implement the method.
3. The Method.
The whole SYSTEMology magic lies in leveraging your team. Instead of you doing the main bulk of the job, you delegate it to your team. You involve the team from the very beginning, from the moment of process creation.
They own the processes, so they are more likely to use them later. But the brilliance of this system is that you, the brain and heart of the organization, are not burdened with more obligations. Of course, there will be some tasks for you to perform, but it will be nowhere near the effort of being the main force behind the systemization.
Also, the whole framework is described in the book in enough details to get you and your team moving. You don’t need to get an additional course or practice for months. Read the book and you can start the process the next day.
The last awesome aspect of the SYSTEMology approach is that it is so flexible. David shows you the framework, but it’s up to you and your team to fill the gaps. Obviously, the process will be vastly different for a brick and mortar company (construction) than for a virtual company (online advertising). In the crazy world of small business, flexibility is not a feature; it’s a requirement to get something done.
4. The Documentation Process.
This is the core of SYSTEMology, and this is where it is superior to all other systems I’ve been familiar with. I read most of the popular books in this field and some obscure ones. David’s book is the strongest when it comes to actual documentation process.
You see, business owners usually get the importance of systems and processes. They just have no clue how to start or they get quickly overwhelmed and quit on their attempts of installing some business systems.
The business owner who cannot leave his business for two days because everything is on him is just too busy to:
- a) figure out how to systematize
- b) go through the process
Or they are just thinking they are too busy. I know quite a few stories, including mine, of owners who experienced such a pain from the chaos in their business that they systematized their business despite the busy-ness.
Anyway, SYSTEMology provides a way to overcome those obstacles, mainly by the hands of the business owner’s team.
5. Use the System.
The documentation process explained in the book is just brilliant. But even more brilliant are tips on how to actually implement the processes in your business.
It speaks to my experience as a habit coach; a great plan on paper is worthless. Tracking your habit gives you nothing, if you don’t actually perform the habit.
The same goes for time management systems – they are worthless if you don’t use them regularly.
And so are your business processes if your team shies away from using them. While the process of hammering out the systems and documentation is enlightening in their own right, the real value is in using them in your business on a daily basis.
It’s great that I invented a process of providing orders for ad campaigns for my team, but it would not have been worth a dime, if I had gone upstairs and just told my son which ads to create.
Creating systems is a necessary prerequisite to extract the value from your procedures and processes. Using them is the actual value-extraction process.
So, everything in the SYSTEMology approach is subjected to using your business systems. From creation process, to organizing your documentation, everything serves the purpose of making the whole process as frictionless as possible.
6. Writing Style and the Layout.
I simply like this book. The stories are to the point and not diluting the message. Graphics, tables and charts are very useful and helpful. Yes, David prods you to go to his website to get the templates, but you can replicate all which is presented in the book on your own.
From time to time, there is a golden nugget like this one:
If you document for morons, you will have only morons willing to work for you.
The whole framework is so clear, clean, simple and easy to follow. I fell in love with SYSTEMology.
7. Golden Nuggets.
When I read, I like to underline the points that hit me. Here is a sample of my highlights:
If you can never master the simple, you will never master the complex.
I don’t hate email; it’s an amazing tool, it’s just horrible for project management.
Fix your team communication and you’ll solve 80% of your problems.
The first time a team member takes a leave, it’s normal for at least a few things to go wrong. Don’t worry, this is all part of the process.
Always look for a method that creates the least friction or anxiety for the team members.
It doesn’t look like one, but this book is revolutionary. Its impact on the small business world will be comparable to Profit First by Mike Michalowicz. Every single small business owner who implements SYSTEMology will enjoy new levels of freedom, peace of mind, and profitability. And every single one of those owners will become a champion for SYSTEMology.
No wonder. This book’s framework fills the gap between the dreamlike vision entrepreneurs had been longing for since E-myth was published – and their miserable reality: full of fires to put out right now, chaos of doing zillions of business tasks at the same time and managing the whole team.
SYSTEMology can help you to build the bridge between an overwhelming current situation and this beautiful vision.
Thus, I recommend it with full confidence.