This post about the power of systems was recently lost in migration. What that means is that we recently switched our web host, and due to unforeseeable technological problems, this particular article was not brought to the new host. So here we are reprinting it, hopefully fixing the 404 errors in the process.
Jack Duncan is one of my favorite marketing writers and thinkers. I absolutely hit buy everytime Jack comes up with a new product, software or tool. I've known him for well over a decade now, and his thinking on business and marketing has always inspired me to expand my own mental framework on the subject. Recently, Jack sent an article talking about the power of systems, and with his permission, I'm reprinting it here for your benefit. You should definitely check out all his products, tools and content over at marketbold.com.
Without further ado, I'll let Jack talk about the power of systems...
She Still Beat Me, Because She Had One BIG Advantage...
I enjoyed a nice, sunny walk
to my office this morning.
While I was walking, a really old
lady raced past me.
We were going to the same
building, but she got there
at least three times faster.
She wasn't stronger than me.
She wasn't more athletic than me.
She couldn't walk faster than me.
But she still beat me by a long
shot, because she had one BIG
She used a system.
We call that system a bicycle.
And using that system, she was
able to easily pass me.
A few minutes later, another man
flew by me on a bike.
So, this system was learnable and
repeatable. (a key concept we'll
cover another time...)
When you really start to look for
systems, you'll notice them
On Sunday, I made my wife
Chicken Alfredo for Mother's Day.
It would've been nasty
if I hadn't used a system.
In that case, the system
is called a "recipe".
Think about that for a second...
A recipe is simply a list of
resources (ingredients, pans,
work space, machines, time,
temperature) and a list of steps
for how to use those resources.
I can't think of anyone who
hasn't used a recipe before.
But if you ask someone if they
use systems, you might get a
Why bring this up?
Over the years, I've seen
countless companies suffer (and
often go under), simply because
they've never developed and used
They try to do everything as
though they were doing it
for the first time.
And that simply won't work.
"Success is not built on success.
It's built on failure. It's built
on frustration. Sometimes
it's built on catastrophe."
- Summer Redstone
Imagine if I tried to make
Chicken Alfredo without a
Food poisoning from
under cooked chicken...
All those failures have been made
at some point by someone making
Why rethink everything, as though
it was the first time it was
Why ignore the fact that someone
already knows how to make
delicious Chicken Alfredo?
Because I followed a 5-star
Chicken Alfredo recipe, the
delicious outcome was almost
That's the power
of a great system.
Now, I've read a ton of
information on systems over the
years, and most of it is
"rah-rah" about using systems,
but very impractical when it
comes to creating systems.
If that's been your experience as
well, or if you don't currently
use systems, then I'd like to
help you change that.
And here's the first step...
Think of a "systems"
as business "recipes".
That simple shift in terminology
will get you headed in the right
What recipes should you use every
day in your business?
What's in your business cookbook?
Start making your "recipe" list.
Just make a small list...
Don't worry about writing down
the "recipes" just yet.
If you spend 15 minutes this
week, just writing down system
ideas, you'll be well on your way
to improving your business with
And chew on this while you make
"We should work on our process,
not the outcome of our processes."
- W. Edwards Deming
"If you're too busy to build good
systems, then you'll always be
- Brian Logue
"A bad system will beat a good
person every time."
- W. Edwards Deming
All the best,
So that's it. Jack nailed it.
Business Systems Are Recipes
With the right systems, you could beat competitors that have far greater resources than you... competitors that have all sort of concievable advantage over you. With the right systems, an old lady can absolutely demolish Usain Bolt on a quarter mile race track. Why? Because she would have the unfair advantage in the form of systems.
The question is... do you have this undue advantage in your business?
If yes, great. But if not, why not?
Here at Westernston, this is what we do. For a very small number of clients, we work on systemizing their businesses. So that they can scale. So that they can become the Davids taking on the Goliaths of their respective marketplaces.
So keep on systemizing your business. Because that's what YOUR job is as a business leader and an entrepreneur.