Only 20 out of 100 business start-ups survive 5 years.
Only 4 out of that 20 make it another 5 years
Only 1 out of that 4 make it another 5 years!
Fortunately, there is a way to turn things around before it’s too late…
What I’m about to share with you is NOT another “get-rich-quick” scheme. And it’s NOT yet another ploy that only offers temporary solutions to the long-term (major) business problems of low profit, operational chaos…and an exhausting lifestyle for the owner…
I’m going to give you specific strategies you can immediately start implementing in your business. Again, these approaches aren’t temporary fixes. This is the same methodology we’ve implemented in leadership-level consultations with companies with annual revenues ranging from ten million to fifty million to one half billion dollars per year…and they will work for you regardless of the size of your company.
My name is Sam Carpenter, author of Work the System: The Simple Mechanics of MAKING MORE AND WORKING LESS, and for 30 years the owner of Centratel – the highest quality answering service in the United States…and likely the entire world. What follows is a story. Not any story, but my story. It’s the narrative of how I changed my perspective – in an instant – and then quickly took my business from absolute failure to overwhelming success, and created the Work the System Method in the process – a powerful Methodology that WILL transform your business…
Do you feel trapped by your business – afraid to expand and equally afraid to give up?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you will benefit from what I am about to share with you, because I was just like you not too many years ago. But, due to what seemed like sheer dumb-luck at the time, I discovered a way to turn it all around.
On December 1, 1984, at the age of thirty-five, I bought Girl Friday Telephone Answering Service, an ailing telecom business in my hometown of Bend, Oregon. The total purchase price was $21,000; the down payment, $5,000, which I borrowed. There were seven employees, 140 small clients ($40 per month each), and 400 square feet of office space.
I changed the name to Centratel to reflect the changing times and then set out to blaze new trails as any new business owner does. But it didn’t happen.
Despite growing volume, our profits weren’t increasing. The business was a disorganized nightmare, always on the brink of disaster, and my personal life, what there was of it, devolved into shambles. Within a year, I went through a divorce and then proceeded to do my best to bring up my two children as a single, custodial parent. Things were bad.
I got sick from the pressure, but powered on anyway. The only thing that would stop me would be if I dropped over unconscious from stress and sheer fatigue (and after fifteen years of relentless pressure, this became more than a possibility).
If things were so bad, why didn’t I just throw in the towel and get a regular job? Frankly, I was terrified of rejoining the workforce as someone else’s employee. The thought of having a traditional job sent shivers down my spine. After all those years of being on my own, working for someone else would be a nightmare for me and for my employer. I rationalized, if I am in Hell, at least it’s my Hell.
One night around 3:00 a.m… I found myself awake yet again, exhausted, with an unfunded payroll less than a week away, when suddenly I stopped thinking about work details, business philosophies, elaborate theories, or some last-minute divine intervention.
Without coaxing, and for no apparent reason, two simple, pragmatic questions charged out of the blackness: What have I been doing wrong all these years? And, since the end IS coming, what is there to lose if I abandon past assumptions and look at things from a completely different angle?
I know it sounds corny, but I underwent an enlightenment of sorts. It struck me that Centratel was simply a self-contained mechanical device! It was—and is—nothing more than the sum of an assemblage of sequential systems: answering the phones, sales, payroll preparation, scheduling, handling complaints, etc. —each executed in a linear fashion whereby one step follows another step until the sequence for that particular system is complete and some kind of a result occurs. I saw that my mode of thinking and managing had been reactionary, defensive, and incredibly inefficient. I had taken the wrong stance because the mechanics had been invisible to me!
All I did was kill fires, unaware that they were the products of unseen, dysfunctional systems. These systems had lives of their own and were acting out their 1-2-3 sequences without direction, producing results that were unpredictable at the least, and debilitating at the worst.
My business was out of control because I had been coping with the random results of unmanaged systems. My life was chaos – not because I was some kind of loser or unfortunate victim of circumstance, but because most of the systems of my life were not being managed. Out of control, these inefficient secondary systems composed the dysfunctional primary systems of my life: business, health, and relationships.
Marching ahead without pause, we quickly began to see results as confusion diminished and cash flow came under control. In the first six months, my work week dropped from a hundred hours to sixty. Then, in the next six months, it fell below forty. In the next two-year period, our client base grew from three hundred to seven hundred as my work hours still progressed downward.
It took a long time to straighten things out, five long years actually. But as I look back, that’s understandable because we were figuring out the details of the Work the System methodology from scratch. We invested (and sometimes inadvertently wasted) time and money as we experimented with new concepts, tried to find the right management people, and stumbled with the system documentation.
Despite the setbacks and the additional workload, my physical involvement with the company’s daily operations continued to decline. Today, I spend just a couple of hours a week working on Centratel business. One of those hours is for our weekly staff meeting and the other is for paying bills and attending to various R&D efforts.
But you may be thinking, “Sam, why should I listen to you? Just because you turned your business around doesn’t mean it will work for me.”
Well, I used to think that the Work The System Methodology might only work for businesses like mine, but the more I introduced it to people with all manner of businesses, the more I saw it working!
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