Why Systems Are Needed To Scale Your Business

Anthony Lamacchia: You want to improve your business, you have an area of your company that’s disorganized, it’s not running right. Things are disjointed in a certain part of your team or in your team. Whether your business is small or large, one thing you have to understand is you cannot hire someone else to come in and solve your problems without you setting up the right system first.

Anthony Lamacchia here with Crush It In Real Estate, and I’ve been wanting to talk to you all about this for two weeks, and I’ve just been busy. I wanted to discuss this because it came up about a month-and-a-half ago with someone– smart person, who said to me, “Well, I’m very disorganized. I’m very this, I’m very that, so I’m just going to hire someone. I’m going to hire someone to fix it all.” I said, “Oh, you’re going to hire someone to get you organized?” “Yes, I am. I’m going to hire someone.”

I said, “Okay.” I said, “Well, it’s not going to work. It’s not going to work” “What do you mean it’s not going to work?” I said, “Listen, you’re not running a Fortune 500 company. You’re not running a company with 50, 60, 70-plus employees, hundreds of people in it that you can hire a department head who can come in and organize at least parts of it.”

Even in that situation, you can’t expect someone else to come in and totally solve your problems.

I have news for you, that’s how things fall apart. Your disorganization, your problems, your things that aren’t running right are your problems. They’re your problems to fix and then pass off, fix and then pass off. Pay close attention to what I’m talking about. It’s something that since that person said it to me six weeks ago, I’ve been paying close attention to. I’ve been hearing people bring this up here and there, and I find it very interesting.

I’ve been hearing it from single agents that work on their own but do a lot of business. I’ve been hearing it from, typically, top-agent types, I’ve been hearing it from team leaders. What I often say to myself is, “They’re just trying to throw money at the problem.” It’s a lazy way to think. When people ask me, “How do you make things stick in your company? How are you so able to hire, retain, and put systems in place, and manage it all?” I was in Florida over the weekend and someone said to me, “Boy, you’ve got quite an operation, how do you make it stick?”

You want to know how? It started with me, that’s how. Every single part of it, I built up, I set processes. I worked with my first employee, Sarah Chaisson, who’s now our Vice President of Finance. We set up specific processes, specific systems. Yes, she did a lot of the legwork, but a lot of direction came from me, a lot of direction came from her. Then as we built up, built up, hired a couple of employees– I’m going back 15 years, we hired another woman by the name of Angela Walker, Angela Rastellini now.

She came in and she got a knack for taking systems and putting them in place. Another gentleman by the name of Mike McGrory. They took things that we put together, and then they took them and made them even better, but it originated with us. It originated with a very clear set of guidelines, a clear set of processes. We created something, in 2006, called Step Books. You know why I thought of that? I thought of that because I realized that our tasks in our CRM were getting too long. They were getting insanely long.

I said, “All right, this is crazy.” On a given day, we’ll have six tasks. For example, we’ll get a purchase and sale sign, we’ve got six tasks now for that property. Then if we, that day, got four purchase and sale sign, now we had 24 tasks said. I said, “We should create a Step Book, and the steps should be maybe A through D or A through F, and then each step should have three steps, six steps, seven steps,” because a lot of those steps are like mini-steps. The Step Book is really a booklet of the main steps, and then there’s sub-steps underneath it.

I had this vision and I talked to Sarah about it, and Sarah said, “I like that,” and we put it together. Guess what, folks? 15 years later, we have that. That runs our company. Agents have tasks and they have steps. Our managers, our staff in the branch offices, they have these things. How did that originate? Out of here. Not tooting my horn. Don’t watch this and say, “Oh, he’s an asshole. He’s just tooting his–” Fine, you can think that about me, but I’m telling you the truth. It came from here, we put it on paper. Sarah worked with me, we made it better.

As the years went on and we hired more people to be in charge, they tweaked it, they made variations. The market changed, our business model changed, fine, but guess what? The core principles came from us thinking it over and creating it. I can go on and on and on, I could be here till midnight. I won’t be here until midnight, but I’m going to be here for a little bit with you because I want to discuss this. It’s that critical and it’s a key component that many of you are missing in your business.

I think there’s two reasons for it. For one thing, people are a little too fast to delegate things they shouldn’t. Now, you might hear that and say, “What do you mean, Anthony? You’ve done videos where you’ve talked about delegating and giving up tasks and giving up control.” You’re right, and I’ve had these conversations with my own dad, who, by the way, I learned more about doing business by doing business with him and from him than anybody. I grew up doing it from a young age.

Now, I obviously have a decent-sized company, and, now, we talk both ways and I give thoughts. One time my dad said to me, “Well, I don’t like to email. I don’t like it. It’s not for me. Don Rumsfeld doesn’t email.” I said, “Dad, Don Rumsfeld has 20 assistants for his five assistants. You’re not at that level. He’s running the Department of Defense.” We back-and-forth, him and I always debate things in business. We talk about Warren Buffett. We’re not Warren Buffett, none of you are Warren Buffett. None of you watching me are Don Rumsfeld.

I’ve read a lot about Don Rumsfeld, you can agree with his politics or disagree, he was a wildly capable human being who ran companies with hundreds of thousands of people and then ran the Department of Defense, which, by the way, is the largest organization on the planet. You’re not at the point to give up email, you’re not at the point to not create processes. I’m the owner of my organization. We’ve got 75 employees, 460 realtors, and I still get involved in some details.

Do I get involved in way less details? Of course. Do I get involved in way less initial steps of initial kickoffs? Yes, but 10 years ago, I got involved in every bit of it. Even now, they’ll put things on paper and run it by me, I take a look, “Oh, that’s interesting. Hey, what if you thought of this? Did you think of that? Did you think of that?” I’m above nothing, nothing. If cleaning toilets would grow my company in a better fashion, I would be cleaning toilets. Shoveling snow, it doesn’t matter to me what it is.

If you’re a one-person shop and you’re selling 20, 30 homes a year and you’re having trouble getting to the next level, you’ve got to do something different. You have to delegate some things. I’m telling you right now, you haven’t got a choice, you have to, but you need to delegate the right things. Oftentimes what people do is they’re quick to delegate the things they don’t really feel like doing or the things that maybe they’re not really that interested in, as opposed to the things that they should delegate.

The things that you should delegate are the things that you put a system together, put a process together, have it documented, then you pass off. Not [ruffling paper], “Here’s my mess, go clean it up.” Doesn’t work, doesn’t stick. People don’t take jobs to clean up other people’s messes. You might hear that and disagree, and say, “Oh, Anthony, you’ve talked about assistants.” Yes, I have two Executive Assistants, but guess what? They don’t clean up my messes. Lauren can comment right on here, Kim can comment right on here. I don’t care, go ahead. They’ll tell you what I’m like.

I always follow a system. Now I’m in a position where I create systems with our executive team, with our management team, along with Lauren, my Lead Executive Assistant, who has very much helped organize my life, organize our calendar, and by the way, helped grow our business a ton, but we set things up, we pass them down. Years ago, it was I set things up, pass them down, then it was me and Sarah pass them down, then it was a small team of managers pass them down. Now it’s me and executive team pass them down.

Don’t be lazy, don’t be too fast to try to delegate things you shouldn’t.

I was getting interviewed today by someone– I won’t say who, the interview’s coming out, I think, in a month or, I think, in February, and the person said, “What do you think about workload and work ethic?” And I said, “Listen, I’ll tell you what I think, “Work smarter not harder,” is bullshit. If you want to get ahead, you’ve got to do both, period.” You’ve got to do both. Think about that. Don’t be too fast to delegate, you know the tasks you shouldn’t give away. Most of the time you know.

If you don’t know, hear out what I said. You set up a system, you get it organized. If you’re at the point that you’re about to hire, you’ve got to get your ecosystem, your world, organized, then you pass it off. Take email, for example. I had various folders set up on the side of my inbox. Remember, your inbox is a place of to-dos. As soon as they’re done, they should be filed. Nobody should have more than five or 10 emails in their inbox, they should immediately get filed when they’re completed, right?

I had some folders set up, and when I got involved with Lauren, five years ago, and she became my assistant, Lauren said, “Anthony, I can see you have folders, but I think we need to expand on them. We need to make them more specific.” I said, “Well, I don’t want 30 subfolders. Maybe five more.” Now we have five subs for the main company, then we have other sub-accounts for the ancillary businesses, and it’s just organized.

Soon as something’s done, [snapping fingers] move the things over. Soon as it’s done, move it over.

Remember, when Lauren started with me, her and I perfected that, made it better, and now, she sticks to it. I know where she’s putting things, she knows where I’m putting things, et cetera. Same with systems and processes. You need to create it, perfect it, pass it downhill, not just give someone your mess. You get the point, I think I’ve repeated myself enough.

Hope you’re all doing well, happy home-selling. Talk to you soon. By the way, I hope you’re looking at our goal-setting course and some of our goal-setting videos. It’s that time of year.