As an advisor to small businesses, I often get asked about the Entrepreneur Operating System or “EOS.” This system was made popular by Geno Wickman in his book, Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business.
For the record, I am not a certified EOS Implementor. But, I am a fan of the approach. I’ve studied the system and know several of the professionals in my area who are Implementors. We talk regularly. As I researched the EOS model, I find that everything about EOS is included in my own model I call GameChanger.
GameChanger is a four-pillar business model I have developed over the years. I find it helps clients get clarity and focus on all phases of their business, similar to what happens with EOS.
It started many years ago when I was a banker. I met hundreds of business owners and watched the struggles they faced. Some challenges came from market conditions, but most issues came from within the business. The founder simply wasn’t prepared or ready to handle certain aspects of running a well-oiled machine.
I landed on the four pillar concepts because as I helped these owners overcome their issues, I found EVERYTHING lived inside one or more of these key dimensions. They are…
Here are the four focus areas of GameChanger.
If you expect to run a full-service business operation you will eventually need a team. That means more people. How, when, and why you add people is an important decision. Why? Because your most expensive line item in your budget will most likely be the people you hire.
Here’s where most business owners make their first big mistakes. When you start out, cash is usually limited. So even though you need people, you make arrangements with friends and family to fill some of the early jobs. On one hand, it makes good sense. You trust them and they may agree to work for lower rates.
However, Uncle Joe or sister Sally may not be the exact right fit for the role you need them to play. Maybe they have some skills, but usually, they just fill a spot. Even if they provide good help in the early stages of company growth, you inevitably will discover the business demands will outgrow their abilities. I have my own horror story about this that I can’t share publicly to protect the innocent. (insert smiley face)
Having a process for every aspect of company operation is the only way to achieve scalability. Why? Because before you can ever scale or grow the business, you need to prove that you can reliably repeat the steps to get a product or service out the door. Having a well-defined process helps you do that.
Yes, businesses can get complex quickly. Nonetheless, you must be willing to document, log, track, and define the RIGHT process you expect to use to create the outcome you want.
Having a process helps train new people. The absence of process leaves new people confused and not knowing what is required to do good work in your business. You’ll be setting up your team to fail. No one wants that.
Whether you produce a specific product, good, or service, that “thing” you do is what fits here. Knowing how to manage that product is critical for success. Even though you think you have a great idea, the market will tell you whether that is true or not.
Plus even if your first idea works well, markets change over time. So you must constantly reevaluate the situation to stay on top of trends, needs, and opportunities.
Jake Sasseville, founder of the Imiloa Institute in Costa Rica made over 2,300 calls to event hosts around the globe to research his idea for an exclusive retreat center. Findings from those 2,300 calls help him shape the vision for his business. And, while doing those calls, it inspired inquiries from 40 of those hosts to book advance sales with him.
Knowing how your business is doing is a much bigger question than just having money in the bank. You might be doing a lot of work for very little gain. Would that be worth it?
Having a set of key measurements is like a health check. Knowing your business metrics is like keeping up with blood pressure, heart rate, and blood sugar levels. If any of the measurements get out of range, you know you might be heading for trouble. But without them, a disaster could be right around the corner.
Doing the Work
Taking a deep dive into the business you’ve built takes courage and conviction. But it can pay huge dividends. You can stop subtle bleeding from expense controls that need adjusting. Or you might find one option on your product costs way too much to produce. There are so many variations on things that could be holding you back.
If you feel stuck, stalled, or on the brink of burnout as an owner, perhaps you need a model like GameChanger to help you reset your business operating systems.