CASE STUDY: How one property manager discovered the ultimate growth formula.
Wendy Clarke owns and runs The Rent Guarantee Company in Harlow. They work with letting agents, landlords and councils, offering a wide range of fully managed and self-contained homes across Essex and Hertfordshire.
Despite running a successful business, Wendy hit a ceiling late 2016. With 70 properties on her books, she wanted to grow. But was at the limit to manage her existing clients efficiently. Her thoughts kept her awake for hours at night, as she worried about all that needed to be done. She knew something had to change.
“Since the birth of the business, I had been a one-woman band,” Wendy explains. “I was working with business coaches to help me improve sales, but nobody could tell me how to actually create a business that could manage those new opportunities. I had reached the limit of what I was capable of handling alone.”
Wendy knew that she should increase her business capacity by adding a member of staff, but even hiring someone felt like a mountain to climb. There was so much to explain, so many situations that needed to be handled a certain way. It seemed impossible to train someone quickly enough to relieve her workload rather than add to it.
When Wendy booked a 2-day session with Richard Linden from i-Systemise, she knew she needed better organisation, systems, manuals and process descriptions. But didn’t quite realise just how much more the exercise was going to impact the future of her business.
“I thought my workflow consisted of about 20 steps,” she says. “But when we mapped it all out, it was actually 206 distinct steps. That was a real eye-opener. And once we added in all the hundreds of variations on queries that turn up on a regular basis, there were 170,000 different scenarios that could take place at any point. No wonder I was struggling to keep it all in my head!”
During his time with the business, Richard focused on understanding each process and creating a logical structure to visualise them in a workflow overview. This exercise enabled him to identify gaps in terms of systems, templates, tools and even hardware.
“There was such a calm and structured approach to retrieving information from my head onto paper, and turning it all into logical processes. It felt like an immediate load off my mind and I started getting excited about my business again,” Wendy explains.
After the session, Wendy was left with two wallpaper-sized lists of changes that needed to be applied to the business. 80% of these were changes that she could implement herself over the weeks that followed. The remaining 20% were about adopting technical tools and software, all of which Richard would support her with.
“It was really empowering to be able to roll out all these improvements myself, in my own business,” Wendy says. “I felt like I was finally taking control back. My stress levels dropped, and I found a new confidence in myself and my business. I even started sleeping through the night again, which was fantastic.”
The deliverables from the systemisation project included scripted conversations and templated emails for all main scenarios, an end-to-end manual for running all parts of the business, and a fully customised workflow tool for automating and monitoring all business activities.
Within two months of the first session with i-Systemise, Wendy had employed two full-time members of staff and started growing her customer base. And while her business was growing, she found herself having more time to think about the next step, and being proactive rather than reactive.
“Once I had the systems in place, on-boarding someone was just a breeze. The new recruits had access to all the information and systems they needed to get up and running quickly, adding instant value to the business. The team was able to handle the different tasks and situations consistently and professionally. We became a truly grown-up operation in a very short space of time.”
Over the next year, the number of properties grew from 70 to 120, increasing revenue by a whopping 66 percent. Today, the business employs three people full-time, one part-time, and three external contractors.
“The icing of the cake for us was being one of three finalists for two awards at The Essex Excellence Business Awards in 2017, which was based on not only our business structure, processes, and systems, but also turnover and year-on-year growth. We beat hundreds of businesses across all industries, which is an incredible testament to the work i-Systemise can do,” Wendy explains. “I recommend Richard and i-Systemise to everyone in my situation. In fact, I have already introduced three other businesses to work with Richard, and their results have also been outstanding.”
About the Service
The Done4U Systemisation Service is an end-to-end tailored service package for busy business owners who want to take back control of their operations. A unique 3-step methodology enables any organisation to discover and implement a complete systemisation framework in a short space of time.
We are a systems and operations management consultancy, dedicated to helping small and medium-sized businesses to maximise their growth and profit potential by developing their operational systems and processes.
Find out more on i-systemise.co.uk.