Many entrepreneurs start out with a dream, but end up as slaves to their businesses. They work long hours and even on vacations, are perpetually stressed and constantly think about work. In this book, Mike Michalowicz provides the principles and tools to help you design businesses that run like clockwork, so you can regain your freedom to enjoy a healthy work-life balance. In our Clockwork summary, we’ll outline the 4Ds and 7 stages of building a Clockwork business that can run without you. For the full details, examples and tips, do get a copy of the book, or get a detailed overview with our complete book summary bundle.
Mike Michalowicz’s goal is to end entrepreneurial poverty. In his earlier book “Profit First”, he tackled the lack of money. In this book, he tackles the lack of time.
Clockwork is built on a core principle: Work smarter, not harder. Parkinson’s Law says that work will expand to fill available time. When you become more productive, you finish your tasks faster but end up adding more things to your plate, so you end up working even longer hours.
Regardless of your company size (be it 1 person or 100), organizational efficiency is about getting the most important work done with the least resources. It’s not about doing more. To regain your freedom, allocate less time for your business and force yourself to achieve more within that limited time. That way, you can increase your impact and free up time for other life priorities.
Building a Clockwork Business: The Ideal 4D Mix
There are 4 key sets of activities that any entrepreneur must perform:
• Personally Doing the work
• Allocating tasks but still Deciding the details and retaining full control
• Delegating by empowering staff to make decisions & be accountable for results
• Designing and improving the overall business flow (while the business runs on its own)The ideal 4D mix is 80% doing, 2% deciding, 8% delegating and 10% designing. Most entrepreneurs spend too much time Doing and not enough time Designing their business. You can progressively shift to the ideal 4D mix and build a Clockwork business in 7 stages.
The 7 Clockwork Stages
Here’s a quick overview of the 7 Stages involved in building a Clockwork business. Do get our complete Clockwork summary in text, graphic and audio formats for more details on how to implement each step (Click here for full summary).
1. Analyze your 4D Mix
Analyze your own 4D mix, then your company’s 4D mix. In the book / complete summary, you can get more details on how to use the Time Analysis Worksheet to analyze and identify the gap between your existing and ideal 4D mix.
2. Define your Organization’s Queen Bee Role (QBR)
Your organization’s Queen Bee Role (QBR) is the key function upon which your business success hinges upon. In our complete 15-page summary, we elaborate on how you can use the Sticky Note Method to define the Primary Role for each team member, as well as your company’s QBR.
3. Defend and Support the QBR
Every person on the team must protect and serve the QBR as a top priority. Once the QBR is properly served, things will fall in place and people can return to their own Primary Roles. In our full Clockwork summary, we explain how to use the Hub and Spoke Exercise to identify (i) how far you/your team are focusing on the QBR, Primary Job vs other distractions, and (ii) how you can Thrash, Transfer and Trim items to progressively allocate more time/focus on the QBR.
4. Record your Systems
The QBR (and its related tasks) must be delivered consistently. However, instead of using Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), which can be laborious yet ineffective, you can simply record training videos to capture all key business activities in 4 categories (Attract, Convert, Deliver and Collect) of the ACDC model. You can read more from the book or our full book summary.
5. Develop a Balanced Team
This stage to “have the right people, do the right things, in the right portions, right”. In the full Clockwork summary bundle (full summary here), we introduce more tools such as the Job Traits Analysis, and break things down further into (i) hiring the right people, (ii) putting them in the right role, (iii) and helping each person to progressively focus on the highest value tasks while achieving a company-wide balance.
6. Commit to your Ideal Customers
Clarify who your top/ideal clients are and commit to them so you have a singular focus for your QBR. In our full 15-page summary, we explain how to identify your Whom and How to develop your company mantra: “Our commitment is to serve [Whom] by [How].”
7. Monitor your Business
The final phase is to set up your business such that you can monitor it at a strategic level. To do that, you need to identify core metrics that give you a good overview of the business, so you can (i) see at a glance if everything is going smoothly or if something needs attention, and (ii) progressively identify and remove bottlenecks to business productivity.
Building your Clockwork Business
In the book, Mike Michalowicz elaborates on how you can overcome resistance to change, and provides a detailed 18-month plan to help you roll out the 7 steps. Your end goal is to take a 4-week vacation within 18-24 months, during which you can disconnect from the business totally and let it run by itself. If your business can survive without you for 4 weeks, it can probably continue to run on its own. You can get a detailed overview of these tips in our complete book summary bundle..
Other Details in the “Clockwork” Book
This is a detailed guidebook with many case studies of the various Clockwork concepts at work, including examples of real-life entrepreneurs who have used the principles in their businesses. Do get a copy of the book for the full details, get our text/graphic/audio summary bundle for an overview of the various ideas and tips, or check out more resources/details at RunLikeClockWork.com.
Read our Profit First summary to get more powerful ideas from Mike Michalowicz!
Learn how to build a Clockwork business that can run without you!