When I mention business systems to you, what comes to mind? Do you think of an IBM mainframe computer sitting in a big room in the middle of your building? Do you think of expensive, highly specialized software? That’s what many small business owners imagine. And they think it’s not for them. If that’s what you think, you’re only half right.
Half right because expensive, highly specialized software is probably not for you. Half wrong because good business systems most definitely are. A business system isn’t hardware or software. It’s the way that you do any part of your business. It’s how you do things. You are using systems all the time, you just may not be using them efficiently.
I regularly urge business owners to get everything they know about their business out of their head and onto paper. I’m urging you now to do the same with your systems. Start writing out how you do things in your business. At a minimum, write out how you treat your customers or clients, how your paperwork for each sale flows, how your production systems work, how you market to clients, and how you do your bookkeeping.
Do this in detail. For each area, make a very detailed description of every step in the process. Include what you do and why you do it. Include the subtle parts that make your company uniquely you. Include the parts that you are proud of. Include the tricks that make it efficient. Include what you tried that didn’t work and explain why. Each system should become a very rich, highly detailed system. Why so much detail?
Because this is the beginning of being able to consistently deliver results. And the beginning of being able to consistently deliver results even when you aren’t around. Documented (written) systems make delegating much more manageable. Delegating is one of the keys to success in growing your business while still having a life.
Maybe you don’t want a bigger business. Maybe you want to keep yours small. Still, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to go on a long vacation and turn the keys over to someone else to run and make money for you while you are gone? Without systems, that wouldn’t be remotely possible. With systems almost anything is. Now, does that sound like something that should only be for big business? I think not.
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Easy Invention Ideas
Easy invention ideas? Why easy? Sometimes it’s just too intimidating to think about building a new type of car, television, or other complicated invention. So these are ideas for garage or basement tinkerers. Coming up with a prototype for most of these will cost no more than the money in your pocket. They are not patented yet, as far as I know.
Wild Game Carrier
Deer hunters regularly die of heart attacks while carrying their bucks out of the woods. The invention here would solve that problem. It would have an inflatable wheel, using coated nylon that won’t puncture easily. Once you get your deer, blow up the wheel, and using the clamps on either side, you attach two poles or sticks that you cut on site. Attach the simple nylon sling between the sticks, and you have a wheel-barrow-like device that will carry a deer over even rough trails. Probably weighing no more than two pounds, it could be carried easily in a day pack.
Perhaps its been done, but I haven’t seen them sold yet. With some lift from the helium, these kites could be flown in any amount of wind. Properly designed, they would still fly something like a kite, and with some maneuverability if designed like a stunt kite. A first prototype could be a kite with a small helium balloon attached. That’s an easy invention.
This is more of a marketing idea than an invention. Have advertisements on kites and get paid to fly them at the beach or during big outdoor events. In my former small-town home they paid for planes to drag ads around during festivals, so the market might be there.
If dollar stores can keep putting t-shirts on the shelves, we know they are getting cheap to make. So how about a line of shirts that are low-quality, but good enough to use, and cost very little to manufacture? You sell them in boxes of 12, as “disposable clothing.” Where’s the market? Maybe people who want less laundry to do on long trips. I set aside old clothes for just that purpose, which is where the idea came from. Also, some people might want to have some cheap things to wear for doing dirty jobs.
Imagine this: You are wearing two little “kayaks” on your feet. Two more smaller ones at the end of two ski-poles help you balance as you walk across the nearest lake. At 8 feet long and 8 inches around, they would hold about 170 pounds each, by the way. To try this one, remember that to figure the volume of a cylindrical object, you multiply pi (3.14) times the radius squared times the length. Oh, and each cubic foot of air will support about 64 pounds.
An easy invention idea from childhood. Me and my brothers spent summers at the beach, on Lake Michigan. Many nights, the wind blew steady off the water, and we discovered that we could make a “wind tent” out of an old blanket. With three sides pinned down, using rocks and sand, the wind held the “tent” open. We camped out in these tents, although when the wind died, the tent did. Maybe someone could make and market a plastic version. A colorful square of plastic – this is one of the easiest of the easy invention ideas.