Tired of hearing the word turnkey?
It’s a little overused these days.
It’s an age-old buzzword that has surged back into popularity with the advent of doing business on the Internet. Why? A turnkey business is an automated business. And, on the Internet, this automation is imperative to be successful and serve customers who are fast becoming accustomed to getting products and services in lightning fast time.
Ironically, this concept of automating the business process makes sense to successful online business owners, yet the benefits of an automated, turnkey business often escapes offline business owners – even though the development of a ‘turnkey’ business has been a business-builder for decades. Perhaps it’s because there is an assumption that turnkey directly relates to technology.
It doesn’t. The definition of turnkey is nothing more than, “ready for use or operation.” Here’s a great example of a turnkey system.
A few years ago the PGA Championship Golf Tournament was hosted at the Hazeltine Golf Course in Chaska, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis, not far from the suburb I live in.
One of our local television news stations did a week long broadcast from Hazeltine. The crowds were record-breaking and the media coverage was constant. In one of the early morning interviews with the local person in charge of the tournament media relations and marketing, he was asked about how he was able to prepare and cope with the throngs of media attendance from all over the world. He said, “It’s amazing. The PGA brought their system and we were able to just plug our volunteers into it.” The PGA system provides quick training for a streamlined, effective way to work with and accommodate media.
The system goes wherever the tournament goes and “plugs in to” the host city’s operation. The PGA is happy. The media is happy. And, the host city is happy.
That’s a perfect example of a turnkey system at work.
You don’t have to be a golfing fanatic to understand how valuable the PGA system is to every course they choose to host a tournament. And, hopefully, this example inspires you to start thinking about how finely-tuned your business runs – or could run – if you think in terms of “turnkey” operations.
Whether you start a new venture online, or do business in the traditional brick and mortar way, the more ‘turnkey’ your business is, the more you increase your chances of success … and making more money.
How will a turnkey business make you more money? Here are just 7 ways:
1) Eliminates redundancy
We (and our employees) are notorious for doing things that have already been done, or redoing something that’s been done incorrectly. That wastes time (and, after all, time is money). Something as simple as a written instruction on a quick To Do checklist that says, “the last person on the last shift of the day is responsible to vacuum the floor before leaving for the day,” eliminates any doubt that the first person on the first shift of the next day should be doing something else.
Sounds pretty petty, doesn’t it? Yet, without a clear understanding of who should do what, those 30 minutes of redundancy each day add up to 10 hours of wasted time a month — more than a full day’s pay. That’s pretty expensive vacuuming time!
2) Reduces training costs
How do you train a new employee? Do you ever forget to tell him/her something until it’s too late? A turnkey system includes tasks, responsibilities, how-to checklists, and more that make it easy to quickly train someone on procedures without ever having to say, “Oh, I forgot to tell you to …” – this phrase alone often comes after a costly blunder by a well-meaning new employee. At the very least, it interrupts workflow through the office.
A turnkey system comes with its own self-study guide to quickly train someone who’s never worked for you before. Remember the PGA example above?
3) Streamlines productivity
This one is the hardest to do but gives you the greatest reward, whether you have employees or are a self-employed, one-person operation. As a turnkey system is developed, careful thought is given to how the entire operation runs, start to finish. This overview of the entire operation puts control directly into your hands to objectively evaluate how each department or function affects another department or function.
By taking the time to see your business as a whole instead of as separate functions or departments, you can determine what’s missing, getting in the way, or slowing things down. Then you can change it, improve it, eliminate it, or revamp it.
4) Increases efficiency
Just as a clogged up filter can significantly reduce the efficiency of your furnace (costing you big bucks in heating bills), so can a clogged up operation reduce the efficiency of your business.
Once you see your business as a whole operation, you can focus on improving the individual functions of each department that will contribute to a more efficient whole.
5) Ensures great customer service
If you want your customers to love doing business with you, it starts with a solid, reliable, core business. When your employees (or you) know what to do, when to do it, and how to do it efficiently, you will truly serve your customers and clients in a way that will make a big impression. You build their confidence in your business and that brings them back to you for more products or services.
Unfortunately, in many cases, businesses get business because they are “the lesser of two evils” instead of being the first, competent choice. Don’t let this be you!
6) Protects against economic downturns
When the economy slows, every business owner gets a little nervous. With a turnkey business, there is a built-in plan for getting new customers, and keeping old customers. Turnkey operations have an established, proven marketing plan to follow. You know your business cycles and can plan for them. You know “what’s next” to fire up business. You are prepared to respond quickly, and with confidence.
7) Adds value to your business should you ever want to sell it or pass it on
You know how to start a business, but have you thought about how to end it? What happens to the business when you’re ready to retire? Will you pass it on to your children? Or maybe you just want to build a business, sell it for a hefty profit and then go build another one.
Whether it becomes part of your legacy (and your children’s inheritance) or you seek a new buyer, the value of your business increases significantly when you can offer it is a turnkey operation. “Here are the keys. Here is the manual. You’re ready to make a profit your first day in business.” Now, THAT is a business that will attract buyers (and bankers who have to finance them).
TIP: Here is one BIG way a turnkey operation won’t make you more money: If you let it become stagnant. Your market, industry, and potential customers demand change. You need to change with them. Once you’ve developed your turnkey system, if your first instinct is to say, “Whew, that’s done,” and check it off your to-do list, you need to reconsider that position. True, the biggest part is done. Yet, it needs to change and transition along with the market. . Review your system every year; make adjustments that will benefit your business as you go. Do your homework on your industry. What’s changed? How does that affect you? What can you do about it? How can you improve on what you’re doing? As you make improvements to your business system, you’ll also see big improvements in your profits while making your job as business owner easier and easier.