Clockwork - Design Your Business to Run Itself

How much do I want to read more? 8/10

The author is very interesting. He has lots of experience, and a good sense of what makes sense. He's also generous with sharing his insights.
I will surely read his other books.
This one suppose you already own a business. I may have to launch a business before to get the most of it.


"It’s two a.m. and I am writing you out of desperation.”
“I own a preschool. We make no money. I haven’t taken a salary since we started. I’m racking up debt. And tonight, I am broken. Not just financially, but in my soul. I am convinced an immediate termination of my life would be the fastest resolution to my predicament.”
"I am exhausted. I am crying, and stop only because I am too exhausted to cry. I am starving for sleep. I am so ill, yet I can’t sleep because my worry keeps me up."
“What has become of my dream? I am trapped. I am exhausted. I can’t work more than I already do. Or maybe I can. Maybe my work is the slow suicide I am thinking of.”

Most entrepreneurs I know do everything We stay up late. We put out more fires. We work weekends and holidays, flake on commitments to family, and bail on nights out with friends. We put out even more fires. We push on, we push harder, we don’t get enough sleep.

my mission in life is to eradicate entrepreneurial poverty. Lack of money. Lack of time. Lack of life.

In my book Profit First, I sought to defeat one of the monsters that drives most entrepreneurs to despair: the lack of money. In this book, I’m going to help you slay an even bigger monster: the lack of time.

The goal is organizational efficiency. In this book you’ll learn how to make simple but powerful shifts in your mind-set and day-to-day operations that will make your business run on automatic.
Freeing ourselves to do the work we do best and the work we love most.

Life is about impact, not hours.


I decided to check my email to “make sure everything was okay.” It wasn’t. The rest of my day was spent making calls and sending emails. Even when I made it to the beach the next day, my mind was on the business and my body was dying for sleep. Yet again, I wasn’t really there. My family’s vacation was compromised, too, because my tension spread like smoke in a bar.

At this point in my life, I had built and sold one multimillion-dollar business to private equity and another one to a Fortune 500 company, written two business books, and spent a good part of my year speaking to thousands of entrepreneurs about how to grow their companies quickly and organically. Sounds like I was living the dream, right? You would think that I had retired my workaholic badge for good. But stressing out about work on yet another vacation proved I hadn’t. I wasn’t even close. And it was clear: I was definitely not alone.


better productivity? I was wrong.
No matter what hack or technique I tried, no matter how productive I became, I still slipped into bed at night long after I should have, and woke up the next morning way earlier than I should have.
All my years of studying productivity had given me nothing but more work.


Parkinson’s Law—“our consumption of a resource expands to meet its supply”.
Just as we use all the time we have allocated for a project to finish it, we also spend the money we have.
limit the resource and you limit your utilization of it.

you use the time you saved to do more work—just as Chris said. And not the work that feeds your soul. Not the work that could truly make a difference for your business. No, you do the next urgent thing. You put out the fires.

Yes, productivity is important; But the real holy grail is organizational efficiency.
It is not about working harder. It is all about working smarter.
You need to do the right tasks with your restricted time and have other people do the right tasks with their restricted time.
In other words, a business that runs like clockwork is about selective efficiency, not mass productivity.


I’ll forever be indebted to Frank for his no-nonsense, sage advice. I based my book The Pumpkin Plan on the simple strategy to rapid organic growth that he taught me.
He had spent four hours with our team evaluating every aspect of our businesses, and then we had a one-on-one immediately after.
it was only after ten years of working together that I finally got what he was trying to tell me. Fear can be a massive catalyst for change.

“The point of that story,” Frank explained, “is that the roadblock is you. The problem is the draw of the familiar. Entrepreneurs aren’t that different from any other human, in that when something is familiar, it becomes comfortable. Entrepreneurs—you included, Mike—work like animals. And while you say you ‘hate it’ or ‘won’t do it anymore,’ the truth is, you are familiar with it. And when you are familiar with something, as ugly as it is, it is easiest to keep doing it. Doing what’s familiar will land you in that rusty lawn chair, with a nut hanging out of your shorts.
“My goal is to make you more fearful of doing what’s safe and familiar, than taking the leap to the promising new. I wanted you to be terrified of the path you were on. I used your fear of where you were comfortably headed to move you to the new uncomfortable place you needed to go.”

our belief that we need to “work more” and “work harder” becomes familiar. Despite our exhaustion, the situation is comfortable, so the same problems yield the same solutions. Working long hours does not require us to step out of our comfort zone, or learn something new, or let go of our ego-driven need to micromanage.

Entrepreneurs have become way too comfortable with the hardship, so they keep doing the things that keep them in that state. If you want to make your business the most efficient it can be, you must stop doing what you are doing, which is getting in your own way. You doing the work, or inserting yourself in other people’s work, may be all you know to this point. It may be very comfortable by now. Stop doing it.