The Systematization of Campo and Six other Principles for a Successful Business

In one of my classes this week we had Mark Estee come in to speak.  Mark is the Owner of the restaurant Campo here in Reno.  His purpose was to talk about how he has leveraged social media to help his business however he also brought up some of what he has learned about running a profitable business that I wanted to mention here.  He definitely made an impression as a charming, funny, and savvy entrepreneur who is passionate about his business.

Although I was looking forward to hearing Mark speak, I didn’t think he’d have anything to say that would be applicable to my blog.  I was surprised to find that he had much more to talk about than blogging and tweeting.  What Mark really emphasized was the importance of systematization.

Mark spoke about Moody’s, his first restaurant, and how even though it was a popular restaurant with a lot of clientele, it was never profitable.  From the sound of it, he didn’t have systems in place that lent efficiency to operations and costs stayed high.

When he opened Campo he realized that he needed to systematize the processes of the business in order to create a business that was not only popular, but also profitable.  To achieve this systematization, he put efficient systems right into the design of the business from day one.

A few other principles he follows:

1) Have weekly meetings with managers and employees to constantly give them feedback both of the many things that go right, and to discuss what may have gone wrong.

2) He hires experts to manage aspects of his business that are not core to it such as marketing and accounting, but he does stay involved.

3) He knows each job in his business.  He’s worked in each position so he knows how it should be done and the challenges each employee faces.  When possible he still jumps in to help out where he can, whether that is in prepping the food, busing a table, or washing dishes.

4) He is always listening and staying involved, keeping tabs on what is being said about his business.

5) He engages with those who talk about his business online.  One thing he says about social media is that it can really help you or hurt you and you will be held accountable for whatever you put out there.

6) A good team is essential.  He wants employees who love to come to work each day, who believe in the business, and he structures his compensation so that they “have some skin in the game”.  It is important that your team cares that your business succeeds.

I can’t help but see some parallels between the business practices of a successful entrepreneur and a successful project manager.   The focus on systems and processes, teams and communication lends some credence to my idea that entrepreneurs are in many ways project managers.

I’ve not been to Campo yet, but I keep hearing good things so I will definitely make a point of going soon.

Are you an entrepreneur?  Please tell me about what systems you have in place that make your business successful, or those that you want to put in place.


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