Have you ever noticed how every Starbucks store you walk into looks and feels pretty much the same? The same colors, the same aprons on the employees, the same font on the chalkboard. You know that when you walk in and order your “Tall, Extra Hot, Peppermint Hot Chocolate” or “No Water, Extra Hot, With Whip, Chai Tea Latte,” you’re going to get the same drink
taste wherever you go. This is because businesses like Starbucks are simply a collection of systems and recipes that everyone has learned to follow.

Savvy business owners seek to create procedures or systems within their business that instruct how all situations are handled. Systems are repeatable processes that guide how a business operates at all times. A system doesn’t necessarily need to be written, though that is a good idea. It’s simply a way of doing good business consistently.

Having pre-defined systems in place in a business helps in four distinct ways.

4 Ways Systems Make Landlording Easier, Simpler & More Profitable

1. It simplifies decision-making.

When a business has specific systems that guide how things are done, decision-making is a much easier task. To use the Starbucks example once again, because they have defined within their system what syrups to use in their Peppermint Hot Chocolate, the barista doesn’t need to think too long and hard about how the drink should be made. A “Tall” would receive three pumps of chocolate, three pumps of peppermint, and one pump of vanilla. Combine this with meticulously steamed milk and whipped cream, and you’ve got perfection. Customers come to expect this, employees have less chance of screwing it up, and the consistency makes everyone much happier. Additionally, management can feel confident knowing that their employees (or “partners,” as Starbucks calls them) are making each drink exactly to standard without the management themselves having to physically make each and every drink.

Related: 7 Top Business Books to Help You Put Vital Systems in Place

In your landlording business, the same benefit exists. When you have a system that guides how your decisions are made, there is far less chance that something could be screwed up. For example, a tenant calls and asks for an extension (more time) on the rent. If you have no system for dealing with this question, you’ll be forced to make a decision on the fly, which may not be the best choice for your business. Instead, if your system has identified this potential question and determined a process for dealing with it, the stressful situation becomes just a routine answer. No big deal. (We’ll talk about the specifics of this question later in the book and provide several processes for dealing with it.)

2. It frees up management’s time.

Because the business is operating under a strict collection of systems and repeatable…