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Create a self-sustaining business

Management | December 1, 2014 | By:

Stay on track with the Entrepreneurial Operating System®.

Are you currently experiencing one or more of these common frustrations of owning
a business?

  • You feel your business is controlling you.
  • If you didn’t need people (employees, vendors, partners…)—
    your business would run beautifully.
  • There’s never enough profit.
  • You have hit a plateau in the growth of your business.
  • You’ve tried a number of strategies or fixes, but nothing seems to work.

If you’re nodding your head in agreement with any of these, you may take some comfort in knowing that this is not uncommon. You created the business, so you’re the only one who understands it all and can do it all, right? Often a business owner may realize that she or he has become the business.

It is possible to create a self-sustaining business that doesn’t require you to do it all. But to reach that goal, you’ll need more than just a great product or service—you‘ll need skills, tools and a system to take your business to that next level. Good intentions won’t do it.

The Entrepreneurial Operating System® (EOS) is that kind of system. It integrates the best business practices into a complete system for organizing and operating your business. The EOS Model is comprised of Six Key Components™ that can help you strive to reach “100 percent strong.” Here’s an introduction to those key components and the tools and disciplines of EOS.


How clear is your vision of your business or organization? If you were to meet with your team one-on-one and ask each one what the company’s vision is, what would you hear? Successful business owners clearly communicate a compelling vision to everyone in the organization. Each employee sees where the business is going and how to get there. The clearer the vision, the more likely the organization will achieve it.

EOS uses a tool called the Vision/Traction Organizer™ (V/TO) to create that clear vision. Using this tool, you answer eight questions, one for each of the eight sections of the V/TO, to simplify and document your vision.

  • What are your Core Values?
  • What is your Core Focus?
  • What is your Ten-Year Target™?
  • What is your Marketing Strategy?
  • What is your Three-Year Picture™?
  • What is your One-Year Plan?
  • What are your Quarterly Rocks?
  • What is on your Issues List?

Once you have answered these eight questions and completed your V/TO, make sure that it is shared with everyone. Your goal: get everyone on the team moving in the same direction. All employee actions and decisions should support your vision.


Building a great company takes great people. Despite how you may feel sometimes, you can’t build it on your own. In the EOS world, we say that you need the right people in the right seats.

Having the right people simply means that these people possess your core values. Using the Core Values you identified in the V/TO and the People Analyzer™ tool, you can determine if the people on your team share your core values and fit in your culture.

To fill the right seats, first ensure that you have the right seats for your organization. Use the Accountability Chart to determine what structure is needed to get to the next level, and then build out all of the “seats” in your organization by defining the five major responsibilities for each seat.

Then you put the right people in the right seats by using the “GWC” tool, which addresses three things that every person in the right seat needs: each must get it, want it and have the capacity to do it.

Getting the right people in the right seats isn’t always easy, but it is a key component that can make a huge difference in meeting your EOS goals.


The best leaders rely on a handful of metrics to help them understand how their business is doing. These numbers help get a pulse on your business, get better at predicting future developments and know if you’re on track. There are two key components.

First is the Scorecard—a high level, weekly report for the leadership team that looks at 5 to 15 numbers. From these numbers, you’ll know who is accountable for each number, what the goal is for the week and how you did over the past week. If your numbers aren’t where they should be, you’ll know about it before it turns into a problem.

The second discipline in data is measurables—a number for each person that he or she will know is “deliverable.” This takes time to identify, but is a key part of any individual’s success. We all have a tendency to measure ourselves against something, so make that a number you know will help each team member and the company succeed.


Once your vision is in place and working, you have the right people in the right jobs, and the data component is strong, you now have a company that is transparent, open and honest. Any problems will stand out.

At that point, use your Issues List to call out and document any issues you see. Once you populate your list, you “IDS” them. This is the EOS issue-solving track: “I” stands for identify, “D” for discuss and “S” for solve. The goal is to deal with the real issues you have and solve them for the long term.


Your process is your way of doing business. This part of the system is often neglected because it seems like too much detail and too much work to document, or it’s taken for granted. In EOS, we believe in looking at the 20 percent of processes that drive 80 percent of your success.

Every business has six to ten major processes. For example: your process for recruiting, hiring and training an employee; the process you use to take a lead through to closing a sale; or a process for how you make your product or provide your service.

Once you have identified your six to ten core processes, document them at a high level and work to get them followed by everyone. As you get more people following your process, you’ll create consistency and scalability on the job.


As Gino Wickman, creator of the EOS system, says: “Vision without traction is merely hallucination.” This part of the system is usually the weakest link for most organizations. If you don’t have traction, you don’t make your vision a reality. To gain traction, there are two main disciplines.

The first is Rocks: three to seven of the most important things that must get done in the next 90 days to keep your company moving to meet your goals. These also give the entire team a clear view of the priorities and who is accountable for meeting them.

The second discipline is the implementation of a weekly Meeting Pulse called a Level 10 Meeting. You’ll follow a specific agenda to report on what’s most important, spend time solving problems, and wrap up with a clear action list and accountability for each person.

These Six Key Components make up the EOS Model. The tools and concepts are simple and can be self-implemented. But simple isn’t the same thing as easy. EOS is a journey worth taking: it will challenge you to get clear and focused; it will mean being open and honest; it will mean building a strong team of the right people who work together and know where they’re going. Along the journey, those frustrations listed earlier should gradually fall away.

Lani Basa is a coach, consultant and facilitator working to help clients reach personal and professional goals. Along with her own firm, LaDS LLC, she is also the co-founder and executive director of The Business Women’s Circle®. She presented the EOS® system to attendees at IFAI Specialty Fabrics Expo in October.

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