By Nicole Bickett, VisionBridge
If you own your own business, you may have gotten started because you wanted flexibility and control over your time. Yet as many entrepreneurs and business owners know, once you run a business you often work more than you ever have before! Why is this? Typically when a business owner starts a business they do all of the work. As staff members are added to the mix, each one creates their own way to accomplish their workload. This is great for the business owner…until that person leaves or doesn’t perform up to yours or your clients’ expectations.
Not only that, business owners and employees often feel like they can’t even take a vacation because their workload is just too great or no one is able to do their job as well as they do. Yet what they may need is exactly that – a vacation – to refresh and bring a sense of rejuvenation to their role. So what can you do?
- Create systems – Systems can be anything from the simple to the complex. Often a business owner does not implement systems, or a standardized way of doing things, because they feel that they don’t have time or don’t want to put forth the effort in light of all of their other tasks. However, creating systems allows for less work in the long run as it allows you to better delegate and create a consistent experience for your clients.
- Document your systems in an operations manual – Documenting the way that you do things so that it can be easily reproduced, whether you plan on growing your business or selling it, is vital to maximum efficiency and profitability. Start by simply writing your processes in a word document and changing them as things change in the business. Leave it on your computer as a working document; these days things change so rapidly there is no longer a need to print a copy and put it in a binder on the bookshelf.
- Delegation is the key to your business running without you – By implementing and documenting systems, you can easily delegate tasks. Why aren’t you delegating now? I would be willing to bet that it is because teaching someone what you do just takes too much time. Implementing numbers 1 and 2 above allow you to easily delegate tasks so that you are able to take that much needed vacation!
- Give it time – Setting up systems for your business is a process, not a destination. Companies change all the time and therefore perfect systems may never be achieved. Begin by creating your own proprietary business systems and slowly but surely, you will watch your efforts flow back to you in happier customers, more satisfied employees, and higher profitability.
The E-Myth Revisited has been around for a while, but it is one of my favorite business books of all time. The main premise is that your business should be the vehicle through which you gain personal and financial freedom. It walks through how to balance the three different characters present in every business and the phases in a business’s life. It shows how the turn key revolution has changed the face of business forever and how you can use those ideas to create your own successful business prototype. Finally, it discusses the business development process and how to implement systems that work so that you can accomplish your life dreams. This is one of those that I will read each year to stay on track and grow my business. If you haven’t read it in a while, I suggest picking up a copy!