Mostly I write about marketing here so when I seem to stray off topic you can bet it’s related to growing a small business and sometimes that takes getting your house in order so you can effectively market.
The most common reason business owners tell me they can’t get around to marketing, particularly some of the newer social tactics, is time. They’re already working 80 hours and week and can’t seem to find the time to squeeze more stuff in. While I get that completely I would also suggest, from experience, that you must find ways to create systems and processes that allow you to effectively delegate most of what you do today if you are to have any shot at growing a business that helps you get what you want out of life. Plain and simple, your business will suck the life out of you if you allow yourself to stay buried in the doing it work of making it, fixing it, shipping it.
The secret to getting yourself high enough out of the routine and focused on the strategic, the marketing, the innovation, is to document and delegate your success systems. I know that sounds really boring, kind of like creating an operations manual, but if you don’t do it nothing will change – or worse yet, you’ll abdicate work to others and risk sinking your brand completely.
Much of the success of your business may reside in the heads of your key employees. So, what happens when they leave? Do they take your processes with them or do you have them documented in a way that others can quickly learn? Want to hire as you grow? I wonder how much time you’ll save training that next employee with a set of documented routines in place?
Documenting the functional processes of your business doesn’t have to be painful or complicated. Taking a couple simple steps and making them part of your routine may be all it takes. Once you get in the habit, you’ll reap the rewards long-term.
- Create a functional org chart – even if you don’t have people for boxes you have the boxes so identify all the functions in your business
- List the processes – start making lists of all the processes needed by each function (this will grow and change but get the biggies down)
- Start creating checklists – process documentation can be as simple as a list of five things to check off, don’t over complicate this
- Create an online manual – use wiki technology like Central Desktop that allows you to create and organize your success manual from your web browser
- Get the entire team in – get everyone working in your business to contribute their processes and get in the habit of documenting as they go
You’ll need to trim and adjust your manual from time to time, but simply starting down this path is going to show you what a freeing step this is. And, when it comes time to sell your business your documented processes will be one of the most valuable assets you have to offer.