I wish there were two of me!
If only there were more hours in the day!
How often have you told yourself that?
We go into business for ourselves for freedom.
- Freedom from a boss
- Financial freedom
- Freedom of choice in what we do day to day.
But how many of us take the leap to independence to find that we’re working 60+ hours per week and have less time to ourselves than ever?
The business starts to run you rather than you run it.
As a business owner, it’s only natural to want to do everything yourself, especially in the early stages.
At this time you are learning new aspects and building your brand reputation as the business grows.
Having said that, there are only so many hours in a day and it’s not possible to work at such a high velocity for sustained periods.
Something will give!
You can outsource once the business gets a little traction and then delegate the ‘essential’ but low value tasks, leaving you to focus on the income generating rather than operation jobs.
But what if you’re not ready to outsource?
Systemising your work may be the answer.
When asked how you carry out a particular function in your work, ‘I don’t know, I just get on with it’ is not an adequate response.
Identify tasks that you conduct regularly and break them down into steps.
Breaking down tasks into steps helps to streamline the activity and eliminate unnecessary time draining actions.
Once your task has been broken down, then determine the best practices and remove those not benefitting you.
Basically converting tasks into process steps prevents reinventing the wheel every time, plus similar tasks can then be batched for greater efficiency.
One scenario in which this task mapping could take place could be during the process of answering the telephone and taking an order.
It would be clear which questions to ask as a script would be provided within one of the process steps.
Or perhaps you could list how a quotation is processed, followed-up and filed.
I am simplifying here as processes tend to be a little more involved than I’ve just described.
What if the worst happened and you were taken ill.
With processes in place, at least your standby would understand exactly how you like things done.
Better still, there may be a way to apply technology and automate some or part of the process once the steps have been broken down, thus allowing you to be hands off for part of the time.
It’s a win, win situation.
Training time will be significantly reduced with the documented step by step instructions should someone need to step into your shoes for a while.
Recording a short ‘How to’ video with a Smartphone may even make it unnecessary for you to conduct training in person.
Not implementing systems runs the risk of duplication of work, increased costs plus wasted resources, time not being the least of those.
You need systems if you want to scale up, otherwise, you’re not it the right position for business growth you’re and just preparing for chaos.
Just imagine, creating extra time just so you can take a guilt-free break from the grindstone!
Streamlining work is not just for the office. Why not adopt the practice at home as well.
Consistent results require a consistent input method, in the same manner as any great recipe.
And if we’re to take the cooking analogy a little further, the whole process will require frequent monitoring and tweaking if the end product is to be improved.