Entrepreneurs are creative people who are driven to succeed. They have big ideas and are able to execute on their vision quickly. However, many times the tasks that need to be done can’t be easily replicated by team members, so he or she is left doing everything alone; or the entrepreneur simply delegates tasks to others and moves on to the next idea without taking time to properly create and document the systems and processes.
Many businesses get stuck in the startup phase because of this oversight. Without clear processes to help you accomplish your company’s goals, the quality of work can be haphazard. Product quality can suffer, and your brand’s reputation may start to sink. In order to capitalize on quick growth, you should have concrete processes in place so new team members can get on board fast and succeed at their jobs. Get past the startup phase by understanding these process goals.
Goal #1: Growth
Have you heard about a company having growing pains? This frustrating period can happen when you put off establishing processes. Growing pains can kill a business. The more that you can do now to get processes written down and structured, the easier it will be for you to grow gracefully in the future.
If you are open to the idea of selling your business, you shouldn’t procrastinate on establishing your processes. Procrastinating can lead to developing a critical dependency on the people currently involved, and your future sale value will be dependent upon whether or not those staff members continue on in their jobs.
I personally try to design my businesses around not needing specific people. This isn’t because I don’t value my staff members, but I want each business to be a system I can move individuals in and out of without causing serious issues to arise due to their absence. I can then sell the company as a system as opposed to selling the company as a group of people.
Goal #2: Efficiency
Every time you work on a task, you want to ask yourself: “Am I doing something I’m going to do again? If so, how can I document and potentially automate it?”
Let’s say it takes you four hours to do a task on your own, and it would take six hours to do the task and document it. If you do that extra work once, the next time it may only take you two hours to do it. Or even five to 10 minutes to delegate it.
Cutting your time from four hours to two hours or even ten minutes is exponentially valuable. Efficiency is the key to progress, and doing a little extra work here and there to establish solid processes will make your time investment more effective because you are learning to be more efficient.
It’s also important to have accountability for creating and establishing processes in your business. For example, a manager could set goals for employees to document their processes for completing a task and track the time it takes to do it. During a monthly evaluation, managers could review this and determine if the task is important enough to require that amount of time from your employees or if there are ways to make the task more streamlined.
We use an online wiki, which is a database of information where each of the people in our company can enter in their processes. When new processes are posted, they’re sent to higher management to review and make suggestions. Every quarter, we also review the documentation together and look to see if there are any major changes that have occurred in the company’s growth process that need to be edited and adjusted. It’s like “spring cleaning” for our processes and documentation.
Goal #3: Passing on the Work
The first two goals ultimately lead to this. Whether the reason behind it is small-scale like delegating or automating tasks in order to free up more time for you, or large-scale like selling your business, you have to be able to pass on work to others. If you weigh yourself down with everyday jobs others could be doing, your growth is limited; and perhaps more importantly, you’re not doing your job as the boss.
You want to take the processes that you’ve established and hire others to do them or automate them as you grow. This is much easier if you have them documented well. If you decide to sell your business, the processes you have written down add to the value of the business. These are the types of things that create physical value. If you have a document, or even a nice large book of processes, you can sell your business without you in it because the process holds the power — not you.
Goal #4: Engaged Employees
With this focus on documenting processes, working towards efficiency and growth, and thinking about the long-term vision, don’t lose sight of the individuals who work for and with you.
Every person functions a little differently, and your employees need to have some freedom to figure out their own routines. Processes are clearly important for overall effectiveness, but how each individual approaches those processes should be up to them.
For example, at my company everyone spends the first hour of the day checking emails. We are a virtual company, and this is essential for us. However, each employee is responsible for deciding which emails are high priority and which emails contain lower priority items. The order they carry out tasks is customized by each person. We have a consistent process for setting up each day’s process, but not a recurring process for every day. I like to see people be part of their processes, logging what they’re doing and when they’re doing it. If it’s completely customized in their own personal work, it makes them happier, which consequently improves business.
Firmly establishing processes allows your business to live up to its potential and grow faster. You’ll have happier employees, better quality products, and more time to enjoy your life. Don’t be a control freak. Make yourself unnecessary.
Benji Rabhan is the founder and CEO of MorrisCore and its subsidiary companies ConversionCore, ClickCore, and AutomationCore. Benji has helped others improve their online presence and make money with their websites since he was 13 years old. Benji is a professional speaker and an expert in conversion rate optimization, automation, web design, PPC, and online marketing. In November 2011, he was honored at the White House as an Empact100 recipient. Benji’s first book, “Failure is Obsolete,” will be released in January. He can be contacted @benjirabhan.
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Category: Startup Advice