Do you find that most of your time working on your small business is focused on the immediate issues, such as putting out fires or catching up with work that somehow was missed but must be accomplished NOW?
The problem, in a nutshell is this: you are focusing too much on the commonplace, daily items and not on the long term vision of your company. Without planning, there is no business growth and with no business growth there is little long-term success. When you are stuck in the day-to-day details of your business, you are essentially pedaling nowhere fast.
To free up time to grow your business, first look at the systems you have currently in place. Take a day to write down all of the processes you use for business purposes, whether that is as simple as “How to Answer the Phone” to as detailed as “When Inventory of Item A is Low, Call These Suppliers First”. Don’t forget processes like:
- Sales Calls
- Credit and Collections
- Accounts Payable
- Cleaning and Maintenance
- Advertising and Promotions
- Customer Service
To jog your memory, think about the processes that are visible to the client (external processes) and those that are only used within the company (internal processes). Write all of those down as well.
Once you’ve created a list (don’t worry too much if it’s a large list – that’s great because you’ll have a fantastic how-to manual for your small business once finished), sit down and flesh out the details. Where there are holes in processes fill them. Create new ones that incorporate all of the necessary details. Then take the written-out details to someone who doesn’t know how to do the job at hand (or better yet an employee who does it daily) and ask them if they could complete the work without further instruction from you.
By determining your business processes, you’ll not only have a better idea as to what needs tweaking and what must be done in order for things to run smoothly, you’ll also have a full-fledged how-to manual to run your business should you fall sick, decide to sell the business or take a relaxing holiday.