As the business owner, you probably like to have things done a certain way. But as your company grows and you bring on new people and start delegating some of the work to others, how can you be sure that things are done properly and to your standards? It’s a common problem that many business owners face, but the answer is simple: create systems.
Is it worth it? You bet.
Creating SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) and implementing systems now can save you hours in training and prevent dozens of sleepless nights. As long as everyone follows them, having systems in place can safeguard your business against many snags and hitches and prevent disgruntled customers, expensive mistakes, time and material loss, and an inconsistent or unpleasant brand message.
Plus, when something fails or goes wrong in your business, you’ll know that either the system failed you or you failed the system, and it should be easy to determine which it is. This alone can save you time and frustration so you can get right down to fixing things and preventing future problems.
What to Do When the System Fails
Facing a challenge? Did the employee or employees involved follow the system to a T? If so, there’s a problem with the system itself. Revisit the steps and procedures, and ask for input from your employees. Listening to the guys and girls out there doing the work can help you quickly pinpoint flaws in the system so you can make the necessary improvements and changes.
Once you know how the system needs to be revamped, revamp it!
What to Do When You Fail the System
Did the employee involved scrap the system and do things his or her own way? Like anything else, a system can only work if you use it. All of your employees should know the importance of following the systems you, as the business owner, have put into place. If you have an employee that’s unwilling to follow a particular system, ask him why – and really listen.
Maybe he or she has a better way of doing things. If so, you can work together to improve the system for the benefit of the entire team. You can also use this opportunity to encourage employees to come to you with suggestions and concerns instead of overriding the systems you’ve put into place.
The Added Bonus of Establishing Systems?
Need another incentive for establishing systems? With systems, you will enjoy more time and freedom. If you know that the systems work and you trust the employees you hired to follow them (If you don’t trust your employees, you’ve got bigger fish to fry), then you can step away from the office, without worrying about your business crashing to the ground.
And what business owner doesn’t fantasize about having more time and freedom? So get started!
If you were to ask some of the most successful business owners what the hardest and most helpful thing they’ve done for their business is, the answer is likely to be “Delegate.” Letting go of some of the strings that keep your business moving can be painful and scary, but if you don’t do it, you could end up tangled and tied to your business in ways that you don’t want to be.
Think about it: Why did you start your own business in the first place? You wanted freedom, right? Freedom, yes, but also control. Freedom to do things your way and control over your success, your finances, your future, and your time. But has that control turned into a burden? Has it actually significantly limited your freedom and time?
Ask yourself the following:
If you were to sell your business, would it be worth anything if you weren’t included as part of the transaction?
Do the number of things that only you can do outweigh the number of things your employees can do?
Could your business survive without you for 24 hours?
These questions may be scary, but if you want to create a business that truly gives you freedom, these are questions you’ve got to ask.
Are You Your Business’s Single Point of Failure?
In engineering, a system has a single point of failure if the entire system would stop working should a single part fail. Are you running a business with a single point of failure? If you aren’t delegating, you are. If you’re doing everything yourself in your business, you’re operating a machine whose single point of failure is you.
You have to learn to let go and delegate! In fact, you should delegate as much as possible. There are some things no one but the business owner can do, but much of it can be taught. If you’re hiring right, there’s a good chance that someone on your team can take over some of your tasks and even perform them faster and better than you do.
Wait, what? Not possible. No one could do a better job. No one could even do half as good a job as you. That’s what you’re thinking, right?
Well, here’s the truth: If you want things done a specific way, it doesn’t mean you have to continue to do everything yourself. It just means you have to be specific with those you’re delegating to about how you want things done.
Create SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) for those tasks only you know how to do. Take the time to document your way of doing things and create a system for getting the tasks done to your standards. It may take a little time up front, but the amount of time delegating those tasks will free up for you will more than make up for time lost.
How do You Know Who You Should Delegate Your Tasks To?
Toying with the idea of delegating, but unsure about who to delegate to? Think about the strengths of the different team members on your staff. Is there someone with great leadership skills that can easily grab and hold the attention of the rest of the staff? Maybe that’s the right person to start leading your daily meetings.
Is one of your employees known for his or her friendliness, positivity, attention to detail, and ability to put people at ease? Consider having that employee take over phone calls and scheduling. If you have tasks you’d like to delegate but can’t seem to match to your existing employees, think about the traits needed to really excel at those tasks and hire accordingly.
Give up a Little Control & Get a Lot More Freedom
Your business is your baby, but it shouldn’t be a burden. Learn to let go and give some control over to your employees! If you’ve hired right and you trust them, providing them with systems should allow you to really start enjoying the freedom of being a business owner. And isn’t that one of the main reasons why you started your business in the first place?
But it’s not just about the freedom that delegating allows. The less time you spend running around pulling strings, the more time you can invest in planning, expanding your vision, growing your business, and doing the things you love. So get to delegatin’!