“Gearing Up” for Growth

gears-mechanismWhere do we begin? You are stressed with putting out fires, and there are more tasks to attend to than you have time to give at the moment. You feel that there is simply not enough time to work on the business instead of in the business. Therein lies your problem.

State of The Business

Before we get into any kind of steps to extinguish these fires, we must understand the strategy behind the process. What has to be learned is that your business is comprised of many interconnected systems. These systems work together to perform to the level that they are currently performing at. As you look or think about your business, what grade (on a scale of 1-10) would you give the systems that you have set up to run your operations? If you are putting out a lot of fires, then your score should probably be no more than a 5.

Shifting Your Mindset

This “systems” concept can be difficult to understand at first, and you may not even agree that it can help you or your business. There are many business owners out there that believe that their running around is “just the nature of the business.” These same people would also believe that those who do not have to work 80 hours a week in their business either found the right niche or managed to hire the perfect people. If you fall into this category, then I will let you in on a little secret: the perfect manager and the perfect niche are both fairy tails! Yes, you will want good, competent employees to be working in your business, but they will not be the reason that you can leave for a week to go to the Bahamas and not have to worry about what is happening at the home front. The only way that you will ever be able to take off of work and depend on good employees is if they have a clear and effective system that will allow for a smooth business flow. Great companies are run by systems, and these systems are run by good (Not irreplaceable, not bad) employees.
Why is it that most franchises do not have to have their bosses there in order for things to run smoothly? It is because they have set their business up for their employees to “work the system.” There is no chaos to be found in a successful franchise, and this is not because they have had a stroke of good fortune! They have carefully examined every area of the business, and created a set of rules and procedures that assist every employee in knowing what the owner wants, and how to successfully implement and achieve the desired result.

How Do We Create These “Systems?”

What will it take to become the next McDonald’s? Does it require vigorous training, good word of mouth, or the example of the owner working every part of the business for each employee to learn the tricks of the trade? No. Training will help, and good employees helping other employees will also be beneficial, but they will not ensure standardization for years to come. The answer isn’t sexy, or anything you have never heard of, but it works: documentation. Documentation works because it is set in stone, and it is there for everyone to see. Let me give you some examples of the benefits of the Working Procedures, one of the documents we will be learning how to make:

-If there is a problem that continues to arise, we can to go back to the system and the documentation and see where the issue is coming from.

-If an employee has a question about a customer, an invoice, a job, etc., they can go to the operating procedures and find some guidance.

-If there is a mistake made by an employee during the course of the day, but they followed procedure, they can point to the documentation and stay in the clear.

The Magic Three

There are three sets of documents that you will want to establish in your company: the Strategic Objectives, General Operating Principles, and the Working Procedures. These documents range from the “why” of your business, to the “how.” Developing your systems is crucial, but clear communication of these systems to your employees is the only way that any of this will work. In the coming posts, I will show you how to create each document, what its purpose is, and how you will use it to streamline your business and stop the fires from flaring up all around you. It will take time and patience to get through all three, but you will quickly find that it is well worth the sacrifice.

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