Many people start a business to have a certain lifestyle and then find themselves busier and more stressed out than before. Processes, systems and delegation are ways to make sure you don't end up in that situation or, if you are already in that situation, are ways to get yourself out.
This week I spoke with Amy Wright, a business consultant who helps business owners improve their project and time management, teaches them how to hire and delegate effectively, and helps them develop customer service systems that work. In essence, she helps business owners get unstuck and get their acts together (but, Amy uses more colourful language than that). ;)
Outsourcing is hard, but so worthwhile. It's like the first time you have to take your kid to daycare, an analogy I know a lot of you are able to relate to. It's hard, there may be kicking, screaming and crying (from mom/dad or kid) but ultimately you know that it's in the best interest of everyone if daycare or school is in the picture.
It's the same thing with delegation. You need to let go of the reigns, even when it's hard, because ultimately it will help you be a better business person.
Have a plan for your day
Most entrepreneurs get caught up in a reactive state. They are replying to emails, trying to share on social media, responding to inquiries and suddenly it's the end of the day and they feel like they haven't really accomplished anything - because they haven't!
A plan can make all the difference but sometimes it's hard to stop and take time to make the plan because we're so busy IN our business. But a plan NEEDS to be a priority so that you don't get burned out and continuously feel frustrated.
How do you figure out what needs to go in your plans? Spend time to assess where you're at and where you're going.
Spend time thinking about your goals. What do you want to be working on? How much do you want to be making?
Track your time - what you are spending time on? Are there any key areas that you really shouldn't be spending time on and that could be delegated?
How easy/hard is it to start delegating?
Some people fear that delegating is a huge time and financial commitment. Start with three hours a week. Even if you have more, start small and get comfortable and build trust with the person you're going to be working with.
Process versus System
A lot of people mix these words up. A process is the steps you take to get from point 'a' to point 'b'. Step-by-step: how you manage your customer service, communications, and how do you plan out your blog posts (topics, fonts, layout, promotion).
Systems are the tools you use to manage those processes, such as MailChimp, Infusionsoft, Quickbooks, and Boomerang.
Create an Operations Manual
An operations manual isn't a big stodgy document. It's a working document that tracks what you do and how. The best way to put one together is to screen capture the processes you have, step-by-step. Tools like Jing and Camtasia are great for this. Then when you are ready to delegate you don't need to spend huge amounts of time on training, instead you just give them access to the operations manual.
Challenge yourself to spend two hours a week to capture what you do and create your operations manual.