How many hats are you wearing? As business owners we tend to be the “wearer-of-all-hats” – the “doer-of-all-tasks” — often feeling like an octopus without enough arms. Most of us went in to business for freedom, more control of our time and our lives, and to do what we love. Problems arise, though when we fail to realize that we cannot do it all alone, yet bringing on help is often a hurdle that feels too high. Where to start? Who to trust? How to find and keep good people? It would be faster to just do it myself instead of having to tell someone else how to do it. Sound familiar?
Here are 4 Steps to begin sharing the “hats”:
1) Where to start? First determine what’s the biggest issue for your business right now? Choose One! Where are you feeling bogged down? Is it the technical work – enough staff for customer service? Perhaps you have that handled, but it’s the back office or administrative issues that are falling through the cracks? Or some business owners neglect the sales and marketing efforts while wearing all the other hats. It’s important to find ONE place to start first.
2) What needs to be done? Systemize. Once you’ve determined where you’re going to start, the next step is to create a job description and a regular process for handling it each time. It’s imperative to write down the process, the “how-to’s” for the task and to follow that process regularly. For example, if you attend a number of networking events, what are the regular steps for follow up? Do you throw all the business cards you’ve collected in a drawer never to be looked at again? Or do you have a regular procedure of entering them in your CRM, sending a follow-up note or email, adding them to a newsletter list, scheduling coffee or lunch, etc.? Once you create a regular process that happens each time – it makes it easier even if, as the business owner, you are still handling this task yourself. It’s more efficient and effective to do things the same way rather than re-inventing the wheel each time – that takes too much brain power, not to mention too much time!
3) Trust the System. Now that you’ve created a system, you must document and regularly implement the process. You may tweak it periodically if things need to be adjusted, but the basic system is in place. When you have a documented system that you trust, it’s easier to bring someone in or contract with someone to handle the task. The issue of it taking too much time to explain what to do has been curtailed because the process is out of the owner’s head and is on paper. You are creating a system first – then delegating to a person.
4) Hire. Train. Monitor. You’ve outlined the job description and the systems and processes; remember three important steps in People Management: hire, train, and monitor. Hire or contract with someone who has the skills and the temperament required for the job. Train the person on the job that is now outlined and documented, and monitor their progress and their success with specific, measureable goals and objectives. As the business owner, you are responsible for the success of your business and of your people so you must stay involved and play your part – without micromanaging – a fine line!
It can feel like a big task to bring on the right kind of help – so break it down step by step to manageable pieces. I work with many business owners facing these challenges. I am passionate about helping business leaders stay on track to create a growing business, and shifting their focus to successfully achieve business objectives, instead of being mired in daily operations! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like a template for documenting a process. I would love to hear from you – your successes, your challenges, and how I can be of service to you and your organization.