In the last blog we talked about creating more freedom in your business and acknowledged the tendency for most small business owners to "over-control," which keeps their business small. The alternative to controlling is to create "controls" or systems that allow us to streamline, templatize, structure and monitor the actions and results in our business. If this sounds overwhelming, start with baby steps.
Begin with the end in mind. Creating systems and controls isn't overkill for a small business, rather, it is the "end game" we can slowly start living into right now.
For service-oriented businesses, this may not sound very warm and fuzzy, but nailing the operations side of your business actually allows you more quality time with your customer. Consider anatomy; the structure that you are implementing is the spine and muscle of your business, allowing your head and heart to be free to create. A streamlined business offers you more freedom and because it is more efficient, ultimately generates more cash flow.
Begin by asking yourself two key questions:
First, what is one piece of software or non-technical solution that you can put in place to start streamlining your business this week? (Think systems, templates, dashboards, policies, scripts, trackers etc.)
Secondly, but just as important, where can you spend less time on the day-to-day tasks in your business, and start thinking more about the big picture? Where are you paying attention to minutia while completely ignoring your long term road map? (No judgment, but do you even know what you want a year or two down the road, or are you just focused on getting through today?)
This week's homework is to do these two things:
1. Spend one hour thinking about your big picture. How have the most successful people in your industry achieved their greatness? How can you model them? And just as importantly, how do you want to be different? Write down whatever comes to mind. Then determine where you see your business in six months, one year and three years down the road, and set some benchmarks along the way that you need to meet in order to achieve these goals.
2. Create one template or one new process that will help you streamline what you do. For example, I recently implemented a free scheduling system called Calendly.com that integrates with my Google calendar and allows people to set up appointments with me without all the back-and-forth. It's a beautiful thing.
I also created an editorial calendar for email marketing and have started writing my emails using voice dictation. Holy cow, it's so fast. *hiccup* Oops, well, we are still working out the kinks, but guess what, I enjoy writing them more now because it feels like flowwwww.
Now go out there and have FUN creating more freedom in your business!