Let’s face it – if building a business was easy, everyone would have one. Building a business is hard work, and so is running one. If entrepreneurs aren’t careful, it’s easy to get swallowed up trying to manage it all. Starting out, it may be possible for owner/operators to juggle all the roles. For some small businesses, this model can sustain indefinitely. For those entrepreneurs seeking real growth, there will come a point where replicable processes must be created.
Processes are defined sets of operations; they are blueprints for productivity and invaluable tools for approaching personal responsibilities. Processes can increase efficiency, improve service and product quality, and boost personal and professional reputations. Establishing intelligent processes allows entrepreneurs to step back as their operations become automated. Relinquishing control of some responsibilities can be challenging at first, but for growth to occur it can become a virtual necessity.
Do something more than once and there ought to be a process for it. Processes streamline operations, ensuring efficiency and accountability outlining steps for goal achievement. As a business grows, so does demand on the owner’s time. If preparations for growth are in place, entrepreneurs can be prepared to respond accordingly.
For the unprepared entrepreneur, growth can be catastrophic. Business owners can quickly burn out, falling behind on deadlines and responsibilities. Burnout can severely impact client relations and company revenue. Effective processes help entrepreneurs replace personal duties with automated systems and helps them pass roles and responsibilities off to qualified individuals. Fewer personal responsibilities mean more time and energy left for responding to, and planning for: growth and success.
Oftentimes, business owners are hesitant to let go of certain responsibilities. It’s understandable. With your own hands on a project, there’s a certain surety in the outcome. Allowing other people or machines to perform critical tasks creates a vulnerability. Rather than leave the interpretation of duties up to chance, create effective processes. Intelligent business processes can ensure the same steps are followed every time for predictable results, regardless of the agent.
Processes for Your Personal Life
How we approach our personal responsibilities can have a great effect on our own productivity. It all starts with attitude. Are you responding intelligently to the demands placed upon you, or are you just reacting? Knee-jerk reactions don’t often pay off. Approaching your own responsibilities with intent helps manage your duties and your time.
You are your own gatekeeper. Responding to incoming emails, phone calls, text messages and more can be incredibly time-consuming. Scheduling when to address incoming responsibilities can help limit distractions. Setting times for checking messages can corral incoming messages. Take an effective approach. Try adopting a “delete, delegate, defer, do” mindset.
The day is limited to 24 hours; how you spend them is up to you. Spam messages, cold calls, and unwanted emails can often be deleted without acknowledgment. This can apply to people as well. Drags on your time and energy reduce productivity, limiting business growth. You’re investing your time, what’s the return?
A good leader knows how to properly delegate. If someone else can perform a task as good as you (or even close enough), delegate it. Delegation means more than pushing off tasks to employees. Outsourcing and hiring freelancers can help you dedicate your time where it’s most effective.
Respond, don’t react. An incoming email alert is like bait in the water, tempting you off topic. Phone calls threaten to interrupt business owners all day long. Draw your own boundaries; push responding off until an appropriate time. Bouncing from task to task can result in low productivity. Do 100% of one task, not 25% of four.
When it’s time to get to work, get it done. Override the urge to procrastinate. If something is actionable, take action. Distractions are everywhere. Make the decision to be productive. Avoid temptation. If you can’t engage with something, don’t interact. Complete the tasks you’re on before moving to the next one.
Staring at your computer screen too long? Get a grip on your inbox. Prioritization is paramount. Catalog your incoming responsibilities. Get back on track and stay there.
Times change and with them, so often must processes. Processes can become outdated and inefficient, reducing productivity. Maintaining a constant loop of feedback within your process structure can help correct the deficient process and strengthen others.
Resource management. Changes in resource availability may require changes in processes.
Advancements in technology. Technological upgrades may render some processes obsolete.
Improved execution. If a better method for accomplishing goals becomes available, adopt it.
Entrepreneurs ready and willing to respond to changes in their environment can reap the benefits of flexibility. When opportunity knocks, prepared entrepreneurs have the time to answer. Whether you choose to, of course, is up to you.
Studies show habits are formed over an average of 3 weeks. Establish intelligent, effective processes today and before long, productivity can become second nature. Processes are generally broad; there is no framework to cover every situation entrepreneurs may face. Take an active role in creating, following, and improving effective business processes for your organization, and for yourself.
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The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.