By Gail Doby, ASID
CVO and Co-Founder of Gail Doby Coaching & Consulting
Running a small business can consume all your time if you let it. While hard work and commitment are critical to success, you can reach a point where you come to resent devoting so much of yourself to your job at the expense of other areas of your life, such as family, friends and wellness. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can be a successful business owner without feeling shackled to it day and night.
Thankfully we have not yet reached the point where robots are doing our jobs. Still, imagine for a moment your business as a well-oiled, humming machine, or better yet, an AI-driven supercomputer. The machine handles all your routine inputs and outputs, processes them accordingly, resolves minor problems, and maintains records of all transactions. You have to check on the machine every now and then to ensure it’s functioning properly. Otherwise, you are free to do other, more valuable things with your time, like being creative, bringing in new clients, or taking some time off to attend to personal needs and activities.
Sounds like science fantasy? Not at all. Thousands of small businesses like yours operate this way. How do they do it? By creating a highly functional team, establishing guidelines, and then delegating tasks and responsibilities to team members.
All three elements are important, but establishing guidelines is especially critical. A computer is just a hunk of metal without a program. It needs clear instructions to function properly and dependably. The same holds true for your team. Providing them with well-articulated, documented, specific processes, procedures and checklists allows them to act independently yet consistently, adhering to your vision, policies and requirements. You can have confidence that they are performing well and providing excellent service without you being involved.
Now I’m not suggesting you treat your team like robots. On the contrary, you need to engage with them and they with each other, acknowledge their strengths, delegate appropriately, and reward them for their service. In doing so, you will foster the mutual respect and support that will free you from taking on all the burden of your business and allow more time for other pursuits.