I’ve decided that business owners are control freaks. THERE! I SAID IT!
Having control over your business, however, is a GOOD thing. Your business is your baby, your pride and joy, your livelihood. If you do not have control, then you are bound to run into some unfortunate scenarios that lead you down an ugly path. I hate to say it, but lack of control results in employees stealing, customers taking advantage, and vendors overcharging. Here is the thing though… having control does not look like what you think.
Let’s be clear about something… You cannot manage ALL of the tasks needed in your business. It is, quite frankly, impossible. So… STOP being a control freak! Another good term for this scenario would be hoarding. Stop hoarding all of the work for yourself! At some point (probably sooner than you want to admit) you must delegate smaller tasks in order to handle larger issues. Looking at the bigger picture will help you find ways to improve your process. And of course, we know that improving your process will only make you more money!
Let’s define what control is for your business. Control is running an organized process with a clear focus to achieve planned goals.
Yes, getting organized includes cleaning up the mess and making pretty little folders to store your overwhelming influx of paperwork. That is a given. But getting organized also means creating a system and assigning a place for everything that enters your workflow. I love how Google defines the word “organized”:
|synonyms:||(well) ordered, well run, well regulated, structured;|
Notice the word efficiently used in the above definition. That is exactly what getting organized will do for your business: create an efficient workflow so that you can be more productive.
It is really easy for entrepreneurs to get distracted because they are idea-prone. They have a million ideas on how to make more money and when a new idea pops in their head, they loose sight of the original plan. For the seasoned business owner, the same is true… except it is on tasks. A business owner can easily get caught-up in one task, thus causing them to neglect the rest of the tasks in their process.
Here is a good example: My father-in-law owns a semi-truck mechanic shop and towing company in South Georgia. I worked for him when I was 18-years old (NO, not as a mechanic. In his office, Silly!). My father-in-law cares so much about every part of his business and it wouldn’t take much for him to get side-tracked. An employee would ask for his advice or help on rebuilding a certain part of the engine and BOOM! three hours later he would still be engrossed in the project… helping his employees get the job done. That meant all of the other tasks on his list would be untouched and pushed back for a later time.
Two is better than one. Your business will be more productive with people working alongside you in the process. I suggest that you find an assistant to help you stay on top of your bookkeeping, filing, and human resource documents. Contract someone to help you sale your service or product so that you can focus on other areas. Maybe you’re at the point where you need to hire a production manager to oversee your workflow and manage your employees. Creating a team will take your business to the next level.
Do NOT waste your time micro-managing your team. If you fully train them from the beginning, then they will follow your lead. You trusted them enough to bring them on board; now trust them enough to do their job. Yes, you may have a few questions from your employees along the way, but that is their way of learning YOUR process. Micromanaging only results in frustrated employees, stressful situations, and wasted time.
Focus on the tasks that you are excellent at and outsource or delegate the things that you are not. For example, if you are not excellent at social media management, then that is one thing you can outsource for a small fee… or maybe even for FREE. There are thousands of companies out there that specialize in social media management.
Do your research. We live in a world where research consists of a 5-minute Google Search on whatever topic we need to know more about. We make decisions within the first 60-seconds of results appearing on the screen. It is amazing that we have such a tool at our finger tips, but honestly we are allowing search engines determine how we run our businesses. You need more than a 5-minute search to determine which programs are best for your business. Take the time to compare, analyze, and test before implementing a new program into your process.
Of course, you’ll need to check your Business Budget before signing any contracts, implementing new software, or offering any new employee wages. You’ll most likely need to shift funds around before you can commit to these added expenses. However, don’t be scared! These added expenses will create added revenue for your business!
[Tweet “Delegating is not relinquishing control. In fact, it is helping you gain control. #controlfreak”]
Follow your plan.
Remember that Business Plan you made when you launched your idea into a reality? That plan is your guide to achieving long-term goals. I suggest that you keep your plan close-by so that you can reference it on days you feel distracted. When you have a genius idea, ask yourself if it fits in the plan. When someone presents you with a program or suggestion, ask yourself if it lines up with your vision for the company.
Make small goals. Every business has one main goal: to succeed in obtaining the market share for your product or service. BUT, how will you get there? Your business plan should layout the pathway, but your yearly goals will tell you the steps.
Every year I analyze the current state of the roofing company. I determine which small goals we achieved in the previous year plus what strides we made towards succeeding in the market. I take that information and generate NEW goals for the following year. I’m a visual person therefore I like to SEE things written or drawn out. I have three dry-erase boards in my office and one of those boards contains the roofing company’s annual goals.
The best part of having the company’s goals written in front of me is that throughout the year I am reminded of what we need to accomplish. That board is staring back at me every. single. day. When I get distracted on a small project, that board is giving me the stank eye and silently saying, “Is that project helping you accomplish these goals?” I immediately prioritize and get focused! Believe it or not, this concept works tremendously. Go get yourself a board right now.
Now that you know what real control is for your business, you have my permission to resume being a real Control Freak! 🙂