This is Part 2 of the How To Manage Your Business for Growth Blog Series
Way too many entrepreneurs fail to realize that part of the job description is to manage your business.
The struggle? We're working so many other jobs in the business that it becomes challenging to remember that the management part of the business (managing our team, managing ourselves, etc.) also needs attention.
In this section, I’ll primarily address making sure that everyone in your business has directed responsibilities/focus and that you are managing the information flow in your organization.
A common thread with small businesses is blurry lines about who's responsible for what: No one’s really sure who's taking care of what or who’s butt is on the line if deadlines are missed. Which means that it always ends up being the business owner’s butt on the line. It’s exhausting.
These blurry lines don’t allow anyone to take ownership of an outcome and sabotage our ability to be effective as we create results.
I see a lot of entrepreneurs use the “We’re a team, so we’ll come together and get it all done!” But at the end of the day, no one is left holding the reigns except you and you’re feeling awfully alone, resenting the paychecks you have to write because you’re the only person who seems to care.
No, I’m not reading your mail. I’ve been in your shoes & worked with enough other people in those shoes too!
So here's how you fix it:
Start by creating responsibility descriptions.
Start by creating a list of what departments of your business need to be taken care of. Your list might include fulfillment, sales, customer service, and marketing, and may extend beyond this or be more specific too. Ask yourself if you can break any of these down into further categories (I.e.: Fulfillment might be broken into Service & New Installs).
Now you can identify the top two or three priorities for each department. And turn that into a responsibility description.
Some quick samples:
Title: Sales Manager
This position’s primary responsibility is to increase occupancy by helping families and serving seniors through ongoing community relations. This position’s secondary responsibility is to focus on Sales Only Sales and maintain high quantity sales activities and prioritize focus on short-term return on time invested.
Title: Sales Assistant
This position’s primary responsibility is to coordinate the move-in and integrate new members to the community to retain long-term customers. This position’s secondary responsibility is to alleviate tasks from the Sales Team to keep them focused on Sales Only Sales.
Title: Client Support Position (Customer Relations)
This position’s primary responsibility is to receive and manage all incoming client requests. This position’s secondary responsibility is to follow up with client requests to ensure adequate resolution was provided. This position’s tertiary responsibility is to determine potential for additional work as needed to provide highest customer satisfaction.
Do this for each key priority, and then hand those responsibility descriptions out to the appropriate member of your team. Then step back and let them take ownership. If they fail, call their attention back to the responsibility description, and help them try again.
As the business owner, you might be taking responsibility for multiple areas. That's fine. You probably will. But you should look to start outsourcing those from your plate as soon as you can.
The idea is that sooner or later you start sloughing some of these off your plate and letting your team step up and take a stand alongside you to help move the business forward.
Initially I was responsible for almost everything before I started bringing team members into the company. Now we have broken everything out and given it to different people: we have people responsible for sales, leads and conversions in the marketing area, strategy, design and distribution of content, inside fulfillment, everything. I’m mostly responsible for making sure everyone gets their responsibilities fulfilled, along with a few other key priorities in the business.
One important thing to remember about these…
A responsibility description is not a job description. A job description tells someone what to do and how to do it. A responsibility description is a very short paragraph (2-3 sentences) that says something along the lines of “the marketing director's primary responsibility is ____, and their secondary responsibility is _____.”
It is an overview of what that individual is responsible for getting done.
Managing Information Flow
This is crucial.
With growth often comes a lack of information tracking. Because when it was just one person, it was easy to know where everything was going and what exactly was going on in the business. As businesses grow, team members come and go and the business grows too large for one person to keep track of every little thing. As terrifying as it is, business owners don't know everything that is happening in the business anymore.
The solution to this terror is to figure out what information needs to be communicated regularly, and do it.
What Needs to be Communicated...
Although these would be usually your KPIs, sometimes you can't really put a KPI on what you need from your employees. Often, you need to know more from them than just the information from the KPI they’re responsible for. So sit down and figure out what needs to be communication between the two of you. This can be anything: where they have room to improve, to how they’re going to improve their part of the business, what regular tasks do they need to do in order to regularly grow their aspect of the business, etc.
After you’ve figured out what regularly needs to be communicated, set up regular meetings for the purpose of facilitating communication of that information.
I don’t mean the once-a-year business meeting to look at where you want to take the business. These should be once per week for full-time employees, but could be less frequent with part-timers and these meetings should have a clear agenda.
Think about it. Things happen from week to week, and those things need to be communicated.
The key to this is that it’s a short meeting. This is not an hour to two hour long conversation -- it’s a 15-30 minute debrief of what has happened, what is going well, where KPIs are, and what needs to change.
Now if you only meet once a month or once a year, then it might be a two hour conversation. But if you're meeting consistently and you're following the debriefing agenda, it's fast, you can communicate quite a bit, and you both stay up to date on what's going on and who needs what from who.
There may be some keys that you don’t need to communicate via meeting. You might send out a monthly newsletter to share some information, or daily bulletins. But you need to know what information needs to be shared, and set up a framework to make it happen.
Two helpful ways to manage your business are to keep people focused and responsible for their own parts of the business, and keep a managed flow of information going. With these steps in place, your business is well-prepared for the growth you’re bringing its way!
Not sure how to bring that growth? Check out my company’s Goal Setting and Achieving course. It gives you all the tools you need to begin creating patterns of lasting growth in your business through setting goals and then blowing them out of the water!