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Eliminating The Bottleneck In Your Business – YOU

If you’re in business or planning to start a business then this might be some of the most important information you’ll ever read.

In our last article we talked about the importance of systems. If you didn’t have a chance to read it then here’s the link.

Look, implementing systems in your business is vital – in a business sense it’s what separates the men from the boys.

It’s what’s going to give you speed, scalability and leverage. Without systems, you’re putting a lid on the growth of your business and turning it into a prison for yourself.

In this article we’re going to have a look at the process of starting to build systems in you’re business.

OK let’s dive in.

Our goal is to eliminate the biggest bottleneck from your business – YOU.

Stay with me here.

Even if you’re not looking to get out of your business immediately, the day will come when you need to take time off, want to go onto another venture, employ more staff or even sell your business.

When the time comes you’ll be thankful you followed this advice.

THINKING TEN TIMES BIGGER

Your job as an entrepreneur is to be an innovator and a builder of systems.

Even if you are a sole operator right now, it’s important to think long-term and think big.

The first part of the process is to think of your business as being ten times the size it currently is. If that were the case what roles would exist?

For example, would you have someone taking care of the bookkeeping, someone else in shipping, another person in sales, a marketing person etc.

You get the idea.

If you’re a sole operator or a small business it’s not a problem if you currently perform all or most of the roles in your business. But it is a problem if you currently HAVE TO perform all the roles in your business. If you are indispensable, you are a bottleneck and the business will only move as fast as you can.

DEFINE THE ROLES IN YOUR BUSINESS

Now we need to start looking at each role in the business. Now when I say role I don’t mean person.

For example, in a smaller business, the same person might be both on reception and doing the bookkeeping. Now even though one person does both of these roles they are still two separate roles and if the business were larger these two roles would be performed by different people.

In an even larger business, a single role might be broken up even further. For example, there might be a separate bookkeeper for accounts payable and accounts receivable.

Once you have identified all the different roles in your business, you can start defining what tasks each role performs.

For example what are all the tasks we expect the person performing the bookkeeping role to do? The tasks may include:

  • Invoicing customers
  • Bank reconciliation
  • Follow up unpaid invoices
  • Entering supplier invoices
  • etc. etc.

Now once we have identified all the roles within the business and defined what tasks each role does. We now need to document exactly how each task should be performed.

BECOME A CREATOR OF CHECKLISTS

One of the best tools you can use in building business systems is checklists.

Checklists are easy to create, follow and track.

Once you’ve created a list of all the tasks performed in your business, you are ready to start documenting exactly how these tasks are performed.

A simplified example for the task “Follow up unpaid invoices”, could look something like:

  • Run account receivable report
  • For any invoices that are 7-13 days overdue send a friendly reminder
  • For any invoices that are 14-27 days overdue call the customer to remind them to pay
  • Forward any invoices that are over 27 days overdue to our debt collection agency

See how we’ve broken the task down into small easy-to-follow steps?

Now granted the above is a simplistic example for illustration purposes.

In fact, some of these steps include subtasks which would also need to be documented – for example how do you run an accounts receivable report?

So to recap – it’s essentially a three step process:

  1. Identify all of the roles in your business
  2. Define what tasks each role performs
  3. Create checklists for properly completing these tasks

Now if you wanted to delegate or outsource a task, it’s going to be so much easier to hand the person a step-by-step process rather than just giving them ad-hoc training and watching over them constantly to make sure they do it right.

Once the system is in place, scaling your business becomes super easy – just add people.

Once you see the awesome power of systems in your business you’ll never go back to the old way of doing things.

As you can see, this process is a way of getting the systems you already have in place documented. Currently all these systems are stored in your head and accessible only to you – at least until we come up with a way to read minds.

Documenting these business systems will be the only way to easily scale your business and let it run without you.

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13 thoughts on “Eliminating The Bottleneck In Your Business – YOU”

  1. I just want to tell you that I am very new to blogging and site-building and actually loved this web blog. Most likely I’m planning to bookmark your blog post . You actually come with awesome articles and reviews. Thank you for sharing with us your web site.

  2. Your articles have a lot of wisdom. Advanced thinking as far as business is concerned. I read a lot but your articles are the first to mention how to develop business systems.
    Great job and thanks
    Erick

  3. Thank you so much its a good way to start create my system of my store of shoes. Also could you give me some advice how to start building the system? The business has already opened.

  4. You are a mentor and a coach.
    I am greatly blessed with all the insight received from your busi ness coaching.
    Thanks
    Best regards

  5. Greeting Alan,

    When I searched for a marketing book on Audible.com, the 1-Page Marketing Plan came up as the first hit. And since your book was very highly rated, I purchased it. And I have listened to it now several times already. Marketing is a for me a new area entirely to which I’ve never previously lent my attention or even had any interest in. Happily, I haven’t had to; our company’s been extremely successful without my ever being involved in marketing.

    But lately I have acquired the entrepreneur bug. After 24 years working for the same company, I have recently decided to “retire”, get out of the rat-race, and start my own company. I’m getting into the residential assisted living business with an initial focus on dementia care.

    One thing that I would add to your bottleneck discussion outlined in this post is that there is a much more powerful approach than merely systematizing role-specific processes through checklists and task descriptions. Namely, it’s automation. Most business folks haven’t got a clue regarding what’s not only merely theoretically possible but also practically achievable through automation. If they did have a clue, they would prioritize the hiring of highly skilled software developers (in preference to other knowledge workers) to automate these routine tasks. Most business (whether large or small) haven’t even scratched the surface when it comes to automating their processes.

    The reason is simple. Most of their knowledge workers do not have a background in software development and consequently they don’t know how to automate their own routine activities. Throughout the enterprise (or small business), knowledge workers perform their tasks manually. But many their tasks that can be readily automated either fully or at least partially. They don’t even understand that their tasks can in fact be automated, practically and affordably. And they certainly don’t know how to do the automation themselves. So, the tasks go on being manually performed indefinitely with no plan of ever automating them. And the knowledge-workers’ managers are equally clueless. Executives assume they need to hire more people to facilitate scaling up when what they really need to do is hire more talented software developers. They simply don’t know what’s possible.

    The example you provided in this article is a case in point. Each one of those tasks can be readily automated by a skilled software developer. So why hire a person for that role as the business grows and the budget allows to perform those tasks manually when you could instead hire a software developer to automate those tasks?

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