As a small business owner, you’re naturally expected to wear many hats on a daily basis. Particularly in the early days of your enterprise, you’ll find yourself jumping from one sphere of operation to another at an often dizzying speed. While this is an enormous benefit in terms of getting a crash course in all aspects of entrepreneurship, it can take its toll on your overall capacity for actually getting things done.
One of the first things that really hits home when you set up your own operation is just how much work each separate area of it requires. At the beginning stages of a business, you’re unlikely to have the luxury of hiring internally for individual roles or taking on contractors. It’s almost certain that you and your existing team will have to simply knuckle down and muscle through the initial sea of work you find yourself swimming in.
This is an exhilarating challenge starting out, but it can quickly become a daily grind you’ll dread. Let’s look at two simple ways you can stop drowning in a sea of day-to-day business operation hassle and start getting your arms around the problem.
- Define Specific Roles Before You Hire For Them
Of all the many gems contained in Michael Gerber’s classic book The E-Myth Revisited, this is perhaps the most important one. In early stage businesses, individuals will inevitably end up working what are effectively multiple jobs at the outset. The key way to avoid operational overwhelm down the road is to explicitly list these as separate areas from the get go.
For example, if you find yourself currently running marketing, sales, fulfilment and customer support, take the time to break these out as distinct roles on paper and start drafting the responsibilities and tasks that each one has to fulfil.
This takes a little extra effort up front but it gives you clarity and a path to follow as your business grows. Fail to do this and you risk making it an amorphous blob of must-dos that are documented only in your head.
- Make It Your Job To Replace Yourself
Once you have roles and responsibilities clearly listed and defined, the next stage is steadily replacing yourself in each individual one. Taking our example from above, focus in on one specific role out of the many you’re currently focusing on and start delegating some of that responsibility to a trusted employee.
As you do this, ensure that they have a clear list of the tasks that await them and make it clear that your expectation is that they will eventually assume the complete role should they prove their capability. Done correctly, this chips away at manageable operational areas and gets them off your plate, while giving their new owners daily structure and defined goals to aim for.
Business operation complexity is an unavoidable part of running a business of any size, but the approach you take to dealing with it defines your eventual success. Our simple two-step strategy above will give you clarity in the midst of the entrepreneurial maelstrom, and provide your team with a well-organised, growth-orientated environment within which to thrive.