I’m too busy working in my business!
Every minute you spend working on tasks that could be delegated is a minute you are not planning, strategizing, and building the best business possible.
As an entrepreneur myself, I get caught in the trap of doing versus delegating. It’s pretty easy to fall back into micromanaging everything because, at one point in time, I HAD to do it all.
Over the past several months, I’ve done a lot of self-reflecting on my business…where I want it to go, how the lens I look through has some blind spots, and that the only person in my company who will be genuinely motivated to grow it is ME!
I’ve been looking at how when I started my business, I was the technician, manager, and leader. I did all the work from selling, to producing, to delivering. When I began adding staff to our organization, I moved to leader, focusing on spotting problems and delegating solutions, setting goals, and thinking about the future. Due to staff changes, I’ve been pulled back into manager and technician. I need to refocus on playing to my strengths and hire for my weaknesses.
In this market, finding quality employees is very difficult. However, one thing I recently read from the book The E-Myth Revisited, by Michael E. Gerber, which focuses on how to overcome the fatal assumption of most entrepreneurs, is that, “if you understand the technical work of a business, you understand a business that does that technical work.” The book goes on to talk about building a business that does the technical work and, with that, developing a business model that “will be operated by people with the lowest possible level of skill.” Now I want to be clear in that the lowest possible skill means the lowest possible level necessary to fulfill the functions for which each is intended. Example, if you own a law firm, your lowest level of skill is an attorney. In our firm, the lowest level consultant is a seasoned technician that has both proven leadership abilities and varied experiences from which to draw, to help our business owner clients succeed.
The question I continually ask myself is, “how can I give my customer the results he/she wants systematically rather than person dependent?” Put another way: How can I create an expert system rather than hire one?
I think as business owners, we always are looking for that unicorn. The perfect, superstar hire who checks all the boxes on people, process, and technical skills. In reality, what we need is to create an expert system rather than hire one. We need to focus on hiring the core skills and culture fit and build from there. That’s never been more relevant than now, as the labor market continues to be tight.
As I look at many of our clients, as well as looking internally at our own business, to produce consistent results, we need a system, or a way of doing things, in order to compensate for the disparity between the skills your people have and the skills your business needs.
In this context, the system becomes the tools your people use to increase their productivity to get the job done in a way it needs to get done, for your business to successfully differentiate itself from your competition. It’s your job as the business owner, and more accurately, the business, to make sure that the tools are developed and to teach your people how to use them.
Building a business around the skills of ordinary people forces you to ask the difficult questions about how to produce an extraordinary result without waiting for that elusive unicorn to show up on your doorstep. You will be forced to find a system that leverages ordinary people to the point where they can produce extraordinary results over and over again.
Increased volume, decreased staff, and poor systems are recipes for disaster. If you’re too busy working in your business, you’re not running your business. And, when you get bogged down in simple details because the systems are not in place, you are not being an effective leader.
Focus on your business and not in your business! Systemize your business to deliver extraordinary results!
Jayne McQuillan, CPA, MBA, Certified Exit Planning Advisor (CEPA) is the owner of Journey Consulting, LLC