My last Monday’s Mojo told you about the big yellow bus that inspires my business. The “big yellow bus” symbolizes the prosperity and freedom that enables me to be home to put my 5-year old daughters on the school bus in the morning and then greet them when they come back home. And it was wonderful to hear back from you via comments, social media and email about all the different things that motivate you all in your businesses.
I hope the inspiration will be even more powerful now that you shared it with others.
But I also heard a common question. How can you run a successful business while leaving enough time to be with your girls whenever they are not at school?
It’s a fair question. I only work about 25 to 27 hours a week, yet make plenty of money, and pride myself on providing top quality service to my clients and customers.
So let me start with perhaps most important “secret to my success”. I create and rely on systems for all my routine activities. It’s a simple principle, but I have found it to be extraordinarily powerful.
If I do something repeatedly – even it is only once every year – I create a system. This makes it easier for me to do it, and also let’s me delegate the work to my staff wherever possible. It is a straightforward habit that increases the quality and quantity of my work.
Here’s how I do it:
- I describe it. If I am doing something with multiple steps that I expect to do more than once, then I write down each step. Once that’s done, I write a quick intro/summary, saying why and when I do it, and listing any urls or other resources that I use while carrying out the routine. This takes a little time when I first do it, but also helps me clarify, and sometimes improve, the precise steps I must take to accomplish my goal.
- I save it. I store those instructions in my project management work group where I, and my team, can easily retrieve it. Next time I need to do it, I don’t have to think about how to best to do it, I just pull up my instructions and follow the steps.
- I delegate it. If anyone on my team can do the work as well as me (and they usually can), then I delegate the task to them. Even if they have to do it too infrequently to remember what’s involved, they can quickly look it up and just follow my instructions.
That’s it. Just three steps: describe it, save it, and delegate it.
It’s something I believe everyone should do to improve their business and make their life easier. But if you have not done this in your business as a matter of, ahem, routine, then I recommend a fourth step: list all of the activities that you do repeatedly in your business. Take the first activity you listed and go through the three steps above. Then just rinse and repeat.
I know that may seem overwhelming when you are buried under all the routine tasks you have to do. So my advice is to break it down into bite-sized portions. This week, start on that list of routines. It doesn’t have to be comprehensive, just get the most frequent or obvious ones down. (You can add more later, as they occur to your or as you do them.) And then try to take at least one activity a week and write it down as a step-by-step routine.
Follow this procedure and your systems will set you free. You will have more time, more customers, more money, and a more efficient and effective business.