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True business freedom is achieved through intentionally structuring your business to run without you. If the thought of being away from your business, even for a day, sends shudders down your spine, then the business is truly dependent on you. In the early days of your business you get up, running and growing through your own energy and passion. The business goes through “the hungry times”, breaks even and eventually makes a profit.
You may have started out on your own but, over time, the need to bring on other resources (employees) has become necessary. With each additional employee recruited the percentage of time you spend training and managing increases. At some stage you reach a ceiling of what you are capable of handling, even after putting in more hours. You have reached your capacity of being able to service new business or to scale.
To be able to scale you need processes and systems in place, along with a great team that is trained and has the tools required to perform their roles.
To automate your business you need a well-trained and motivated team that understand your vision, values and goals.
Each team member will have been selected, inducted, trained and managed using well thought out processes and procedures.
Many businesses do not have staff selection and recruitment processes that focus on achieving a fit between the company’s culture and the individuals skills and attitude. This is a costly way to do business as many times the business owners expectations of the employee are not met.
A great team will contribute and support you in growing your business. Good employees are a critical component of a successful business and without this key resource in place your business will struggle.
Scaling your business requires leveraging not only your team but your processes and technology. Technology can speed up delivery of services, financial reporting, invoicing and communication to name just a few.
As a business grows, and more employees come on board, the need for fast and efficient communication becomes critical, as does access to important operational data.
Leveraging technology may be in the form of customer relationship management platforms, auto-responders linked to your website to capture visitor information, or cloud-based access to documentation for employees in the field.
You may even develop your own in house technology that is specific to your products or services. The investment in new or improved technologies needs to be based on well considered analysis of the benefits and expected ROI.
Your first foray into leveraging technology may occur when you transition from desk top based accounting software to cloud-based platforms.
These key resources, activities and individual steps can be documented within processes and procedures.
A system may consist of one or many processes. The real benefit of documenting your processes is that they become measurable and can be improved.
Each activity within the process can be analysed to see whether it can be sped up, performed in a more effective way or if it is necessary at all. Having systems that are well documented and followed will produce an outcome that is predictable.
Every business has its own systems, or way of doing things – even if not formally documented. If these systems are not documented however, the results or outcomes will vary depending on who is performing the process.