One of the key hurdles for most entrepreneurs is overcoming the need to do everything themselves. In the E-Myth Revisited, Michael E. Gerber discusses this concept:
“Every Adolescent business reaches a point where it pushes beyond its owners comfort zone – the boundary within which he feels secure in his ability to control his environment, and outside of which he begins to lose that control. The technician’s boundary is determined by how much he can do himself. The manager’s is defined by how many technicians he can supervise effectively or how many subordinate managers he can organize into a productive effort. The entrepreneur’s boundary is a function of how many managers he can engage in pursuit of his vision.”
So according to Gerber’s definition, what are you: a technician, a manager, or an entrepreneur?
But where do you begin?
One of the most common statements that resonates for most mompreneurs is: “if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself“.
I like to challenge this assumption and encourage you to reprogram it as: “if you want something done right you need to document it the way you want it done, and then delegate it to the right person!”
Imagine how wonderful it would be for you to trust that things will get done right on your behalf, even as you sleep?
These 9 steps will guide you in documenting your business processes so you can find the best people to complete tasks on your behalf and get onto your brilliant work so you can serve the world!
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Step 1 – Brainstorm every process you would like to document.
This may take some time and may be easiest to complete with someone else. Consider asking a colleague or partner to document as you verbalize your list. This way, you are unencumbered and your brain can stay focused on brainstorming rather than transition into writing. It is a good idea to jot each process down on a sticky note. This helps you organize, categorize and prioritize your ideas in the following steps. Having each process represented on a Post-it note allows you to move them around freely, organize and collate them if they are related.
Step 2 – Categorize and organize your ideas.
Once you have brainstormed your processes, stick them on a wall so you can see each one. Step back and see if they are related to one another. Can they be categorized in any logical way? You may consider categories of:
- time – how often the process will occur – weekly, monthly, quarterly
- ownership/responsibility – who will be responsible for completing this process
- actions – such as blogging, billing, on-boarding new clients, calendar management, adding a new client, workshop follow up
- client life-cycle – such as sales, follow up, nurture,
- projects – Website revision, blog writing, teleclass launch, guest experts, affiliates
By aligning your processes you can see relevance and begin to see what parts of the work you do are ‘delegate-able’.
Step 3 – Determine if each process is closed or open.
Helping my son study for his Earth Science test reminded me of this concept: Some of your processes are closed – which means, they happen without impact on others; and some of your business may be open, which means they are related to others and other processes must be completed before or after for you to be successful. Determining if a process is open or closed will help you map your processes together once they are completed, and possibly delegate related processes to the same owner.
Step 4 – Choose a beginning and end point for each process.
The definition of a process is: a systematic series of actions directed to some end. When documenting your business processes, begin by book ending your process with a clear beginning and end point (desired result). Although it seems obvious when you read it, it is an incredibly important step that if missed will cause a lot of angst. When I coached corporate employees to document and define processes there was a tendency for groups to document processes that were way too big. We used the question: “Are we trying to boil the ocean?” to determine if the process was the right size to document. Obviously boiling the ocean is impossible, and so is documenting a process that is just too big and unwieldy. When documenting, it is better to start small and build a series of small processes that are related.
Step 5 – Outline the W’s of the process.
When I refer to the W’s I am referring to the: What, When, Where and Who’s for each process. When you are developing your processes to delegate to others it’s important for you to identify the “others” roles and responsibilities clearly. Using the “W’s” as a structural format will help you flow out your processes completely and thoroughly.
Step 6. Write your process draft.
This is the big one… Write out your step by step process as a HOW TO outline. Some key things to include are not just the steps you take, but the responses/results each step has. If you are documenting an on-line process or one supported by software, consider taking screen shots along the way and drop them into your finished document. Step by step procedures combined with visuals and screen shots make it very simple for visual learners to assimilate and repeat when you’re not there to coach them.
Step 7. Test and revise.
After you have written the first draft, take a break and then come back to the document. Test it – by going step by step through what you’ve written to determine if there is anything you need to cut or revise. Make any necessary revisions for overall cohesiveness of the process… and then have someone else test it and comment for you.
Step 8. Measure and maintain.
This is a CRITICAL step for mom entrepreneurs. Since things change so often in the world of the mom entrepreneur it is common for processes and procedures to get out of date quickly. When you are documenting your procedures it’s a good idea to add success criterion as well as by whom and how often each process will be updated and maintained.
Step 9. Collaborate and delegate effectively and confidently.
Once you’ve completed the final draft of your processes, place them ‘in the cloud’ using Google Drive, Evernote, Dropbox, Asana, Zoho, or Basecamp. Putting your processes on-line gives others immediate access and saves you MORE precious time. Creating the procedural documents as read only allows you to collaborate and coordinate with people anywhere in the world.
If you’re interested in delegating any administrative parts of your business, you must develop some level of documentation to do so effectively. Documenting business processes is critical to your success as an entrepreneur. If you’re struggling with too much to do, overwhelmed in task management, and feel that your next step is delegating to others so that you can focus on your brilliant work maybe it’s time for a coach. Don’t know where to start? Contact me and let’s set up a Discovery Call to see how I might be able to help you.
© 2013 Sane Spaces, LLC – All Rights Reserved
This article is written by Cena Block. Want to use this article for your website, blog or newsletter? No problem. Here’s what you must include: Cena Block mentors mompreneurs world-wide! She is a business coach, radio host, author, and speaker who empowers Mom Biz Owners to beat burnout. Cena’s time management strategies & sanity systems help busy moms overcome #overwhelm and #prioritize time for what they love most while running successful businesses. Get her 9 video strategies, workbook and free tips for #mompreneurs here: http://bit.ly/14Yq17L.