Melissa Crownhurst shares key areas that your business is likely to need rework and business process improvement to help you reach the reason why you started your business. Are you ready?
The more I spotted, the more I would say, Dave we need to start fixing these things. He never intended to start Melbourne SEO Services to be trapped by it. I dont think any business owner starts a business to lose their freedom. You think youre doing it because you want more freedom.
Dave had got this business to a point but he couldnt do it alone any more. Youre going through these stages as an entrepreneur and you think you can do it all because youve done it so far all on your own. But there comes a point where you need somebody to help you.
Another thing is marketing. He has a fantastic lead flow. Sales were always coming in. How many of us know, good staff and good lead flow are the holy grail part of a business? But at the same time he had a few things that were holding his business back.
One of them, Im sure you guys are probably familiar with, is the ideas man or woman running the show. How are you meant to be at the helm of your ship, scoping out new territory, finding out where the new land is if every five minutes youre running under the deck to help your team plug holes, keep the sails up or whatever else they do on ships? You cant do it.
Another thing I spotted was there were very loose structures. He had structures and systems but they were a bit blurry, rather fuzzy here and fuzzy there.
Dave I could say at this point, has talked about the stages of entrepreneurship before, the four stages. You’ve got the start-up, the proven, the systematic and the complete. Dave was dancing on level three. I’ve got a few systems, call me a systematic entrepreneur, I’m at level three. He was in that space where probably a lot of you are, between level two and level three. He was thinking, I want to get to level four so badly. Get me to four. I want a beach picture of my toes and tweet it out to my followers and say, look at me. But he was’nt quite there yet.
So that’s what I do. Thats what systems do. That’s what that kind of mind does. It pushes you from when you had that wonderful idea so many years ago, started up your business, got passionate about it, went to number two, hired people, made sales, did your work. Then you stayed at number two for so long because you forget an important piece. You need somebody or some thing to help you automate, systemise and implement systems so you can move in through stage three and into stage four.
Let me give you some of the gossip on Dave. Number one fire that I spotted with Dave was unclear communication. I’m sure you have all had this happen in your day. Dave had so many things going on, so much happening. I used to call it his rapid fire. He had this rapid fire way of communicating with staff. Blah blah and then hes off to a podcast or a meeting or a webinar, doing the next thing.
The staff is stunned. Ok, we think we know what hes talking about, we think we know what hes doing. Because the internal communication was scattered, it was unclear, it did’nt make a whole lot of sense. Maybe you are experiencing a little bit of this in your own business. You think you know what the message is and you told your staff that. Then they went off and went in the completely opposite direction and you wonder why. That’s huge. Internal communication is massive. So that was fire number one with Daves business.
Fire number two, Im sure you’ve all realised this at some point, Dave is a super nice guy. He wants to help everybody. A client would come to him and say, I’ve got this problem Dave. Dave would say, I’ll help, I’ll do it, its good. He would say, were going to do it, were going to somehow do it. Because he was always helping people, he was like Superman coming to the rescue.
Every service was a little bit different. So the deliverables were always a little bit different. You know how difficult it is to systemise and automate something that is always different for a different client? That’s really hard. Its not impossible, but it is hard. So we had to get clear on the systems.
Another thing with that, when you have different services and products that are’nt clearly defined, I think that puts an unrealistic expectation on your staff, no matter how good they are. If your outcome is always going to be different because your service is always different, you cant possibly expect your staff members to deliver all the time. Its a different product.
Fire number three, in his organisation, Dave had the beginnings of systems. They are here and here and there but there was no clear place to put them. Some of them were unthought, not all of them were thought all the way through, some of them were really spot on and good.
You realise when you don’t have a well organised place to put your systems, its hard. Systems are all well and fine, you can document and put cool little charts and arrows and lines and squares and circles and so on. You can get all that done, but unless your team know where to go to find it and then implement it, whats the point of a system?
You spend half your time trying to find it and then once you find it, were at volume two. So disorganisation is clearly a problem for the business.
Fire number four is lack of training. Like I said, Dave had beginnings of systems in place, but they werent all congruent. They did’nt all flow properly. So that meant each staff member, no matter how good they are, were trained differently. One would say, I know what the company policies are and another would say, I dont. If you don’t have everyone trained the same way, how can you have the expectation of them?
It’s difficult when each team member is trained in a different manner. It creates a very negative and bad working environment. People are’nt on the same playing field. Everyone is at a different level from the other. There were no easy work references because there was a lack of training. People were’nt exactly sure where the parameters were. I think you all know with staff, if the lines are blurry, they push right through them, don’t they?
They never said anything about taking the third Saturday off on the second month of the year on a full moon. They can find a loophole. So having your training, on boarding and off boarding, is very important. So we needed to help Dave fix this up.
I also just want to point out, this is something I find really important because I’ve talked to a lot of business owners. The number one thing business owners come to me and say, is: my staff! They upset me so much. Why? They never do the right thing. I tell them this and they never do it. I’ve trained them. I’ve told them. How did you train them? When I hired them, they followed me around for a day.
Having a staff member fully trained is so valuable to you. You must remember, they are not you. They are not the entrepreneur, they are not the business owner. They dont see your vision. They’re a cog in the wheel. They don’t know the bigger picture unless you train them right from the beginning. You can’t hold an expectation of a gun if their training was following you around for the day or read the manual, look at it later. So that was another area we needed to get firmed up on.
Number five, how many are guilty of this? Micromanaging. I totally get that. I do not blame Dave for being a micromanager. Did you see the organisation that he had before, the loose staff training, the spinning of plates? How else are you going to get things done as an entrepreneur unless you make sure its done? So micromanagement was huge.
But something I want to remind you and I remember chatting to Dave about this, when you micromanage, not only does it steal your time away, but it dis empowers your staff.
You make them feel so inadequate at what they do when you micromanage, they just stop doing it.
Then what is going to happen? Oh, theyre shocking staff. I’ll get someone else new. Then it’s going to repeat itself over and over again. Youre not realizing where the missing pieces are. You think its the staff. Sometimes it is. Sometimes you just get a bad apple in the bunch. But a lot of times it has to do with your training and a lot of times it has to do with empowering your staff.
Another thing, micromanagement for those of you who do it, I think you all know its made you a slave to your business. You spend way too much time doing everybody elses work that you end up spending the evenings and your weekends doing the things that you were meant to be doing. I promise this is the last fire.
So we have all these things coming into place, so much micromanaging is happening. Guess who broke all the rules? Because youre micromanaging, youre doing your staffs job, youre getting so frustrated. You say, just give it to me, I can do it quicker. I have people tell me that. It is so much easier for me to go and do it myself because I’ll get it done in two minutes. It is quicker than to sit down and document, train, explain, explain, so you just do it yourself.
I have to ask you then, if you’re doing all of these, if you have identified with one or more of these fires, why are you in business? You’ll get a job. You’re just making life harder on yourself.