Small Business Articles from Make-it-Fly®
Ticket to Freedom!
By Victoria Munro
Small business owners are famous for
working hard to build their dream, but without
effective systems in place, these dreams often turn
into nightmares. Life becomes an endless, overwhelming
to-do list—daily running ever faster on the proverbial
gerbil wheel to catch up and keep up. They’re
headed for burnout, yet taking time off can be tough.
If you had to take time away from
your business, could someone
step in and take over without facing confusing
challenges and wasting time figuring everything out?
Would the business falter or fail? Putting systems in
place will free you up to step away when needed. In
addition, when you want to sell or hand your business
over to others, stepping in to run it will be easier,
significantly increasing its value to a potential buyer.
Creating systems for your business
can be a challenge—the larger and more complex
the operation, the bigger and more time-consuming the
project will be. But resist the temptation to put this
off until a quieter or more suitable time in the future—that
rarely happens. Instead, put
a plan in place now to create systems that free you
to take time away, to work on instead of in
the business and to grow it in the way you want to,
rather than being a slave to it.
Six Steps to Create Systems for
List every task, however small and seemingly insignificant,
you typically perform as you run your business.
these tasks and, starting with those most critical to
your success, schedule regular times to document the
detailed step-by-step process you follow to complete
each task. It may not be easy to make time in your busy
day to do this, but be assured, it will save
you time and stress over the long haul. Aim to address
one or two tasks each week in this way.
With the desired outcome in mind, carefully analyze
each task. Examine how you approach and complete the
task. Ask yourself if the way you’ve been doing
this is really the easiest and most efficient way to
achieve your goal. Can the process be shortened, simplified,
improved upon or made more efficient? Maybe test different
For each task, write down a detailed step-by-step description
of exactly what you do. Ask several others, including
one or two who know little or nothing about your business,
to read your directions and give you feedback. Does
it make sense? How easy would it be for someone else
to follow your directions? Next, watch someone complete
the task using your instructions. Be ready to answer
questions and make notes to clarify vague or misleading
Using the information gained from your observations
and others’ feedback, further enhance or rewrite
your step-by-step directions for the task.
Consider who else, now or in the future, could do this
task well. What kind of skills would he/she need?
Creating systems for everything you
do in this way will, over a period of time, produce
vital content for a usable operations manual. This
will simplify your life, build value into your business
and free you to take a vacation!
© 2005-2007 Victoria Munro.
for printable version.
About the Author: Victoria Munro is
co-founder (along with husband Dave Block) of Make-it-Fly®
LLC, a company dedicated to creating success for
small-business owners through creatively designed programs
and tools. Victoria has started and run nine different
businesses. To receive FREE business success articles
with tips to help you with your business, sign up for
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