#10 – Learn to delegate
If you are anything like me when I was a young budding entrepreneur, you feel that you have to do it all, “you can not count on anyone to do it the way you would”. Truth be told that is an accurate statement. That said, that does not mean it will not be done correctly. If you have ever heard me speak at an event or have read anything I have written, then you know “everything is a project” no matter what it is it is a project. And with any project, there is always more than one moving part. Be realistic, do what you are good at and have the time to do, and delegate the rest.
#9 Empower your employees
In order to delegate you will need to trust your employees to make some decisions without checking with you. They need the power to make those decisions and make or approve purchases, give discounts or credits, in general, they will need to make decisions that will cost you money. Sure you can start off small, you account reps can approve of make purchases up to $500.00 with out approval, I can tell you the larger that number the less you have to deal with. I am not saying that you should start handing out corporate cards like they are breath mints. I am just saying Empower a few key people to make some larger decisions so that you do not have to be bothered with the small stuff.
#8 Always be cultivating and training
You need to be investing in the advancement of your employees. This work for you in two ways. First, your employees feel more like part of the company and can see you have their best interest in mind. This will keep employee morale up and the employee will treat your customers better and watch out for the company. People like to work somewhere where they feel appreciated and they know there is room for advancement. Second, you will see the talent that you have working for you and recognize employees that have sound judgment, excellent customer service, and leadership. These are people you can now count on to do things like you would and take care of your customers. These are the people you will be able to empower to make larger decisions on your behalf in your absence.
#7 Always be looking for new talent, everywhere
I know this is a vague and blanket type statement, but let me give you a few examples. I was at a car dealership getting my oil changed, there was a customer service rep who was working with me. He was knowledgeable about the service offerings, bundles to help save me money, and he was always selling me, and it did not feel like a sales pitch. I asked him about it. He said I am sorry sir, I am not trying to sell you, I am trying to make sure you get all the services you need at the best price. I gave him my card and told him when/if he was ever looking for a job to contact me. Another time I was at a tech conference called WordCamp there was a guy working at “The Happiness Bar” a kind of free help desk they have there. I listened to him with a few people, he was polite, really smart and was fixing issues left and right. Again I sat down and struck up a conversation, he actually told me he would love to talk with me, but there were others waiting, could he talk to me in a bit he would be done in an hour. I offered him a job as well. Yes, I have hired several people this way and a few still work for me and most worked out great. 🙂 So always be on the lookout.
#6 Accept that people/employees are not perfect
Sometimes we forget that we did not start off knowing everything (except for when we were 18 years old) and we are not always right and we too make mistakes. These are learning experiences for both us and the employee. We need to be reasonable and offer a solution to the problem. Simply yelling at someone and getting upset does not help the situation. Think about the issue and see if there is a way you can help the employee become better at their job, this is beneficial for you both. Many time we tend to focus on the problem and not the solution, this a detrimental habit to form. As entrepreneur’s we are problem solvers, the more problems you are solving daily the more practice you get 🙂
#5 Lead by example
This is an old Army slogan. But it has always stuck with me. You as a leader need to be accountable for your actions before you can hold your subordinates accountable for theirs. When you make a mistake own up to it. Especially when dealing with a customer. Not only is it the right thing to do, but customers appreciate it and employees learn from it as well. If your actions are honest and true you can expect that of your employees, and they will/do not question the rules if you follow them too. Having employees working and knowing what the rules and makes for less hassle for both you and the employee. Productivity is achieved when there is a standard and it is followed.
#4 Document your processes
It might sound simple, or even a no-brainer. You would be surprised at how many companies don’t do it. As a business owner, you need to be able to train new employees how to do the job the way you want it done, if you do not document your process, then you and you only have to train the new people, or even worse one of your employees is the only one who knows the process, and if they leave you really have problems.
#3 Set aside time
Each week set aside some time to plan. You need to have an idea of what you want to accomplish. You should be putting together a list of things you need to accomplish and reviewing and changing it regularly. This is key to your success, if you spend jumping from fire to fire putting it out you will never tame the whirlwind, you will spend your days wishing you have more hours in the day and be way too busy to get anything done.
#2 Eliminate distractions
How many time are you in your office and a client calls and asks you to do something that is not part of your service offering, how many time are you working on that important projects and the phone rings only to find out it is someone trying to sell you something? When you are working on a project turn the phone off, shut down all the other tabs in your browser, close the office door and let employees and other staff members know you are not to be disturbed you are working on an important project that needs to be completed today. Another thing to look at is some customers are more of a distraction than a valuable customer. It is always 20% of the clients that take up 80% of your time, and you will find they are always the lowest paying customers. Quite rewarding bad behavior by jumping every time they call, if they leave it will give you time to concentrate on the other customers that find value in your products or services and are willing to pay for them.
#1 ACT, it is time to get to doing
OK we have done enough planning, it is time to act. Stop the busy work to make you feel like you are accomplishing something, Act actually do something, complete a task and check that stuff off the list you have made. Look over your list and choose the project that will make the other tasks easier or eliminate other tasks. There are always tasks that once they are done you will find that another task is no longer necessary. Why are you still reading this? It is time for action. 🙂