EF Staff

February 25, 2016

Many business owners find themselves in a quandary. As their business begins to grow, they suddenly realize that their company and staff is quickly becoming unmanageable.

Michael Erickson, founder of Search Scientists said it well: “Team members didn’t know what was expected of them. It was kind of, ‘Hey, today this [task] is important.’ And then the next day this [other task] is important.”

Owners often hire more people to meet an increase in demand, but this alone will not necessarily solve challenges associated with growing and scaling. You need a more holistic solution.

If you want to scale your business, you can’t just improvise day by day. You have to put a proper plan in place, and make sure your team members know exactly what they must do to help move your company forward.

So how do you give your team members the keys to your business? How can you empower them to help you systematize vital operations? Read on.

Establish Well-Defined Job Roles

Do your team members actually know what they’re supposed to be doing day to day?

Are they clear on what their role is within the organization?

Jeff McMenamy, owner and CEO of Teton Therapy says he got his employees to write up their own job descriptions. Here’s why: “It was a little daunting to write up a job description on other people in the company. So we just simply start[ed] having everyone write up their own job description.”

He also adds that roles within a company are “living, breathing, and… never stop changing.” This means that job roles need to be tweaked, improved, and updated over time. It’s not a set-and-forget process.

Moreover, you have to be pretty clear on what you want your employees to do in the first place to have them document their own job descriptions. But if ongoing, continual improvement –or Kaizen – is your goal, then you can start right from where you are.

Document Procedures & Create Checklists

All repetitive tasks can be boiled down to a documented procedure or checklist.

If you’re willing to think outside the box and innovate, even some things that are seemingly impossible to systematize can be distilled into a set of written guidelines. Raj Goel, president and co-founder of BrainLink is the perfect example. He was able to systematize many aspects of his IT business, which many skeptics told him was impossible.

He recalls an instance in which an employee used a standard operation procedure (SOP) to solve a problem: “He comes back to me a week later and says, ‘You were right.That SOP I wrote, it just saved me four hours of frustration.’ Same client, same issue, but because he had those steps all written down and screenshots taken, what normally would take me an hour plus two hours of complaining about, he resolved in 15 minutes.”

Scott Gellatly, managing director of Bollo Empire urges awareness and functionality when it comes to documenting procedures: “If you set out to document all of your processes on paper or even electronically, they just sit in the bottom of a file directory forever and never really get viewed. They’re not engaging.”

He adds, “I totally recommend you get a software tool that actually helps you model these processes out, get them out online, put them on your company intranet so [you have] your own internal little web portal for your team, so that everybody can actually see the structure, [and] see the system. And then you can use really engaging tools like video instead of heaps of words.”

Empower Your Employees

It is impossible for a business owner to create freedom in their life without empowering their employees to do the work that they need to do.

And when it comes to empowering employees, Paula Baake, founder of Dancing Mind immediately comes to mind (pun intended).

She says, “As a business grows, you don’t want to be the only leader in the company. Entrepreneurs have to be very aware that it’s important to have other leaders within their companies.”

By establishing more in-house leaders, she created a common language among her team members that really streamlined internal communication.

As a result, says Baake, “they feel like they have more ownership in the business… and that is really awesome because it increases productivity, it creates better results, it creates a very fertile soil for other things to happen in the business.”

Matthew Heggem, owner and CEO of SUM Innovation echoed these sentiments, adding that “Working to empower [employees] is certainly a process in and of itself… [and it] takes time to cultivate the leaders within the organization.”

Team unity is of the essence. When your employees feel a sense of ownership over their tasks and roles, you can free up more of your time to work on the business instead of in it!

Is It Time For You To Give Your Team Members The Keys To Your Business? Systematization Is The Solution

You’ve now learned how business owners like Jeff McMenamy were able to encourage their employees to document their own job roles.

You’ve also learned about how repetitive procedures – even complex ones – can be distilled down into checklists from Raj Goel, and how to present your processes in an attractive manner from Scott Gellatly.

Paula Baake and Matthew Heggem have demonstrated the importance of empowering your employees, establishing leadership, and ensuring that your team members feel a sense of ownership over their tasks and job roles.

What is the next step? You need to start documenting procedures. Although it is possible to get your employees to help with systematizing your business, it all starts with you. You have to lead by example and show them how it’s done.

Having those Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in place will allow you to maximize the effort from your team and better prepare your organization for growth.

So if you’re ready to hand over the keys to your team members, start identifying the bottlenecks in your business, and document all repetitive tasks so that they can be delegated and carried out predictably and accurately.

This guest post is from Owen McGab Enaohwo, the co-founder of SweetProcess, an app that enables you to quickly and easily document how you get repetitive tasks done so that your employees know exactly what to do.


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