This sounds harsh, and while we’re not suggesting you go all Alan Sugar, pointing fingers and shouting “you’re fired” all over the place, what we do recommend is that you don’t waste your precious time and energy giving employees chance after chance (after chance) when you know in your gut that they aren’t right for your team. Instinct should never be overlooked, so only keep on staff who you would absolutely fight to keep if they said they wanted to go.
Make sure all roles in the business are clearly defined
As you begin to achieve the growth you’re hoping to (which you should always believe you will — positivity is as essential as passion), this will become more and more important. Clear roles and responsibilities within the business are essential to ensure the buck stops with the right person; when two people could be responsible for one task it’s possible that both think the other person is doing it and that it won’t get done at all — and no one needs that.
Make sure everyone knows what they’re responsible for and who they’re accountable too, and make sure all this role profile info is documented clearly somewhere accessible, so everyone knows what’s what.
Make sure your team’s collaborative
Equally important is the synergy of your team, which should be comprised of people with
complementary capabilities and an identical focus to your own. Choosing the right people to work alongside will cement and enhance your team culture from the get-go and although
there’ll likely be a big pool of motivated individuals that share your passion, selecting the
most suitable can be challenging, especially during your initial growth when you may not be
able to offer competitive pay rates from the outset. To tempt the right people to join you,
it’s handy to remember the adage: birds of a feather flock together; certain skills will be
crucial for your business to survive, let alone grow, but the right attitude, vision going
forward and commitment to adapt as the business takes off are all essential qualities too.
Accept that you might get it wrong
As time passes, you might realise that you’ve hired the wrong people — something that will become obvious via glaring cracks that will start to show once you expand but is a pain in the proverbial to put right as firing and rehiring will always hold up progress. Lay out your
hiring strategy clearly and carefully as part of your business plan so that each key hire works in harmony with the goals you’re trying to achieve; also, be humble, swallow your pride and switch things up if you think you have the right people but in the wrong roles.
Always update your business processes
When someone’s off sick, which sometimes they will be (employees/pets/kids/people’s
parents get ill or need help from time to time and if their health isn’t a priority, you should probably take a look at why that is), yes, it can cause momentary inconvenience, but should also be something that’s easily sorted by a colleague picking up their slack by following the business processes that you’ve ensured are in place. It’s all about creating a business that works for you and your team holistically, where systems run the business and people run the systems.
And truth be told, there’s nothing remotely mysterious about these hallowed systems at all; all they are is a series of clear processes that explain and/or determine how to carry out certain tasks that can be understood and promptly undertaken by a colleague. Think the processes you have in place now are all running like clockwork? Perhaps they’re working well, but there is often always room to improve your systems so that when the working day starts you can get straight into some meaty, satisfying tasks instead of spending your day putting out fires. Annoyingly, it’s human nature to complicate even the simplest of tasks, so here’s some essential tips to help you streamline your business for better management right now.
Carry out an inventory of your business processes
Sounds obvious, but as with most things that sound obvious, is often ignored… You’d be amazed at the number of businesses that don’t have their processes properly documented and more often than not it’s the head honchos are the slackest. If you want to get your ducks in a row, start from the most mundane everyday jobs (signing out books, how to use the coffee machine etc) and work your way through all the processes that define your company. Remember, you’re not writing it down for an alien or a toddler (same, same), so don’t start defining or describing the minutiae of office life; keep it short and sweet, but detailed.
Rank your processes
Once you’ve sorted out your inventory, feel free to step back and give yourself a pat on the back – not only for completing what starts as a pretty daunting task, but also for the sheer amount of work you’ll suddenly realise you plough through every week. Once you’re done gloating at your own brilliance, rank the processes from most to least important (it’s inevitable here that you’ll realise there’s some tasks you’ve forgotten to write down even if you do them every day – the boring ones, probs – so just add them as you go) and you’re ready to seamlessly glide through your to-do list, or hand it over when you need cover.
Break down each process
As you’re writing down each process, try your best to do so from the point of view of
someone who’s never done it – which sounds more complicated than it is. You’re not going
to need to explain, for instance, what Xero or Dext are to a colleague that works in
accounting with you, but you will need to mention what particular clients within those
platforms you’re accountable for so that anyone needing to pick up where you left off
doesn’t spend the day blindly going through each and every account. Keep it simple and be
sure to read it back so it makes sense – the aim is to paint a picture with a clear beginning,
middle and end.
Tip of the day? Ask for feedback. Anyone worth their salt in business asks for and readily
accepts feedback from employees at every level of their organisation. Not only does this
help to keep track of how smoothly existing processes are running and whether any need
updating, but it increases trust and happiness among employees who feel reassured that
their opinions are valid – no company can run successfully without considered effort from
its employees, so it’s best to keep them sweet.