Do You Own a Business or a Job? or How to Reduce Small Business Stress
For most small business owners, day-to-day business operations are their biggest source of stress. They feel like jugglers, always keeping balls in the air and dealing with customer, vendor, and employee issues.
You can reduce the stress from your small business by focusing on the answer to this question: Do I own a business or a job?
Not sure? Then ask yourself a follow up question: What would happen if I didn’t show up for a month? If you’d come back to a boarded-up store front, you own a job.
Owning a job is the toughest situation of all. You are irreplaceable and essential. Without you there are no customers, no business, and, of course, no income.
A business, on the other hand, operates and makes money whether you’re there or not.
To build a business you must first accept that you can hire people to work in your business who will do at least as good a job as you. In fact, they are probably highly-trained in their respective fields—marketing, IT, accounting—and can do those tasks more effectively than you. In part, this is an exercise is managing. You need to learn to hire good employees. Remember, they are an investment, and, if you want a good ROI, you should make smart investments.
Next, focus on making your customers’ experience consistent and enjoyable no matter how, when, or where they encounter your business.
Consider, for example, your last visit to Olive Garden. Chances are, your overall dining experience was about the same as your previous visits. You were greeted at the door in a certain way, the server brought you breadsticks and salad, and, if you’re like me and always order the same thing, your food tasted the way you expected. And that is a good thing! Product consistency is key, and it’s why people continue to patronize restaurant chains.
This consistency happens through systems. Systems are written procedures that describe in step-by-step fashion how to perform a particular task. Systems give your employees the tools to consistently deliver outstanding results and allow you to actually manage business operations.
To create a system, start with a task you want to standardize, for example, answering the phone. Think of the optimal outcome of the task and find the employee who does it best. Watch him step-by-step, note every aspect and detail of how he works. Write down the steps and have another employee follow them exactly. Notice where the second employee’s outcome is different. Revise the steps and follow again. Once the procedure reflects the best outcome, finalize the system so that all employees perform the task according to the system.
As the manager, you ensure the team follows the systems, and you make changes that improve profit. For example, if you find one employee successfully cross sells better than any other, make a cross-selling system based on his skills. Have the other employees cross sell using the new system to increase overall sales and profit.
For simple tasks, a system might only be a ½ page in length. But, all systems must describe the how, what, when, where, and why of the task.
Systems for the tasks of a job are put together in a binder. When an employee is hired, she reads the binder to learn how to do the job.
Systems reduce your stress because they reduce problems, help your employees consistently deliver great service to your customers, and help you scientifically manage and grow your business. If an employee leaves your business, you don’t need to be afraid that you’ll lose all that valuable knowledge. You can take a vacation with confidence that the business will make money while you’re gone and be there when you get back.
How Can We Help You?
Here at Alexander Abramson, we focus exclusively on business-related legal matters. We have advised closely held businesses and business professionals for years on everything from raising startup equity to selling a business. Our staff focuses on creating a wonderful client-experience by actively listening and maintaining open lines of communication, consistently meeting deadlines, and being upfront about our pricing and services. Don’t trust the legal needs of your business to an attorney that can’t or won’t offer you the best service possible.
We would love to speak with you directly about how we can help you start, grow, or sell your business.
Call us 407-649-7777 to set up an initial consultation.