Home – New Forums Get productive Could your business survive without you?

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  • #973011
    MyGreatIdea
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    Very sadly, today I attended a funeral for a 48yo husband and father of four. It got me thinking tonight about my own mortality and how my family would cope if something should cause me to leave this world.

    I’m sure they would muddle through with the running of the house, paying the bills, getting themselves organised. But what about my business? I have come to realise that without me, my business would probably fail. Not because I’m an outstanding business woman ;) but because no-one elses knows what the hell is going on with it !!

    So over this long weekend my aim is to complete a processes file. Not just with the daily operation of the business but to include things like contact details for my accountant, online banking ID, my email passwords, my post box number and where the key is, even a list of passwords for fb, twitter and, of course, fs :D

    Add this file to the power of attorney we already have, and I’d like to think that my business could carry on (almost) as well as it does now.

    What would happen to your business if you weren’t around?

    Wendy

    #1059192
    SalenaKnight
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    I realised this a few weeks ago – and decided to have my assistant document all of our processes over the next few months.

    The majority of this is how to operate the back end of the website, which my husband knows how to do, but if something was to happen, he’s not going to have time to be uploading new stock!

    Once we get those done, we’ll work on the other stuff, who to order from, how to do it etc.

    It’s going to take time, but I’m hoping to have it done over the next 3 months.

    On the plus side, if you ever want to sell your business, it’s all there!

    #1059193
    danny63
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    I want to believe that yes but I’m here since i love what I do :-)

    #1059194
    King
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    Well I guess that as this forum is Flying Solo – that means ALL of us who participate should be doing it on our own – no staff.

    Under that definition then unless there is a very good procedures manual and simple systems, then the simple answer is: no.

    #1059195
    PR Nutshell
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    There are many small business owners who also love Flying Solo, including myself. So having a plan for the continuation of your business is paramount. Developing systems might just allow you to be better organised, if nothing else.

    In 2009, my wife and I re-located to Los Angeles, literally at a moments notice. Linda left the same day, in the evening and I followed 2 days later on the Monday night.

    The small team at my office have been incredible, running everything without almost any input from me. My only contributions are the marketing and some website changes, but these roles could literally be handled by anyone.

    The systems that I used when I was flying solo are still working well and the business has continued to grow.

    I encourage all FS to plan for a business that can operate without you and fortunately you don’t have to die to make it a reality. Go for it!

    #1059196
    DavidThomas
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    Definately not yet, however I think it could get to that place with a bit of planning and documentation.

    #1059197
    King
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    PR Nutshell, post: 75787 wrote:
    In 2009, my wife and I re-located to Los Angeles, literally at a moments notice. Linda left the same day, in the evening and I followed 2 days later on the Monday night.

    Sounds like the cops or the baddies were after you LOL!

    #1059198
    AgentMail
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    I have come across this issue for a short term situation, where we are looking to plan a 2 week getaway, and being a sole trader in the true sense of the word, working from home and running a business which requires physical input (i can’t fold and stuff envelopes online) I am now looking at strategies to assist. Whilst I love running my business, I do it to have a life, and that inculdes overseas holdiays, so I need some contingency for this, and also for the more morbid situations :)

    I am currently investigating the potential of working with one of my competitors (who is actually someone I trust very well) to take the flak whilst I am away. I have to make sure my bases are covered of course, but need to also ensure that my customers are comfortable with a third party (or else have a process that is seamless to them)

    #1059199
    Five Star PA
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    In my business as an Admin Consultant I am the business so for me the buck stops there and I’m ok with that. However I often help clients do up their procedure manuals for their offices,infact it’s a large part of what I do.

    For those of you that have a business that does have staff and could be run by someone else you need to make an effort to do this. An hour a week and you’ll be surprised how quickly they are done. I’ve seen some amazing stories of ‘why I now know I need to do this’ – dont’ let it be you!

    If you don’t know where to start I always suggest starting with flowcharts. Literally map every main task you do from woe to go. Once you have done that large brain dump that’s the hard part over, writing the procedures that fall behind them seems much easier and if you do have staff you can then offload these flowcharts to one of them and say this is what I’d like recorded in detail. Then use hyperlinks through your document to help people find there way around.

    Once you’ve done that then make sure your electronic files are in a good order and are referred to in the manual so people know where to store things going forward and where to find current things.

    Happy writing!

    Meredith

    #1059200
    PerfectNotes-Kathy
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    Well, Meredith, my process starts off slightly differently – but ends up in the same place.

    I ask my clients to write down what happens in a ‘standard’ week from when they walk into the office/warehouse/whatever on Monday morning to when they leave on the last working day of the week (Fri/Sat/Sun as appropriate). First draft is just off the top of their head. Then during the week, have that list printed out and add or change the things that they missed or described poorly. That gives a good structure to flesh out, as your process does.

    Ensure this is done for the business owner/manager and any key staff and you have a good solid grounding of procedures. Then, of course, the trick is to actually follow those procedures (and ONLY the written procedures) and fill in the holes… Then get someone else to follow them – and you’re done! (Well… until you refine your processes, of course)

    Kathy

    #1059201
    Five Star PA
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    Hey Kathy,

    That’s really interesting! Great minds think alike! I actually would follow the same process for the fleshing out bit. I always try and get another staff member outside the process to see if they can follow the procedure. ( I try and write my procedures as if they were procedures for Dummies) As it’s true what you say, nothing like filing the holes!

    It keep the processess current I always try and explain just how important it is to carry out training following these procedures. That way if say a year down the track things have changed it gets pick up and modified. Or depending on size of business it’s great to put each procedure on a rotational roster so that each one gets looked at at least once each year!

    #1059202
    sarahsofficeservices
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    Being a solo Virtual Assistant, without me there is no business.

    When I went away on holidays in February, I actually spent some time detailing all my clients, contact details etc, in case something happened, my family could contact my clients to let them know.

    #1059203
    Adam Claydon-Platt
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    Creating systems is definitely something you should make priority #1 if you want to be living the dream of lying on a beach with your family/friends, while you’re business is running without you.

    No matter how much we may love what we do now, we’re inevitably going to get tired of it someday.

    That’s why it’s so important to start phasing yourself out of the day-to-day running of the business as much as possible right now!

    In a nutshell, as a 1st step I’d recommend:
    a) Adding all your regular tasks into Google calendar, then

    b) Hire a VA through http://www.remotestaff.com.au to take care of all the admin-related tasks, share the calendar with them, and start teaching them/delegating the tasks 1-at-a-time.

    c) For any other tasks you may need done (web / design related etc.), you can find great, affordable, talented remote workers at http://www.vworker.com

    While it will take a few months to smooth your systems out, the initial $ investment (from approx. $600 per month) in doing the above, will come back to you very quickly through increase in productivity!

    Many hands make light work, and finding good team members is essential if you ever want to take regular time off from your business, without everything grinding to a halt..!

    Hope this helps,

    #1059204
    Bubbling With Energy
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    Unfortunately no one will have the passion we have in a business and things will be let go the more you are not there. I was told by a wise old successful man that it didnt matter what you sold or offered in your business just be smart about how you do it. He als said to work on the business and not in it. I took that advice and it has worked well for me. The staff love to slip a job to me as they know I can do it quickly but I always try and get them to deal with it. However they do not seem to see how important that particular job is and tend to leave it too long. My way of working a business is to ensure all the plates are spinning and spinning in a manner that keeps everything working and the money flowing. If I suddenly left the business via death or an extended illness the business would continue to run profitably but I am sure its efficiency would flounder. I have always said that if I die suddenly my accountant would be the one to come in and sort the finances and prepare the business for sale over the following year. Maybe I am working it the wroing way but small businesses thrive on the passion from the owner.

    #1059205
    Adam Claydon-Platt
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    Hi Bubbling with Energy,

    Those are some very good points you raised! Have you read “The E-Myth Revisited” by Michael Gerber? It sounds like this will help you a lot in the current stage of your business! (most of the points I mention below are detailed in this book)

    If you create complete systems in your business, then regardless of whether it’s you or anyone else doing it, you should receive the same consistent outcome every time (and should be able to keep all the plates spinning without you personally needing to be there).

    I’m not sure if you’re asking for advice at all here, but a few things that came to mind while reading this:

    Do your staff / employees understand the importance of their role in the company, and the tasks you give them? (see the “E-Myth Revisited” for details on writing an Organisation Chart / Position contracts) Empowering your staff and helping them realise how important they are will result in more job satisfaction for them, and usually more productivity too!

    Also, perhaps you can set specific, shorter deadlines for each task you give them?

    After you’ve sorted out all the systems for your employees (by creating complete Operation Manuals – again, detailed in “The E-Myth Revisited” – though I generally like to use Google Calendar to add recurring detailed tasks, instead of an actual “manual”), which it sounds like you’ve almost done already, then it’s time to start creating the Operations Manual for your own current Managerial roles (as you said, the jobs which keep the plates spinning). Once you’ve created that system, then you can hire someone to take over that role, and then even without you being there, efficiency in the business won’t flounder. :)

    Sorry if it’s long-winded, hope this helps!

    Adam.

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