There’s a point in the life of an entrepreneur where you’ll feel like one of those crazy musicians that play five instruments at once. You’re the accountant, responsible for sales and do a fair bit of copywriting. That’s overlooking the fact you’re probably juggling all of these responsibilities with a full time job.
Yet once you’re earning more than you’re spending working every hour of the day is a life choice. With the right business strategy you can work less, travel more, spend time with your family and still grow your business. The only thing stopping you from doing this are your inhibitions and that fear of letting go.
While the transition can be difficult to make, every single successful entrepreneur I know has implemented a variation of this business strategy to scale their company. The only difference between them is how they use that extra time.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to scaling your business that will allow you to work less and still achieve success. It all starts with creating systems.
Every job is made up of repetitive tasks. Things you do day in and day out basically the same way each time. The output of these tasks form the basis for the job descriptions of your employees. Well they will do if you haven’t got employees already.
As the founder of the company you probably know these tasks off by heart. It could be anything from sales to administrative duties. The problem is that all of this information is stored in your head. If you want to reduce your workload you need to systemise your business McDonalds style.
Start by creating a knowledge base for your company and a training manual for each position. You can do this using free online tools like Trello. While you do have to set aside a lot of time to create this knowledge base, it will save you more time in the long run.
With a good knowledge base you can train new employees faster. Staff turnover, while a pain in the ass, will be a lot more efficient… Basically it frees up your time so that you can focus on other things, which is important as you scale your company.
If you’re not familiar with Key Performance Indicators (KPI) don’t worry. All professions create meaningless acronyms to confuse outsiders and make those in the know feel intelligent. Btw a KPI is just a fancy business term for targets.
You need targets for your business. Clear goals keep you and the people who work for you on the ball. I’d recommend starting with one laser focused company goal that everyone knows. You can then break that goal down into actionable targets across each position in the company.
A good example of this is from Martin Norbury, who happens to have written one of my favorite business books. He once took over a company that was losing hundreds of thousands of pounds a month. One of the first things he did when he was hired was set a clear company goal; make £1.
Having this overarching target is a good way to keep everyone in the company focused. It’s also a good reference point to see if you’re on track to achieve quarterly and annual targets.
Sorry Lewis Carrol, if you don’t know where you are going you are lost! Set clear targets. I digress…
That’s the hard part done. Now it’s time to reduce your workload.
In an ideal world you want to hire the amazing employees for your key roles. With a great team you should be able to outperform your competitors on quality of service or lead generation (hopefully both). This is what companies like Apple and Netflix do.
The best way to fill your company with great staff is to pay them a decent wage. People who are paid well and can see opportunities for promotion tend to be more productive and work longer for a company. The opposite is sadly true as well.
Hopefully you can hire someone locally for a good wage. If you can’t afford to pay a good wage locally then you might choose to hire internationally. It’s what a lot of startups do.
The Internet has made outsourcing pretty easy. For the price of an average programmer in California – a normal starting salary is something like $50,000 a year – you can hire a really good programmer in eastern Europe. This loops back in to being able to offer a better product and or service to your customers.
All of this sounds like a hell of a lot of work, which it is. You will notice the rewards though. Instead of rushing around all the time struggling to manage your workload you’ll have the space to step back and scale your company.
As the company grows you can hand off more of your day to day responsibilities. What you do with that extra time is completely up to you. If you love working then focus on that. If you want more free time then take it. The nice thing is you have that choice.