One of the biggest challenges we have as business owners and people, is that we think in linear terms.

A to B to C to D, etc... You have to eat breakfast before you can have dinner and you can't eat dessert until you've eaten all your vegetables. Likewise, you can't sell a product until you've created (at least on paper) a product.

It is no different in starting a business and, in many cases, you have to do certain things and reach certain points before you can expect to handle others.

After all, you cannot ask for a business loan or meet a venture capitalist before you have at least some idea of how much money you need, correct? You cannot design and deploy an effective marketing plan until you know what your buyer looks like and where they are to be found, correct?

Once the doors are open, though, many entrepreneurs cannot shake off that linear process and make the shift to a parallel process. Inevitably, every potential customer and returning client is going to be at a different point in the customer journey once the company is open and the potential for disorder is extremely high. If the owner is wearing all the hats, they are stuck in a linear process in a word that demands parallel processes. John wants to buy, Susie needs to be shipped too, Clate is wondering where his check is, and there is the owner, stuck in the midst of doing it all, crossing items off a list and praying that he'll make it through today.

No matter what, once the doors are open for business, the entrepreneur has no choice but to be directing multiple attacks at once - raising money, writing software, prototyping, selling, collecting, training, and marketing. The world of the small business owner is all about moving multiple items forward at once and it's a fool's errand to believe one person can do it all when the shift comes from linear to parallel.

So how do you fix it? Certainly, having a game plan for the operations is a valid point, but even more important is simply having created the actual processes that need to be followed to achieve the ends the company is striving for.

Think of it NOT simply as "doing it all" but as in "handling it all." An accountant who is incredibly comfortable with Excel could easily write and utilize an Excel-based spreadsheet to track and manage his or her clients' spending, taxes, and income, but why? The time to set up such a program versus using an off-the-shelf piece of software that is a standard of the industry would really be time wasted and provide no palpable improvement over what can be purchased and deployed.

THAT is how you systemize a company - understanding what it is your clients need and deploying or designing the tools to do it, not making a list of what you need to actually do to take care of the customer. Where can you automate? Where can you document and develop training processes so that average employees can handle the majority of customer interaction? Where can you create opportunities for additional sales that can be added on to the initial purchase and require little, if any, additional time on the part of the entrepreneur?

If you ever hope to get ahead as an entrepreneur, the answer is not becoming an effective juggler, but in understanding and designing the systems to keep your team, not you, busy, busy, busy.

Published on: Jul 31, 2017