Working as a business consultant I find that most of the business owners I work with are “Ideas people”. They have a vision for something they would like to do that will fulfil a need that they perceive in the market. It might be providing services, facilities or products.
Those businesses got successful by focussing on those original goals and in most cases the business owner was responsible for doing all the work themselves, at least in the early days. You could say that they were their own brand.
Entrepreneurs excel at identifying and meeting those gaps in the market. Once the business is off and running they move on to new ideas which may be to expand or diversify in their existing business or to explore opportunities with a different business altogether. At that point they need to rely on the people who they bring in to the business to keep the core activities on track and they need them to be able to operate to the same high standard that they performed at themselves when carrying out those roles.
I spend a lot of time with my clients developing systems and structures to replicate the actions that they carried out instinctively as they got their business off the ground. We don’t just document them, but also train all team members and measure performance. A good idea will get a business live and transacting, but consistently high quality service delivery, customer interaction and product quality are essential to ensuring that the business survives if a local competitor decides to replicate your idea – and possibly does a better job at it.
Empowerment is also vital. Working with business owners to address problems in their business I often hear them say things like “I wouldn’t have done it that way”. I have news for you, if you took the time to explain to your team how you would do each task or approach particular stumbling blocks, they will have a better understanding of WHY it’s important to follow those standards.
The solution is simple:
- Plan every task required in your business
- Prepare a method and rationale for each task
- Provide your team with great training and feedback
- Produce measurement criteria to keep everyone on track
Things work better when everyone involved is really focussed on their core activities and feel that the work they do is really important to the organisational goals for the business. By getting your team performing more in the way you would if you were carrying out the task personally, it will help you find the time to come up with more ideas and possibly starting a new business if you don’t have to be involved on a day to date basis in your current enterprise.