Smash the bottleneck – Getting started with documenting systems

Smash the bottleneck

Too many business owners are killing their business by being the bottleneck.

We know that as a business owner it’s important for you to have control over absolutely every single thing that happens in your business.

Oh, hold on… Is it?

Too much control can be a bad thing. When you have too much control you run the risk of becoming a bottleneck for your business. You end up micro-managing and stressing out over minute, unimportant details. You are in the way of your own success of your business? Do you think the owners of successful companies are involved at every level? No. Hell, some of them aren’t even involved. They just receive the check. They can do this because they are masters at 3 things:

  • Documenting
  • Delegating
  • Trusting

The best way to eliminate bottlenecks in your business is to create process documents. By laying out a step by step guide you can hand off that responsibility and pay someone to do it. This delegation allows you to concentrate on the truly important things in your business. The things that really make an impact.

Just follow our process for creating your first process document and smashing through that bottleneck.

Step 1. What should you systemize first?

First you have to find the biggest bottleneck in the business. Find that thing that really ruins your day. What is really taking up the largest amount of your time? That is the task that you need to systemize and delegate first. When you figure out what you need to delegate you will really start to resent doing this task and start to imagine all the profit and opportunity that you are missing out on. This is good – Now let’s do something about it!

Step 2. Write it down.

Once you find the task that is absorbing the most of your energy, then you need to write it down. Document it. By documenting it you become conscious of it. Use a tool such as Process Street, Google docs to create shareable process documents or simply share text documents to your team via Dropbox.

Start by writing out the individual steps that need to be taken to complete the process. You can then add more information to each of these steps to make them more detailed. Write the steps as if you were talking to someone who has no experience of what you do. Include everything that you would tell a new employee if you were training them one-on-one to carry out the  task.

Hand off tasks to team members and start working ON your business, not IN your business.

Step 3. Delegate!

Once you have the process down, now is the time to hand it off to someone else in your organization. By handing the task off to someone who earns less or is better suited to the job than you, you are not only potentially reducing your costs but also improving the performance of the overall process. You can now spend your time focussing on the more important things that have a larger impact on your business.

Step 4. Trust.

This is perhaps the most important step of the whole process. You have to learn to trust your team. Yes, they probably will balls it up at some point and it may cost money. But that cost is offset by the amount you are saving by not doing the job yourself. Don’t fall into the trap of handing off the task to someone and then standing over them every time they do it. Just leave them to it and deal with any consequences.

Also, learn to trust the intuition of your team. Allow them to make decisions that only have minimum risks and only ask them to consult you on the more expensive problems. You have to be bullish with yourself, it is unnatural and you will probably hate it at first, but this is key to building success online so stick it out.

God forbid, there may even be the chance that a member of your team is better at a certain task than you are. They may even learn to optimize the process into the future to help make an even bigger impact!

Step 5. Repeat steps 1-4.

Now you have delegated the biggest time sink in your day continue on and keep writing processes for all of the other repeatable tasks. Constantly drive down the costs and free yourself from your business. Fill your time with the parts of the business that you enjoy doing and that make the most impact to you, your customers and your employees.

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Vinay Patankar

CEO and Co-Founder of Process Street. Find him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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