STARTING OUT WITH YOUR SMALL BUSINESS
Wait, I am just starting out as a small business, not leading a huge corporation. Even established companies experience growing pains (and hopefully you will soon!) as outdated policies and procedures hinder efficient and compliant business operations.
ESCAPING UNNECESSARY PAIN
So how can I avoid unnecessary pain? At the beginning of your venture, a small core team (sometimes consisting of you alone) performed all tasks. Remember, if you are directly involved with all decisions and actions, there is a built-in limitation on business capacity.
Developing, publishing, and eventually training teammates to perform routine tasks generates repeatable, predictable outcomes. This frees business owners to focus on more critical efforts. Ultimately, this is about implementing a flexible structure (your tree) that can grow with your company. Would you rather feed and water a healthy tree to grow more branches and leaves or dig it up and plant a new one in the same hole every two years?
THE ART OF HANDWRITTEN NOTES
Depending on your organization size and industry, external laws, regulations, and guidelines may exist. Compliance may be optional or mandatory. Regardless, certain operations occur frequently and benefit from simple handwritten notes through formal policies. What, should I invest in a full employee handbook like my previous (or current) employer? NO! It is likely too early in your company lifecycle to focus too heavily on non-income producing activities. However, think about the repetitive nature of generating an invoice, creating a marketing call plan, or producing a customer deliverable. Document common steps to streamline activities, reduce cost and stress, and improve client satisfaction. Relax, these can be refined and improved along the way. Eventually, employees will complete these same tasks with limited supervision using your memorialized policies and procedures. Think of your newfound freedom!
Warning! Be careful not to overtly self-regulate through excessive structure. If you enjoyed having everything dictated to you, why consider leaving your traditional job in the first place???