Tired Of Being The Bottleneck? Here’s How to Determine the First Repetitive Task That Needs a Documented Procedure.
Are you struggling to keep up with the amount of work that you personally have to do on a daily basis in your business? Are there frustrating bottlenecks in your work process?
If you find yourself asking these questions don’t feel bad. You’re not the only one, in fact, many entrepreneurs find that certain tasks and processes in their business become bottlenecks and it might not even be their fault.
The way to eliminate a bottleneck in your business is to document the step-by-step procedure for how the task gets done and then delegate it to one of your employees.
This might not be you new to you. You’re probably thinking that you already know that you should create a procedure to document a bottleneck in your business, but you’re not sure where to start.
At SweetProcess, many first-time users ask us this question. These entrepreneurs are very smart.
They are looking for ways to improve their business, but they’re busy and don’t know where to start so they don’t start the process of documenting procedures.
What follows is our process for finding the first task you should create a procedure for in your business. It has worked for our business and it has worked for our clients and their businesses.
It will work for you too.
Step 1: Find The Biggest Bottleneck
Ask yourself the question below:
“What is the single most time consuming task in my business that occurs on a recurring basis?”
It’s a simple question, but the answer doesn’t always reveal itself right away. Sometimes you might get lucky and may have an idea of the task right away.
Other times you’ll have to go through a list of each task that you performed during the day to figure out the most time consuming one.
It helps to complete a list of all your business tasks. Prioritize them ranking the ones that you need done the most and either don’t like doing or are not good enough to complete at a high level.
An entrepreneur that was struggling as his business grew hired this business consultant to find the bottleneck that was affecting performance. The company was growing, but something was causing profits to decrease.
The consultant examined the business and determined that the approval process was the biggest bottleneck. In fact, the business owner was putting pressure on this employees because he insisted on being involved in every decision.
In another example, KISSmetrics looked at analytics affecting blog post performance. They determined that the title or headline of the post was the biggest bottleneck. Headlines that aren’t good don’t entice people to read putting a bottleneck on the content marketing efforts. This bottleneck had an additional layer where it was necessary to document a procedure for creating better headlines.
Take Action: Assess your current business processes. Find the areas that are causing the process to fail or find areas that are adding the most time to the process. These will be your biggest bottlenecks. Once you’ve identified the biggest bottlenecks you can prioritize them and start with the one that has the most impact on your business.
In the military they teach soldiers to assess every situation and determine the best course of action based on what they can do at the time that will have the most positive effect for the goal of the mission.
Improve your business by identifying the bottleneck that is causing your business the most trouble and crush it! (Click To Tweet)
Step 2: Document The Procedure
Image Credit: americaswildlife
Once you prioritize your tasks, start with the most time consuming task and document it using a tool like SweetProcess. Go through each of the steps you would do. This process will help you figure out the best way to complete the task.
Your procedure should be easy enough for anyone to understand. The goal is to pass this task to someone that can do it for less money than what you charge for your products and services – profit.
Sam Carpenter owns the telephone answering service, Centratel. He became a believer in documenting procedures. One of the problems Centratel was having was with training. It took six weeks to train new hires, but after documenting the procedure, Sam and his team cut training down to 3 days, which got people working faster making the company more efficient.
Ruben at Bidsketch created a solution for a major bottleneck of freelancers: proposals. Ruben documented the procedure for creating proposals that win clients while saving time. With this procedure and the tool, freelancers can earn more clients and spend less time creating proposals.
Here is another example of a common bottleneck that can be turned into a procedure:
How To Respond To Email Inquiries
Step 1: Respond with the standard prospect questions:
- What are your business details – Name, location and what you do?
- Why are you reaching out?
- How did you find out about us?
Step 2: Put the information into the customer relationship management system.
Step 3: Archive the email for a follow up.
Take Action: Take the first bottleneck on your list and begin documenting the procedure. You can use a tool like SweetProcess to make it easier. Include every detail that you would tell a brand new person if you were explaining how to effectively complete the task.
Be thorough in your procedure documentation. A little work now will save you a lot of time in the future. (Click To Tweet)
Step 3: Delegate The Task
Find someone internally or externally to perform the task. Again, the procedures should be documented well enough so that anyone will be able to perform the task as good or better than you.
Entrepreneur Michael Hyatt discussed how he learned to delegate note taking to one of his team members. The first step was not a smooth one, but the process allowed him to learn how to properly delegate the bottleneck task of note taking. His process now involves assigning the task to one person, giving them a specific procedure, sharing the expected deliverable and timetable and tracking the results.
In another example, Andrew Crapuchettes, CEO of Economic Modeling Specialists, realized he couldn’t micromanage every project his company took on if the company was to grow. He delegated the precise work to his team members while he assumed a high level role that didn’t require him to get involved in detail because that would slow the process.
In both cases the entrepreneurs determined a bottleneck in their business. They created procedures so others could complete the necessary tasks and from there they stepped out of the way and delegated the tasks.
Take Action: By now you will have determined your biggest business bottleneck. You will have also created the procedure. Determine the best person for the particular task. They might already be your employee or they might be a Virtual Assistant whom you are about to hire. In the latter case, assess their qualifications and their matching traits to your company culture. When those two are satisfied, hire them and provide them with the documented procedure.
Step 4: Move Down The List to The Next Prioritized Bottleneck and Repeat Steps 1 through 3
Once you’ve successfully delegating the biggest bottleneck of your time move down the list to the next item and start by creating a procedure again as you did earlier.
Tim Ferriss is the king of outsourcing life by documenting tasks and delegating the work. One of the tasks he started with was his email. He documented the procedure for responding to emails and delegated it to an assistant. Once the task was being completed effectively he moved on to the task of scheduling meetings, which was a logical step from responding to emails.
You should find that once you document your first procedure that you could easily move to the next biggest bottleneck in your business just like Tim Ferriss did with email and meeting scheduling.
As you move down the list you might think it’s easier to delegate less important tasks, but don’t skimp on the material in your documented procedure.
Jay Goltz is a long time CEO. He had delegated many tasks in his business and he figured he could delegate the task of putting renewal stickers on his company vehicles. However, without proper delegation this task kept getting screwed up each year.
As you move down your list make sure you complete the documented procedure to ensure success.
Take Action: After you’ve successfully delegated the biggest bottleneck of your time, you can move down the list. First, assess your list. Determine the next biggest bottleneck and begin with the documentation. From there you can delegate it accordingly.
Are you tired of being the bottleneck in your business?
You probably know that you need delegate tasks and document procedures, but if you’re like many other people you don’t know where to start.
Begin by assessing your entire work process. Find the bottleneck areas. Then rank the most important bottleneck that is consuming the most of your time and/or probably costing you the most money.
From there you can document the procedure and delegate. Then you move down your list of bottlenecks until your business is operating at peak efficiency.
Refuse to be the bottleneck in your business, make your procedures easier to understand with SweetProcess. Click here to Sign up for a FREE 14-Day Trial of SweetProcess!