Unmanaged projects not only cost a business owner time and energy, they also cost money. Clearly defining the approach, procedures and steps needed for a project's optimal success is imperative. A flowchart clearly identifying the name of the project, the goal, and a breakdown of who's doing what is essential for each and every project on the table.
The best place to start is to break the project into parts, and then into departments. This lays out the procedures “map” in terms of who handles what, and clearly defines when the different parts of the project are due. It's critical to emphasize the need to meet deadlines, for if one department lags behind or holds up the team, it can affect the continuity and launch of the project.
It's also extremely important to define any terms, technical definitions, or any other terminology that relates to the project. Companies that have acronyms, for instance, should create a handbook of terms so that all employees are aware of what the acronyms stand for.
Business Owners need to determine early on what can and can't be systemized. A general rule is to draw up a series of charts that include business functions primarily in the areas of Production, Sales, Support, and External Functions, though there may be some crossover.
- Research and Development
- Production and Quality Management
- Distribution and Logistics
- Accounting / Finance / Bookkeeping
- IT / Computing
- Human Resources
- Advertising & Marketing Agencies
- Business Coach / Consulting Firms
In addition, an organizational chart will show who reports to whom, and a functional chart will show who is responsible for what
This is a good time to involve the whole team, inviting them to write down a job description to ensure that what they think they are responsible for is in fact what they have been hired to do. Invite them to:
- List their top ten time-consuming tasks
- List 10 things that stress them out the most
- List the 10 productivity-related tasks
- List 10 things that bring them great happiness
Next, it's important for Business Owners to know the 4 key areas they should systemize. These are:
- People and Education: This relates to employees and employee training
- Delivery and Distribution: This relates to exploring what areas can be systemized (go paperless, for instance; streamlining tracking procedures, etc.
- Testing and Measuring: This relates to everything. Yes, track and measure everything.
- Systems and Technology: This relates to updating old equipment and software and keeping up on trends in one's field.
In conclusion, as part of the Operations and Management Plan, Business Owners need to understand that systemizing one's business begins with the vision, mission, and culture statements, and includes the operational charts mentioned above, positional contracts, KPIs, How -To manuals, and company milestones.
Implementing all of the above is where a business coach comes in, resulting in the freedom to work on your business rather than in it. After all, you are the owner, not an employee – though often the role of employee is what business owners can easily slip into. Ironically, it's the very role they became business owners to avoid becoming.