Today we wrap up this three-part series on what efficiency really means: doing the right work in the best way by the right people. Part 3 is all about the folks on your team – having people (because none of us is an island) and having the right people for the role. Without placing the right people in roles that best fit your needs, your “right work”, and their skill set, you could be setting yourself up for chaos and frustration. But no worries, there is a better way!
….By the Right People
When you start out in business, you wear multiple hats. Typically, it’s just you and a dream, and you’re the one who has to manage the many details of bringing that dream to reality. That’s understandable, and even advisable. Unless you’re starting out with a financial windfall, then taking baby steps in terms of hiring is just good business. However, as things continue to progress, business owners keep wearing all the same hats they started out with. You’re the visionary, expert, and leader, but you’re also the web designer, marketing person, administrator, and bookkeeper. You somehow convince yourself that a) you can’t afford to hire or b) you can do it better, faster, or cheaper yourself. Both of these are myths, and they are myths that are keeping you from flourishing in what you do.
True efficiency is not just doing the right work in the best way, but having that work performed by the right people. If you’re the CEO, are you the right person to run payroll or plan company meetings? If you’re an IT expert of a technology company, are you the right person to format documents or implement your marketing strategy? Once your business is up and running, your time is best spent by being the expert you are, regardless of your industry. You’re the one with the insight and expertise required to attract ideal clients and present your business as the go-to resource in your field. The more time you spend on work that falls outside of your expertise, the less time you’re building your business.
If you’re finding it hard to juggle business development and back office, then it’s time to let some things go. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of wisdom. It means you recognize that, just as you’re great at what you do, there are others who are great at what they do. They can manage the work in a way that’s rewarding for them and liberating for you, and they can likely do it better, faster or less costly than you could.
Here are a few suggestions to get the right people in place:
- Keep an activity log for 3 days. Whether you use an app, calendar or printed worksheet, writing down how you actually spend your time will open your eyes to what you should do less of and areas where you can hire or delegate.
- Sort out your priorities. Think about what you’d love for someone to be able to help you with. Now, group those tasks into two categories: 1) right now or 2)long term. Your “right now” list includes the projects or tasks you need extra hands to handle in the very short term. You’re stressed out, overwhelmed or facing a deadline, and having someone in the trenches with you would make an immediate impact on your workload. Your “long term” list includes the tasks, functions or projects that you would eventually turn into a job description or several job descriptions. They’re a group of things that, while they would be nice to have now, you can put off until you’re able to hire a contractor or employee. This process of prioritizing your work and sorting your needs will help you discover what you can keep doing for now and where you should seek assistance.
- Hire other experts. Surround yourself with people who have strengths complementary to your own. Invest in an assistant, outsource a function to another small business, or hire an intern to manage the daily details of your business. When you’re able, begin the process of hiring part-time or full-time W-2 employees. In some cases, bartering with someone in your network could make all the difference. There are plenty of options. Just start where you are and you’ll be freer to move forward.
Ultimately, true efficiency is the framework by which you operate your business. It will keep you grounded in your mission and connected to your clients. It ensures that you’re not just being busy, but doing work that matters. True efficiency is doing the right work in the best way by the right people.
How can you (and your business) benefit from working more efficiently? Let’s answer this question and work through it together. Get in touch.