You have successfully removed yourself from being the bottleneck in your business by hiring a Virtual Systems Architect. Now, what if you have made other people into bottlenecks instead?
It is like fighting a hydra! Cut one head off and two more pop up! How do you fix this? Listen to today’s episode of Freedom In Five Minutes as we take a look at and learn from clients’ stories who turned other people into bottlenecks in their business and the troubles this bad habit has caused.
Overview & Episode Content
- One Bad Habit That is a Fatal Bottleneck in Business
- The Hard-Easy Versus Easy-Hard Things of Your Business
- How Do You Avoid Business Bottlenecks?
- Process Documentation Removes the Bottlenecks in Business
One Bad Habit That is a Fatal Bottleneck in Business
Today, I woke up to some very interesting emails from an absolutely amazing customer. They are a design company that creates a ton of videos and design work for several big named companies and brands.
The emails that were flying around were basically about their VSA being bedridden in the hospital.
So, the VSA was just out — bedridden — but he did not want to stop working! It was actually one of my General Managers who told him, “Dude, you need to stop working or else you are not going to get better!”
Then, we reached out to the client, “Hey, we had the VSA stop working as he is still in the hospital, recovering. He needs to rest but he’ll be back either tomorrow or the next day.”
Now the client said, “Well, we don't know who's going to do his work.”
So, my General Manager suggested that we assign another VSA temporarily and just work off the process documents.
But the client responded, “Well, it's not as easy as that. There are a lot of things that he has become familiar with that require some thinking.”
This is the bad habit that most entrepreneurs do. We all love having a staff member who we can count on. But it is a very dangerous position to be in if the business is unable to run smoothly without a particular person, be it the owner or a staff member.
The Hard-Easy Versus the Easy-Hard Things of Your Business
So, in the next few days, it would seem like the client would end up having to do all the work because he made his staff the bottleneck in business.
This is a habit that a lot of entrepreneurs have and it's considered normal to not want to do the hard-easy things before they become the easy-hard things.
What does this mean? It means that the hard-easy thing means creating very detailed process documents that anybody can follow. You can even have a process document that details what to do in the event that a staff member is out.
It could be as simple as saying, “ Hey, just letting you know that I’m going to be handling some things while this person is out. Please bear with me…”
However, we tend to not do that. Instead, we tend to allow our business to get stuck in other people's heads. So now they become the bottleneck.
When a business owner says, “We can't live without Kevin, or Jana, or James. We can't live without any of these people because they know how to work with this guy or this process…” That business owner is putting himself in a dangerously vulnerable position.
How Do You Avoid Business Bottlenecks?
Recently, we had another customer who did not have a process of bringing a new person totally on board. Like getting all their accounts set up. Now, they hired a new person and guess who was doing all the onboarding work? It was the owner of the business himself.
This should not happen. Jeff Bezos would not say “Oh, we have a new client in the Amazon FBA warehouse. Okay, well, I'll stop everything. And I'll go train that guy up.”
Managers can handle the entire process on behalf of the business owner.
Of course, there are some people who are terrific at taking care of things that need to be done. And having these people to help as staff members are great for business. However, you have to avoid having the business or yourself as a business owner becoming too dependent on anyone or anything.
It is understandable that this is something very hard to do for a lot of entrepreneurs at the very beginning of the business. Once the business owner gets out of that habit of feeling like they have to do everything — so they bring somebody in who knows how to do the important tasks. That's where the problem becomes very apparent.
I want to stress that the more that you can create systems and processes into documentation — that is so detailed that anyone can do them. And by the way, yes they could do it even if it means talking with clients — you can make things so detailed that you very rarely put yourself in a situation where you’re too dependent on particular staff members to get tasks done.
Going back to the client I’m talking about, he had plans for today but all those plans went to crap because the process documents were not as detailed as they possibly could. That is because he could not quickly put someone else in that situation as a temporary staff member. He had to change all of his plans and that's what we want to avoid.
Process Documentation Removes the Bottlenecks in Business
When we are in business, we want to avoid bottlenecks. We want a situation where it is a no-brainer when somebody can pop in and take over — at least on a certain percentage of things — in the event that someone in the team needs to step out.
This is important because we all tend to do this bad habit. I even do this with my kids sometimes!
I would say, “Allison knows how to do this. So I'm just gonna have her be the person who does this thing.”
Well, there should be a process. Even in my house, I have process documents for the important things that need to be done. And everybody knows what to do because we all have our zones of expertise.
My challenge to you this week is to figure out where you are the bottleneck in your business. Or look at where you have inadvertently put somebody else as a bottleneck. Switch it up and make it something that allows nobody to be the bottleneck.
There is always a better way where anyone can go in there and do the task. Anyone can make it happen if they are armed with a very good set of detailed process documents.
We tend to maintain whatever feels safe and familiar. That’s just human nature.
However, familiarity breeds contempt. And as business owners, we do not want familiarity. We want detailed processes to remove bottlenecks in business.
Resources and Links
This is Dean Soto and if you like this episode of Freedom In Five Minutes, visit FreedomInFiveMinutes.com for more episodes.
And if you’re looking to hire your next Virtual Systems Architect, head over to ProSulum.com for more details.