How To Leverage Your Way To The Top

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It was Archimedes that said – “Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world”. Well, the same can be true in business. Learning to leverage your time can make a huge difference to your business.

One of the biggest challenges that business owners have is that their business never truly runs without them being there on a day to day basis. Our definition of a business is: a commercial, profitable enterprise that runs WITHOUT YOU. If your business does not run without you, you have a demanding job, rather than a successful enterprise.

Your time is one of your most valuable assets. The most successful business people recognise this;  they invest in people, computerised systems and other types of technology that will save them time. So ask yourself – what resources can I  investing in to save me valuable time?

The best use of your time as a business owner is not troubleshooting, being the number one contact for your customers or sorting out problems your team have made, but is in seeing new business opportunities, providing leadership to your team and mapping out the future of the business.

It is vital to remember that if you do something once without writing it down, you are destined to repeat it forever, so the key to leveraging yourself out of the day-to-day of your business is to have written systems and processes that enable it to happen.

Think of systems as ways of Saving Yourself Stress, Time, Energy and Money. Although there is an up-front investment of your valuable time, in the long run it will pay dividends as it gives you the following benefits:

  1. You can constantly improve systems;
  2. Other people can be trained and can then do the work for you;
  3. Customers will get a consistent service;
  4. There may be the potential to replicate the business in the future.

If you need further proof that systems can make you money, just look at McDonalds restaurants. These are found the world over all producing the same quality product and service, employing low skilled staff and making very good profits. While we would not expect your business to be as systemised as that, most business we come across can systemise 80% of what they do and train the human element to take care of the other 20%.

The problem is that for most established business starting to write the systems is a daunting task. Where do you start and who should do it?

Well like most goals the best thing is to break it down into manageable chunks and choose the areas that are most used and can produce the best improvements. We normally find our clients start with the sales and debt collection processes. Then go through each stage of the business bit by bit and delegate as much as possible to those that are currently carrying out the work. We had one client who employed 3 students over the summer to come in and write their entire operations manual for them as part of their university degree, a real Win:Win.

The key to making systemisation work is to make sure your staff are properly educated and trained to use the systems and processes. Your team really is your best asset, and frankly they are the only way your business will truly work without you.

Some business owners tell us that they are scared that if they train their team that they may leave and take their skills somewhere else. Our response is that if they don’t train them they might stay!

In addition to people power, you should be looking to use whatever technology is available to make your systems more efficient, such as computerised Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, stock control, accounts, payroll, quoting, estimating etc. Don’t forget you are investing in the future, so always select a system that you can grow into otherwise you will limit your growth.

So stop thinking you are stuck in your business, and start leveraging yourself to the top.

Author

Paul Fagan is Managing Director of Business Coaching Ireland, which is part of the largest business coaching, mentoring and training franchise company in the world, ActionCOACH Business Coaching. Business Coaching Ireland are providers of the ManagementWorks Business Growth Programme and Business Leadership Programme.