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Apr, 19 2010

LET YOUR BUSINESS WORK FOR YOU

ALTHOUGH, you graduate from a business school with skills like that of a finance manager, operations manager or a sales manager, however, building a business requires much more, such as holding the strings of several kites and making them fly in the right

ALTHOUGH, you graduate from a business school with skills like that of a finance manager, operations manager or a sales manager, however, building a business requires much more, such as holding the strings of several kites and making them fly in the right direction. The entrepreneur has to oversee that all his kites (read business areas) are performing correctly and soaring high, rather than engaging himself with each kite individually. Imagine where the ship would be headed if the captain were to sit in the engine room? Directionless!

Similarly, a growing enterprise needs a paradigm shift from 'doing everything by myself because I am the best at everything' to 'managing and monitoring the staff to do things'. You have to perfect the art of monitoring all kites while not flying any. Can you sit back and let your business work even without you?

The question is why do you need to stop micromanaging your business? Well, have you ever pondered over the fact that you are the one and only person in your enterprise who can think of growth and also make it happen. Incidentally most entrepreneurs are unable to grow because they are micromanagers, sticking their head into the working of every department-finance, marketing etc. You are so embroiled in your daily business routine that you have no time to think of growth strategies. So, here are a few tips that will let you sit back and see your business work even without you and leave you with enough time to think of growth and let it happen.

Jump the rush hour

The first thing you can do to keep better control on your business is to start your day early, say, at 8:00 am so that you hit office much before the rush hour, i.e 9 am to 10 am. Spend the first one hour of the day simply thinking and strategising. Plan your day and make two points to be worked upon and achieved during the day. Starting your day early also means you are mentally settled to take control of things much before things are on fire. The added advantage is that you can call it a day earlier, giving you enough time to unwind and take care of your personal life as well.

Create clear reporting structures

This can be done by creating an organisational chart which defines the work flow in your organisation and clearly explains the reporting structures. Make systems and processes for each department like sales, operations, finance and document them so that everybody works on them. Identify 3-5 KRA (key result areas) for every department which can be measured on the basis of targets set on a weekly and monthly basis. Link the KRAs of each department with creatively designed incentives.

Turn the staff into performers

Ask yourself, if you are managing your people rightly. As people’s manager, you must bear in mind that your staff is always willing to deliver but what stops them is lack of clarity on tasks to be done. Have you devised a system to make each person accountable for his work? Do it now. Create systems, and document them so that everybody follows them. This will prevent you from chasing them. Also set up benchmarks to measure each employee's performance. Unless you are able to measure their performance, you can do very little to improve their performance. Motivate people by telling them that it is their company and they only can make it grow. Ask them for suggestions for improving things.

Generate reports

Assign weekly and monthly targets for each department. Appoint heads for each department who would be responsible to prepare weekly and monthly reports providing detailed information of the work done or accomplished in the week.

Executive meets to set you free

Generating reports would be a futile exercise if you are not reviewing them regularly in a scheduled manner. Reports should be reviewed during executive meetings. These meetings can be called on a scheduled day every week, say on Saturday or Monday. However everybody should be informed about the meeting and also about the agenda. Weekly reports of the last week can be discussed in these meetings so that you get to know what has been achieved and what not. Why? Also set down targets for the next week in these meetings. Appoint somebody to take down the minutes of the meetings which can be used for further reference. In addition to departmental meetings you can also call interdepartmental meeting with heads of all departments to discuss and sort out issues amongst them.

Once your reporting structures are in place, monitoring systems are working, you can now sit back, go on a sabbatical, travel, meet people, network and strategise to grow your business further. Thus, you can afford to remain out of your business, while it still keeps working and the money keeps coming in. Finally organising your business on these lines will not be an easy go in the beginning. In fact you would have to chart out a 90 day action plan for your business to fall in line. Once the ball is set to roll you can now sit back and let your business work.

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