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Would your company still operate if you fired yourself?

Posted on August 30 2012 | Author: Admin

Take a look at your business. If you fired yourself right now, would your company still operate as normal? Have you created systems in your company that allow you to remove yourself from the equation and still have a fully functional business?

Notice that the key word here is operate.

A business that operates on its own not only gives you more free time to do what you want (lifestyle business), but it also allows you to focus on growing the company.

Furthermore, a self-operating business positions an entrepreneur to grow the company intelligently - instead of hiring more people because there’s too much work to do, an entrepreneur can hire more people when it’s time to scale.

These are the steps I take to remove myself from the equation.

Step 1: Dive in head first

Do not build systems until you’ve done the work yourself. Managing a project is completely different from executing on the project as there are always unexpected obstacles along the way of completing a task. It’s therefore important to dive head first into the task before you build systems. While you do the work, make sure to write down the mistakes you make and the shortcuts you find along the way. I just use a simple Text Editor to write down all my notes as I complete a task.

Step 2: Create the training manual

There are two types of training manuals that I create depending on the situation:

Written training manual delivered via Google Docs
Video training guide hosted on my company FTP

Written training manual

I utilize Google Docs to create a written training manual. I make sure to go into extreme detail with every step needed to accomplish the task. I organize the training by colors:

Red-highlighted section: warning, there is a common mistake here that you should pay attention to avoid
Green-highlighted section: shortcut to accomplish a task
Blue-highlighted section: immediate next steps for the reader

I utilized Jing to take screen captures of my screen and make the training manual idiot-proof. That’s actually a very important part of building a training manual:

Create a training manual as if you were creating it for a child. Be completely thorough in your training and never leave room for different interpretations.

Video training guide

I utilize Camtasia to video record my screen for a training guide. Similar to a written training manual, I make sure that the video is idiot-proof. Furthermore, my goal is to minimize the length of the training manual as much as possible. I delete unnecessarily long pauses while I’m waiting for a web page to load so that the viewer doesn’t have to sit their idly during training. My video training is fast-paced and forces the viewer to keep engaged or else they’ll miss something important.
Centralized location for the training manuals and guides

I utilize a simple Google Group to host all of my training manuals. A Google Group has a Welcome Page that allows you to write any text to welcome a member. I use the Welcome Page to organize all of the training manuals and make it easily accessible for all employees.

Step 3: Test and revise the training manual

Test the training manual with the team member that will spearhead this project. Watch as they accomplish the task using the training manual WITHOUT any of your help. Take notes and see where they have questions, where they slow down, and where they make mistakes. These are areas in the training manual that need clarification.

Step 4: Observe closely then forget about it

I hate to micromanage, but that’s what it takes during the first few times the team member accomplishes the new task. If the results are not 100% to your liking, then you need to figure out how you can improve your training manual so that you can get the results you need. Often times it’s as simple as speaking with the team member and asking why they made a mistake.

Once the results are 100% to your liking, then it’s time to forget about it and move on to growing your company.

By Jun Loayza from www.junloayza.com

The Agri-Technology Commercialization Centre receives funding under the Growing Forward suite of programming, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. However, the comments or opinions expressed on this blog are solely those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Government of Canada or the Province of Ontario.

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