Business divides pretty neatly into seven categories or “elements” that all businesses must pay attention to in order to be successful. They exist whether we pay attention to them or not. If we pay attention, we are successful, if we don’t, we are not.
Most businesses reflect the strength of their owner/founder, who are really good at one, two, or maybe even three of the seven. The successful business makes sure they get the people and systems in place to have all seven humming.
Get a handle on these seven elements, and get off the treadmill. All great business owners do.
The Seven Elements of a Business are:
- Vision & Leadership (mission, vision, principles)
- Business Development (sales, marketing, research)
- Operations & Delivery (get a process that delivers a consistent experience)
- Financial Management (improve cashflow and profit just by paying attention)
- Customer Satisfaction (almost no one has a process for this critical Element)
- Employee Satisfaction (treat them like they are #1 and they will do the same for your clients)
- Community, Family, Self (how is your business impacting the world around you?)
STAY IN YOUR ELEMENT
The key is to know which Elements you are really good at, and how to get others to bring the others up to speed. Sometimes early on, we have to cover them ourselves, but knowing which ones you’re great at and which ones you want to off load puts you in a better position to get off the treadmill faster and get others doing the things that aren’t your cup of tea.
KEEP IT SIMPLE IS STILL THE RULE.
If you can’t stand in the middle of the room and share your system for each of the Seven Elements in 30-120 seconds, it’s likely you’ll never use it. Systems are not 3″ binders that sit on desks. They are a remarkably simple set of lean, efficient, time-tested set of steps that everyone knows and everyone uses in the every day of doing business. For most businesses, your entire Systems Manual with all Seven Elements shouldn’t be more than a few pages long. If you can’t share it from memory without memorizing it, you won’t use it.
FIGURE OUT WHAT YOU’RE DOING AND GET IT OUT OF YOUR HEAD.
For each of the Seven Elements, ask yourself:
- What is the process I do now for each Element? (You’ve got one, whether it’s well thought out or ad hoc.) Write it down.
- What part of that process is working? What isn’t? Keep what is, and take your best guess at what would work to change what isn’t. Don’t spend hours or days thinking about it. Just change it. The only way you’ll know if it works is if you try it. If it doesn’t, change it again until you find the right process. If it’s broken, those quick “experiements” won’t be an worse than what you’re doing and will lead you to the best process.
- Get others involved. Create ownership by having others take a stab at the processes that will effect their work the most. They’ll likely to know more than you do about it anyway.
- Keep it to one page or less per Element. Resist the temptation to write an Operations Manual. It will sit on a shelf and you’ll never use it. Some of the processes you write down should be less than half a page; maybe one of the Seven might take a full page, but see if you can’t keep them to less seven steps or less per process. Again, if you can’t stand up and share the whole process quickly, you won’t use it.
- Prioritize the ones that create the most challenge for you. Get outside help if at all possible. Otherwise you’re going to have to gut it out yourself and get them working in balance with the Elements you love doing. Until you do, you will be owned by your business. After you get all Seven humming, you’ll be on the path to actually owning your business and getting off the treadmill.
Get all Seven Elements of a Business working for you and you’ll be on the path back to the passion that brought you into business in the first place. Get all Seven Elements in place and get off the treadmill. You’ll make more money in less time.