Could this be you?
You’re a star developer whose mission is to create a game-changing software platform. You start to grow by selling some apps you've developed, and you hire junior level developers.
Your bookkeeping becomes more complicated with employees and a payroll. You’re a smart person and you know you can handle it. Your networking brings you more accounts.
So far so good.
Life Gets Complicated
Tax time is a nightmare because you have so much to learn. A tax law change consumes your time and you stop going to conferences for a few months, but you plan to have it under control soon. Your bookkeeping workload is exploding, because, thankfully, business keeps coming in. You promote your best employee to manage the projects and people you no longer have time for. Your spouse and children complain that you are never home.
When you get back to developing, you discover nothing has been done the way you had planned. You didn’t standardize the process, because you assumed everyone would understand what you wanted. To keep the staff busy, your senior developer has taken on a slew of small projects that aren't even related to the core business.
Worst of all, progress on your big idea has stopped. Your best person is too busy managing the day-to-day and you don’t have time either. Tasks are being duplicated, and other things are not getting done at all because you have no systems set up.
Many organizations, large or small, wait too long to systemize their operations. This hurts the bottom line as well as morale.
A major corporation will often wait until it starts having serious problems before digging into the job of centralizing and standardizing its many departments, who are typically duplicating efforts across those departments, resulting in bottlenecks and slowdowns.
By the time management tackles this, it’s become painful and costly to change. But the price of not changing is even higher, so it must be done.
It also happens to startups with as few as one person. That overworked person, as in my example above, tends to wear too many hats and try to accomplish too many things that aren't mission critical.
Money is tight, and it seems less expensive to do everything in-house. But it’s actually not.
Not Investing in Your Business Is An Expensive Short Term Strategy
When the owner above looked at the first half of the year, he realized, to his horror, that he'd made 20 percent less during tax time. He had skipped conferences where he had previously made valuable contacts, nor was he following up with less recent contacts, who had moved on.
If you are the best person to be drumming up business, you should be out on the front lines, but not all the time. Not so much that the mission—in this case, developing software—is being run by employees who don’t have the knowledge or training to manage it.
In this case, the owner needed to manage the team, or else train and delegate it carefully. Some of the lead generation could have been handled by a salesperson or marketing, leaving him to close the deals. And there’s no question he does not need to be handling payroll or taxes.
The owner has made what I call the "critical mistakes" of business owners, which I warn audiences about because they are so common and they do so much damage:
- Suffer from "it's easier to do it myself" syndrome.
- Don't understand the importance of systemizing and what that really means.
Both of these can only be successful in the short-term, but eventually, you will burn out or be unable to expand because you are just doing too much. Heed my advice and invest in your business by hiring and delegating to specialists, and systemize your operations in any way you can.
The longer you wait, the harder it will be. You value your autonomy in the beginning, but full autonomy has a price. Being a lone wolf is inefficient. Remember the reason why you started the company in the first place.
A clear mission and vision will guide you.
Have you felt out of control of your own organization because you're trying to do it all? Comment or contact us directly at CHB Associates to learn more about systemizing.