How to Get Everything Done By Doing Less



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Most entrepreneurs subscribe to the philosophy: “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.” This mantra, accepted by many small-business owners as fact, is only half true. If you want something done right once and you have no other time commitments, then the fastest way, in fact, is to do it yourself. However, if you want something done right repeatedly, day-in and day-out, all day long, and you don’t have the time to do 10 full-time jobs all at once, you can’t do it yourself.

To get everything your company needs done, you must transfer procedural knowledge, decision-making guidelines and a schedule from inside your head to your employees.

Here is how you do it:

1. Document the process. Every kind of work in a business follows a process. There’s a process for the best way to answer the phone. There’s a process for shipping products.

In most small businesses, the knowledge about how to do everything is stuck inside the entrepreneur’s head. In situations where employees lack knowledge, the employees will either guess what is supposed to be done or constantly pepper you with questions that take longer to answer than just taking action yourself.

To solve this dilemma, document the step-by-step procedures for how to complete a commonly performed task in your business. There are three ways to do this:

  1. Write a procedural manual describing how to perform a task.
  2. Create a checklist describing the steps — assuming your employees already have the skills to do each step but often forget or skip steps.
  3. Make a video using your smartphone as you perform the task, explaining aloud what you are doing and why you are doing it.

The next time you assign an employee a particular task, just give her the manual, the checklist or video tutorial.

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