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Archive Monthly Archives: December 2015

organization charting

Your Solo Biz Organizational Chart

Do your eyes start to glaze over when somebody starts to talk to you about having an organizational chart for your business? Or, do you just sort say to yourself – “that would be nice… but since right now, my name would be in every single square, what would be the point?” Before you stop reading, I want you to pay attention.

Your solo business organizational chart is not a personnel management document — it is a road map for the future of your business.

Creating your organizational chart helps you to visualize the different parts of your business and start to create accountability systems for each of those areas. Here’s why that is helpful:

  • It allows you to define your business (and your mission) more clearly.
  • It gives you clarity — you’ll know exactly what needs to get done in your business (even the stuff that you don’t like doing yourself).
  • You will have a roadmap for future growth. When it does come time to hire your expand your team, you’ll know exactly what the team member needs to do.

Here’s how to get started creating your organizational chart:

  • Buy a package of index cards and keep them by your desk while you work on your business.
  • As you do your work, write each task that you do on an index card. Examples: “write blog post”, “edit blog post”, promote via social media”. At the end of the week, you will likely have huge pile of cards (as business owners we wear many hats!).
  • Take the cards and sort them into 4 or 5 general piles. For most businesses those piles would be something like, mission (your core service), marketing/sales, operations, financial.
  • Create subcategories from each of the main areas. Further sort the tasks into the subcategories.
  • Create an org chart or outline on your computer.

As you create new systems for your business, you can put them under the appropriate sub category in your new organizational chart. That way, when you hire someone you’ll have a training plan ready to go.

Even if you never plan to hire anyone, you can use the org chart as a punch list for a quarterly review. Go through each of the different functions on the chart and ask yourself what is working? What could use improvement. By using your org chart as a review guide, you’ll be sure to review the whole business and not miss out on tweaks that could make you additional profit.

Staff

Why the answer isn’t always more staff

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One of the first pieces of advice you’ll hear as an entrepreneur is “you need a team”. While I am a big advocate of operating in your zone of brilliance right from the start, battling your overwhelm with more team members is not always the answer. Adding people to your team costs money (and time). You want to make sure that you are getting the most from your investment.

Here are three questions to ask before you add someone to your team.

  1. Are you clear on what your company does? OK, I know that sounds like a really dumb question, but unless you are hiring a business coach, you can’t expect your team members to create your vision right from the beginning. You can invest a lot of time and money into work that you end up not using. I had a client once who changed her entire business 8 times. I had lots of work putting up new web sites, writing new copy, but all of that effort was wasted.
  2. Are you clear on what you want the team member to do for you? Lack of clarity and communication are two things that cause failed contractor relationships. Your team member is not a mind reader. Ideally, before you hire them, you’ll have clear tasks and performance goals for them. If you just need “help” and are “drowning”, you need to take the time to get yourself out of the crisis before you bring new people on to the team. Sometimes the answer is simply to stop doing so much – especially if all the activity is not bringing you the results you desire.
  3. Do you really need the help? When you are totally overwhelmed, it can seem like hiring someone will stop the bleeding now. But, a lot of times, the answer is a better system, not more people. Take a step back and look at the process you want to hire someone to do for you. Ask yourself:
  • Is this something that I could automate? Is it worth paying someone a bit more up front to automate the process than getting someone to do it manually?
  • Is there a more creative way of getting this done? Can I trade with someone else? (We created Time Traders Club to make this easy for you)

Staffing is one of the biggest expenses of a solo business. If you can get this right, you can get more done, decrease your overwhelm and increase your profits.

Solo Biz Hacker

3 Reasons Why You Should be Solo Hacking Your Business

Is solo biz hacking only for geeks? No, in fact, making business decisions based on data and experimentation is actually just plain good management. At it’s core, solo biz hacking is systematically looking at each part of your business and planning, small incremental improvements based on results.

At first, that might seem like a lot of work. And, it may seem pretty far removed from your mission, but the time invested up front will be returned multiple times with better systems and increased profits for your business.

Here are three reasons why you should start solo-hacking your business:

  1. Less wasted money. It is very easy to lose money in business by doing things that aren’t working or you. One of the first things any good coach will have you do, is to go through your “subscriptions” and weed out the things that are not working. As a hacker, you’ll be measuring everything you do in your business. You’ll be able to catch the things that aren’t working more quickly. You’ll save money and be able to invest it in the things that truly pay off for your business.
  2. Less wasted time. Time is the most precious commodity in your business. Once you’ve spent it, you can’t get it back. Wasted time means wasted money that could have been earned but wasn’t. And living expenses – food and rent – are relentless – they come around every week, every month without fail. Consciously creating processes and tweaking them until they are effective, will save you time in the end. You’ll be doing what works and not wasting time on the things that don’t work. And you are much more likely to be able to afford rent and food!
  3. Solid systems. Solo biz hacking creates systems for your business. Systems create freedom because once you have a process developed, you are able to pass that system off to other people to implement and execute. Until you have a system, you are going to be stuck doing all of the work in your business yourself. Solid business systems are also a business asset. Having data-driven, proven systems in place will put you at a huge advantage.

Imagine what your business will be like when you make systematic changes to your business based on results not just intuition (which, by the way, it almost always wrong). You’ll grow and make more money. What are you waiting for? Get started today.

What is Solo Biz Hacking?

Every day there seems to be a new story of a startup gone big. A bright young coder has an idea, goes to an “incubator”, becomes a “unicorn”, and has a company worth $1 billion. That story has become the modern American Dream.

Of course, even in the startup world where there are plenty of investors and resources for emerging tech companies, your chances of becoming a unicorn are about 1.28%

Still, if you look at what the unicorns have in common, you’ll see that they are very focused on data and growth. This is called growth hacking. Even aspiring unicorn tech companies use the growth hacking framework to make data driven decisions to help them make more profit quickly.

The good news: you don’t have to be a tech start up to hack your business.

A hacker is someone who is more concerned with achieving an objective than following a prescribed process. In other words, hackers care more about what needs to get done than how it should get done. As a result, hackers often come up with innovative ways to get things done.

Solo Biz Hacking goes beyond just doing things “differently”, it focuses you on measuring the success of your experiments and doing what works. As a slow biz hacker you’ll know what’s working in your business and what isn’t. Because you’ll be tweaking based on data, your business will be growing.

Instead of spending hours each day wondering what to do next and wallowing in the what-if’s and overwhelmed with choices, you’ll be clear. And, clarity is the enemy of overwhelm. You don’t need to be a tech start up to make this happen. You just need to have a commitment to the three tenets of Solo Biz Hacking

Easy 3 Step Solo Business Hacking Process

The three steps to the solo business hacking process are:

Do – simply get out there and try something. Don’t wait for it to be perfect. Ship.
Measure – figure out what success would be for you. Is it number of sales? An increased open rate?
Learn – take the lessons you’ve learned, tweak your process and start over.

Most solo business owners do not do these three things on a regular basis. if you incorporate them into your business, you’ll start to see growth – because you’ll be planning for it.