Early this morning I was driving to pick my son up from swimming training. Today, instead of going where I had intended, I was on autopilot and ended up half way into Geelong. I can’t even remember driving past the turn off to the pool. Road safety issues aside, I think (hope!) this is something most of us have done at some point.
Business on autopilot
How often do you do things in your business on autopilot, or simply because that’s what you’ve always done? How often do you stop to consider if that action is getting you where you really want to go? Before you start off on any routine task, set a process in motion or use a system, stop and ask yourself these questions.
1. Is this getting me closer to my goals?
I was able to get to the pool this morning after a detour, but it would have been much more effective and efficient to go the right way from the start. Without a quick review, it’s quite possible that autopilot might lead us to the wrong destination all together.
2. Is this necessary for the running of my business?
Some things seem largely unnecessary in the scheme of things, but they might, for example, be legislative requirements or necessary maintenance. Systematise these tasks and create procedures for them. It’s then quite possible they could be delegated (see number 4).
3. Is this the best way of doing things?
Especially for those items in number 2, regularly check the most efficient and effective way of carrying out tasks or processes. Technology and methodologies change all the time. Keep up to date.
4. Is this the best use of my time?
Small business owners. We love to do everything ourselves, right? Well, not necessarily but we often do anyway. Ask yourself if you are the best person to do a task. Is it possible to outsource or delegate it to someone so you can focus on your preferred activities and where your strengths lie?
5. Is this making me more valuable to my customers?
Step into your customers’ shoes for a second. Is it necessary to send them three emails when an updated single email would do a better job? Are your payment systems easy to access and use? It’s well worth the time to review customer facing systems to identify where you can be adding more value (and streamlining your own systems in the process).