Nobody knows your business better than you do. And that’s the problem.
Every new successful venture is built on the back of key people with experience and know-how. But at some point, that’s just not a practical way to run a business. You can’t grow a business if you depend on key people alone.
The McDonalds Training Program
When I was a kid, everybody talked about McDonalds’ training program. It was revolutionary. They didn’t just hire people and teach them sorta-kinda how to flip a burger. They had a very specific training program for every job that needed to be done … here’s how you flip a burger. Here’s how you wash the floor. Everything.
That program is one of the things that’s often overlooked when people analyze the success of the company. The training programs they designed allowed the franchise to expand very quickly and maintain consistent service and quality at the same time.
Building Your Own Processes and Procedures
The key, is to keep it simple. And in the beginning it’s really important to keep everything flexible. That way you can build a huge amount of scalability into your business processes but still tweak them and evolve them as you learn better ways to do things.
Here’s a simple example …
Let’s say you send out dozens of packages everyday. And each of those packages needs to be wrapped up with 20 feet of string. The “experienced” person just pulls a length of string off the roll and knows instinctively that it’s the right length.
When it comes time to hire other people to do this, it’s going to take them time to get the hang of it. And some people will take quite a while before they do. You need a procedure. A simple one.
So you stretch your arms out and realize that’s about 5 feet. Pulling 4 lengths of string off the roll using the rough measurement of outstretched arms makes 20 feet. Suddenly, you have a simple process. Now you can literally teach someone in seconds how to pull 20 feet of string off the roll to wrap a package.
So The Big Question is “When”?
Eventually you WILL have to build processes and procedures to run your business effectively. And “How” is something you’ll figure out along the way. So the real question is when do you need to do it?
The answer is simple; when you have people to train. There’s no point in building your procedures until you have people to pass them on to. And you’ll get real-time feedback from the people you’re training as you design the processes as well. You’ll even get some great ideas from your trainees.
At the same time, you don’t want to wait too long. As soon as you start expanding and bringing in new people, it’s time to start designing some basic procedures for how to do whatever you do. Start with a few and add more as you need them.
And as always, keep it simple. Things have a way of getting complicated all by themselves.