Why switching off and delegating could help you run a better business

Letting go of the reins is tough when you’re growing a business, but building a strong team and effective management system could help your firm flourish...

If smartphones and tablets weren’t enough, the advent of smartwatches are threatening a real luxury… ever being able to switch off!

Admittedly, this technology has done wonders for productivity and responsiveness. However, this inability to disconnect means we remain on hand at any time, any day, to anyone. The ease of accessibility to information also tempts us to become involved in matters which don’t necessarily require our involvement.

We’ve also got the cost to our health to consider; research has shown the ‘blue light’ emitted from our devices can stop us getting a good night’s sleep due to this type of light convincing the brain it’s still daytime.

So is it time to take a step back?

In reality this access to constant information helps to feed that nagging side of us which doesn’t want to lose control. Is the office coping without us? Have they made an important decision without our involvement?

Letting go of the reins is difficult when growing a business. After all, it’s your baby and only you know what’s best for it, right? However, in order to allow the business to flourish, you can’t cause bottlenecks by being the only decision-maker. Easier said than done, granted.

Building an effective team you can lean on

The first step to change this is perhaps the hardest; recognising others can do a better job than you. The truth is we can’t do everything; even experienced owner managers need a sounding board for those key areas that fall out of their relevant areas of expertise. That’s why Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg hired Sheryl Sandberg and Google’s founders chose Eric Schmidt – they hired people with more business nous than them, so they could get on with what they were best at.

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Your people are undoubtedly your strongest asset, but they can also be your biggest headache! So if you really want to move towards becoming a more strategic leader with a genuine work/life balance, you need to make some tough calls on whether your existing team has what it takes, and what people you really need.

Don’t fall into that all too common trap of hiring people exactly like you either – you need to build a well-rounded team.

Putting in place the foundations to grow

For effective change to happen, part of that vital transfer of knowledge will be to get those key processes, currently stored in your head, properly documented. Otherwise, your team will be forever reliant on you. Having processes and procedures may sound unnecessary at first, but if you want to grow your business without the headaches, it’s essential to have everyone singing off the same hymn sheet. And for that, they need to see the hymn sheet!

Building an effective management system that contains your key procedures should be considered essential for any ambitious business. Tools such as the ISO 9001 quality management standard can help you to build this, as it defines the requirements to ensure the system is both overarching and robust.

ISO 9001 is used by big businesses throughout the world, but it translates just as well for small businesses too. The standard isn’t just a ‘bible’ for recognised good practice either, it also gets you to question what you’re doing and, where possible, to improve it. Quite simply, those who can deliver consistently at the top of their game will reap most benefits.

Whether it’s for the sake of your work life or personal life, wouldn’t you like to be able to switch off your device, and feel relaxed that the world will continue to turn without you?

The simple answer is to create an effective management system that drives your organisation to consistently deliver what your clients want. Your people will know what to do, how to do it and when; and all this without constantly checking back with you! Having got this right, you’ll benefit from the rewards – improved client retention, repeat business and more word-of-mouth referrals as a result of delivering dependable service.

Wouldn’t that be worth the time it would take to document those key processes that you keep safely locked away in your head? What’s to lose, unless you really do want to stay awake every night?

The British Assessment Bureau helps small businesses grow through better management and competitive advantage. Visit their website for more on how ISO 9001 can help your business


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