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Creating a Successful Business That Runs Without You

How many hats do you wear? As a personal trainer and a business owner, I know first-hand how overwhelming it all can be: you’re a part-time marketer, salesperson, secretary, accountant, attorney and general manager. All these hats might have you thinking that your grand dream has turned into a logistical nightmare.

I’m happy to say that there is a solution – a way that you can make time to work on and not in your business. After all, do you expect the owner of Starbucks to make your coffee? No, an employee has been trained to do that in a very brand-specific way.

So, here is the million-dollar question: How do you get your customers to EXPECT that you will NOT be the one working directly with them? You need to “clone” yourself – set up systems that make it possible for your employees to perform tasks in the same way you would, a way that is consistent with your brand.  

Here’s the system that worked for me:

1. Identify daily tasks

Write down every single task that you have to complete on a regular basis in your business: greeting clients, returning phone calls and emails, designing workout programs, cleaning the bathroom, writing the newsletter… everything. Then group similar tasks together.

2. Create jobs from those tasks

Each group of tasks is a job. For example, you might have one grouping that includes “write the newsletter,” “update the website,” “create ads” and “create YouTube videos.” This grouping could be turned into a “marketing director” job.

3. Write job descriptions

Each job needs to come with an instruction manual and job description. This can be as simple as a half-page of text detailing what to do, when to do it and how to do it.

4. Create a hierarchy job chart

The job chart looks like a family tree, with the owner at the top and lines leading down to a management level, then down to instructor and front desk staff levels. The job chart is important because it tells you and your staff who does what and who directs whom.

5. Assign someone to those jobs

Make each job someone’s responsibility – even if it’s yours. When I started my business and created my job chart, I had 11 jobs on the chart. I wrote my name next to each one of them because I was the only one in the business. Even though it was a year before I could hire anyone else, the chart helped because it showed me which hat I was wearing.

6. Hold staff accountable for completing their job

Along with each job description, create a checklist for each task. For example, I want my new marketing director to post a video on YouTube every Friday. I create a Friday list that includes “post YouTube video” along with any needed instructions. Then, I only need to spend one minute checking to see if the task was done. This doesn’t mean I don’t trust my employees. Rather, it’s important that I check work to ensure that the quality is up to par and a good representation of my brand.

7. Hire people who complement you and your brand

The job descriptions allow you to see which jobs are taking up the majority of your time so you know where you need help. When you’re ready to hire, choose to fill jobs that 1) you’re not good at, 2) you don’t like, or 3) you no longer have time to do.

8. Evaluate your system and make changes, when needed

As with many things in life, the unanticipated will happen at your business, revealing holes in your system. When this happens, be sure to immediately refine your system. For example, if a client asks, “What’s your cancellation policy?”, don’t just answer the question for that one client. Make sure every client understands your cancellation policy by adding it to your policy documents and/or your website.

As business owners, we know instinctively that we need to get out of the day-to-day in order to truly run our business. These suggestions are just the beginning steps for that transition. Join me at the BOLD MINDBODY Conference this October to hear more about how you can carve out quality time to work on your business:

Clone Yourself: Transition from Working In to Working On Your Business
Monday, October 13: 10:15 AM

Register today.

Download the conference schedule for a complete listing of all sessions offered.