From Day One, it is important to document what works best for you and your company, i.e., your Best Practices and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). This book is our medium for documenting our own Best Practices; we encourage you to adopt as many as you see fit while sharing them and adding whatever else you develop or discover independently.
There is no set limit to your Best Practices arsenal; it is a continually evolving and fluid document. Old ideas should be thrown out now and again while new ones are readily added. Some ideas can simply be added to your normal business flow, yet there may be times when you are so overworked that some emerging and innovative ideas cannot be as easily implemented and have to be saved for later.
After preparing extensive documentation about the Best Practices that drive your industry and your company, you should then create Standard Operating Procedures which explain how to do all the theoretical tasks in an organized manner.
Equally important is to keep a fluid To-Do list of up to a hundred tasks of varying sizes that you should manage with approximate completion dates. Your list should constantly be reprioritized and many of the tasks should be delegated as part of your plan to scale your organization. Meanwhile, higher-level tasks can be added for you and the executive team, so the cycle will be repeated, therefore creating an ever-expanding upward spiral.
Your contact management system can help organize some of these activities in a simple manner through the built-in calendar and its many goal-oriented functions. This is key.
All tasks, however difficult they may be, must be well-documented and prioritized for future implementation. It is okay to put something on hold, but do not leave it off your To-Do list or skip it altogether. If the task has made your list, then you have prequalified it as a viable idea, so why ignore a viable, potentially profitable advancement in your company. It is merely a notation on your To-Do list that you can study and implement later or delete if it appears impractical after further study.
Documenting the procedures that you use for each part of your business is extremely important. While you strive for constant incremental improvements in your processes, update the documentation accordingly. Following this method creates an easy path to train people under you, so you can delegate tasks that are ever more profitable while focusing more of your own time on creating new opportunities.
You are starting at the top of the ladder while each person to whom you have delegated tasks is working his way up from the bottom. The object is to delegate as much as possible in order for your staff to rise closer toward the top. Then they can hire new workers to replace themselves. This allows you to consistently raise the bar and focus on only the most profitable and highest priority deal-closing activities which is one of your keys to wealth.
The Best Practices information and the Standard Operating Procedures manuals that you develop then need to be combined into a Training Manual for all new employees and used as a continuing education opportunity for existing employees. Creating the manual could be as simple as copying and pasting the best information that you have already compiled over time or as complex as detailed “Flash” and “PowerPoint” presentations and competency tests.
Many of the creative processes that are required in the business world can’t be reduced to steps in your Standard Operating Procedures manual; however, it is still necessary to attempt to document what works and continuously add to this set of information. The Best Practices and Standard Operating Procedures documents will be instrumental in training new employees and communicating the unique methods of your business.
One can just about mathematically prove that working on an evolving model committed to Best Practices and SOPs will produce more profits than a more random process.
Your ascent can be as follows: after careful study, you settle on one great idea and plan its future. Then write a business model, develop Best Practices to achieve your business model, and finally, write and keep up-to-date, specific procedures in order to operate each aspect of your business.
Anything that is not covered above is the meat of your business: creative employees who dynamically work with customers and solve problems. This, along with leveraging stakeholder feedback, will constantly enhance your Best Practices information base and improve your income.
As we see it, there are Four Main Strategies for achieving additional success:
(1) Delegate Tasks: The bigger and more profitable, the better it is for business. In this way, you can keep saying “yes” to all the great opportunities that you discover and pass them off to others who will help deliver the projects and their requisite profits.
(2) Build Efficiencies into all parts of your business. In this way, you can provide the same services as a larger corporation, but on a lower budget, and compete with those who previously appeared untouchable. This can empower you to offer lower prices, too, if you choose.
(3) Learn More: When you know your products, the economics of your industry, and your sales prospects better than your wannabe competitors do, you will be able to make more deals faster at their expense.
(4) Work More: As you recall from Chapter 1, maxing out raw man-hours can provide exponential growth and tremendous value.