Flu-Induced Business Lessons

So a few weeks ago I was very very ill. Like unable to move for almost 2 weeks ill. It was bad.

Now I tell you this not for any sympathy, but rather to help you avoid the same mistakes I did. I have done quite a bit in the way of organizing my company to to allow things to continue to run smoothly if I were not there. We use procedures and have a team in place to make sure that if I were to disappear for a few days everything would continue to run. You probably wouldn’t even miss me 😉

However this time I got so sick I was completely out of commission for nearly 2 weeks. Now it’s become very obvious that while me missing in action for a few days isn’t an issue, there is a very large gaping hole that is left when I am gone for longer than that.

Now the purpose of this post isn’t going to be talking about extracting yourself from your business. I’m going to assume that you want to be involved in your business, and at least the marketing of it although you could apply many of the same techniques to remove yourself from it more and more if that is your goal.

So in my flu-induced, cough syrup fueled stupor, here is what I learned…

Lesson 1: Batch

Batch, batch, batch. This is just a generally good thing to do for time management but batching is going to save your life if you ever get in a bind. Sending out a weekly newsletter? Write 4 weeks at a time. Post to your blog twice a month? Spend a day and knock out 2-3 months worth of posts.

I didn’t follow this sage advice and missed one of our newsletters, which could have easily been prevented had I even wrote one extra newsletter to have as a backup.

This easily goes for anything you do in your business from marketing, to social media, even bookkeeping. Any tasks you have to do repeatedly can be batched and if you do it, not only will you be seeing more focused energy being put to these tasks allowing them to be done better and easier but you will have the peace of mind of knowing that when the crap hits the fan, and it will, you have your next (post, newsletter, tweet, whatever) already ready to go.

Lesson 2: Documented Procedures

Documented being the key word there.

Procedures are the lifeblood of any business. If you have any plans to grow your business or even just have it run smoother than it currently does, then you need to have procedures in place.

Now chances are you already have a ton of procedures, meaning that you do certain things certain ways. However most likely very few if any of those procedures are documented.

It’s hard to improve upon a procedure if it’s not documented, and if you ever want to grow your company and perhaps move that task to another employee or contractor then it needs to be written down.

A good rule of thumb is, if you have ever done this task before then start a procedure. It will make the tasks take longer this time but then you have the option to refine, make it better, improve your process or delegate it all together. But, not if it’s not written down anywhere.

Get it? Write it down or it doesn’t count.

Lesson 3: Have a good team

The last lesson I learned is how important having a team is. Fortunately the last year or so has been focused on growing our team into what it is today and that helped immensely in this last few weeks. But this really reinforced the need to have a team and for that team to be clear on what gets done when and who to go to for answers when you aren’t around.

Build your business around a team you can trust. Make sure someone is in charge when you aren’t around and make sure whoever that is understands the goals and objectives of the business and your current projects.

Unfortunately there has to be a “you” in the business even if that “you” isn’t you. Or there at least needs to be a decent facsimile to tide things over until you get back.

Pair a good team with batching and some solid procedures and even the mighty flu can’t stop you.

Have you created processes for your business?  Tell us in the comments what your biggest challenges are with creating processes in your business.

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