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Start Small Win Big: Your Week 6 Action Plan

Step 6: Put systems into place to keep your staff focused. When you’re just starting out a business, generally things work a little ad-hoc. There’s not much of a need for systems because it’s likely just one or two of you working together and so it’s relatively easy to keep track of everything. Also, it’s hard to set up good systems until you really know what you’re dealing with. But, as you mature and grow, good systems can be the difference between a well-run company and a disastrously-run company.

So for this week's homework assignment, I’m asking that you think about how your company works, and put some systems into place which will keep all of your employees focused on the right goals.

Here are some suggestions of things you can implement:Have a “daily check-in” with your managers who can in turn have the same with their direct reports. My old boss Tracy Randall who runs Cooking.com says that by doing this, she’s able to keep a handle on what everyone’s doing and is able to ensure they’re on the right track. Once a day, she meets with people to find out their three top priorities for the day. Then, once  a week, she has the same meeting but focusing on what they’re trying to accomplish that month. This takes just minutes, but can save tremendous time on the back end.

Document your processes. You should have a systematized way of sharing knowledge. If one of your employees was not able to come into the office, would you still be able to operate? If not, you have a problem. So, you need to come up with a way that people can explain their jobs so someone else can somewhat easily step in and take over. Are you sharing your company’s successes and failures? People are more motivated to work hard when they understand the results of their work. But, when we’re busy running our businesses, sometimes we forget to share these results. So, systematize this. Perhaps have a meeting once a month where you go through all of your key metrics so that your staff can share in the excitement or share in the brainstorming to turn things around. The point is not necessarily to implement one of these specific ideas.

This week's assignment is to take a moment to evaluate what you can systematize in your work environment and share your innovation with the group.

Editor’s note: This is the sixth of eight installments for SUCCESS’s 2nd annual Start Small Win Big entrepreneur challenge. If you’re not signed up for Start Small Win Big, it’s not too late. Visit SUCCESS.com/winbig to join.

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