Today, I’ve been spending some time with my executive cap on. You know, stop being a day laborer and really look at my online business from a bird’s eye view.
Have you done that lately? You should.
One of the big things I need to keep in mind here is that I’m building a business, not a hobby. And it is hard to grow beyond a certain point and remain a one-man-show sitting in a back bedroom of the house.
I’m The Bottleneck
I’ve known this for a long time (and my VA has been gently reminding me), but I really am the bottleneck to my own business. If you were to look at my business as a series of energy flows, where things go in, get processed, and come back out again – you would find that almost every single flow goes through me.
I’m the hub of the wheel. While I’ve automated some things (like support emails, comments, etc), most everything goes through me. With a model like that, the entire system is bottlenecked by my own personal throughput capacity.
And my capacity is limited! I can only do so much at a time. I forget things. I drop balls. As hard as I work, there is a laundry list of stuff that either never gets done or is delayed. So, running the business sometimes ends up feeling like a mother with 10 kids trying to run in different directions. You run around and keep trying to keep kids from getting in too much trouble. You manage to keep a few kids on task, cleaning their room or whatever. Then, if things quiet down, you sit there on the couch and wonder what to do next.
Yes, I sometimes find myself sitting at my computer, knowing full well that I’ve got a bunch of things to do, yet not knowing what I should be doing next.
Time For Growth
This is a growing pain of business growth. I’m not going to say it sucks. I mean, 2010 is a screaming year so far. I’ve brought in more revenue this year SO FAR than I used to make it 9-10 months. My first quarter this year was a six-figure quarter (not year).
That said, I need to get better organized. So today, I stopped other work for several hours to do some brainstorming. The goals are to streamline the flows and open up my flows by better utilizing the power of other people. Empower others to run the flows and I’ll deal with the really important ones and steer the ship.
Taking Action On Getting Organized
First thing? I created an organization chart. Why? Because it forces you to look at the business as a series of work flows rather than a huge mess which sits inside your head.
NOTE: I’m going to make this org chart available to my Inner Circle members with explanation because I actually think it’ll be useful for anybody else, too.
When I did this, the organizational holes become obvious. When you start assigning people to tasks, it becomes apparent that I’m wearing way too many hats.
One of the interesting things I decided needed to be done was a business manager role. My VA helped me put this one into words, but essentially an online business manager. I need a middle layer between me and everything else, and that person’s job will be to get stuff done and keep projects moving. I’m at the top of the food chain (obviously), and while I may continue to hold some of the lower roles, my REAL job is to create strategy, make decisions, and steer the overall direction. OTHER people will execute as much as they can.
I’m also going to be bringing on some additional writers as well as bring on a technical/graphics person. It may end up being separate people (who knows), but there is value in having go-to people for such things. I know how to PHP code my face off, but it doesn’t mean I SHOULD be doing it. 🙂
How This Applies To You
Obviously, I’m just spilling some thoughts going through my head today, however I believe it can apply to other people in business, including bloggers.
I’ve said before that blogs don’t make money, BUSINESSES make money. And that means you have to treat it as such.
In this day and age, there is no excuse for doing things that you don’t have expertise in. You can hire others. Not only is it WAY more affordable than you may think, but their location simply doesn’t matter. Sure, cultural things could play a role, but there’s ways to deal with that.
So, here is what I would recommend to you.
Take off your laborer hat and put on your executive hat. Look at your ideal scene. What do you want your online business to look like? What SHOULD it look like in order to scale to the point that you want it to scale?
Then, create an org chart which visualizes it. Now, here’s an important point…
Don’t make the traditional org chart which simply shows who outranks who. Those are USELESS! Instead, design it as a workflow. What tasks need to be performed in your business? Categorize those under departments.
Those departments then begin to dictate who you need to have around to make the system work.
As bloggers, we have a lot of potential departments. Writing, editing, graphics, technical, marketing – the list goes on. Problogging is about a lot more than writing posts and publishing them.
You might give this some thought.
And if you want a head start, get into the Inner Circle because I’m going to share more of my own approach for my Insiders, and probably put it together into a webinar in the not-too-distant future. Keep in mind, too, that this information isn’t only applicable if you are an established, popular blogger. It is applicable to any business, including people just starting up. Because you know what? You can avoid a LOT of hassle at the outset. 🙂
Talk to you soon, and I’ll follow up shortly for my Insiders.
John Reese is in prelaunch for his new course, Outsource Force. I’ve watched two of his videos so far and they are QUITE good. In fact, John’s second video played a role in provoking me to give this some thought today.
Now, obviously John will be launching a new course, so there will be something to buy. I don’t know much about the product, but I am a customer of John through other products and a happy one. Whether you decide to buy anything or not, though, I highly encourage you to check out his videos during the prelaunch. They are fantastic.