When you are growing a business you must prepare for sustainable growth and long-term success by by doing certain things. Some of them are so simple they can be easily overlooked.
An online business owner wears many hats:
- Web designer
- Product Creation Engineer and Project Manager
- Sales and Marketing Guru
- Copywriting Wizard
- Newsletter Writer Extraordinaire
- Graphic Designer
- Social Media Expert
- Affiliate Program Manager
- Accountant and Chief Financial Officer
and the list could go on and on. When you are small there may be enough hours in the day for one person to take care of most of these on a regular basis, but you want to grow. And with a growth of reach, market, and income comes a growth of responsibilities.
Suddenly you’re not just studying social media metrics for one platform, but all of them. Overnight a product takes off and you realize you have 500 entries on the financial statement to categorize, balance and record this month, instead of 15, and you just don’t have the time to get it all done.
One person can’t do it all, at least not all at the same time, and realizing that is the first step towards building a team that can take your online business from small to successful.
These 3 Simple Steps Will Help You Grow Your Business Smoothly
Step 1: Make a Source File
Take time now, while you have the time and your business is small, to make a master list of all the little details about your business and your website and design preferences. And keep it updated as necessary.
What fonts, colors, image sizes you use, what layout or template you prefer for images, all of those million little details that make your brand what it is. Make a note of your theme name and any customizations that you have had done to it. If you use a storage account like AmazonS3 or Google docs make note of that. Have a list of passwords and login information for service providers, affiliate programs and payment gateways.
This file should include information that would make it easier for someone to
- Complete a task you currently do,
- Find and fix a problem, OR
- Run the show for you if for some reason you could not for several months,
All of that should be noted somewhere. It is much easier to give a newly hired assistant or a website designer a document to read, than to have to explain it or take time to write it all down in a moment of crisis. You might even create tutorial screenshot videos as you do a routine task, so that you can easily share the link and pass the task off to your assistant when the time comes. Many of us know it would be good to do this, but don’t follow through and end up regretting it later.
Step 2: Outsource
As soon as you can pay your bills (hosting, email, etc.) you should be investing in your business by hiring people to do for you the things you do not HAVE to do.
Depending on your business and you personal strengths, those things may be email, customer service, blog post writing, image creation, marketing, product development etc.
Anything that you do not personally have to do to maintain the integrity of your brand can and should be hired out to capable managers so that you have more time to concentrate on the things you do have to do to build your business. (If you need help figuring out what those tasks look like, I recommend this book.)
My first outsourcing was for social media scheduling, link up party postings, and freebie creation. Those time consuming tasks handed off to someone else gave me time to concentrate on creating content, products, advertising and other business-building activities that gave me a better return for the personal time invested.
3: Keep a Common Calendar
When you do outsource, whether it is task-related or hourly, you will need a way to communicate with your team member(s). Using a project management system that lets you collaborate on a calendar, assign tasks, and make comments or have discussions about upcoming to-dos will simplify the communication, keep everyone on track and allow for more success.
A simple way to do this for blog posts is by using the WordPress Editorial Calendar plugin. You can plan and schedule posts making note in the title what needs to be done, leaving notes on post drafts etc for other team members to see when they next login. TeamWork and Basecamp are additional not-in-your-blog project management system that are great for organizing multiple projects or team members, but there are many others as well.
Following these 3 simple steps will streamline your transition from one-man (or woman) to team business, and will make growing your business a smoother and more enjoyable process.
Blogging Concentrated’s BC Prime also has a wealth of resources and knowledge to help you grow your business.
Katie Hornor is a professional blogger, entrepreneur, international speaker and founder of Como Blog, a bilingual education site for bloggers and online business owners, and the new Como Blog Connection, an affordable membership program where you will find resources, connections and coaching to spur you on to reach your business dreams. Get info about The Connection and download the Free ebook 50 Powerful Tips for Successful Business Habits at Como Blog.