Recently, I dug up the “business plan” I drafted in the early days of my online business. In it, I outlined the SCORES of employees I’d be managing by this stage of my online business.
4 years later, I have 4 team members. I laughed. Not because I was crazy for dreaming. But because that crazy dream is what got me where I am today. All entrepreneurs have crazy dreams in the beginning, and they rarely come true the way you initially think they will. Rather, it’s your ability to pivot and seize opportunities when the time is right, flow with what’s working, and abandon what’s not that brings real success. But you have to start with the crazy dream first!
And 4 years later, I’ve realized I don’t WANT dozens of team members. I want the few that are fiercely loyal, love my business like it’s their own, help me scale my business to a sustainable size, and allow me the freedom and flexibility to spend all the time I want with my kiddos.
And in return, I want to be the best possible boss I can be to them.
Here are the three major ways that implementing systems in my online biz helped me be a better boss for my team.
Systems kill the need for micromanaging
There are lots of different ways to manage a team. Some entrepreneurs will always prefer to keep a much closer eye on their employees than I do. I’ve always been allergic to micromanagement.
But there was a period, very early in my biz, when I was overwhelmed and anxious. I didn’t have systems for every, single, repeatable task in my online biz yet. And I felt like I had to check in with my first team members WAY more often than I wanted to. It left me feeling burned out and irritable. And it wasn’t a walk in the park for them either. They wasted time they could have been dedicating to client work in constant meetings with me. Such a vicious cycle!
These days, all repeatable tasks that my team members perform are mapped out in detailed SOPs. There is no room for error. And I get to enjoy this sense of security thanks to my systems, NOT at the expense of my adrenal glands!
Systems free up our time for team strategy sessions
This is perhaps the most powerful way that systems have improved my management and, in turn, grown my business exponentially.
My team meetings used to be shitstorm time-sucks centered around the best way to manage this task or that platform. We’d all come out of these two-hour meetings two hours behind on client work and feeling frustrated.
But now that we have systems for every task we perform on a daily basis, our time is freed up. Team meetings are less than half as long and centered on big-picture strategy and brainstorming for clients and my own biz. Systems have allowed me to look at my team members as valuable wells of bright ideas, rather than task-monkeys that need a babysitter. I’m telling you:
The time I spend brainstorming with my kickass team of women is PRICELESS.
Systems allow me to empower them with full accountability
My beloved team member Emily says it best: “Systems make or break a client’s assistant in the first 60 days.”
When my team starts working with a new client, establishing initial systems in the mess of their business is our first priority. And 90% of the time, before our work even begins, the new client shares concerns about their current assistant’s abilities.
But instead of slashing and burning their current team, we always advise them to keep their current assistant for our first 2 months of work in their business. And one of two things ALWAYS HAPPENS:
a.) The disorganized assistant steps up to the plate, embraces full accountability, and THRIVES once systems, structures, and guidelines are firmly in place.
b.) The disorganized assistant resents that they can no longer hide behind the disorganization of their boss and continues to suck at their job, seemingly out of spite.
The same principle has been true for me as I’ve grown my team. The hires that haven’t thrived on systems quickly fell away, while my systems-savvy women have endured. All new team members have 60 days to embrace our systems way, or they just don’t make the cut.
And full accountability is the greatest gift I can give to my team members. It forces them to learn, and grow, and master tasks and platforms they never thought they could. It empowers them. With systems, anything is possible.
Now over to you: which system do you think would help YOU be a better boss?