The Same Thing Happens When You Try to Run a Business Without a Plan
Most of us have seen plate spinning acts done in some form or another. When I was growing up I remember seeing Erich Brenn performing his plate spinning act http://www.edsullivan.com/artists/erich-brenn-plate-spinner on the popular Ed Sullivan Show https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ed_Sullivan_Show. I remember the running back and forth, trying to keep all the different plates spinning at the same time. It was really pretty amazing.
I’ve concluded that most businesses are being operated in a way that feels a lot like trying to keep all those plates spinning at the same time. Just like the performer who keeps putting more and more spinning plates up on the end of sticks, we keep trying to do more and more.
There is a limit to how much a single individual can do. We can only run back and forth keeping the plates spinning for so long before they start falling and breaking. This means there is a maximum number of people that I can provide my services to by myself.
As I have been looking to serve more people, I have been adding more help in the form of assistants and subcontractors. The difficulty with this is that my business system has been developed and stored in my head for forty years. It’s hard to present a clear plan to others when it’s in my subconscious.
This is why I’ve started the process of sorting through the system in my head and putting it on paper (and in there is a scary place to work). Just like constructing a building can be done with a plan in someone’s head, it’s much easier to share the plan and the work when it’s drawn out for others to see.
Most business systems are going to be very similar. They are going to consist of the same basic areas of operation.
- Prospecting for customers
- Follow up on leads
- Meet with prospective customers
- Pricing and Proposals
- Sales Reports
- Marketing and Sales Planning
- Customer Relations
- Market Research
- Public Relations
- Product Development
- Project Management
- Project Assignments and Scheduling
- Productivity Monitoring and Control
- Quality Control and Documentation
- Production Team Prep. & Development
- Communicate with Team Members
- Project Troubleshooting
- Inventory Planning and Control
- Purchasing and Vendor Relations
- Customer Service
- Equipment Maintenance and Repair
- Facilities Maintenance & Repair
- Computer Systems
- Team Member Records
- Team Member Policies and Benefits
- Office Support
- Office Maintenance
- Information Archiving and Distribution
- Data Processing
- Contract Preparation
- Cash Flow Forecasting
- Financial Reports
- General Bookkeeping
- Accounts Payable
As you can see here, even just the basics are a lot of plates to keep spinning and there are a lot more to spin than just these. All of those plates going around and around are making my head spin.
I plan to share my adventure as I get this system out of my head and on to paper, so that I can get those spinning plate neatly organized.
Keep following along if you would like to know how to organize your plates.