Owning a business is definitely a wild ride. The daily ups and downs can be crushing and exhausting. The petty complaints and minor discrepancies can build and put pressure on you that can affect your work performance and your business in general. I’ve both experienced this and watched it in other businesses. I’ve seen it bring down good people too. Looking back it would have helped them to have a little bit of guidance on the little things that added up to so much stress and trouble. Roller coasters can be fun but they also only last a couple of minutes at the most. If you seem to be on an endless roller coaster we need to make some adjustments.
Of course there’s an advantage to this also. Pressure and frustration can be channeled into creativity. When you have repeated frustrations you need to solve the problem. There’s a reason they keep occurring so address that particular issue with a permanent solution. Create a system, procedure or policy to correct the issue. You take one issue and dedicate time to create a solution.
I always get push back on this because everyone thinks they’re so busy they just can’t find the time. That is why you take one issue at a time and create the solution. That may be implementing a system to handle that so it is more automated and not having to be run through you, the owner, every time. This small bit of time spent now can literally free up countless hours, even days or weeks worth of time over the years you’re in business. Every day these things compound and they are never going to fix themselves.
Take the extra time to address it. Too many people keep putting out fires instead of addressing the source of the fire and creating preventative measures to keep them from occurring.
Let’s look at dealing with the customer roller coaster. This one can be maddening for some people. Some of us are great with people while others prefer to never deal with them. The first thing to do is know which one of those people you are. Maybe you’re somewhere in between which is ok. If you don’t like to deal with customers and you own a business this could be a real problem. Like anything though, there’s always a solution.
You are going to need to get people to handle your customers. The difficulty is since you don’t like to deal with people, you’re not the person to develop the procedures on how to handle them are you? You will need to reach out for assistance on this or hire someone with the experience not only to handle the customers but create the training manual for doing just that. This manual is important so if that person leaves for any reason you have a guide for the replacement and they are up to speed on the position quickly.
If you like dealing with people you may want to create the manual yourself. I know you may think “I’ll just handle the people. I don’t need a manual.” The problem is at some point you’re going to take a vacation or not be able to deal with the volume of people needing to be dealt with and if you don’t have your procedure manual in place it’s going to be rough. The manual helps you train without training. You have someone in a part time position begin learning the role and its duties so when things pick up they can easily move into the full time position.
Maybe you have a production schedule for your products and you are automating the system to speed the time to market or the customer. You still have people running machines and packing and shipping, etc. These people need specific guidelines on your expectations for their job positions. This eliminates confusion and adds accountability. They no longer can say “you never told me that.” That’s the importance of training manuals for every position and again, they can learn on their own which is how you duplicate yourself.
Every time you create a new system, procedure or policy you are lowering your stress level and increasing efficiency in your business. Efficiency translates into increased profit, higher employee retention and happier customers.
Creating these systems and policies also begins the process of duplication. If you’ve ever thought of expanding your business this will enable you to make the transition. Even if you’ve thought of selling your business, people buy systems. The more efficient, systematized and organized your business is the higher the value. No one wants to buy a business and start from scratch.
You’ll never totally eliminate the roller coaster effect but you certainly can minimize it. After you address your first couple of issues successfully you’ll start to realize it’s not that difficult and all of a sudden you’re actually looking for problems to solve. Your employees will thank you also. No one likes uncertainty. If your people know exactly what is expected of them they will operate at a higher level and be much happier.
Most people want to be good at what they do and if you’re able to give them the specific way to do that they will be thankful. It also encourages advancement from within the ranks. If they know that everything has specific instructions and training they’re more apt to request a shot at a new position.
Take advantage of the business roller coaster to attack problems and solve them once and for all. Don’t let it ruin you or stress you out. Just get to one thing at a time. You’re only going to have a certain amount of recurring issues and when those are handled in a permanent way you can focus on growing and increasing your profits even more. You can share this responsibility with current key personnel also. Most likely they would love to see things run more smoothly for themselves and others. By doing all this your next roller coaster ride will be much more fun and maybe even welcomed.