Building Your Solo Business to Outgrow You

Small Business Brief:

The critical component in preparing your business to grow is to make a habit of developing documented and well organized systems. If you use the same documents regularly, turn them into templates to use repeatedly. Better yet, have them turned into Microsoft Word forms you can fill out quickly on the computer. Take the time to write important documents like policy or privacy statements, and save a copy on your computer hard drive and a printed copy in a book. One of the best ways to formalize and organize your business is to get a large 3 ring binder, buy some page protectors, and start creating a corporate book. It might seem like overkill now while you are “it,” but will be extremely useful when you bring on your first employee.

In this corporate book, you can store contract templates, forms, terms of service, government certificates such as your DBA statement – plus anything else that supports the past, present and future of your business. Keep a copy of your business and marketing plan there as well.

As you develop the business, keep a Word document handy on your desktop called “Standard Operating Procedures.” Every time you find yourself doing something repetitive, or routine, pop open the document and jot down some notes about what it is and how you did it. You can flesh the details out later, but when the time comes to off load some of the tedium of running your business to someone else, you will have a terrific starting point for which “hats” someone else can wear. Your first new employee will be able to quickly get up to speed and provide the same level of service you have been providing, armed with a document like this.

Originally posted by Dane Carlson on March 8, 2005 in Ideas.

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