“If you want something done right, do it yourself,” is usually the M.O. of the entrepreneur or business owner who has become the bottleneck in their business. Usually this mindset is backed by fear and fear of loss of control, and it causes more harm than good because there are only 24 hours in a day. Additionally, bottlenecks are expensive to fix. When a business owner hasn’t figured out how to leverage their time to serve as many people as possible, having a bottleneck is a huge pain in the neck (pun intended).
As a “do-it-yourself” dropout, I know exactly what it means to be the culprit behind why things are not getting done and processes are not being created. Today, I help my clients eliminate their bottleneck by showing them how to create systems. But it wasn’t always that way. When I was the only person in my business (there are 22 million people currently in the US who fall into this category), I was often the reason why I missed opportunities and slowed down the process of growing my company.
That is exactly why I could identify with the question Thomas asked, which I am answering in this week’s episode of Incredible Factor TV:
“Hi Darnyelle, I have a big problem. I’ve been in business for more than five years and admittedly, I’ve stifled my success because I am the bottleneck in my business. The challenge is, I’ve signed my first corporate client and now I’m scrambling because I’ve created a monster. Help! How can I eliminate the bottlenecks that I’ve caused so that my business can experience more growth and I can wow this client and create a longstanding relationship?”
Check out my response to Thomas now:
As I share in the episode, being the bottleneck in your business is an expensive problem.
Before I get to ahead of myself, let me define the bottleneck for you: It’s any process, thing or person (usually you) that inhibits the ideal flow of a business. It’s any area that takes up too much time, causes you to fall behind or a task that is not profitable because it costs you more than it’s worth.
For the clients that hire us, usually a bottleneck shows up in one or more of these ways:
- Being the only person able or available to complete a task.
- Lack of systems and process management so that even when they have a team, no one is operating without talking with the business owner.
- Not charging enough for active work.
- Not offering leveraged and passive offerings that do not require time to sell or fulfill.
- Inaccurate delegation to team members or a lack mindset followed by a need to check and double check every task they complete (there may be another problem here).
It’s also important to note that you can have varying term bottlenecks – short term, which are caused by temporary problems, and long-term, which occur all the time. Regardless, bottlenecks are a huge hindrance to scaling your business. If you want to continue growing and managing your workload, then these bottlenecks must be eliminated. Otherwise, they’ll keep you from taking on more work. Even if your business is, for the most part, running like a well-oiled machine, just one bottleneck can wreak havoc on your scalability.
At the end of the day, to remove a bottleneck you need systems, because systems make success predictable… and more importantly they make you duplicable which is the reason you have the bottleneck in the first place.
To get beyond the bottleneck, here are five keys to consider:
- Think bigger. Even if you are a solo-preneur today, think about the time when you’ll have team members. It’s one thing to be the only person working in your business and something else entirely to HAVE TO BE the only person working in your business. See the difference?
- Create checklists. That’s what I did. I started documenting everything. For everything that had to be done on a regular basis, I created a procedure and a checklist so that I could make myself duplicable. Now with three full-time employees in the home office, I am able to see tasks get completed through the use of my checklists and procedural guides.
- Delegate. Today, being the only worker in your business doesn’t have to be the case. With virtual assistants and college interns easily accessible, you can begin to build a team of people who can take administrative tasks like bookkeeping, filing, calendar management, etc. off your plate so you’ll be free to complete tasks for clients or to focus on business development to get more clients.
- Avoid time management traps. Procrastination happens when we don’t set clear expectations with ourselves and others. If you know you’re most alert in the morning, get key tasks for clients and business development done then.
- Look for opportunities of scale and leverage. Is it time to introduce a new offering that requires less of you but will still add value to your clients? At some point, in order for your business to grow, you need to consider how you’ll scale your business.
Now I want to hear from you, what’s your two cents?: Are you now or have you ever been the bottleneck in your business? How did you get yourself out of it, or is it still festering? What can you offer to help Thomas make the shift from bottleneck to booming business?
©2015 by Darnyelle A. Jervey. All Rights Reserved. Darnyelle A. Jervey, MBA, The Incredible Factor Business Optimization Coach and Mentor, is the founder of Incredible One Enterprises®, Incredible Factor University® and the Leverage Your Incredible Factor System®, a proven step-by-step program so you experience financial and spiritual abundance in your life because of your business. For more information and a FREE audio CD “7 Critical Mistakes Even Smart Entrepreneurs Must Avoid for Clients, Connection and Cash Flow!” just fill out the form below.