Managing Business by Remote Control

Business owners and managers usually spend most of their time managing their operations to make their businesses work. Business scalability is compromised to maintain cash flow. The most difficult challenge of the business owner or manager is to create free time – to work on strategies to scale the business, or to just enjoy the fruits of labour.

rahuljain

Rahul Jain, a highly successful business coach who has worked with several CEOs to help them effectively scale their businesses, asks some tough questions that helps a business owner evaluate their effectiveness in achieving business results:

  • Is your business growing at the rate you wish it to grow?
  • Are you and your business making the kind of money that you wish to make from the business?
  • Do you still find time to do things you enjoy doing or your business is taking away all your time, leaving no free time?
  • Do you spend most of your time working IN your business or are you working ON your business. (Are you spending most of your time solving the same every-day problems or are you investing your time uncovering new ways to grow your business.)
  • Do you spend most of your time dealing with emergencies and fire fighting?
  • Are you enjoying and having fun running your business or is it a cause for constant stress
  • Are your employees working for you or are you working for them?
  • Are you in control of your business, taking your business where you want it to go, or is the business driving you?
  • Do you have self-sustaining systems in place that manage your business even in your absence?

Most business owners and manager may easily identify their situation with the above. But being caught in the trap of micromanagement, the solutions seems far from easy.

nahidcasazza

 

Nahid Casazza, another business coach who effectively combines her background in psychology and business expertise explains the root cause of micromanagement:

 

…micromanaging behavior is driven by the positive characteristics of conscientiousness, diligence, and responsibility; it’s just that they have been taken to an extreme. People often confuse themselves with the quality of the work they produce. As long as they can control the quality of their work, they are ok, but as soon as they have to depend on others for results, they are faced with the fear of representing sloppy or substandard output. Since putting out less than excellent work is SO personally humiliating, they need constant reassurance that the team is performing.

One way to escape this trap of micromanagement is to create a process documentation system that captures everything that is going on in your business and allows you to keep track of it from the outside.

Like Rahul says:

Documenting and setting up the required systems, -moving the business from people dependency to systems dependency. (It also ensures that when an employee leaves the organization, another person can quickly fit into the place, because of the systems.) A step by step program to take any function in your business and turn it into a scalable, replicable, reliable process, complete with checklists and full documentation so that anyone in your company can do it just as well, by following directions. (Putting it on Auto Pilot) having the business ‘work’…even when you’re not there, resulting in the biggest freedom which you have always dreamed of- the freedom of time.

Sounds simple. But implementing systems is by no means easy. As any business owner or manager who has tried to implement any business tracking software can verify, the biggest problem in maintaining a system is to get people to enter data in it.

The difficulty lies in the decision of how much data to capture. If you ask a manager to decide what to capture, you will tend to get an answer close to “everything”. From a manager’s perspective, the more data the better. And most software systems aim to please the manager by providing more features meaning more data to enter. This inevitably leads to a situation where over 90% of software implementation projects fail.

The approach that works is to provide systems that capture the progress of the business process automatically, without requiring people to separately enter any data. This can be achieved by providing a customized template that acts as a checklist for all tasks that are to be performed, and the person who finishes the task merely has to check off the tasks completed. The system should then automatically register the person who completed the task, the time spent, the next steps required etc. based on a pre-determined logic.

Process template - a simple checklist to track the progress of a business case

Process template – a simple checklist to track the progress of a business case

The adjoining sample screenshot is part of a process template designed for a subscription based software business. The template shared on the web and is available to all persons working on the specific business case, project or order. The process is broken down into milestones, where each milestone could have an associated set of questions that need to be answered or sub-tasks that need to be performed. The person responsible has to merely check off the tasks completed.

The system then automatically tracks the progress of all business cases, projects or orders and provides a summary to the manager. The following are two sample reports that the manager can see:

Live feed of ongoing business activity

Live feed of ongoing business activity

The first screenshot is of a live feed of all ongoing business activity. This report picks up all live business cases, and lists all ongoing activity including milestones completed, messages exchanged, documents prepared or tasks completed.

This report is available for viewing from anywhere via the web, and is useful for the business owner to remotely track the business process. All activities are directly linked to the corresponding business case or project, allowing the manager to view the complete context of the specific activity.

Process Pipeline Report

Process Pipeline Report

The second screenshot is a performance summary report. This shows the pipeline of all business cases or orders, and tracks the velocity of movement of cases through the list of milestones in the process template.

This report provides a valuable feedback to the business owner or manager to identify possible bottlenecks or stumbling blocks. Any order that is not moving ahead in the milestones is highlighted, allowing the manager to investigate by simply clicking on the inactive projects and drilling down from the report to the list of projects and then to the individual project.

This simple strategy promises to provide the business owner or manager an effective tool to help manage the business by remote control, thereby creating more time to work on strategy to grow the business.

This entry was posted in Business Tracking, CRM Implementation Challenges, Sales Activity Manager, Sales Performance Management, Sales Pipeline Manager, Software As A Service. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

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