We are moving this weekend to a new home. Although it sounds crazy, this will be my 20th move!
My parents moved every year of my childhood until I was 10. Then we stayed in one house for an epic 6 years! (No, we weren't in the military. No, we weren't running from the government.) Chris and I moved 5 times in the first 5 years of our marriage, and throw in a couple more houses, and it equals 20. Crazy? Yes, but I can't imagine life any other way! The good news is I have very solidified memories from specific years because I just picture the house we lived in at the time!
We have been in the country for the last 3 and a half years, but have decided we are "indoor cats." We love looking outside, but we love being inside more. Let's face it--we own two businesses and homeschool our kids. We aren't gardening or raising chickens.
We needed more square footage and an office that Chris and I can share on the main level of the house, so we found a house 5 miles away that is on a pond and has an amazing 3 season porch. (Yay for an amazing morning coffee spot!) I've been praying and thinking about moving for over 6 months now, but when we started seriously looking, it all came together very quickly--in just a few short weeks.
I'm not freaking out (too much) about moving, because I've done it so many times. And every time, I've learned little tips and tricks. Like labeling every box--for which room it should go in in the new house. Packing every closet full of boxes, so they aren't in our way. Filling the garage with boxes. Carefully wrapping breakables with extra kitchen towels. I've created a system for moving--checklists and procedures--and we do the same thing every time. Even my husband and kids know the drill! We are all on the same page and we know exactly what to do, in which order.
It can be the same in your business!
You can learn from your mistakes and you improve the procedure as you go. When something goes wrong, you can take the opportunity to say, "How can we improve this process?" instead of just putting out fires all day long.
Carve out time to have a "brain dump." Literally write or type out the process for any given task in your business. How do you enroll a new client? List every step. If different staff members play a role in the process, write their name next to that step. How do you order products? Write out every single step. Know what? You're building an operations manual!
Last Sunday, I worked at the front desk of our music school. I haven't worked the desk in over a year! But when I walked in, I knew exactly what to do, in which order (unlock, turn off security system, turn on lights, turn on computer, answer emails and voicemails, etc) because I created the system and I've trained many staff members on how to follow it! Plus, every step of the process is documented in the binder on the desk. There are daily checklists for cleaning and I could easily see what needed to be done on that day.
Does it take time to create these lists? Yes. Is it tedious and exhausting? Yes. Is it worth it? YES!!!
Creating systems will turn your life around. You don't have to spend all your time putting out fires. You can have staff that knows exactly what to do every day and what to do in case of any emergency. It can all be written down with procedures and checklists!
People tell me, "I don't want to be bound by lists. I'm creative! I want to be free!" I get it. I do. But here's the thing--when you create your lists and procedures, you can actually be more free to do what you love. You can have more creativity because you aren't running around like a chicken with no head! Plus--you are probably the creative one, but your staff probably LOVES structure and procedures. So do it for them.
You don't need to move 20 times like me. I understand that I'm special. =) But DO take time to write down your systems. You'll enjoy your business a lot more and your staff will thank you!
If you're not already following me on Facebook, do it now! (www.facebook.com/jenhickle1) You'll see our moving progress in live time! This weekend is the big move! Wish us luck! (How many times have YOU moved? Do I hold the record for the most moves??)
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About the Author
Hi, I'm Jen Hickle!