How to grow your business starting with 1 employee

The Situation.

Why is it that some businesses grow in size and others stay at a few employees? Some might say success and profits, but I don’t think so. I think it’s protocols.

Watch the videos and follow along.

Think about watching the videos of Gregory & Mark as you follow along with the info below!

Protocols?

Look, I was constantly checking over Mark’s shoulder when he first started working with me, and Mark was constantly checking with me about what to do next. And that’s inefficient for both of us.

What we really need to do is work in parallel through the day with a few minor ‘check in’ sessions that make sure both of us are on track.

If you don’t establish protocols, the owner will go crazy.

And this is where I have gone wrong in the past – my workload increased as I added employees.

Think about it this way: if you don’t hand-off protocols to employees, you are forced to micromanage them. That means workload for the owner, and ultimately stress and 80-hour work weeks.

So what do protocols change for the better?

Creating protocols means sequencing events. Think once, follow many times.

Creating protocols means sequencing events. Think once, follow many times.

  • Protocols create a sequence. There is a step-by-step list of tasks to follow.
  • Progress can be monitored. The steps are laid out, so if something is not done, it can be caught easily before you move onto the next thing.
  • Less time collaborating. Less time for me as the boss monitoring, less time for Mark checking in.
  • Efficiency. The more you follow the protocol, the more efficient you become.
  • Refinement. The protocol becomes refined over time. That means you don’t have to start with a complex protocol to get the ball rolling.
  • Time can be measured. As you refine the protocols, you know how much time a protocol normally takes, so you can time-block it into your schedule. That means you know when you’re drifting. If you’re monitoring an employee doing the protocol, it will help you gauge their abilities.
  • The handoff. The protocol can be handed off to a new employee “downriver” when the time comes. And THAT’s the magic of the protocol; it allows workflow to be expanded without the owner of the company going out of their mind with monitoring additional employees.
The Hand-off. Once a protocol has been established, it can be transferred to your growing list of employees. This allows you, the business owner, to not go insane as you build your business.

The Hand-off. Once a protocol has been established, it can be transferred to your growing list of employees. This allows you, the business owner, to not go insane as you build your business.

Efficient protocol building.

  • Start loose. Don’t try to cram into the protocol a great amount of detail. It will change over time anyway and doing too much up front just wastes your time and pulls away from the work at hand.
  • Get your employees to flesh out the protocols. When they finally have employees under them, they can explain the nuances of the protocol easily and monitor progress.
  • Use visuals. I use mind mapping. Putting something on the wall reminds people that protocols exist and should be follow.
  • Create small protocols. A protocol that is 15 steps or less is a good size.
  • Combine protocols as you go along. 3 protocols can be done in sequence create a meta-protocol that can be followed like a battle plan, start to finish. This also allows you to understand that protocol X must be done before protocol Y, which illuminates how business works.

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Greg Cox

Analytics Geek. Gregory likes Motorcycles, Cooking, and Sciencey stuff.