When your business is you, operating it is a cinch. How you do things is simply in your head. You can develop and rely on your habits to get customers and deliver your service. Make calls with your friendly approach, send a proposal the way you are used to, and work the projects with your communications and updates based on what you have seen personally work over the years. It can work well without much need for upgrade.
When you have more people in the mix, the network effect takes place. Complexity comes at an exponential rate. If you have five people, the complexity is not simply 5x; it’s 25x. Everyone has to communicate with each other and be on the same page.
This is part of the reason many businesses fail when they try to grow. Running a business in your head because you know the care, technicalities and craftsmanship does not require any sharing or transfer of knowledge.
Start adding people, even one, and now you have to work hard at being on the same page to get quality and efficiency for your customers.
This is why a knowledge base is so important to build. It’s the place to run your business from with other people. You get the philosophy of why you do things, the way you execute and the step-by-step approach for delivering internal and external outputs in writing for everyone to align with. It’s how you get your business out of your head and into a system.
It takes work. But it forces clarity. When someone can’t follow your steps, then you have an unclear handoff in instruction. Thus, it’s a convergence point to clarify how the business operates.
I like to see what people have been doing their job for a while write down and share. When you put it down in writing, you can see how they think. Clear writing reveals clear thinking. And, if we are always talking or working alone, there’s little to no way to judge if the process really scales.
When you have to explain what you do and ensure others can follow the instructions, you are creating a system.
And as E-Myth is popular for sharing, “Systems run businesses and people run systems.”
You can’t take the knowledge out of your business. The many processes and jobs that exist are because of the knowledge mix that has been tried, tested and proven.
But, if you simply have a bunch of silos working without knowledge sharing, then you can’t grow effectively.
What would happen if you start writing down how you do things?