Schedules and lists improve business performance

You can’t manage time. You can only manage priorities.

If you want to grow your business making more money isn’t enough. You must make more money while putting in less time.

As long as your business is owner-scaled, that is revenue growth and owner hours have a 1:1 relationship, you are stuck in a nightmare drawn by M.C. Escher.

The goal of a well-designed growth plan for a business must anticipate the destruction of that time:money relationship. We must get to a place where revenues increase while the owner spends less and less time directly on generating those revenues. There must be an increase in time for reflection, leadership, design, and self-care. When a business continues to grow profits without the direct daily efforts of the owner we have an enterprise-scaled business.

To get there we must get the business out of your head.

As long as everything is in your head, the enterprize-cycle growth of your business is not possible because you are the business. It’s all in your head.

The Exorcism

To exorcise the business from your head we have to get it down in writing. Make a list.

I like reducing things to the point of being silly (a kind of twisted reductio ad absurdum) to see just how fundamentally true they are. I recently argued that the core of business, even of being human, is to tinker.

Here’s the next one: the heart of growing a business is just list-making.

Any database is just a fancy list. Accounts are lists. Schedules are lists.

All lists share one thing in common: they are the effort to record what is in our head on a piece of paper. When we have a list we can be explicit about our priorities. From your accounts I can see what your financial priorities are. From your schedules I can see what your management priorities are.

Your Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) manual is a book of lists. It is a list of how to run your whole business. Without that list you don’t have a business you have a job with yourself as the boss. The two of you are the only ones who know what’s going on.

Make a Commitment

Lists are commitments. A schedule is a commitment. A budget is a commitment. A set of quarterly objectives is a commitment. Make a list; make a commitment.

Your lists are your commitment to your team. As long as ‘to dos’ are in your head, you can fudge them. They are unsorted, unranked, unprioritized and unshared. Mental checklists are a tool of the chicken-shit school of management. You can always say you didn’t mean it, or it wasn’t important after all. Written lists are commitments.

Moving from owner-scale to enterprise-scale is driven by setting tough, ranked priorities and executing them. That list of priorities drives what you say yes to and what you say no to.

Start with a list of what matters in your business and why.

Now start growing your business.

At the Great Performances Group we improve the success of small and medium business anywhere in the English-speaking world. Check us out to find out how. Read Clemens’ book “Great Performances – the Small Business Script for the 21st Century.” Leave a comment or question! A Facebook “Like” is sweet too.

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