Would You Survive the Shark Tank?

Vacation, or any time away from your business when you’re an entrepreneur, is a terrifying idea. Thoughts of “If I’m not there, no one will step up,” and “What if there’s a major issue and I’m not there to personally handle it,” will swim through your head. And the biggest feeling of course, GUILT. If you are lucky enough to be your own boss, you also probably have a workaholic mentality and don’t want to risk losing what you have created. But stepping away is necessary.

Opportunities will arise that you won’t want to pass up, and you MUST be ready. Just think Shark Tank.

On this show, entrepreneurs at all levels pitch their businesses to a panel of “sharks” from the shark tank. The “sharks” can choose to invest or not, often taking equity or royalties to become a member of the team. One of the reasons the “sharks” don’t invest, is because they don’t like the business practices, the way it’s being run. Even if the product or idea is there, if the business systems are set up for failure, it won’t matter how much money they invest.

So recently when I was offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, I had to ask myself if my systems would survive the Shark Tank, and I want to give you the tips to make sure you business stays afloat, too.

I was hired to work with a large non-profit in New York to update their business processes so they were in alignment and supported their 2014 strategic plan. This is a short-term project, but requires 20 hours a week, and a large commitment away from my business, in order to be successful.

I’m happy to say that the project is going amazingly well. This week, the project team presented to the board the first draft of the plan and supporting operational processes, and everything was approved.

And I discovered that although my business has some systems in place to manage the major components, and that my team works great together, we still have work to do in order to accomplish a streamlined, seamless operation.

Every business will go through growth that will require process upgrades and improvements.  Here a few major processes you will want to have documented when your business has to survive without you. In honor of Shark Tank, we’re using it as an acronym (and we’re cheating with the K’s, just call us Krazy, sometimes you gotta bend the rules).

Sales and Lead Tracking – How you monitor names and track leads (this is the money maker!)

How you Communicate –  How you work with your clients during their program

Attention to the Details -How your team manages the company and your calendar

Reactions – How your team manages issues in your absence

Konnections – How to market your business effectively via social media

Team Communication – How your team communicates with each other. We useTeamwork PM as our dashboard to manage internal and client projects.

Acquisition – How you welcome new clients into your business

Newsletter – How you and your team work to send out consistent communication to your list

Klient Billing – How you bill and follow up with declined client payments

These processes are ones that require consistency and are often used on a weekly basis. We have these documented in my business, and I’m confident in my systems and my team.

I did learn a lot from this experience. My top three takeaways:

1. Don’t delay documenting processes.

2. Have a trusted support team. (Shout out to Kirsty, Arthur, Alina, and Tara!)

3. The #1 way to find out how well your systems work is simply just to step away and see what happens.

Make the decision today for your business to SWIM, not SINK, when it’s your turn to be reeled into an awesome opportunity.

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