Good luck with that!!!
Running your business without rules is like getting a group of teenagers together and telling them they have no rules, do what you want. I promise you, that is not going to end well!
Let's be honest and admit that it would be the exception and not the rule if only good decisions were made in the scenario above. I have 3 teenagers, who we call rock stars for a good reason. If we give them an inch, they take a mile. They might make a good decision individually, but as a collective, the chances are slim to none. But we're not here to talk about my parenting skills or my 3 rock star teens. We are here to talk about you and what rules or boundaries that you do or do not have in your business.
You might not like this subject but it's CRITICAL and will save you massive amounts of time and money.
If you're like me, you don't like the word rules. It sounds so formal and serious. Just the word can make you feel trapped. Most business owners started their business because they were tired of working for someone else. Owning your own business means you don't have to be 9-5, it's your dress code, and you don't answer to anyone but yourself. You said f$#k the rules. I'll do what I want. My boss's rules sucked. I'll never be like that when I run my company!!!
How's that working out for you?
When you run your own business you're responsible for EVERYTHING. Having some order or a better standard suddenly sounds like a good thing.
Business rules are there for a reason. Good rules can be like the bumpers in the gutters of the bowling lane to keep your kids bowling ball moving mostly down the middle. You may not get a strike, but at least you're knocking down some pins every time.
What some business owners miss is that good rules aren't there to make your life harder, they're there to make your life easier. As you're building and growing your business, rules remove a lot of subjective decision-making that eats up your valuable time and resources. Rules also provide stability, consistency, and equality when applied across your organization. If you're struggling to grow, hire quality talent, and retain clients or customers it could be because you don't have the right, or any, rules in place.
Your rules are your guidelines to success and the clearer they are the more stable foundation you're building for your business. The more solid your foundation is, the more successful you and your business will be. A business with a weak foundation has a weak position in the market.
I hope you're starting to see how valuable the right rules for your business can be. But if the word rules still bothers some of you, and I know it does, let's change it up and call them a Code of Conduct.
Now that you understand the need for rules, let's call them your business Code of conduct.
Your Code of Conduct needs to be committed to writing and made available to everyone in your organization so they know what they are and what is expected of them. The code needs to be simple and easy to follow so it's easy to know when someone is stepping out of bounds. Occasionally you may need to step outside the lines and that is ok. What's important is that the decision is made in full awareness that you are breaking your own rules.
Your code of conduct should highlight areas that are easy to let slide without clear lines to cross. Work hours, minimum cash on hand, or leaning on one client for most of your revenue are areas that can cause you trouble if you don't have clear guidelines. Each business is different, so you will need to identify where you need the most help to stick to your guns.
It's always better if you set your rules early in the life of your business. But if you're already running your business, and you don't have clear rules in place, now is the time to start. The longer you run your business without the right rules, the harder it will be to make the rules stick.
You have enough to worry about running your business. The right rules tell everyone what they should and shouldn't be doing so you don't have to over and over and over. Your time is better spent strategically guiding your business, not sweating every detail that the rules can take care of for you.
DO THIS NOW!
1. Write down how much time you waste everyday sweating the small stuff.
2. Add it up, multiply it by 5 (days a week) and then multiply it by 52 (weeks per year)
3. Write down 3 rules that would reduce that time you're wasting.
Share your answers in the comments!