Growing your firm is hard work; it demands relentless consistency, which is where the problem sets in. You enjoying being creative (in your own way) and probably hate the idea of being beholden to task lists (well, most people do). But, let’s hear it for the humble checklist, your route to consistency.
The captain on this plane uses checklists, shouldn't you?

If experts do it….

Can you imagine the sweat, rush, and stress of a hot airport in the middle of the holiday season? You’re abroad, ready to return, three flights have been cancelled and you’re an hour later so far…. Finally you board the plane, flop into your seat after jostling your way down the aisle and sit……….
Your lazily look out of the window and see the pilot run across the tarmac, board the plane, announce that it’s time to push back and you go. Do you feel good, or worried?
The reality is she has done this hundreds of times before, just like you’ve on-boarded hundreds of new clients in your firm. You expect her to use a check-list, but probably consider yourself to not need one? One part of growing your firm is to have check-lists and processes in place to help you and your team.

What are the habits you need to execute?

If you think about your vision (click if you need one of those), what are the things you need to be doing regularly which will help you get and keep  you there? I want to lose weight and be fitter, my exercise routine is a habit I need. Starving myself for three days won’t get and keep me there.  I want my views to help more people grow their firm, shouting a lot won’t help, regular blogs (with social media work ) will.
What 2-3 things do you (and your team) need to be doing?

How do you ensure you do them properly?

My social media route, for example, needs to be a habit. But while I build the habit I need to do it properly, each part of it, in the right sequence. Just like the airline pilot checking her plane. Wouldn’t a simple list help?

How do you keep to time?

You’ve heard it so often, “I would, but don’t have the time“. How about being really specific with yourself and limiting the time you’ll spend on a set of habits. You know you need to do them; doing them moves you forward, so decide on a small (to start with) time period. Stop after that time, or do it before leaving home, then don’t again till the next day. A simple change in your routine may help.

How do you get your team to work flawlessly?

OK, obvious? If it works for you, why not them? Getting them to focus on something, making it clear which parts they MUST do and which parts can be varied. Processes, and checklists may be boring, but they work. Do your staff need to change their habits, don’t forget the idea of rewarding them, for change rather than sticking with the old ways.

Where do you keep your check-lists?

Modern technology means that there are thousands of great pieces of software that could help you- OR NOT! Some of my favourites are:
  • 30/30: Simple ipad software that is set with some predetermined routines, and times. So for my daily social media routine, I press go and it keeps telling me what to do next. That means I don’t get distracted by shiny looking websites, tweets or whatever; but I do work through my routine in the time I’ve allocated. I know that if I spent longer I’d get better results, but think Pareto here.
  • My CRM: For a number of regular tasks (e.g. on-boarding new client) there are a series of to-do’s, emails, reminders and automated processes for me and the team. That way we don’t forget things, we might need to look at the CRM (and don’t ways remember), but we are human and have good IT help.
  • Excel: Maybe you’d rather create your own list, on a spreadsheet, as it’s simpler and easier to match your needs against it. Sometimes lo-tech is good, but use a system to help.
  • A piece of paper: Now we really are in lo-tech land. A sheet with your regular tasks on it, photocopied and scribbled on, till it’s completed and filed (or binned). Works well, allows extra scribble space and still keeps you on track.

Check-lists: They may sounds boring, but they essential in growing your firm. What do you think?

And on slideshare…

Written by Jon Baker The 5-50 Coach. I help professionals grow their firms from 5 to 50 employees, sustainably, profitably and still have fun. Have you got your "next step kitbag yet"? It's stuffed with guides, reports & templates helping you grow from 5 to 50 employees Click here for immediate access