Graphic courtesy Marvel
A parallel universe. Existing in two places at once. Definitely something you would expect in a sci-fi or super hero movie, right?
Well, if you’ve seen the new Marvel movie Dr. Strange then you know he operates in “the multiverse.”
He’s able to be in multiple places at once. But did you know that a steamship was also able to do this at the turn of the 19th century?
Here’s the story…
On December 31, 1899 the SS Warrimoo was sailing from Vancouver, Canada to Australia. As the clock neared midnight they approached the international date line when the captain noticed a strange coincidence. He noticed that if he timed it right he would be able to be on two different hemispheres on two different days in two different centuries.
All at the same time! How?
By making a minor change in course the front part of his ship would cross into the new century while the back would stay in the old.
And that’s exactly what he did.
It may not be two parallel universes like Dr. Strange, but they were definitely at two different places at once. Wouldn’t you agree? So, I know what you’re asking right now.
What does this have to do with business, entrepreneurship or anything else? Well, allow me to tell you.
In Dr. Strange, Stephen Strange transforms from the egotistical, arrogant, megalomaniac surgeon to the egotistical, arrogant, megalomaniac Sorcerer Supreme who keeps order in the multiverse and guards the Time Infinity Stone.
What he has to do to stay on top of everything is like what you have to do to make sure your business runs smoothly. Namely, be everywhere!
That’s right. I know sometimes we wish we could clone ourselves so we could take care of everything. But did you know that this is already possible? You don’t even need to be Sorcerer Supreme to do it either. These super powers are called systemization, automation and the dreaded D-word… delegation.
Delegate To Be Like Dr. Strange
I know, I know. NO ONE can ever do it quite as good as you can. That’s the number one excuse I hear from entrepreneurs for not delegating. In some cases it’s true, no one can do it as well as you. In the majority of cases though, it gets done just as well, if not better, than you could’ve done.
So long as what you’re trying to delegate isn’t brain surgery, who cares how it gets done as long as it gets done. Good enough is good enough. Like I told a good friend of mine who wants to grow, “If you try and do it all yourself you’re going to stay small.”
Systems For Growth
My advice is to create a step-by- step “playbook” of everything you do that doesn’t need YOU to do it.
How do you figure out what should be in the “playbook” How do you figure out what you should delegate? Great questions, here’s how.
An easy way to figure this out is with this exercise my friend Tommy Cano taught me. I embraced it from the minute I heard it and need to give him credit for it.
Start with a clean sheet of paper and draw a line down the middle from top to bottom. On the right side jot down everything you do that is DIRECTLY related to your role in the business. On the left side you jot down everything else you do.
To the left is my list of duties and responsibilities at my UPS stores. The right side has things like business growth and direction, marketing strategy and paying invoices. The left side has things like buy office supplies, go to the post office and deliver print orders.
Obviously, I shouldn’t be doing ANY of the things on the left side, but from time-to- time I still do.
The things on the right that you think I should delegate, like marketing and invoices let me tell you why I do them.
I do them because early on I learned from one of my mentors to never delegate the marketing or the checkbook.
I never questioned his advice because he’s been much more successful than I have. AND because the one time I did my stores suffered.
What you would do next is calculate your hourly pay rate. To do this divide your yearly salary by the 2080 work hours in a year. I know, entrepreneurs work MORE than just 2080 hours a year, but for this exercise use 2080.
Now that you have your hourly pay rate look at everything on the left side of your list and ask yourself two questions. Would I pay someone my hourly rate to do them? Could I hire someone for half or a third of what I make an hour to do them? The answer should be yes.
But don’t stop with the left side. Examine and question everything on the right side too? On the right side of my list I have networking as one of the things key to my position. But I think I could have my GM do this and do just as good a job as I can. As long as I have a “playbook” so he knows how to do it successfully.
It’s In The Book
These are the things that go in the “playbook.” It’s entire purpose is to free you to do the high-value activities in your business. To create systems so you can just plug people into your business where you need them.
As long as the people you’re bringing in can read and follow the “playbook” then you shouldn’t miss a beat. A hidden benefit of having systems and a “playbook” is that if you lose a key employee you won’t feel it as much. Why? Because you documented everything they do in the “playbook” and someone else can come in and follow it.
Rise Of The Robots
Automation isn’t just for robots on factory assembly lines or big businesses anymore. Automation is another tool your business should be using. Even though it sounds high-tech, it doesn’t have to be.
There’s little, easy things you can do to automate. Here’s a couple of examples.
Print forms you use repeatedly with the fields that never change already filled out. Or create a “tickler” to stay on top of leads, quotes or proposals. While’re on the topic of “tickler” there’s a lot of great online automation tools that are a digital version of “tickler.”
Honestly, they do A LOT more than that.
For example, they automate the follow up process after you meet with a client or prospect. They keep track of all your contacts and when you last interacted with them. Some will even allow your clients and prospects to place orders and pay online. They make following up with leads and customers easy and…AUTOMATED.
The automation tool I use is Infusionsoft. It’s on the pricey side and has a steep learning curve. But there are other options out there to automate your business. If you’re interested in learning more about them do a Google or YouTube search and compare. Also feel free to email me if you have questions (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Automation goes hand-in- hand with systemization. Once you create the system you want your business to follow, you look for tasks you can automate. This and ONLY this will allow you to “clone” yourself so you can be your own Sorcerer Supreme.
Start incorporating these ideas into your business. Not only will you “clone” yourself and be “multiple” places at once. But you’ll also stop being a “slave” to your business. You know what I mean when I say “slave” right?
You know you’re a”slave” to your business if you get an uneasy feeling every time you’re not there. You constantly check your phone for missed calls or new emails from work. Maybe you even call your business to make sure the phones are still working.
As if you expect the place to burn down without you.
If your family tells you you’re never “present” when you’re with them, then you’re a “slave” Period. Working 80-hour weeks is not something to be proud of.
Worst Boss In The WORLD
Didn’t you get into business so you could be free? To not have a boss? If you’re a “slave” then you have one of the most dysfunctional bosses you ever worked for…YOU! Worst part is you can’t fire him or even change jobs. You’re stuck! Wouldn’t it be smart to do things that will help you “break free?”
Embrace systemization, automation and delegation. You’ll start enjoying your business again. You’ll start enjoying your time AWAY from your business again. And you might make more money.
If you can do that then Dr. Strange and his multiverse will have nothing on you.
Author: Victor Urbina
To read Victor’s previous columns, click HERE.
Victor Urbina is an author and entrepreneur who helps businesses generate more new customers and make more sales.
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