Dropping Balls Syndrome (DBS) is a condition that affects many entrepreneurs. Although, most of them never talk about it. So the condition persists.
Startup entrepreneurs generally aren’t affected by DBS. It infects entrepreneurs in subsequent stages.
A spike in revenue is often an early symptom of DBS. As the business attracts more and more new customers, it experiences more and more demands.
The entrepreneur and his or her team just can’t keep up with them all. DBS is rearing its ugly head! Can you see the balls dropping?
They scramble to hire new people. But the entrepreneurial team wasn’t prepared for them. DBS flares up. Balls drop all over the place.
DBS is the ultimate relationship killer. It will cost you customers and employees.
But it doesn’t stop there – DBS comes with a financial cost as well. Growth stalls as customers find other alternatives. Costs rise as new employees have to be hired and trained to replace the ones who left.
In short – dropping balls turn blue as your bottom line glows red!
So what’s the solution? Is there a treatment for DBS? Yes. However, as is often the case, prevention is the best medicine.
Entrepreneurs are often told to work “on” their business, not “in” it. It sounds simple enough. But as we work with new entrepreneurs, we often find they are confused by it.
What does it really mean? You may be the only person working in the business. How can you also work on it?
Here’s the secret – at first, you work on your business by working in it. You do that by defining your roles and mapping your procedures.
Defining your roles
As an entrepreneur, you wear many hats. The key is to determine what all those hats are.
At times, you’re the marketer-in-chief. At others, you’re the sales rep. You may be the CFO and the receptionist, the CEO and the janitor!
Write them all down. Then create an Organizational Chart. It will show all the roles you play day-to-day. More importantly, it will define who answers to whom.
If you’re like most people, this exercise may seem a little silly at this point. After all, you’re the boss and the subordinate right now.
However, your Organizational Chart is a critical piece of infrastructure. With it, you’ll prevent DBS so you’ll be able to handle rapid growth. It will also help you understand how to organize the next step.
Mapping your procedures
Now that you know all the positions in your business, you can begin mapping out procedures. As you perform tasks day-to-day, write down how you do them from beginning to end.
Once you’ve documented all your procedures, you can put together more critical infrastructure. For example, you can create a Position Manual for every role you will need to fill.
Then when you hire someone, you have a ready resource for both them and you. You can use it to train them. It’s amazing how much faster we learn when we can see the instructions as well as hear them. They can refer to it when they’re unsure how to do something.
A final note
DBS can be prevented by taking these steps early in the life of your business. But what if you’re already experiencing it?
You get over DBS in the same way you prevent it. You’ll just have more urgency. However, you’ll also have more motivation because you’ve seen its ugly effects.
Have you experienced DBS? How did you get over it?
George Krueger and Mary-Lynn Foster are the co-founders of BIGG Success, your place for entreprenurturing(TM). They also co-host "BIGG Success in a Minute," a syndicated radio show now playing on stations around the United States.
Another benefit of doing the exercise you describe here is that it also gives powerful information to improve your time management as you can make sure the most important "hats" you need to wear get regular and protected "slots" in the diary.