For a number of years now my husband and I have been discussing a master bathroom renovation. (We are not spur-of-the-moment people!) Finally, about eight months ago, he decided to start the project by taking all the wallpaper off the walls. That took about three weeks of us going in for an hour, here and there, to get down to the sheetrock. And so my bathroom sat. For months.
After talking to three different contractors, we chose one, and I hired a designer to help me pick everything out. (You don’t think I can do that on my own, do you?!) I made a spreadsheet of every little task that I knew needed to happen and created my list. Of course, the contractor and my husband just laughed at me. I asked the contractor to put my list in the right order, so I could know what was going to happen, when. His response: “Can you leave town for the time we are here working?”
Last week the work began. And after less than one week of having workmen in the house I can definitely say that while this guy is going to get the job done, it’s going to make me crazy in the meantime. He certainly needs an organized person running his jobs! (Probably a woman!) This guy is WAY too laid back about all the details, leaves a lot of things to chance or to the last minute. And if I have to answer the same question more than two times, I think he should be writing everything down. Don’t you?
So, this morning I realized that we, as business owners, often leave a lot to chance. We are often disorganized, and may not know what things should be done first. We may not have the right tools or the right resources. And for sure, we’re not writing everything down!
How can we help ourselves get through everything that needs to be done in our business and have raving fans?
1) Set your goals and intentions.
If you don’t know what the end result is, you probably aren’t going to get very close. This is true in your business, as well as anything you do around your house!
2) Make a list of every little task that needs to be done in order to achieve your goals.
This may take some time. Do not skip this step. I am a firm believer in checklists and forms – anything to systemize a job.
If my contractor had a questionnaire that covered everything about doing bathroom renovations, he would know exactly what I wanted and expected from the beginning, he could give a copy to each sub doing the work, and any last minute surprises would be avoided.
3) Put the list in order.
This will make sure you don’t have wasted time due to any oversights in the plan. Note: the plan often changes so you may have to redo step #2 and #3.
Day one of the bathroom redo we ran into a last minute call in. This could have been avoided if the contractor had taken two minutes to put my list in order before we got started. Just saying.
4) Where do you need help?
Are there some tools or resources you need? Get the help you need! You can’t and more importantly, shouldn’t, do everything yourself. If it feels like you are giving up control, look at it this way: you are employing someone who needs a job- boosting the economy, helping the national job numbers! And, it’s a great business expense. Remember, while you are working in your brilliance, the person you hire is working in their brilliance.
I applaud my contractor for having amazing subs. They do a great job. I am not worried about the quality of the work getting done.
Make sure the people you hire know exactly what your goals are. (see #1, #2, #3.)
The biggest problem in my bathroom redo is that the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing. If I had known that the contractor telling the sub boss what to do wasn’t going to be communicated to the guy actually doing the work, I would have assumed that responsibility from day one and avoided a few headaches. In his defense, the contractor didn’t know that the information wasn’t flowing down, either. (see note about checklists.)
6) Leave the room.
Don’t micro-manage. If you have done a good job communicating, you can rest easy and know that the people doing the job for you are, well, doing the job for you! It’s not easy, but I have left my tile guy to do his job. I occasionally poke my head back there, ostensibly to check how the tile choices I made are coming to life, but you and I both know that it’s because I am a control freak and can’t help myself.
It’s an amazing experience to be a business owner. While we all know in theory how important it is to be organized, sometimes it takes an event like a bathroom redo to see how easily things can come off the tracks if you aren’t organized. It’s also important to understand when and what to outsource. Even if it’s only a few hours each month, find someone that can help you achieve your goals. You will get there faster, with better results, and it will cost you less in the long run.
I expect I will be a raving fan of the finished product. And when my new bathroom is complete, I’m going to have a nice little checklist created to give to my contractor – who is a friend – and maybe he’ll use it on the next job! Organized people look more professional, plus it saves headaches and delays in every job to be done.
Now, go work on your list!