How a Checklist Can Save Your Business
I have something to confess - I love love love to check things off of a list! It makes me feel like I'm making progress and getting things done. I am addicted to checklists, but I also know that they have saved my business several times over. No, really! They keep your business efficient and organized, and (as I can tell you) they are motivating. But checklists are also more than that - read on to see how they can keep your business running, too!
You and I both know that mistakes are GOING to happen, that's just human nature. But if you have a checklist in place, you are far less likely to drop the ball on anything. Checklists should be in-depth, giving you a timeline or path to go through on a process. So if you're about to do an installation, you could have a checklist for every single thing you want to take with you, down to lightbulbs and screwdrivers. You may also have a checklist for how you want things to be loaded into the house, a checklist for health and safety (like masks and booties). If you have super-detailed lists, it's far less likely that you'll forget something or make a major mistake on a project. You just follow the list for each process or task.
In our business, time really is money. The less time you spend on a project, the more money you'll make and the more time you'll have to look for NEW clients. With that in mind, you want to be as productive and efficient as possible on every job. Rather than running back and forth from your office and a job site, or between clients and shops, a checklist will avoid those time-sucking tasks and will keep you on schedule. Using procedure lists and to-do lists will keep your business humming like a well-oiled machine!
Checklists also help me break down a problem and reframe solutions and ideas. Let's say I'm finding a big issue with an upholstery order (and who isn't these days??). I will sit down and think through all the solutions, from dropping the order and going with a custom solution, to telling the client we're going to have to wait. I can then create a checklist that gives the team steps to take the next time we hit an issue like this. Troubleshooting a problem and then walking through the steps for a solution will be so much faster and easier with an established checklist.
This is a BIG one for me! I like to have a list of when and how I communicate with my clients, with my team, with subcontractors, and with others on a build team. For example, I update my clients every single Friday on where we are in the design process. This keeps them from trying to guess what we're doing and gives them confidence that I have it all under control. I also want to have specific processes for communicating changes to my subs, so I use a checklist to be absolutely sure we're all working from the latest information. Again, more communication and clear checklists keep us from having major issues cropping up in our projects!
Help for Complex Tasks
Did you know that the most successful heart surgeons use checklists? They literally have someone's life in their hands and that checklist helps them remember the order in a complicated process and how to ensure they're ready for surgery. We don't have that sort of pressure in our day-to-day activities, but we do have our own complex tasks to work through. Having a list to work through will keep us on task and helps us break things down into easier bite-sized steps.
It is one of those strange things about humans that we DO love to check things off a list. Psychologically, it's very motivating. Being able to put a tick next to something on a list makes us feel like we're making moves in the right direction.
To help motivate YOU, I'm giving you my FREE Installation Day Timeline & Checklist. Use it to keep things running smoothly for your installations, and let it motivate you to create MORE checklists for your company!