Within the last year, I read a great book for entrepreneurs: The E Myth Revisited Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It (Gerber). I highly recommend it for any small business owner, especially if you are in your first 3 years of business. It helped me change a lot about my business.
Some of the changes were so effective that recently, when I was sidelined for 8 weeks with an ankle injury, my business kept running and I could manage it from my kitchen table with my laptop & my phone. Boy was I thankful I made those changes! We could have been out of business!
But one that I've been working towards, and have yet to put fully in place is what the author talks about as "systems". Basically it's procedures & policies (P&P) so that employees know what is expected and how they are to perform. We've had systems in place, but they have all been verbal.
And I've found that verbal "systems" can easily be forgotten, misunderstood, or ignored. So now I'm in process of documenting the P&Ps for our company, and distributing them to the employees. It has already made a difference!
Communication gaps that we weren't aware of are showing up and getting closed. Expectations are being clearly set (on paper!), and they are suddenly being met. So I'm less frustrated as the Operations Manager (amongst my many hats at work) and my employees are less frustrated because they know without a doubt what is expected.
And it makes it easier to correct oversights and mistakes as well. I can simply refer back the the P&Ps, and remind anyone that is the standard. There is no room for misunderstanding, it's there in black and white!
So I encourage you, as a business owner, to set up written P&Ps and job descriptions if you don't have them. They WILL make a difference!
And go read the E Myth Revisited, it will help you see your own areas that could use some cleaning up!