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Check It Out — Check It Off

Within the last year, while still in the corporate world, I read the book “Checklist Manifesto.” As a list maker all my life, I resonated with the instructions.  But, little did I know how valuable it would be for small business.  There are some things I just know and don’t need to think about.  For my wife, she’s an expert in the kitchen and creates fabulous dishes out of the most mundane left overs and combines tastes that most would not think possible. She does not need a recipe (a checklist in disguise).  But, put me in the kitchen and I need that recipe written down with pictures and even videos on an iPad to hope to recreate it and make it look nice.  I found the same thing for doing the books of my small business each month.  Remembering to include some portion of expenses for phone and internet, including the mileage on the car, and printing out the monthly reports does not come quite so easily.  So, I created about a 30 step checklist that I go through to make sure I’ve done everything.  It makes doing the books a lot easier and faster.  On the plane today I was reading “The Accidental Salesperson.” In this book I also found a 16 step process for tracking progress of potential customers–regardless of what business you are in or what product or service you are providing.  It’s visual and allows you to calculate closing ratios and other important information.  Don’t overlook the simple power of a checklist–it works for young children with their chores around the house–and it works for the CEO (Chief Everything Officer) of a sole proprietorship–and it works for corporations of thousands of people.