You may have started off in the affiliate business as an entrepreneur creating a start-up affiliate portal. As you scaled up, employed staff and progressed in your business you may have fallen into the trap of just working in your business as an additional employee to deliver activities – instead of working ON it strategically to ensure it’s continued growth. This is a common occurrence with start ups that grow fast.
When the business is busy and you’re needed on the front lines, affiliates can become distracted from the main goal of working on the business. This can be a costly mistake to make, especially when other affiliate businesses are growing and you can’t figure out why yours isn’t. Here are some of the things that you should find time to work on as you leave the start-up phase behind.
Leading and Delegating
Being a leader can seem difficult, some people are not naturally inclined to lead others. This should be part of your personal development, whether you think you are a good leader or not. Working with a coach or mentor is one of the main ways to develop these skills, as they have experience that you can draw on.
Those who like to be involved in the business can also have a hard time delegating. Delegating tasks doesn’t mean that you just don’t want to do them, you’re placing them in the hands of someone that you feel confident can do them just as well or better than you. This frees up your time to do something that your employee can’t, working on the overall business.
Forbes reported that only 30% of those in management feel that they can delegate well. This may be because of their own qualms or just a simple reluctance to allow others to take over. Micro managing will only waste time that you could be using on more important tasks.
Keep yourself Motivated
When you spend time working in your business, you get lost in the day to day processes of running it. This saps your motivation, as you don’t have the foresight to know which milestones are coming ahead. Like 90% of business owners, you may worry about your employees’ motivation – but are you aware of your own?
Setting and smashing targets as business owners gives us that spark. If you’ve set up an affiliate business for yourself, then the chances are you enjoy the challenges and successes that owning a business provides. If you get dragged down into menial processes, both you and your business will suffer.
Take a Top Level View
You don’t need to know what exactly each employee does each day or how much time is spent on single tasks. Use tracking tools and reports to get a top level view of your business, don’t obsess over the small details. Consider appointing employees to report back on specific elements of the business, this allows you to act on the stats without having to gather them yourself.
This will also help you to evaluate which tasks are necessary and which are just assumed to be. Evaluate the staff time spent on the task versus the return to figure out if this really needs to be completed in future. If not, you free up staff’s time and allow them to do something more meaningful instead. If you end up working in your business because you don’t have enough staffing resources then this can seriously reduce the workflow.
Start by defining KPIs and then break these into smaller tasks and checkpoints. As you move towards the goal, consider information from a top level view and figure out if you’ll meet it or if you need to change your tactics. For affiliates, this may be working with a certain amount of partners, gaining new brand awareness or conquering the rankings for a specific keyword.
Define Clear Roles and responsibilities not just ownership
As your affiliate portal expands, you may find yourself hiring more and more employees. You may find that some leave the business too. For this reason, it’s essential to define clear roles for each employee, so you can rest assured that the important tasks are taken care of.
If employees don’t complete their tasks and you have to step in, working in the business again, then take action. You don’t want to fall into the trap of continuing to complete tasks for others to ensure that they are taken care of. Instead, figure out the root of the problem and then address it so that you can go back to the jobs that are important.
Consider working with a business mentor if you want more insight into how you can better manager your business. They can make the make or break difference for affiliates, they can double your chance of business success over your first five years in the industry. Don’t get lost working in your business, take steps to improve the future of your business by working on it instead.