This Foundation Will Not Break

March 11, 2022

In 2019, I finished my Master's in Business Administration. Throughout my graduate degree, I had to read countless books, papers, essays, and more. The topics were always business-centric ranging from legal basics to books on affecting change to Harvard Business Review case studies. One of the most impactful books I had the pleasure of reading during my time in school was Michael Gerber's The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It.

I'll never forget it; I tore through the book in a single day and what I learned from it has stuck with me since.

The E-Myth is a classic business book; one that your older mentor might give to you when you first start building your business. It ran its course in the 90s and early 00s, but the book is truly timeless. It's full of great takeaways! One of the most important ones that I latched onto while building Amarlo was quite literally foundational to how we run our business.

Outline every significant job that needs to get done in your business and identify who's doing what.

Start Off With a Strong Foundation

Every large corporation has an organizational chart or org chart for short. This chart is the architectural breakdown of all the jobs that are getting done in the company. From CEO to intern, everyone has a place on the org chart.

When you're first starting a small business, a full-blown organizational chart is useless because, in most cases, it's only you (and maybe a partner) doing everything! An organizational chart at this level would be completely useless.

Instead, it's important to understand the responsibilities and jobs that need to get done within your business and then clearly define who will get them done.

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If it's just you, this is as simple as listing out all of the tasks from accounting to sales to get a greater understanding of what needs to happen day-to-day! If you have a partner, this is an incredibly useful time to identify whose strengths are better suited for each job that needs to get done.

If you're in the early stages of starting a new business or have recently started one, this is a crucial step that can help save tons of headaches down the road, especially if you're working with a partner! If you're in an existing business that's struggling to grow and you're finding yourself and your staff clamoring over one another when trying to get things done, this can help create the clarity you need to move forward.

Define Your Departments

Even if you're building your small business from scratch, your company already has different departments. These departments are simply the categories of work for each job! To build your foundation, start by identifying the key departments that will form your business as it grows. For example, should sales and customer service be handled by the same person? What about accounting and marketing?

Identifying how your business is broken up into different departmental roles allows you to plan for the future. When you're ready to hire or expand, you can easily decide which jobs will be best delegated to an employee. You can even go a step beyond by documenting your process for doing each job so that training someone to take it over is a breeze!

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Jeremy Millar
Written by:
Jeremy Millar

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