The story about why this ramen chef can leave his restaurant on busy nights while the sushi owners work non-stop:
I was enjoying sushi at my favorite local joint the other day when the conversation turned to a story about the owner of a local ramen shop across the street.
The ramen shop owner had recently opened a second location, and the sushi restaurant owners were wondering how he managed to do it.
They were so busy, after all, that they couldn't even take a day off.
How could the ramen shop owner manage to open a second location?
I looked in the window, as I knew the chef well. But he wasn't there. But the place was packed with newly hired staff running around the kitchen and serving customers.
"Gone for beers with his friends, as usual," the sushi restaurant owners said, in a subtle tone of mockery and jealousy, as they never hired anyone to help them, to save on the expenses.
The ramen chef is known as a great chef who has "traveled to Japan" to perfect his ramen recipes. Or that is the story his digital PR tells, at least.
He managed to get a lot of press coverage for his restaurant, and so visitors from all over the city come to try his ramen to see "the famous chef".
However, despite all the fame, the chef is almost never there.
This is because the ramen chef has focused on scaling up and hiring a team to run things without him needing to be there.
As a result, even on a busy Friday night, he feels comfortable being away from the restaurant, trusting his team to handle things.
This contrasted with the sushi restaurant I was dining at, where it was only the owners working on their deliveries, chatting with me.
They are still doing everything themselves, from cooking to serving to cleaning. Holidays are rare, and they are always there, even on weekends.
When they're sick, the restaurant is closed. They are the business!
Now it's just my co-founder and I, both of us working on client projects and doing everything ourselves. We are the SEO agency!
On a typical day, I spend my time doing things like:
All of this is focused on one goal - improve the website authority and boosting the positions of my clients' websites.
However, as my SEO agency grows, I realize I can't do everything myself forever.
I will eventually need to scale my operations to continue providing quality SEO services.
Because as my customers grow, I will need to grow with them. I will need to hire more people to help me with the work of providing for my clients or risk losing them.
The key to scaling without losing quality is developing standardized systems and procedures that can be replicated by future team members.
By documenting my own SEO processes and ways of doing things into standard operating procedures (SOPs), I can create blueprint for my SEO agency's unique approaches to activities like:
- How to use SEO tools correctly
- Keywords: Content gaps, topical maps, structure, content calendar and more
- Writing: Content briefs, content creation, editing, and publishing
- Link building: Guest posting, how to handle payment, cold email outreach, and more
- Reporting: Creating reports, sending them to clients, and explaining them
- Client management: How to onboard clients, how to handle client requests, and more
Creating these SOPs will have multiple benefits:
- Allows smooth onboarding of new team members
- Ensures consistency even as the agency scales
- Leaves flexibility for me to step away at times
- Increases business valuation if I ever want to sell
By putting these documented processes in place now, I will lay the groundwork for scalable and sustainable growth going forward.
If I don't do this, I will be stuck in the same situation as the sushi restaurant owners, where I am still doing everything myself even as the business grows.
So, for everyone out there running their own business, I encourage you to think about how you can scale your operations so you don't have to be there all the time, and you can focus on the things you enjoy most!
For me, this is the reason why my previous B2B SaaS startup was able to sell for a great price. I had built a team and processes that allowed me to step away from the business and focus on other things. And the acquirer was willing to pay a premium for that!