“There’s an App for that.”

Do you remember hearing that line repeated in iPhone commercials hundreds of times over the past couple of years?

Today, I’m going to deliver a variation of that line… a lesson I and many of my clients have learned over the years: There’s a checklist for that!

Have you ever seen a pilot go through the process of departing the gate and taking off? The majority of their time is not spent working the controls—it’s spent completing the checklist. Now, keep in mind that these pilots have spent years obtaining a specialized education. They know how to fly the plane!

So why spend time completing a checklist?

Because there are hundreds of details that must be managed properly – and if even one of them is mismanaged, disaster follows.

Sound familiar?

For a commercial airliner, the stakes are tremendously high. Hundreds of innocent lives could be lost due to one simple mistake.

As a business owner, the stakes aren’t THAT high… but they are still high. Your business represents your source of income and security. It represents your hopes and dreams for the future.

So why leave anything to chance?

Whether it is production, the delivery of a service, invoicing, sales, customer service, or any other business function… you would benefit from the creation of a checklist.

A simple sales checklist for inbound leads might start like this:

  • Record name

  • Record phone number

  • Record email address

  • Summarize the benefits of the product or service in question

The specifics will obviously vary depending on the nature of your business, but you get the point. And while none of those four action items are groundbreaking, the reality is that without a checklist, your sales people will forget some of these items from time to time. And while forgetting to record an email address every once in a while might seem insignificant, exposure to your email marketing campaigns could lead to a sale down the road.

The same concept can be applied in every area of your business. From accounting to production, take the time to plan and create checklists for critical functions.

I’ve discovered over the years that success in business rarely comes solely from a big, revolutionary idea—it comes from getting the details right time after time after time. And that’s why checklists can be tremendously valuable. So use them!