While entrepreneurs strive to staff their companies with superstars, we all know that there’s usually one person who stands out – you know, the person that everyone (including you) calls when you’re stuck and need expert advice. Since cloning people isn’t legal – and probably not cost effective, either – it’s easy to feel frustrated when there’s simply not enough of your expert to go around.
After all, an expert can only be in one place at a time, right?
Wrong! The solution to your expert cloning needs is to provide your experts with minions. Here’s an example of how it works:
Let’s say that you own a security company, and you provide installation and monitoring services to your clients. You have technicians who work out in the field doing the installation and making service calls when something goes wrong. These technicians are trained, but you’ve got one guy who can always troubleshoot any problem and devise intelligent solutions. But he’s only one guy.
You can’t send him out on every service call, but what you can do is keep him in the office. No, I haven’t lost my mind. You keep your expert in a single location, and you set up a way for him to communicate with everyone out in the field. When a technician encounters a problem, he gets on the phone with the expert, and the expert talks him through the solution.
The single most important component of this model is a consistent, reliable, and flexible means of communication, because if your communication goes down, the system falls apart. Many VoIP (Voiceover Internet Protocol) providers offer all the services you’ll need. My team uses Skype, but there are other companies who provide similar services.
So your minions can connect to your expert via phone, but if they need to share files, Skype also facilitates that. If your minion has a particularly sticky problem and needs to show the expert what’s going on first-hand, Skype lets you use a webcam to virtually put the expert on-site. Think about it … if your minions are connected to your expert, then your expert can be virtually anywhere. You’ve essentially cloned your expert.
The hidden benefit of this model is that while your technicians are out in the field, relying on the expert for support as needed, they’re also getting additional training when they implement your expert’s solutions. They have a model for troubleshooting that they can begin to implement in their own work.
This model is surprisingly versatile, as well. Any business that has to send trained staff out to work with clients occasionally has employees who encounter unexpected circumstances and find themselves out of their comfort zone. Whether you make service calls to repair copiers, or whether you have a team of sales reps in the market, you never know when your staff will need quick answers from your expert. Setting up an expert-minion structure and protocol ensures that you have enough staff to get out to your clients, without the expense of hiring a dozen experts.