Yesterday Peter and I spent some time assigning roles in our business.

Much like everything else that needs doing when starting up, it is the most important thing to do. Books about building a new business are full of suggestions about the most important thing to do. I suppose listing something and just saying it’s a helpful tool for getting the business on track is just not strong enough for the self-help book market.

I first read about assigning roles in The E-Myth by Michael E. Gerber. It seemed to make sense. It’s a really good way to get a quick understanding of all aspects of the business.

We sat down and tried to list all the departments that a business has: HR, Accounts; Sales; Legal; Project management; etcetera. Then we started thinking about all the other tasks that don’t have a “department” as such: copy editing; version control; domain name renewals; social networking; anything else we could think of.

There are only two of us and it can feel silly to assign roles when there are only two people in a brand new business. The thing is, there won’t always be only two of us. We plan to grow quickly and well. The only way to do that is make sure we have all the roles in the business outlined so that a new employee can take over some of those roles.

The thing is, we’re both going to be working on every part of the business. So what we did, instead of saying “I’ll do this and you do that”, is to just split roles into who’s taking the lead on each.

That way there’s no demarkation issue on roles. We don’t step on each other’s toes or cut each other’s lunch. A partnership is still a partnership. We are both involved in every part of the business but now, when a process falls over, we can see whose responsibility it was. We can look at why it wasn’t taken care of.

And that is a really important part of running a business.

About Josh Kinal

Josh Kinal specialises in content strategy with Soupgiant. A writer and broadcaster since 1993, he turned his hand to the web in 2005 and has not looked back since.

He hosts and produces the weekly Boxcutters podcast, bringing people information about the whole world of television since 2005.