Systemise to Optimise Your Small Business
If you’ve ever looked at another entrepreneur and wondered how they manage to get it all done, the answer might surprise you.
Put simply, they have got good systems & processes.
It’s true. The most productive people all have one thing in common: they don’t reinvent the wheel every day. Instead, they’ve figured out the best, most efficient way to do every task, and they create a system to do just that.
No matter what business you’re in and what projects you find yourself tackling, a systemised approach will help you:
• Work faster and be more productive • be proactive rather than reactive • Produce higher quality results with fewer mistakes • Easily outsource the tasks you don’t like to do • Enable you to grow your business
It comes back to my strapline Work Smarter Not Harder. There has never been a better time with so many free apps available and online advice to get organised and systemise your business!
Ask yourself - Could someone walk into my business and run it just by reading my procedures, accessing my templates and using my systems? If yes great you’re already there, if "nooooooo way" then read on!
What can you systemise? Email, accounting, social media, blog writing, meeting scheduling, internal processes, prep and minute taking, newsletters, events admin, sales and client onboarding. Basically, any routine task that you carry out on a regular basis.
To start you need to understand the components parts of a business system; strategy, procedures and templates.
Procedure, Strategy and Checklists These sound really dull but are actually quite important especially in our new GDPR world. Writing procedures for the important tasks enables us to think about the what-if’s. If you are a data handler you have to have by law certain procedures documented anyway, so why not carry that over to some of your more important tasks? You’ll thank yourself when it comes to outsourcing as you can simply hand over the procedure and the checklist.
Creating and documenting your sales and marketing strategy actually helps you both long and short term. In the long term, your strategies are about how your business is run and how you're going to get there. Your systems and procedures are how you are going to achieve that strategy on a daily basis.
The Magic of Templates Part of the systemising process will be designing templates. Many of these tasks will become effortless when you create fill-in-the-blank templates that can be repurposed for specific cases/people. Think about invoicing, emails, work proposals, thank you’s, newsletters and evaluation forms.
Templates can be as simple as a “canned response” in your email client, social media or help desk. While templates will undoubtedly save you time, the real beauty is that once they’re created, you can easily outsource things like email and even sales. Simply instruct your freelancer on the proper use of your templates, and you’ll be free to do other, more important things. It also enables you to create a consistent impression of your brand.
Talking of branding, it’s important to have a folder that holds all your logo’s, pictures, brand colour’s, fonts, business card design and anything relating to your brand. Keep it all in one place so that you don’t spend ages trying to find stuff. You could even create a branding template.
Checklists are also a great way to ensure that all the processes of a job get done. You can easily create checklists for all your common tasks and projects using nothing more than a text document. I have a checklist for when I’m publishing my monthly blog post. It provides a list of all the places I need to publish it once it’s on my website.
I also have a checklist of all the monthly tasks with dates for when to start and due dates.
Apps and Software to help Never before have there been so many apps and software systems available to help us with our productivity, in fact, almost too many! Choosing the right software is really important as you don’t want wasted hours learning a new app to find out it’s actually not fit for purpose. Many of the big software names such as Hubspot (CRM), Dropbox, Hootsuite (social media), Gsuite (storage, email) and Mailchimp (newsletters) offer a basic system for free which is more than adequate for a small business. CRM’s are also an important tool for a business as it will help you organize your clients, contacts and sales funnel.
Where do you start? Start now! You have written your sales strategy and marketing strategy, haven’t you? Start documenting your procedures as you do them. Focus on the most important first and do them one at a time so that you don’t become overwhelmed. From each procedure, you may find that creating templates makes the job more productive. I would also suggest creating a series of folders either on your desktop or via cloud storage such as Dropbox or Office 365. Split your documents via procedures and templates.
If a problem comes up, document it then spend some time thinking about how you solved it and other possible solutions. Problems and mistakes are great opportunities to rethink processes.
Templates and checklists turn smart business owners into productivity superstars, and it’s easy to get started. But what’s really important about systemising your business is that it will make future projects easier and faster to complete, your business and you will become more productive and best of all, you can hand them over to your VA (wink wink).
If you would like help organising your business give me a call, I offer a FREE one consultation.