What 3 years as a business owner has taught me about systems
Okay, if you don’t read any of the words below this line, read this: if you’re a new business owner you need systems more than you currently know.
You probably feel like since you’re feeling your way around this whole entrepreneur thing you’re just going to wing it. Day to day, month to month. See what works and what doesn’t and then adjust.
In part, a great strategy. Because we only know and grow by trying new things, living through experiences and failures and adapting accordingly. So grow and adapt, my beautiful entrepreneur friends!
But not at the cost of your business, your time, or your money.
Because the truth is, you need to set systems in place from the second you decide to start a business. You need to keep track of metrics to know where you’re growing and what ventures/services you should be plowing more time into. You need to measure your inquiries and start to develop a client experience that’s seamless and organised.
You need to keep track of ideas so that you can actually see them and schedule in time to work on them.
Without this, without some form of strategy, you’ll likely meander, wander and flounder until you don’t know what you’re doing, don’t know how to make your life and business run more smoothly and, worst of all, you’ll have to play catch up on all the years you spent with a solid system.
So how should you go about setting something like this in place?
I’m a frugal business owner and I will gladly tell you not to invest in something (a product, a service or a subscription) if it is not the right time in your business and if the investment would not be viable or generate enough of a return.
So let’s talk cheap. Which is totally doable!
First, you’re going to spend some of your downtime (that’s time you’re not spending earning money on services or products) to really get to know and understand your business.
What are your processes?
How do you handle client inquiries?
How do you onboard and offboard clients?
What is the general flow of a service you offer?
What are the business templates you need to create?
What are the recurring tasks you have to do for your business?
Take the time and effort to sit and write every step of these down. Figure out where the overlap is or where you’re probably reinventing the wheel each time. Then take that into a project management tool, like Asana (which is free, yo!) and get yourself organised.
Create a team for each facet of your business, from the high-level executive tasks to the more mundane but just as important operation tasks to the services you offer.
Then start populating them with projects and tasks from the step-by-step you completed above. Set recurring tasks for the all-important things like financial recons and bookkeeping, marketing to-dos and personal tasks you should be completing regularly. Set due dates for every step of the process and create templates where necessary (for services, onboarding and offboarding). Write up email templates that you can just copy and paste rather than typing up the varying versions of the same content each time.
By creating a business that runs smoothly on the inside, you’ll be setting yourself up for a more calm and focused day, you’ll appear more confident and, as a result, your clients will have more confidence in you.
Who doesn’t want that?