Let’s talk business systems. Most people think systems and they think software, which yes can be an important building block to creating systems but a system can be as simple as a checklist. Systemizing your business is about consistency, ease of use, and finding ways to save you time. There are tons and tons of places in your business you can systemize and build processes around. But if you are just getting started, these four areas can make a huge impact and are a great place to start systemizing your processes.
The following four areas are intermingled so don’t think of it as completely separate; parts of the process will overlap. This is a very simple run-down of some steps to getting you started.
This is by far the best one to start with. You want your client interactions to be as organized as possible. Many times the client process is referred to as CRM (customer relationship management). Here are four simple steps to get you started:
Step 1: Determine when someone will enter the process.
The client process could potentially start at direct marketing, an inquiry, a pitch/quote, discovery call or for some businesses it’s when that person becomes a client. You will need to decide on what point someone will enter your CRM process.
Step 2: Write down every single thing that happens after Step 1, up to you starting your work with the client.
Do the best you can, typically if you are not actively doing it; it can be hard to capture each step. The next time you have a client or potential client, go to your notes and fill in the gaps.
Step 2 can have two different paths 1.) The person buys, and that leads into the longer client process 2.) They don’t buy which should have it’s own follow-up process (see step 4).
Step 3: Doing the work process.
Even if each client is a little different, there should be a process or structure you use to guide your client through your working process. Document as much of this process as you can (communications, timelines, systems used to communicate, programs used to do the work, etc. ) all the way to wrapping up with the client. Do Step 3 for each service you offer.
Step 4: The follow-up process.
First, decide is this someone you want to work with either again or to pursue as a client. Sometimes people just aren’t a good fit. If that is the case, then have a process for that, and you don’t worry about them anymore.
Now whether they are a client or was a potential client, you missed you should have processes in place to follow up with them. Write out a plan and timeline with how and when you will follow up with these prospects/past clients.
Step 5: The tech.
Once you get the process mapped out, you can start looking for software and ways to manage all of it or parts of your process. Of course part of the client process is payment which leads into our next area of focus accounting/money management.
Bookkeeping is the management of the money side of your business. I personally distinguish invoicing and payment as part of the client process and then once the money comes in, the process moves into the money management side (income).
Bookkeeping can be very complicated and includes parts of accounting/finance/taxes. Woah!! And lots of it varies state by state and country by country as well as levels of incomes. So let’s keep this simple to get you started.
TRACK YOUR MONEY
Do you have a way to track your income (money being paid to you) and expenses (money you are paying out)?
This can be an Excel spreadsheet, or you can use software that will help you manage some of the more complicated aspects, or hire someone to do it for you. Regardless you should have a system in place for what happens each time money comes in or goes out of your business.
Content Marketing: Blog Posts & Newsletters
Do you have a blog? Do you have an email list?
If the answer is yes to either of these, then you need to have processes in place for both.
Step 1: Determine how often you will be creating resources for each.
Step 2: What will you be sharing through these channels? Relate your content to why you are are using these channels and your marketing goals.
Step 3: Establish an editorial calendar.**
Step 4: Figure out what are the steps from topic idea to finished product. Create a checklist to follow and a timeline (will you sit down and write start to finish or will you do x step each day per week).
Step 5: Move to the next step of promoting it. How and where will that happen? This leads to the next area of social media marketing.
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Social Media Marketing
Basically, the steps are the same as above.
Step 1: Determine how often you will be creating resources for each channel used.
Step 2: What will be your general topic areas of focus (relate to why you are are using these channels and your marketing goals).
Step 3: Establish an editorial calendar.
Step 4: Figure out what are the steps from idea to posting. Create a checklist to follow and a timeline.
Step 5: Not only should you have a process in place for creating the social media posts but you should also have processes in place to maintain engagement as well.
Each business is unique, and much like productivity, you have to find what will work for you and how your brain functions. The biggest mistake you can make when it comes to systems is thinking you don’t need any and that it’s a waste of time to document your processes. Having systems in place is what allows you to grow your business.
Having trouble systemizing your business or can’t find the time? I have a package for that!