It’s all very well to say you know you want and need systems in your…
When Was Your Last ‘Real’ Holiday?
Are you sick of hearing the phrase ‘work on your business as well as in it’ because you know that’s what you need to do but you’re so busy with work, it seems like an unattainable dream?
Well, you’re not alone. I’m a simple solutions specialist, aka the BSi, and I see so many business owners spend so much time working in the business that they forget to spend time developing their business (and taking time off). And yet, even one day off away from your business could provide such clarity and energy … If only you give in.
So, when was your last real holiday and by ‘real’ holiday, I mean you didn’t think about work; no phone calls, no quick visits into the office, no email, no impromptu meetings with clients? I’m guessing many of you, especially solopreneurs, are thinking “Tell her she’s dreaming.”
But what if I told you that implementing some simple systems can minimise rework, increase your productivity and free up your time to gain more clients or have some well-earned time off!
Businesses are often deemed ‘successful’ when clients keep coming through the door, and there is money in the bank account. However, many have little or no systems in place because they started as (or still are) a sole operator where the main objective was to accept any work to maintain cash flow. This was fine until it got to a point where the work couldn’t be done by one person (even by working seven days a week). Staff were then employed to manage the workload.
So, now which best describes you? Either you are:
- At a point where you’ve grown so much, you’re constantly troubleshooting problems with staff, clients and/or the quality of work.
- Or you are by yourself, still working seven days a week, not seeing much of your family knowing and wanting a ‘better way’ but unable to stop this continual cycle because the work keeps coming in and has to be done.
And isn’t that why you went into business for yourself; to make money, be your own boss and have flexibility and a better lifestyle? But if everything about your work/clients/jobs and how your business runs is all in your head, unless you implement some simple and effective systems, then it will be impossible to let go, keep staff or have a holiday. You will continue to be like the mouse running on the wheel in their cage.
And what price is your business having on your family and friends, and on your health? At some point to move from surviving to thriving, both personally and professionally, business owners need to say, “Stop” and look at implementing simple systems which not only make the business more efficient but reduce costs and stress levels and thus increase profits.
Here are 7 simple systems which take very little time and money to set up but will give you back at least an hour a day:
But they only work if you commit 15 minutes a day to building them until each one is completed and off ‘the list’.
Simple system 1
Use a whiteboard to see where jobs/work is at rather than in your head. For example, colours are a great way to categorise stages, e.g. With Client, Awaiting Payment, To Be Done.
Simple system 2
Not always being available for clients but rather having blocks of time for client meetings and phone calls. For example, meetings are held between 11am and 1pm. Phone calls are made between 10am and 11am and 2pm and 3pm each day.
Simple system 3
Use checklists (and checkers if you have a team) to ensure information/processes are correct. For example, a Fee Proposal Checklist and someone checking for typos before proposals go to clients, so a $10,000 proposal isn’t sent as $1,000.
Simple system 4
Develop template letters and emails for regular processes. For example, set up a Word document with a number of email templates which walk a client through the engagement process with you, e.g. client enquiry, client proposal, signed engagement letter, invoice, payment. These are then copied and pasted into an email at the appropriate stage.
Simple system 5
Write down the tasks for each function within the business. For example, Invoice a client, Meeting Follow Up, Update Website, Post on Facebook.
Simple system 6
Collect deposits and progress payments from all clients to assist cash flow. For example, set a standard fee or percentage to collect as the deposit payment and put these into your templates rather than charging different amounts for each client to ensure consistent processes and minimise errors in charging.
Simple system 7
Use email/tracking software to keep clients informed about the progress of their work especially if there are many stages before work is finally completed, e.g. in construction. This is not only great client service, but it reduces time spent answering common questions via phone or email. For example, develop a ‘So What Happens Now’ document outlining the various stages and what happens in each including estimated timeframes and what will be done by you and what the client needs to do.
Implementing systems can help your business run as much on ‘auto-pilot’ as practical, minimise risks and keep your clients up to date. So maybe it’s time to take another look at your business to ensure you are building a simple, profitable business you actually love instead of an expensive rundown business.
“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"
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