Whenever I hear the word, “systems”, I think of BIG corporations with bureaucratic tape, taking forever to get something done. Actually, if you talk to any successful business, no matter their size, they will tell you that they have systems in place within their business and personal life. It doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. In fact, the entire purpose of a system is to make your business and life easier.
➡️Think of it as making the “rough places smooth”.
To talk about systems and their importance in life and business, I interviewed Lindsay Erhardt, Coach at HelloLindsayJoy.com. She specializes in helping the self-employed and business owners set up systems within their companies.
WHAT ARE “SYSTEMS”?
When I first started in business several years ago, I never considered adopting a process to streamline my work. As a microbusiness owner, it didn’t occur to me that it was necessary. However, I joined a group project hosted by Carrie Wilkerson and she encouraged us to ask ourselves, “What do I need to create to help streamline my business and help others help me?”.
Hmmm. I had to ponder that for a moment. Being a sole-proprietor, I wasn’t sure how to answer that question.
If it was just me in the office, why would it matter if I had systems or not?
Lindsay Erhardt offered a little more insight into that question. She pointed out that we all have systems and don’t even know it. It could be your morning routine of getting up in the morning and either going for a run — or running to the coffee shop for a morning fix. Or how about our evening routine? Perhaps you come home, throw your sunglasses and keys in the same place every day, change your clothes, and then plop on the couch checking Facebook for an hour before you decide to grab dinner.
You do these things without thinking. They are automatic.
In terms of business, Systems do 5 things for you:
- Manages your time
- Creates organization
- Nurtures clients
- Saves money
- Produces more business
MANAGING YOUR TIME
Time IS money. Especially if you are a one-person operation. So figuring out a way to maximize your time with the greatest impact is critical to your success. Let’s say you work from home and have multiple clients. How can you keep track of what each client needs and what you discussed during your last conversation?
📌TIP: One suggestion is to create a file folder with your client’s name on it and every time you talk to them, you write your notes down and keep them in the file for the time slot you are scheduled to work on their projects. This can be done digitally as well. If you receive emails, texts, or messages from them at a time you are working on something else, you slide those items into an email or physical folder and look at them when you are ready to work on their project.
Getting organized is not as hard as it seems. For one, STOP telling yourself you are not organized!! If you need some organizational ideas, Terri Savelle Foy, is ahhhhmmmaaazing in this area. I encourage you to read her book, Declutter Your Way To Success, and listen to her podcasts.
Getting organized is leveraging your effort and time.
- Learn how to time-block and stay committed to your calendar.
- Keep your business/work area separate from your personal.
- Every night, WRITE DOWN what you need to do the following day.
There are so many great resources – whole seminars and books! – to teach you how to get organized. It can get overwhelming so my greatest encouragement is to START WITH ONE THING and then when it becomes second nature, add it something else.
📌Personal example: I have numerous writing projects and I became overwhelmed with even knowing where to start. So for a long time, I just didn’t do any of it. Finally, I created a notebook specifically for writing. Every morning, during breakfast, I write for a minimum of 20 minutes – EVERY day. That becomes content for my other projects. It is now such a habit that I don’t even think about it. If I miss it, it’s like missing a morning cup of coffee, I can’t do anything else until I sit down and write my 20 minutes.
What do you do with the information you collect from customers or clients – or potential clients when networking? (You ARE collecting information, right?! 😉 ). You need a system for that information. Is it on a sticky note somewhere, maybe a scrap piece of paper or the back of a receipt at the bottom of your bag?
Taking the time and small expense to establish an automatic database of your contacts that will send out followup emails for you, or at the very least, notify you of a birthday or a work anniversary with you so you can send out a card is key to nurturing your clients – creating another touchpoint.
When you nurture your customers, a relationship is being forged. Relationships are loyal. Customers without followup or nurturing are not much more than a one-off and will never build a profit or stellar reputation for your business.
SAVES MONEY AND PRODUCES MORE BUSINESS
Honestly, creating a system will cost you a little money and probably a lot of time….up front. However, when we put on our big picture glasses and look at the long run, the upfront cost of creating a system saves far more money than you invest.
A healthy business should generate $3 for every $1 spent in the business. The best way to grow your business while keeping your costs down is to establish systems and routines now. A well-thought-out system reduces the time you spend trying to remember to do everything, or find something, and it prevents loss of business.
- Creating an automatic touchpoint, such as regular emails, to your customers keeps you top of mind.
- A survey automatically generated from a place like Opinion Stage can generate new clients.
- Using a CRM such as MailChimp or Constant Contact is an easy and inexpensive way to upsell with new customers.
- A social media scheduler like Buffer can keep you engaged with clients without you having to think about it.
Developing systems for your business is a HUGE topic and I will continue to add more posts to dig a little deeper in how to create systems for your company. In the meantime, here are a few resources to get you started:
- For personalized service, I recommend coaching with Hello Lindsay Joy.
- Create a regular touchpoint between you and your customers with my affordable Email Marketing service.
- Check out the resources available at www.CarrieWilkerson.com
- Watch the short, daily videos by Terri Savelle Foy.
- Sign up for my twice-monthly newsletter, Beyond The Boutique. (signup in the sidebar)
As always, blessings on your week! We are in this together. We all succeed when we help each other succeed!