You might not be a “systems chick” like me, but I bet we have at least one thing in common—a curious attraction to all those back-to-school supplies flooding store shelves.
Colorful folders, binders, pens, clips, and other goodies conjure up fantasies of exciting, organized beginnings.
As a child, I loved waking up on the first day of school to see my freshly pressed school uniform on the chair next to my bed and a stack of school supplies at my desk. I felt totally ready for a successful school year in which everything would be orderly and under control.
To this day, I still feel compelled to get myself organized for the new school year. Want to join me?
YOU NEED SYSTEMS, NOT SUPPLIES
School supplies are pretty and fun to look at. Business systems? Not so much, but they’re crucial.
Honestly, most of my clients’ greatest struggles have to do with the fact that their most basic day-to-day business activities (scheduling appointments, managing emails, delivering services and tracking profits) leave them feeling overwhelmed and out of control.
Their systems for dealing with these tasks are ineffective or underdeveloped.
You don’t need fancy, expensive software or programs to start formalizing the core systems that’ll help you run your business efficiently and effectively.
I’m simplifying the whole process for you so that you can get going ASAP and as easy as 1 2 3.
Three simple steps are all you need take.
1.Pinpoint what’s working and optimize it.
Are there occasional small mishaps in one of your routines?
What can you do to prevent them from happening again? For instance, if your client forgot about a scheduled meeting, look at your scheduling system to see if you’ve got reminders built into the process.
Are there processes that are taking inexcusably long?
How can you shrink your time investment? If it takes you forever to format your blog post, outline exactly how you do it and delegate the task. If getting into the groove of writing blog posts is a lengthy process, commit to writing two or three at each sitting to save time on the mental “warm-up.”
Avoiding certain tasks?
Commit to doing that task for just five minutes and walk away once they’re up. This will trick your mind into starting the task and coming back to finish it will be that much easier.
2.Identify your underperforming systems and fix them.
Are there activities that cause confusion, lack a clear course of action or just drive you crazy?
Map out the existing sequence of events for it so you can really see what’s happening and figure out the weak links.
I did this recently when I realized my approach to collecting testimonials needed a makeover. I was always dragging my feet when it came to asking for them, dreaded reminding clients about them, and even let completed ones sit in my inbox for weeks.
Once the existing sequence was mapped out, I realized that what was missing were easy ways for clients to give me their feedback in one place, where their responses could automatically go.
Next, find a solution. For me, the solution was a simple Google form with a questionnaire.
Determining what’s missing and fixing it can be tedious and challenging. See how people in your industry are approaching the problem. If you can’t deal with systems on your own, ask for help.
3.Test and tweak the new systems to make sure they’re easy to follow and maintain.
I’m happy to say that since I started using the new questionnaire for testimonials, I spend 50% less time dealing with them and the response rate is up by 30%!
This week your challenge is to optimize one functioning system and revamp an underperforming one.
Share your experience in the comments below. Feel free to ask questions, too – I’ll be checking up on your responses and giving feedback.