Now that you’ve been running your business for a few months (or even a couple of years), you probably have time – once in a while, anyway – to sit down and reflect on whether you’re operating your business efficiently, or if you could do a little better.
If you only have this opportunity after you’ve collapsed on the couch from exhaustion and basically disappeared into the cushions with a bottle in your hand, do me a favor and wait until the tequila wears off before reading this post 🙂
Once you’ve been in business for a little while, the question of what processes and systems you need inevitably comes into play. There are probably a lot of things you’ve been doing yourself all this time, which you could delegate instead. Maybe you’ve been losing out on client work because you don’t have a process for following up with leads, so you forget about a few of them and money literally falls through the cracks. Or maybe you’re unhappy with the way your virtual assistant writes your social media posts…but you’ve never actually given her any guidelines to follow.
The more you think about it…the more overwhelming it becomes. One process relies on another, and they layer over each other until even the idea of sitting down and figuring out what process you need first, next month, or next year becomes completely overwhelming.
So where do you start? Well, you plan, of course! Start with these 3 steps:
- Identify your biggest systems pain points. Something about your business is already nagging at you. Could a new process fix it? Maybe your web site traffic is slow, or you can’t keep up with your weekly blog posts, and you know it’s costing you revenue. Maybe the storage racks in the kitchen are never quite clean enough for your liking. Could you create cleaning guidelines for your staff?
- Determine which pain points need fixing most urgently. To figure this out, look first for problems that directly affect your customers. What could make their experience better?
- Create a timeline. Don’t expect to create every necessary process or system you need over just a few days. It will probably take about 3 months to address your most urgent needs, and you’ll always be adding to and updating your process lists. That’s just business.
After that, it’s about finding the tools and resources to support the systems and processes you create. Then you implement, and then you tweak. Over time, your company becomes a well-oiled machine; it functions smoothly with few breakdowns, and when there’s an emergency, you have a process in place to handle it.
This is where most of the clients I’ve worked with over the past 5 years are at right now. I’m getting ready to coach them on how to develop a process plan through my Systems Coaching Package. And they’re about to take their companies from ‘open’ to ‘effing amazing’.
There will always be improvements you can make and new systems to design, but you can create an arsenal of simple procedures and tools that make running your business way, way easier and more fun – so if you DO indulge in a little tequila from time to time, it’ll be to enjoy the taste of a fine drink, not to forget about your week!
What part of your business do you want to systematize? Let me know where you’d start by leaving a comment below.