I’m a huge fan of having systems in place in my business to save me huge amounts of time, money and stress.
But why do so few small business owners that I meet have them?
Usually, I find it is because it takes time and a level of new learning to design and put together any new system. There are always more pressing things to do. And whilst you have fewer clients in the early days, muddling along like this can be ok.
However, when your business starts to grow, trying to carry on without an effective system in place can cause chaos, headaches and a huge amount of lost income.
Systems get you organised. They help you document everything you do, what you need to do and send you reminders when to do things. They help you to be more professional and to scale your business more efficiently. As your business grows, you can use systems to outsource tasks to others.
If you don’t have any systems set up, I really encourage to set aside some time and get it done. Look at any leaks in your business.
- Have you forgotten to chase up an enquiry or an outstanding payment which has resulted in losing you money?
- Have you lost track of what marketing has worked and what hasn’t?
- Have you lost control of your income and expenditure – a very dangerous place to be!
There are so many easy to use online systems on the market, many of which are free to use. Research some and see what fits best with your business. Stop trying to keep everything in your head which will result in failure and lead to massive stress.
By using an online calendar which sends you a reminder when tasks and appointments are due, you remove the stress of trying to have to remember them. I personally use Office 365 as it integrates with everything else I use.
If you have more than one email account, synchronise them into one place so that you don’t have to keep logging in and out of different accounts. Again, I use Office 365 for this.
Project Management Software
Use task management software to organise your documents and keep a track of tasks pending and completed and how a project is progressing. There are many systems available to help ensure your project delivers on time and on a budget including Trello and Basecamp and Airtable that I am currently trialling and loving.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
If you only have a few clients, a simple spreadsheet may do but have a look at online CRM systems such as Capsule or Zoho. These help organise your clients, hold all their notes, emails and documents in one place and set you follow up tasks.
Hate balancing the figures at the end of the month? Always get in a muddle? Try software solutions such as FreeAgent (my favourite), Zoho Books and Freshbooks that look after your invoicing and expenses and balance your figures with your online bank account.
It will take time to get your head around some of these systems, but start slowly and simply and you will soon end up wondering how you ever coped without them. And many systems integrate with each other so you always have access to all your information in one place.