7 Steps To Better Systems (which means more time to do the fun stuff)Jason Firmager
So I want to talk to you about something kinda geeky. In fact, it’s probably the geekiest thing I’ll ever write about.
Yep, I know, it sounds insanely boring right? But here’s what I’ve learnt about systems. The smarter your systems in your business (and the more you geek out on them), the more time you create to do the stuff you love.
You see, there’s a whole bunch of stuff that you’re probably doing in your business, day to day, that really doesn’t fit into your ‘core genius’ category. It’s just the stuff that has to get done in order to keep your business moving in the right direction. It’s the kinda stuff that you wish you could ship out to a VA (which, by the way, I’ll talk to you about very soon!). These are the tasks that crop up on your to-do list every single freaking week.
Here are some of the things that show up on that list for me : Calendar management, bookkeeping, social media, emails, content creation, collaborations, marketing, client admin…. and a whole heap more. Yikes ..right !? Not sure about you, but this isn’t really the work that lights me up. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind doing it, but it’s not the thing that gets me up in the morning.
So how do you manage all these necessary business chores? How do you find a way to get this stuff done without falling into overwhelm and feeling like you’re back in corporate land?
Here’s the solution – Repeat after me: Systems-are-my-friend
How have I learnt this? Well, for the last 3 months I’ve been running my coaching business alongside a full-time consultancy role. Ok, granted, the project I’m working on, is pretty rad and involves a lot of time in the water SUP’ing… but nonetheless, it has given me the opportunity to really test out my own business systems.
Before I flew out to Australia, I had a moment of panic (well, a few actually) thinking about how I was going to juggle my workload. I wanted to find a way to make it work (read: do an epic job in Aus, keep kicking a$$ in my biz & actually get some time out to relax/SUP/exercise/sleep/have fun).
So here’s what I did: I made a conscious decision to lean into my inner geek and make sure I had the very best systems in place.
I know that sometimes even the idea of systems can freak you out… so I’ve put together a step by step list of how to build rad systems for your biz…
1. Map out your days: Start by keeping a journal every day for a week….. nothing too detailed, just make a note of what you’re doing throughout the day (9am-10am emails/10am – 12pm client calls ….. etc).
2. Identify where you need systems: Suss out which jobs you do again & again…. these are the suckers that need systems. Grab a pen and some paper, write down each job on the top of a page and leave the rest blank (for now).
3. Document your workflow: The smartest way to start looking at systems, is to take notes about each workflow process. Note: you are NOT going to want to do this. It’s going to feel like hard work. But here’s the thing – the only way you’ll get smarter systems in place, is by documenting your current process.
Let’s use taking payments as an example:
So write down what you currently do in point form. It might look something like this:
a. Communicate pricing structure to client
b. Confirm they are happy with price
c. Create invoice from template
d. Send invoice
e. Make a note to email within 7 days if they haven’t paid
4. Find ways to tweak/improve/overhaul your current systems: Have a look at your process and see whether there might be any way to make it more efficient. Could you create a PDF with all your pricing on it? Could you just have a good e-commerce plugin on your site? Can clients pay via PayPal? Could you use a cloud-based bookkeeping program?
I know when I looked at my payments systems about a year ago, I was able to make a number of small tweaks that dramatically reduced the time and effort I need to put into getting paid. Nowadays, I know that when a client books in a session with me they’ve already paid in full & we’re good to go.
5. Research (and test) tools: One thing to note, is that there’s heaps of rad software & apps that can save you crazy amounts of time with certain systems. My tip? Test them out…. some will blow your mind (and you’ll wonder how on earth you ever managed without them) and others just won’t be a good fit for you. Be flexible with your systems & don’t overthink them. I’ve seen people create systems that are more complicated than the initial workflow ha ha. Keep it simple & make sure it works.
6. Ask ! : Be sure to ask friends/peeps in your tribe/fellow entrepreneurs what they are using & what works for them in terms of systems. Some of my favourite apps & tools have been recommendations/referrals from peeps in the know
7. Start writing your ops manual (waaaay before you need to): Trust me on this one. Go buy yourself a notebook (you can do this in Evernote, but I’ve found it easier to scribble it all out first). Use this notebook to document every single system you have in your business. Not only will it become your bible (and increase your productivity tenfold) but it will serve as an insanely useful resource if you ever want to hire a VA, bring on a new team member or train staff.
Here’s the awesome news ….. whether you realise it or not, by documenting your workflow and building new systems, you’re creating space. Space to go play outside. Space to be creative. Space to do the work you adore. Space to grow your business.
Space to live your life the way you want to live it.
You can find out more from Hello Glow at http://www.helloglowcoaching.com/