After a while though, things don’t seem quite so effortless. You’re so swamped with client requests that you’re not getting much time to check out the local culture. Your inbox is overflowing, you haven’t updated your blog for months and you don’t remember the last time you had a day off. What’s gone wrong? Your business is in dire need of some systems. Read on to discover five ways that systems will help you become a successful entrepreneur, while still having a life.
Improve your Time Management
“I don’t have time to put systems in place; I can barely keep up with the work I have!” If this sounds familiar, you’re a prime candidate for some systemisation. Let’s consider your email for a minute. Using filters and labels for incoming mail means spending less time wading through spam. Setting up ready-to-go templates for common customer queries saves you typing out an individual reply to each and every question. If you add a comprehensive FAQ page to your website, not only will you have to answer fewer inquiries on a daily basis, you’ll also be filtering out some of those clients who might not be a good fit for your business, without ever needing a consultation. See where we’re going with this?
Save your Money
Nobody likes asking for money. Remove some of the pain by making it as easy as possible for your clients to pay you. Have them sign a contract up front, so they’re crystal clear on payment terms and use an online payment service such as PayPal or Stripe. To cut down on late payers, use a system like FreshBooks, which will automatically send out an email to your client if their invoice goes past due.
Improve your Marketing Results
Is your marketing approach a little scattered? If so, you need a plan! Create a structured framework, detailing exactly how and through what channels you’ll connect with potential customers. Then, regularly measure the results of your campaigns and adjust accordingly. This way, you can concentrate your efforts on what’s really working for you, rather than wasting valuable time and money on ineffective sales tactics.
Delegate, Outsource and Hire
To grow and scale, you’re going to need help. If the workings of your business are all in your head, it could be challenging to onboard a new team member. Create comprehensive systems manually, with details of all your processes and procedures. With a reference point like this, you’ll find it much easier to delegate, outsource and maybe even take the odd vacation!
Similarly, using project management tools like Asana or Trello to keep your client work organized means that any team member can log in and have all the relevant details to hand. This way they can pick up where the last person left off, with minimum hassle.
Upgrade your Customer Experience
Implementing systems in your business helps you to provide a professional, efficient service that will encourage first-time clients to work with you again. If you use a standardized workflow for each project, your clients will always know what to expect. Send out a welcome pack with all the relevant details of your process. Have regular, scheduled check-in calls to make sure everything is going to plan and always include a final review to ensure that you have a satisfied customer. Don’t forget to follow up after a set period of time once the project is over. This final touch really boosts your chances of receiving repeat business and referrals.
Bonus: Get your Life Back
In today’s online world, you may feel you need to be always “on” to stay in touch with your clients. Use technology to lighten the load. A social media management tool like Hootsuite or Buffer means you can batch create your content in advance and schedule it to be pushed out to the relevant social media channels. Though it’s still important to engage in some real-time interaction with your followers, this means you don’t need to be attached to your phone 24/7 to stay connected.
Find what Works for You
Systems don’t need to be high-tech. Do what works for you, not what you “think” you should be doing. If you prefer using pen and paper to brainstorm ideas for your blog, then go for it. If you’d rather use a paper planner than Google calendar, that’s ok!
Keep it simple. Don’t stuff your workflows with lots of unnecessary steps, that defeats the purpose. A system can be as straightforward as using your phone to take pictures of invoices for your accountant, or coming up with a logical naming framework for your computer files. These things aren’t complicated, but they will make things a little easier for you. When you’re enjoying life as a digital nomad, that’s really what systems are all about.