One of the most common questions I receive is asking me which platform works best for X problem. Then, I usually follow up by asking them more questions. It is not finding the best software or platform when you are analyzing your internal business systems. Most importantly, it’s understanding how your business operates on a day-to-day basis and what is needed to make it more streamlined for you, your colleagues, and clients. So, where do you start from here you ask? Well, here are three ways to build long-lasting systems within your business. Enjoy!
- Creating an easy strategy that will carry you through the start-up phase of your small business and into the long term. In order to create a strategy, you have to ask yourself the following questions:
- What sort of lifestyle are you wanting to have?
- What are 2-3 of your dreams or overarching goals?
- How do you see your business operating? (A team, solo, automated, etc.)
No need to worry, I have a form for you to review that will help you to create a strategy through reflection questions and journaling prompts. I tell my clients to set the scene or ambiance when they are answering these questions. For instance, light a candle, have your favorite beverage, and play your favorite music as you jot down what comes to mind as you review those prompts. I have noticed that it is better to do this sort of work when you are in a calm and inspired state, versus an anxious and stressed state.
Next, you will review your answers and start creating a list of action steps that will move you forward in the aligned direction (aka a strategy) for your business. After you make that action step list, I suggest also making a list of any old mindsets, work traumas, or beliefs from your previous jobs/career paths that could hinder you as you are building your business. Trust me, I know this sounds a bit out there. But I cannot stress enough the importance of listing these things out. Just because you are a business owner or an entrepreneur does not mean you cannot get in your own way. So acknowledge those beliefs, work traumas, or old mindsets that no longer serve you and you will be able to be more aware of how or when they creep in.
The overall goal when creating a strategy is to create a business that operates and supports your ideal lifestyle. I see many folks build a business based on what someone is telling them to do that is not at all in alignment with their ideal work schedule, workflow, time off preferences, etc. This strategy will be your map or your compass as you navigate your business journey. Also, it will make it easier to set targets or goals on an annual or quarterly basis.
2.) Creating systems that can evolve with the growth of your business
After you have your strategy mapped out, it’s time to focus on creating systems for how your business operates internally (i.e. CRM, invoicing) and externally (i.e. client-facing/marketing). Focus on building internal systems that are easy to use and that can grow with you and your business. In addition to the external more customer-facing systems that make it easier to get clients in the door. Invest time/energy into the system that aligns with your workflow, areas of expertise, energy levels, and priorities.
It is important to start thinking about outsourcing as you start to build out your business operations. You might want to consider investing in a particular platform, or learning how to DIY certain things (invoicing, social media/marketing) in the short-term, just be sure to find a better long-term solution when you can outsource(i.e., Hire an Accountant/CPA, Social Media Manager, etc.).
Here are a few reflection questions to review when you are considering buying that software or hiring a contractor:
- What are the parts of the business that are beyond your limitations, passions/gifts, and expertise that are needed at this stage of your business?
- What is needed to take your business to the next level?
- What are the highest priorities of your business at this time? And what can wait?
- Create a way to measure the progress (or the maintenance) of your business. Some ways to measure the progress of your business can be one or all of the following:
- Quarterly Breaks/Resets
- CEO Days, CEO Dates (Visioning, Planning, Delegating)
There are a plethora of ways to do this. It just depends on how consistently you are willing to check in with your business. For instance, you can have a basic reporting system that can be done with a pen/paper or use a Google Form (or something similar) to review on a weekly basis. You can also create a list of questions that you want to use as prompts to check in on how the business is functioning (i.e. Did you land any new clients, projects, or sales, this week? How many folks have signed up for your newsletter? How are you doing this week?)
Another way to measure your progress is by having Quarterly Breaks or Quarterly Resets. You can review all of the previous reports to plan out your goals for the year and break them down into smaller action steps or smaller goals for each quarter. You can use this time to reflect on how the quarter went and where you would like your focus to be in the next.
Lastly, you can even pick a topic or take a course during this time to further your learning or your development of a new skill. CEO Days/CEO Dates are a time or day where you spend time wearing your CEO Hat. You can focus on bigger-picture business-related items or spend more time in visioning, planning, and delegating (sometimes to yourself).
Now you are ready to get started with implementing a few systems in your business. Remember to start small and focus on the most important parts of your business that needs the most structure, then build from there. Keep it simple when you are running systems yourself. Then, when you are ready to bring on more support you can expand your systems further.
What was the most helpful tip in this blog post? Share with me in the comments below or send me an email. I would love to hear from you!
If you would like to get FREE access to my worksheet that has these prompts, click here.
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