Systems. BOOORING. They aren’t my thing!
However, not having systems in place leads to CHAOS.
Simple, easy to implement systems can help you get the job done while maximizing time and energy consumption; always important in business.
As a planner, backing up my plans with systems ensures that the time spent planning is maximized. A good system streamlines the process and makes it simple, and easy to use; important considerations for busy people.
Consider your business. Where do you currently struggle with processes and getting things done? How might having systems help you better manage these challenges? What systems do you currently have in place? How are these systems working? Can they be improved?
Here are some general areas that you should consider having systems in place for:
Scheduling & time management (administrative, planning, and day to day management)
Client relationships management (client notes, sales processes, etc.)
Marketing & social media (scheduling posts, referral programs, etc.)
Bookkeeping & accounting (accounts payable, accounts receivable, paper flow, invoicing)
Administrative & office (ordering supplies, filing, application processes, etc.)
Human Resources and staff training (on-boarding process, performance reviews, etc.)
Technology maintenance & updates (backing up hard drives, regular scans for viruses, ordering supplies, maintaining equipment, etc.)
If you already have systems in place to assist with some of these tasks, it may be a good idea to look at your workflow and see if they are still working effectively. Can they be tweaked? Are they still necessary or has a new, more efficient system replaced the original one?
If you don’t currently have systems in place, it’s important to assess your workflow and to define where a system might be beneficial.
If you are struggling with systems consider if (and where) you might need help. Do you need help designing and setting up a new system? Tweaking an existing system? Or getting the system operationalized? Be sure get the right support to ensure you use the system on an ongoing basis.
The great news is, is that there are people out there who love to do the administrative, system pieces that you will NOT make time for! There are also lots of great tools that can help you put simple, effective, and value-added processes in place. It’s just a matter of recognizing where you need help with systems, and finding the right person (or tool) to fill in the gap.
Here are some tools that I’ve discovered that help me manage my processes:
Trello: Free version great for managing projects with lots of moving parts.
Evernote: Free version great for keeping track of client and project notes.
Send Out Cards: Allows me to send out personalized cards to clients to say Thank you or to just check in
Online Banking: Use your online banking service to streamline regular (and consistent) payments by pre-setting them for a year. Then make a note in your calendar when you need to re-set up the payments so you don’t miss any.
Google Calendar: I love and depend on Google calendar to manage my time and appointments. My family and I use it to schedule our busy lives using multiple colour-coded calendars (you might use it to track the different kinds of tasks you need to schedule (i.e. administrative, planning, client meetings, etc.)) that merge together into one shared calendar that we can print for easy reference. It’s also easy to access on your smartphone, tablet, or computer.
If you could delegate one systems piece in your business, what would it be? How would you go about getting this work done by someone else? Please share your stories, thoughts, and questions, in the comment box below.