Editor’s note: This will be the last blog post for 2018, as I will be on holidays until Jan 4th, 2019.
With the holiday season upon us and fast approaching, some businesses may be ‘closed’ for the next week or two, while for others, this may be a peak season. Nonetheless, there is no better time than NOW to assess and/or re-assess ways your business and by extension, your life can be simplified and streamlined (note: it’s always a good time to look at how to simplify or enhance what’s going on in your business). Due to the nature of my business and how I work with my clients, I look at the most efficient way to simplify various areas of a business through systems.
Now, since most of us business owners may be heading into either relaxation mode or extreme hustle/work mode, here are 5 key ways to simplify your business that you can address either over the holiday season or promptly at the beginning of the new year (I know I’ll definitely be looking at these again in my own business):
1. CUSTOMER RELATIONS
Are there some general or frequently asked questions you get asked about you, your business, and your services/products?
If you have a website, having a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) online can potentially reduce the time prospective clients reach out to you via phone or email for basic inquiries that you may have previously addressed on many occasions. By doing this, it may also prevent your website visitors from leaving your site and going elsewhere (i.e. your competitors) for answers to their questions.
Alternatively, if you are someone who is up on the latest communication/customer service technologies, a ‘chatbot’ application embedded on your website may be an option for you as these applications answer questions 24/7 and often in multiple languages.
Even if you do not have a website, having your list of FAQs prepared and readily available for either you or people on your team is extremely helpful.
Do you have specific types of communications that you may routinely send out to your clients, suppliers, team members? (For example emails such as client welcome/greeting to begin working with you, follow-up responses, or request for information)
Having some commonly used communications in the form of templates and canned email responses with “fill-in-the-blank” sections can cut down on your time to promptly respond or follow-up which, in turns, gives you more time to focus on working on (or increasing) your income-generating activities.
Another benefit to creating templates and standard responses is that everyone on your team can also use them and, as such, there is consistency with how they communicate with your clients. Having everyone on your team “singing from the same song sheet” can certainly make your days go much smoother.
3. TASK & PROJECT MANAGEMENT
Do you have a centralized location (other than email) for tracking tasks you or your team have to complete?
The use of a Task/Project Management system can add ease to your days (& life) by having one principal place to document and schedule the activities you have to get done in your business as well as any projects you are working on for your clients. It’s one thing to document what needs to get done and it’s quite another to put a date to it! What gets scheduled, gets done!
I also refer to these applications as a virtual office as you and your team can centralize your communications and materials pertaining to tasks and projects. As we all know, our email inboxes can be something of a maze or a ‘black hole’ where important items go and can never be found again…or at the very least found when it’s too late.
4. BACKUP & FILE STORAGE
Do you automatically backup/sync your files on a regular (preferably daily) basis?
Nowadays, in such a virtual/online world, having your files, databases, websites automatically backed up is vital for business. Also, having the ability to access your files from other computers can be a lifesaver especially as a contingency for any ‘mishaps’ with your primary laptop or computer.
This is where cloud storage is one technology that is good for simplifying your business – the alternative is either leave your business (and client) information on your primary machine or save it to an external hard drive which can be lost or stolen.
An added bonus is it allows for sharing of files with your team as they will see and be working off of the same files.
As far as website and database backup, most hosting companies may provide backups as part of your package – I recommend you confirm with your host provider. Regardless, it’s a good practice to ensure backups are conducted on a weekly or monthly basis to ensure your website is working in tip-top shape.
Do you have an automated way to track and execute on your invoices and payments?
Most accounting systems have the ability to create invoices (often via a template), send invoices to your clients, receive payments, as well as send email reminders for late payments. Depending on the package you purchase, you can also set up and make bill payments (with a connection to your bank account).
If you receive payments through an online shopping cart, you will also want to check for declined payments. This could be a regularly scheduled task you could track through your task management system!
With the setup of automating these processes to make sure that your money in and money out is taken care of, you’ll no longer have to worry about late payments from clients or for your bills or suppliers. After all, we want to ensure as business owners, we are consciously taking care of the money/cash flow so that our businesses flourish and continue to experience massive abundance for many years ahead!
At times, business and life, in general, is vast and can be unpredictable. Systems can make our days as business owners simpler as they provide us the opportunity to have more control, make operating within our businesses more manageable and establish some predictability.
Want to know what Business Systems & Processes you can implement in your business immediately?
Let’s Connect! Contact me for a Complimentary Discovery Call to learn about how I can help support your business goals.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lenica Stephen is an Online Business Manager and Founder of IBOSS (Interactive Business Office Solutions) who partners with businesses to manage their Teams, Operations, and Projects.
She has a passion for keeping her clients in their zone of genius while being their strategic support system and by taking their business ideas from conception to implementation while ensuring these initiatives are aligned with their growth strategy.
For more information on Lenica and IBOSS, feel free to visit: https://interactiveboss.com