This is a long one, but a goody. Thanks for sticking with me.
Last week, you learned two business essentials: How to create the right business model by asking, “What happens next?”, and how to sell by helping people transform regardless of whether or not they say yes to you.
Now, let me introduce you to the 3rd essential tool you need to run your business successfully.
Because, even if you master how to sell like a pro and have the right business foundation…you still have to deal with daily tasks in your business, a never ending to-do list, and unplanned interruptions.
It’s hard to pursue big goals when it feels like we constantly have to respond to small crises.
In addition to real challenges running a business, we also have emotional hiccups throughout the day that require us to dig deep and face our fears. It’s a constant battle to be productive when it’s hard to know what to do!
So, how can we keep on top of what’s really important in our business without drowning?
The secret sauce is systems.
Talk to my clients; they know how much I love systems because of how much relief they give you in business.
The benefit of systems cannot be overstated.
Why do I love systems and have one for everything in my business?
Because systems keep you focused on what’s important. They allow you to actually do the big stuff and help you figure out how to manage the rest. You cut your time in half, stop reinventing the wheel on tasks you do repeatedly, AND do everything with much less stress.
Every little thing you give attention to in your business either gives you energy or sucks it dry, and there’s only so much you have to go around. You NEED to focus it on the important stuff.
“But, Ishita, I don’t have time or the resources for systems in my business.”
I know you don’t. No one does when they first begin. I didn’t either.
But you don’t need lots of money or time to build systems, you just have to know you need them and start building, step by step.
Even if you work alone with no team, you can still run your business more effectively with key systems. You don’t need 100 – just a few. It’s the same thing we learned last week with sales – you don’t need everyone to be your client– just need a few of the RIGHT people.
The 3 most important systems to have in your business:
1. Sales Systems
A sales system catalogues how many potential clients you have, who you need to follow up with, and what temperature your leads are. Are they hot and ready to start working with you? Or are they warm and need some more attention before they’re ready in the future?
Your sales system – I call it a Leads List – keeps track of how you should follow up with them and is absolutely necessary because it’s a direct reflection of your income. When you see how full your pipeline is with leads or potential clients, you can predict future income and adjust your goals.
Having a way to seriously focus on getting clients is the difference between running a business and a having a hobby.
You owe it to your customers to sustain your business. If you can’t make money doing what you do, you won’t be able to do it for very long, which means you won’t be able to help your people. It’s essential to get in the mindset of selling your services as a way to take care of the people who need you.
2. Marketing Systems
Your marketing system gets you more exposure and puts you in front of more people. The key is to choose marketing activities that put you in front of the RIGHT people and actually gets you eyes and ears.
I can’t even name all the marketing activities out there – it’s too tiring, but the list is endless and you just CANNOT do it all. Nor should you.
You need a marketing system to identify YOUR top 3 activities that get you results and focus on those.
Do you get traffic from Facebook? If yes, great. Do more of that. If no, stop wasting your time feeling like you have to do it. Choose activities you KNOW get results, and that you can do consistently. Success comes from consistency.
Keep in mind you will refine this system over time. At different stages of your business, your marketing activities will be different. But you need to know what stage you’re at and what tasks make the most sense for where you are. When you’re growing, it won’t look the same as when you have a big list.
3. Time Management Systems
Do you tend to burn out midday? Want to take a snooze around 3pm? Or do you feel like you “worked” all day with nothing to show for it? If so, time management is your new best friend.
The trick is to focus on 2 things:
- OUTCOMES, NOT HOURS. Each day, have specific goals in mind. Instead of “I’m going to spend 3 hours writing today” say, “I’m going to get one blog post DONE today and hit publish by 2pm.” By focusing on the outcome instead of the hours, you’ll see the end goal and stay more motivated.
- How do you want to FEEL at the end of the day? Focus on your feelings (not your to-do list) and notice when you don’t feel aligned with your goals. Will you be proud if you get that blog post done? I know even my mile-long to-do list doesn’t compare to the lovely feeling I get when I write a post. It makes me feel better than anything else. So in order to feel good, I prioritize writing. Shocks me every time.
Time management is crucial for entrepreneurs. We don’t have a supervisor giving us a list of deadlines each day. If we work at home, we’re always surrounded by distractions – hello Netflix and laundry.
Don’t worry: your systems don’t have to be complex to be effective.
Once you get them in place, your business just starts to work – without extra stress. You don’t feel like you’re scrambling every day or reinventing the wheel. Systems is the genius behind “work smarter, not harder.”
Trust me, your adrenals will thank you (and me). :)