Systemize your business: The 6-step guide
Do you feel overwhelmed in your business?
Do you feel like you’re constantly putting out one fire after the other?
Is there never enough time in the day to get to the tasks that’ll move your business forward?
If this sounds familiar, buckle in because we’ll get into how you can make business simpler. Before we get into that, ask yourself, “What did you want from your business when you first started it?” We can guess it wasn’t chaos, stress, and anxiety. If you feel these emotions in your business, you can guarantee that if you have employees, they feel them too. Your business and team rely on you to make things as simple as possible.
This blog will show you how to streamline your business, earn back time, and lower stress levels. If you’re overwhelmed in one area of your business, it will spill over to other areas of your business and life.
Before you can simplify your business, you need to know what a simple life is and what business looks like. If you’re constantly squeezing your life around your business's and customers' demands, you’ll never build a business that supports the way you want to live. Figure out how much money you need to make and how much time you want to spend in your business to simplify it.
Do you have two numbers in hand? Great, then we can move on to the next step.
Map out your business
This list isn’t a random compilation of tips. We’ll follow a logical order in this journey. And the next logical step is to take a 10,000 ft view of your business. This view will allow us to map out the value chain in your business.
What is a value chain?
A value chain is the various business activities and processes involved in creating a product or performing a service. First, get a pen and paper and map out every step of your business. A value chain for a business may look something like this.
Product/Market Research -> Marketing -> Sales -> Delivery -> Customer Service
Map Out SOPs
With your value chain in hand, we’ll dive deep into it, getting as detailed as possible. We want to answer these questions.
- What is involved in this, step-by-step?
- Who in my organization is responsible for this step?
- What are the KPIs for this part of the business?
- How much does this part of the business cost, and where does the cost come from?
The answer to these questions will lay the groundwork for our decisions in the following steps, ultimately simplifying your business.
Fix outdated processes
There are likely numerous processes in your business and everyday life that don’t serve you. The only reason you still do them? Because it’s the way you’ve always done it. Their inefficiency hasn’t caused legitimate pain, so you never think to change them. These outdated processes are where businesses stagnate.
Now that we’ve zeroed in on every facet of your business, it should be clear what parts are working and what parts aren’t. You may even know why they’re not working like a finely tuned machine.
| The speed at which you make changes and those changes' effectiveness separate struggling entrepreneurs from successful ones.
The question is, “What are those changes?”
Track, delegate, and automate.
Whether you’re a solopreneur or run a large organization, they’ll never be a bad time to engage in those three activities. We already discussed how to track your business. Let’s discuss delegation and automation.
Automation has taken the business world by storm. Even the most analog businesses can utilize automation to save time and money. What processes in your business can you automate? To help you, let’s go through a few parts of a company and discuss ways to automate them.
The biggest time saver in marketing is figuring out how to automate as much (if not all) of your top-of-the-funnel marketing as possible. For example, this may be a website with a traffic source (blog traffic, paid ads, etc.) and an offer. Once you have people in your funnel, you can send them automated emails/texts directing them to learn more about your business or become customers. You can use similar strategies to upsell current customers.
The more your business does in revenue, the more necessary it is to automate your accounting. It’s easy to spend all day sending invoices to clients and managing payroll, which can be a huge time-suck. Automating your accounting allows you to compile more data more accurately and faster. You can automate payroll, forecasting, and expense reports.
We all know how important customer service is to a business. The faster you can respond to customer requests and reach a resolution, the better their experience with your company will be. One way to automate customer service is by creating a knowledge base answering the most frequent questions. Each time a customer asks a question, ask your time to write that question down so it can be answered in a FAQ or knowledge base page.
Automating customer service still doesn’t remove the human element. Instead, the first thing customers interact with is a system that helps them troubleshoot their issues themselves. You can direct them to speak with someone if they still need assistance.
There are a ton of repetitive tasks in the sales process. The customer journey requires multiple touchpoints and different types of engagement. This is why salespeople use CRMS and other automation tools, so they can spend less time doing menial tasks and more time interacting with prospects.
CRMs aren’t the only way to automate the sales process. Appointment scheduling tools can eliminate back and forth and look professional. Chatbots can prequalify prospects before they even speak with a real person. You can save email templates in Gmail or your email provider to save time typing.
All along the value chain of your business lie repetitive tasks that you outsource if you haven’t already. Consider using a task automation tool like Zapier to take some of the work out of repetitive tasks and lighten the load on your staff. Automate sharing passwords with a tool like LastPass to improve security and eliminate back and forth. The people you pay should focus on the highest income activities, and it’s your job as the boss to help them do that.
Delegate your value chain & SOPs
The typical business hierarchy goes from the C-suite to managers and specialized operators. With your value chain, you may identify key areas that either aren’t worth your time or aren’t your expertise. The great thing about being lasered in on your value chain is you can hire for specific roles instead of hiring generalists.
This comes with many benefits:
- Let’s say you identify a gap in your website SEO. Then you can hire an SEO contractor instead of hiring a general marketer.
- That SEO contractor spends all day learning new ways to make websites rank higher on Google, so they have a leg up on the person who has to learn from scratch.
- Instead of paying someone a full-time salary, you can hire out the position for as long as needed, thanks to the gig economy.
I’ll use an analogy. Using your value chain to target specific weaknesses in your business is the difference between signing a new point guard for your basketball team instead of just any other basketball player.
Simply business. Simplify life
Make no mistake; simplifying your business is tough work. The path to achieving an efficient business that’s profitable and low-stress may actually feel like the opposite of those things. You’ll have to invest in things you’d usually say no to, cut out habits you used as crutches, and ruthlessly call out the status quo in your business.
On the other side is a business that allows you to achieve the life you always dreamed of. A life with more fulfillment, free time, and personal accountability. One tool that can help you achieve that is ComplYant because taxes are the opposite of simple.