Support Systems and Tech
I believe all business owners benefit from having a simple set of systems and technology. Have them and they will help you thrive. Overcomplicate them or resist them and you will falter.
It’s never too soon to start reflecting on what you can automate. Your time and energy are resources to protect.
Having space for reflection each day will keep you tuned in to what went well, where you got stuck, and what you’d like to shift.
Some key notes:
- You don’t have to do it all at once. A well humming business machine is one with systems that have taken time to mature.
- You don’t have to replicate what other people do. While it never makes sense to try and copy someone else’s thing - this is an especially bad spot to say, “But it works for _______ (Marie Forleo)!” and try to maintain your sanity.
- You only need as many systems as feels really good.
I recommend to start you have a simple sequence to do the following:
- Onboard clients (orient them to, and get them situated into your practice)
- Graduate clients (close out their files and ask them for feedback)
Now, in this instance note that I am referring to having defined steps, not automation*. If you do things repeatedly (or plan to!) it is worth pondering how to make them more efficient. For instance, if you always ask the same set of questions to clients for feedback you can create a canned email template with that material (rather than typing them from scratch each time).
To dial in to the systems that will support you best it’s important to reflect on the tasks that you do over and over again. Again, back to having regular space to consider how things are shaping up in your practice!
*When do you automate? It’s not simply about the amount of time you save through automation, it’s about what you could be doing if your task wasn’t manual. For instance, it’s not about automatically posting your newsletter to Facebook and Pinterest (via Mailchimp), it’s about the fact that you could be spending that 20 minutes creating content for your audience or following up on a lead. My rule of thumb is, if you are doing a task more than once a week make a point to see if it can be automated.
Two things that have helped me immensely over the years are Email Filters and a Copy File.
Email Filters are a great way to manage large chunks of information. My go-to email filters/labels include:
- Gratitude (I save thank you notes and read them over - this is great for morale!)
- Feedback and Testimonials (Awesome for considering what else to do to upgrade infrastructure and critical for gathering social proof.)
- Swipe File (I retain awesome emails that I see out in the wild - using them for inspiration. Please, don’t plagiarize. It’s a missed opportunity to speak your truth, among other things.)
My Copy File is a Google Document where I keep the writing that I reuse over and over again in my business. That includes my bio (shorter, longer, and in between - for media opportunities/pitches) and a description of my ideal client (great for networking conversations that lead to people asking, how can I help you?) as well as language I use to promote workshops and other offers (these are dialed in enough in my practice that they tend to be reuseable).
I recommend at a minimum you have:
- A way to get paid,
- A way for people to schedule appointments, and
- An email list
Notice I didn’t say a website?
An email list is important. It gives you independence from social media platforms. (Facebook is a tool, you have an account with rules, if you ever break those rules or FB thinks you do, you could be suspended or removed.)
Note, in the US you are required to have a service to email your customers.
Social media management tool like Meet Edgar or CoSchedule to leverage your time and energy.
There may be repetitive activities that you can automate using a tool like Zapier or IFTTT. And any time you start to fiddle with technology stuff it’s really, super-di-duper important that you start with what you need, instead of what’s possible.
If you focus on what you could do you will go so far down the rabbit hole I will have to send the Silver Surfer to find you.
(If you are not into Marvel superheroes, just know that he surfed across galaxies!)
((and technically helped a bad guy consume planets, but #movingon))
Another tool that can be useful is a tracker tool for email opens. As you engage with more potential clients there will be more interactions. It can be illuminating to see when those potential clients open your email (perhaps months later!) or click on a link (well after they seem to have lost interest).
day to day motion
I think there are five key activities you need to address in business. Daily, or almost daily.
If you are going to skip, please defer the first two, not the last three!
*The recording will begin a few seconds after pressing play.