If you feel like you are constantly drowning in admin tasks and never actually have time to work on the "money-making" tasks in your business, it might be time for you to streamline your business systems.
I’ll admit it, I’m a bit of an efficiency nerd. I love trailing new systems which promise to streamline my work processes, and love finding the best, most effective and easiest way to do those boring admin tasks, leaving me free to work on the bits of my business that I really love.
Going through your regular tasks, as well as your systems and streamlining the ones that you can, will take a little while but it will save you huge amounts of time in the long-run. I'd suggest spending the weekend getting them set up so you're ready to hit the ground running on Monday morning with your shiny new systems!
1. TAKE NOTE OF WHERE YOU ARE SPENDING (OR WASTING!) YOUR TIME
The first step in streamlining your business is to figure out where you are spending most of your time and then focus on how to create systems and processes around those tasks to help free up more of your time.
The best way to do this is to track how long you spend on all of the different tasks you do in your business. This will add some extra time to your already busy day but you only really need to do it for a week and the time you'll save in the long-run is definitely worth it!
So, for every task, or type of task, you complete in your business on a day-to-day basis, time how long you spend doing that task and make a note of it.
Pretty soon, you'll have a great idea of what you are spending a lot of time doing. For me, it was creating and sharing new content for my blog and replying to emails so I knew that I needed to set up processes and systems around these tasks to cut back on the time I was spending there.
2. GET RID OF EVERYTHING YOU DON’T NEED.
This is a tough one because we often feel like we need to be doing everything - blogging, and have a podcast, and a YouTube channel, and be posting on ALL of the social media channels - in order to have a successful business. On top of that we actually need to be finding clients, having discovery calls, onboarding new clients and serving them to the best of our abilities PLUS taking care of our own business admin tasks.
Don't worry, I'll be telling you how to streamline all of these things shortly. But, for now, let's just get rid of everything we don't need to be doing.
Hate posting on Twitter? Don't do it!
Know that your ideal clients aren't on Facebook? Get rid of that Facebook Group that you're spending hours a week on.
Anything that you don't need to do in order to run your business, get rid of.
3. CREATE SOPS, WORKFLOWS AND CHECKLISTS
The next step we're going to take to streamline your business is to create SOPs, workflows, and checklists for all of the tasks that you regularly do in your business and for your clients.
Dig out the list of tasks you made in step 1 and, for each task, create a step-by-step guide or checklist. Don't forget to include all of the tiny details that you usually spend time checking. For example, if you find yourself looking up a particular hex code each time you create a new sign up form, add the hex code to your guide.
Add these SOPs, workflows and checklists to your chosen project management tool so that you can refer to them, or even duplicate them, each time you complete a task.
These documents will help you streamline your business on a couple of different levels.
Firstly, if you're following the same steps each and every time you do something, the work you are doing will be consistent - each blog post will be formatted in the same way, each client will receive the same onboarding experience as the next, and so on.
Secondly, you will be saving yourself a lot of time. You don't need to spend hours rummaging through your sent folder to figure out what you sent to the last client you offboarded, you won't need to sit staring at a blank laptop screen trying desperately to remember all of the steps you take when setting up a new opt-in form and you won't be clicking back and forth between 20 different tabs to have access to all of the information you need to create a new website for your latest client.
Don't worry if you can't remember all of the steps and key details when you first create these documents, you can always add to them the next time you complete that task and remember the additional details. Done is better than perfect!
4. DON’T BE AFRAID OF TEMPLATES
If you find yourself writing similar emails from scratch each time, or perhaps when it comes to creating Pins for your blog posts you open up a blank document every single time, why not spend a little time creating some basic templates that you can adapt as needed.
Templates were definitely something that I really didn't want to use in my business when I first started out. I wanted to give my clients a personalised experience and I was worried that, by using templates, I would sound like a robot and not be able to make real, human connections with my clients. That just wasn't true.
Templates are the number one thing that has helped me to streamline my business (and my clients' businesses too!) AND I don't feel like my clients are faced with an automated robot either.
Some templates you might want to create and use in your business include:
● Forms e.g. inquiry form, client intake form
● Onboarding Documents e.g. Contract, invoices, welcome pack
● Emails e.g. answering FAQs
● Graphics e.g. cover images for your course lessons, pin templates
5. INVEST IN TOOLS AND APPS TO MAKE YOUR LIFE EASIER
For most parts of your business, there will be an app or tool that will help you streamline things. Whether they just make your life that little bit easier or they allow you to automate the process completely, they are well worth the investment!
I know I've mentioned it before but I love Dubsado. It's the perfect CRM for my VA business - I can automate the onboarding process, invoicing, appointment booking and offboarding process. What more could I want?
I mainly use Dubsado for my service-based invoices but there are lots of other options out there like Quickbooks and Xero.
Automate recurring invoices so that they get sent to clients on a regular basis without you needing to do a thing.
6. SOCIAL MEDIA
Scheduling social media, for me, goes hand in hand with batching which is a great way to save time in your business and generally help things run a bit smoother.
For most of us, social media is a massive part of our marketing strategy, but finding the time during the day to post live can be difficult (and yet we never seem to struggle to find the time to scroll mindlessly through Instagram, or is that just me?!)
Set aside a chunk of time at the beginning of the week, or month, and queue up posts for your various social media channels. There are a few different systems that will help you do this, such as Buffer, or Hootsuite, but personally I use Smarterqueue because I can queue up posts for my Facebook groups as well as my pages and Twitter accounts. Once the posts are added to the evergreen queue, they get recycled over and over again.
If you’re working on your Pinterest strategy, Tailwind is the best way to make the most of your Pins. Spend some time setting up your account so that it posts on auto (Tailwind will figure out the best time of day for you), without you having to lift a finger.
Finally, I use Planoly to schedule and auto-post out my Instagram posts. I love the drag and drop interface as it allows me to see how my grid will look when my posts have been added and move them around if things don't quite look right. You can also save groups of hashtags which saves a TON of time!
Why not book a discovery call with me to see if any of these systems can benefit you in your business?