The problem when you first start your own business is that you don’t know what you don’t know. That makes it tricky to know which systems you need and which could be the ones that make the biggest difference to your business.

 

When you first start your business there is a lot to learn! Even if you’re starting a business in the same industry or profession as your previous job there are many new aspects. Not only are you doing the technical work you’re now also the IT department, HR, Marketing and Sales and Finance.

 

Having solid systems place can be a way to navigate your way through the various parts of your business.

 

Now a word of warning about systems!  Don’t let them become part of your busy work and distract you from the essential work of finding clients. Your systems will naturally evolve as you work with more and more clients so don’t spend all your time getting the perfect systems in place.

 

Start with a general outline of your systems then put a note in your calendar to review them in 3 or 6 months’ time. At that point you’ll have more hands on experience with clients so you’ll be able to refine your systems to suit your business.

 

When you first start to organise your business the aim is to save yourself time and ensure a consistently quality experience for all of your clients.

 

These are the systems that I wish I’d set up earlier in my business.

 

System 1: Talking to Potential Clients

If you’re selling a service you’re going to be talking to potential clients.

 

Whether it’s a 20 minute chat or an hour long talk having a system will give you confidence in what you’re doing and provide a smooth experience for your potential clients.

 

To outline your system ask yourself:

 

1. Which method will you use to talk to your people? Will they phone you? Will you use a video conferencing tool like Zoom?

 

2. How will you let people know the method of talking to them?

 

3.How will you arrange the time and date on which you’ll talk?

 

4.Do you have overseas clients and need to take time zones into account?

 

5. Do you need any information from your people before you talk to them? A link to their website? Their email address?

 

An online scheduling tool that you can send people to can take care of points 2 to 5 as you can include information that they need to connect with you, ask questions and provide your caller with an easy way to see when you’re available.

 

This kind of tool will also save you hours of time. No more email tennis!

 

There are a number of different free online calendar scheduling tools for you to use. Read this article where I’ve compared some of the most popular Save Time With Online Calendar Scheduling Tools

 

System 2: Welcoming New Clients

You have a client! Brilliant. Now how do you welcome them into your business world?

 

To outline your system ask yourself:

1. How will you record the terms of the services that you’re providing?

 

2. How will your client pay for your services? Do you need to send them an invoice?

 

3. What is the timing of payment? Will they pay in advance or in installments?

 

4. Is there information that you need to provide to them before you get started or during the provision of the services? How will you do this?

 

5. Is there information that your client needs to provide to you before you get started or during the provision of the services? How will they do this?

 

I find it helpful to draw out the flow of how my client moves through my business to when creating a new system work.  Drawing your work flow can help you see what is needed and what is missing.

 

System 3: Setting and Reviewing Your Finances

Starting your own business means you’re in charge of the finances. Creating a system early on, even though you may not have much in the way of income or expenses, helps you to build good habits of tracking and reviewing your finances.

 

This is my system for my finances:

  1. At the start of the year I create my budget for the year and update my balance sheet for the previous year (I’ve been doing this since I left home at 17 and have two spreadsheets set up for this).

 

  1. Pick a trigger point in each month to update your finances. It might be the end of the month, it might be when your credit card system arrives. I use both of these dates so that I spread out the tasks I need to do.

 

  1. Put the trigger dates in your calendar as a recurring appointment with yourself.

 

  1. On my trigger dates I update my spreadsheet so I can track my expenses against my budget.

 

  1. Each time I book a new client I put that into my spreadsheet right away. It’s my way of welcoming that money into my world.

 

At the end of your financial year you’ll be in a great position to do your tax return as you’ll have organised everything throughout the year. My tax return only takes me an hour to do and it’s stress free as I have all of my information to hand.

 

System 4: Planning and Reviewing Your Week

Knowing what works and what doesn’t work for your business will be trial and error when you first get started.

 

Having a system in place so you can set your goals then review what worked, and what didn’t, means that you’re intentionally building your business rather than letting it happen.

 

To outline your system ask yourself:

1. How will you set my goals for the year? If you need help here then take a look at my free Business Planning Fiesta – it’s a fun way to outline your goals.

 

2. How will you break your goals down into action items? Will you have a 90 Day Plan or will you have a monthly plan?

 

3. How will you record your plan? A spreadsheet, a wall calendar, a paper planner – use whatever works for you.

 

4. How will you track how you’re going with your plan? Having an appointment with yourself in your calendar means that you don’t miss doing this.

 

Each of us is different in the way that we like to approach planning so do find a method that works for you. You might love to have a pretty physical planner to write everything in or you might love to record everything in spreadsheets.

 

Are you missing any of these systems in your business? Which are the systems you need to put in place next?

 

If you want to discuss which systems you need in your business then book in for a free systems assessment with me.  We’ll have a virtual coffee and chat about where you are with your business and which systems will help you the most.

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