5 Ways to Streamline your Business
1) Review your Systems to streamline your business
Reviewing and consolidating all of your business systems should be your number one priority when streamlining your business. Outdated and ineffective business systems can highly impact your productivity. Make a plan of your short and long-term business goals and implement systems that will work with your business now, but will also grow with your business over the next 5 years.
You will, like most business owners, have some systems that overlap in some way. Make a list of all the business systems that you currently have in place. Make sure to do your research into using each systems full service effectively. You may find that some systems you have in place can offer you more value than what you currently have working for you. Review your list of systems and note any system overlaps. You may want to do some research into paying for a more premium subscription or moving to a new system that incorporates more of your business requirement. This may result in paying a slightly higher price tag, but this should also allow you to streamline your business more effectively and possibly cancel a different subscription you are paying for.
2) Social Media Automation
As you would know, social media can be a time black hole if you don’t use your time wisely. It’s a minefield for distraction and procrastination, so implementing systems to automate a few things is very important for making sure you’re using your time wisely.
a) Automating posts
While you can’t automate the ‘social’ in social media, you can automate aspects of it. Using a social media scheduling tool such as PromoRepublic, you can automate the scheduling of social media posts to ensure you are engaging with your followers regularly. You will then have to login to the social media page to engage with any comments and messages you receive from your followers. Scheduling in and restricting this time to 15 minutes is also important to prevent yourself from getting sucked down the black hole.
b) Automating Messenger Replys
Facebook messenger can be streamlined by turning on the automatic reply functionality. This will save you time and also prevent you from losing your fast response badge. This message can be just a quick, “We have received your message and we will get back to shortly”. Facebook also integrates with automatic chat-bots which can be implemented to save you time responding to your clients enquiries if you get a lot through Facebook messenger. You can learn more about Facebook chat-bots here.
c) Exploring Other Social Media Integrations
Integrating other systems such as your booking system and email marketing system to social media pages, such as Facebook, can also streamline your client user experience. This allows them to get directly what they need from your Facebook page without having to go to your website.
2) Email Automation
a) Set up filing and canned responses
In your email system, such as Gmail (or Gsuite), setting up your labelling system to tag and organize your content in a way that works best for you is your first step in creating a streamlined mailbox. You can use the following within G-suite to manage your emails:
- Labels allow you to manage your messages into categories that are searchable from within your inbox. These are set up in the left panel of the inbox.
- Stars allow you to track the status of each email so you can see at a glance where each email is up to. These can be set up from the settings.
- Set up your signature block with your business information.
- Create canned responses for automatic population of your emails. We all have a basic structure of an email that we send out to clients when they ask a particular question, or when they move through a process in your business. Setting up these emails as a canned response will save you time in going back and forth through your emails trying to find what you sent to the last customer when you were asked that question. You can learn more about Gsuite canned responses here.
b) Email Marketing
Email marketing has been reported to be the number one way to convert potential customers into real paying customers. Even over social media! Yep you heard right. Email marketing is such a vibrant and very personal way of reaching out to your target market. With email marketing able to be so customized to suit everyone’s tailored interests, I don’t believe any business should be without it.
There are free and paid versions of email marketing out there to suit any business stage and type. The two I recommend are Mailchimp, for a free service, and Active Campaign if you are willing to invest in email marketing. Both offer you everything you will need to automate your marketing strategy and start reaching out to your potential customers. Once you get your email marketing system set up, start looking into maximizing its benefits by implementing your sales funnel.
4) Client Engagement & Booking Automation
Making your client booking and payment system as automated as possible will not only make your clients life easier, but will streamline your business processes and your life too. Think about it – if your potential clients are scrolling through your site knowing that they want to engage you, pay you, get to know more about you know, or just be notified about any business updates, they should know exactly where to go and what they need to do. Streamlining your whole client engagement process makes it known to potential clients that you are simple to work with and makes them feel like you are all about them. Which is how any client wants to feel.
a) Client engagement process
I recommend you start out by mapping your client journey and sales funnel. These two processes should overlap and should be written from the client’s perspective. Think ease of use! The easier you make it for a client to work with you, the better.
You can then set up your sales funnel through your email marketing system, creating your email campaigns for each stage of the funnel.
b) Booking & payment system
Booking systems are essential for any service-based business owner. Clients want to take the next step with you right now, so setting up a booking system allows them to do that, with no messing about. I recommend Acuity as a booking system. It has a great payment system and automatic email confirmations and reminders built in as well, making it so easy for anyone to book time with you.
5) Outsource to streamline your business
All business owners have a long list of tasks they need to complete every day and this list only seems to get longer. Having someone by your side to assist you with this list, and bounce ideas off, can save you time and your long-term sanity. Find a team member who you feel comfortable with and who complements your weaknesses so you can spend less time on the things that you’re not so good at. Leave these tasks up to someone who knows how to do it quickly and professionally. This, in turn, allows you to focus on other areas of your business that you know and love.