As a creative business owner, you want to spend your time doing your "great work." This is the work of your passion and your purpose. Often, a successful business owner can get caught in the trap of doing the "good" work That means you get caught in the trap of "I'll just do it" because it's easier than explaining it or hiring someone to help you.
You might even find yourself doing things like bookkeeping, or updating your website just because you are capable of it. The thing is, you'll never find the time to increase your capacity to grow your business - like the business in your Vision Story - if you keep spending time on these things. There are experts out there who are wonderful in these areas. Don't take their job or their joy away!
Here's the biggest reason to look for systems in your business: Your business success depends on your energy! You want to be mindful of where you spend your energy. When we are inspired, then our energy does seem unlimited and effortless! The reality is that most of us aren't at that level all day, every day! So, we have to be vigilant about using our "energy for great" - spending our energy on our best activities and creations instead of squandering it away on the activities that don't inspire us. I don't know about you (well, I have a clue you'll agree...) but I want to spend my energy on life-enhancing activities - work that I LOVE, being with my family and friends and doing activities that fill me up with joy!
Here are 8 key areas where you can identify systems to help you get more done in less time... so you can spend your energy on great!
1. Marketing Basics
You want to create systems for those repetitive marketing basics like having a variety of photos and bios on hand and ready to go. Keep your professional and casual photos of you along with short and long versions of your bios for a quick marketing turnaround. It helps you to respond to opportunities quicker with less "thinking" - which means less stress!
What is one marketing basic you use over and over again that you could put into a system so next time it's quick and easy?
2. Client Relationship Building
Think about your relationship building process for a client from beginning to end. From the early stage where you collect a business card (now what do you do with it?) to when a client becomes a client. Every stage can be automated, or systemized so that it takes very little time.
Your initial follow-up system could include a card scanner, thank you cards or e-cards. Create a system for your Initial Consultation, and a New Client Package and Forms, all the way to using email birthday alert systems or online appointment setting systems once they become clients.
This not only makes you look more professional - it positions you as an expert. You must be, because you have a system or process for how to handle these things. This gives your potential clients confidence in you.
What is one Client Relationship Building system you can add to streamline your client nurturing right now?
3. Online Marketing
Here is where you need to build a great team to help you fully utilize the online systems that can help you automate your marketing. Shopping carts, autoresponders, an online newsletter, blogs, and social networking sites can all work together to support marketing you and your business. You'll want to find the best systems (and an assistant or two who can help you maximize the programs) to get you out there. Working with online systems helps you get your marketing to more people with less effort on your part.
Another area to watch for to save time is where you have standard information which you share frequently. Teleclass introductions and scripts, Podcast openings, thank you pages for your products - all of these are areas where you basically say the same thing over and over. Take a few minutes (or get a team member) to put these things into a template. Then you just use your template to edit and update! Plus then you aren't starting from scratch each time - I find it's easier to get inspired when you have a template instead of a blank page staring at you!
What is one "script" you find yourself doing or saying over and over again? How could you simplify it into a template?
4. Recycle & Reuse
This is one of the biggest systems you can create in your business to effectively and efficiently maximize your information and knowledge. You can take content you've created in one format and repackage it into multiple formats. For example, this article came from a teleclass I gave on systems. I recorded the teleclass for a future audio product. Then it was transcribed for a supplemental booklet. I then used the transcription as the basis for this article which is in my newsletter, on my blog and on Facebook. Then my team will publish the article at online article sites, as well as on community sites where I am on their Expert Panel. 1 idea: a minimum of 8 ways to use it!
What is one idea you could take and reuse in another area of your marketing?
5. Co-Creating With Your Team
One of the biggest actions you can do to increase your capacity for greater growth in your business is to expand your team. But just putting a team member into place isn't enough. You'll want to co-createsystems for your success with them. For example, my assistant, Jan, helps me get my newsletter out by giving me a template for my newsletter when it's time for me to write it. She doesn't wait for me. She knows the schedule, she fills in what she knows we are going to promote (teleclasses, blog postings, etc) and then sends it to me to write the welcome, article and make edits. We co-created this together. It helps me get the newsletter out consistently (well, mostly!) and helps her plan her work schedule as well.
What system can you co-create with a team member to support YOUR success?
6. Personal Systems
This is an area to look at for you to see what works for you.
One of my favorite systems is my Daily Giggle Goals. Each day I sit down as I'm planning out my priorities for the day and I pick 3 goals (bite-sized is key) to get done today. These are 3 things that would have me smile and giggle with delight at the end of the day when I know they are done.
Another one of my favorite time management tools (is that really possible?) is to group similar types of activities. In my week I will schedule Daily Reflection Time (many of you have heard me call it Creative Bagel Time); I also schedule Writing Time and Creative Time. I use my writing time for writing announcements, newsletters, articles, etc. My Creative Time is for activities like designing teleclasses or outlining a new program. Each of these activities takes similar energy and inspiration and I can get on a roll and get more done when I group them together instead of trying to get a little done here and little done there.
When will you schedule (yes, actually put it on your calendar) your similar activities this week?
7. Internal Belief Systems
We all have days where we wonder if we can "do it," we doubt our ideas, or our confidence wobbles. You can have all the information and marketing ideas in the world but if you don't have the clarity and confidence, then they'll never manifest in the way you are dreaming of. It's important to have systems in place ready to help you shift your energy and beliefs so you don't get stuck here too long.
Be very conscious of having a support team you can tap into: massage therapist, energy worker, Reiki specialist or Homeopathic doctors are all part of your team of people who can help you shift your energy when you notice something is out of whack. Whether it’s your thoughts, or a sinus infection wanting to happen – having a team of people you can call on in a pinch can help you manage your energy – physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally.
What belief or recurring doubt needs to be handled? Who can help you with that shift?
8. Working with a Coach or Mentor
When it comes to marketing yourself or running your business there is no need to worry about how to build a successful business. Find a mentor coach who has been there, one who models the type of business built with values you admire. You can learn from their mistakes, successes and resources! This will save you time in accelerating your business success!
Who is a model of success for you? How could you work with them to gain greater momentum in your business?
Laura West may be contacted at http://www.joyfulbusiness.com
Laura West is a certified professional coach, writer, speaker and the President of The Center for Joyful Business. She is the author of the upcoming book, Awaken Your Inner Business Goddess, as well as, the Business Goddess’s Guide to Creating Powerful Sales Pages and the The Joyful Business Guide™. Laura publishes an award winning blog, JoyfulBusinessBlog.com. Laura helps women solo-entrepreneurs step into being a Go-To-Goddess in their specialty niche. She brings together spiritual business in a powerful and prosperous way for women entrepreneurs. Visit our resource-rich website for your free inspirational affirmation: Business Goddess Manifesto at www.Joyfulbusiness.com