It’s always those first few steps that are the trickiest, especially when you are starting a small business. As an entrepreneur, I remember the very early days of starting my own small business. I felt like I had everything to do and no time to do it. I didn’t have a team, it was just me, so everything was on my shoulders. That’s an incredible amount of stress and is, frankly, unsustainable. Thankfully, most small business owners don’t have to sustain it after the first few months because, by then, they will hopefully have put systems into place that will take much of the workload off them, allowing them to focus on their business’ future!
Systems are Everything
In a nutshell, a system is a series of separate processes, often automated, that come together to accomplish something. They can be a nightmare to set up, but once they are in place, they can basically maintain themselves with minimal attention.
For small business owners, systems are necessary tools that will help them remain sane. Let’s take a look at client care. If you had to respond to every email that was sent to you, that would be your entire day. So, the solution is to set up systems that help you prioritize. You can set it so certain emails are automatically put into certain folders. You might have automatic (canned) responses set up for frequently asked questions sent to your email. These basic email management systems help take much of the burden off you so you can focus on the most important aspects of growing your business. When the right systems are put into place, you can even start to generate passive income! It all depends on the systems that you choose to build at your small business.
Services as Systems
One of the major advantages of starting a small business today is the incredible digital tools and services that are available to us.
In the past, invoicing your clients could take up hours and hours of your time. But when you use a service like Harvest, much of the work is already done for you. When you track the time you spend on projects, organize them by clients, you can easily create a fully filled out invoice to send to them come pay period. When Harvest is integrated into a Project Management System, like Teamwork, it becomes even easier to keep track of exactly how much time was spent on a project for a client.
Speaking of integrations, this is another way that you can essentially merge systems so they can work together. Let’s take a look at Teamwork. As I said before, you can integrate Harvest right into Teamwork for time tracking, but you can also integrate Google Drive as well. This allows you to attach files in your Google Drive directly to tasks and projects. This saves you a ton of time that you would otherwise spend digging through folders, looking for the right file.
If you are running a weekly digital newsletter or have a variety of free opt-ins on your website, responding to every new email signup could eat up your entire day. But when you start to use an email marketing system everything is taken care of. When someone signs up, they are automatically sent a welcome email, explaining all of the benefits of your services. Every week, everyone on your email list will be sent a newsletter. You just have to hire a virtual assistant to design the template and write the weekly newsletter for you!
An automated sales funnel can be a powerful kind of system to supercharge e-commerce on your website. Basically, a sales funnel is a series of steps that will sell your services to customers without you having to do a thing. Sales funnels are infinitely customizable, depending on the marketing techniques you are using and the products or services you are selling.
A common sales funnel looks a bit like this. You put up a number of Facebook Ads and send out marketing emails and social media posts that will inform your customers about a new product you are offering. When they click on that link, they are taken to a specially designed sales landing page that will explain everything they want to know about this product. The landing page will offer a compelling call-to-action, driving your customer to the product page on your digital store (you do have e-commerce integrated into your site, right?). Once there, they can buy the product. An e-commerce service will automatically send them their receipt by email. Wasn’t that easy? And you didn’t even need to lift a finger (aside from hiring a virtual assistant to set up every step of the sales funnel).
Let’s Build Some Systems!
Systems sound fantastic, right? But here is the problem: setting up systems can be time-consuming and difficult. If you don’t know how to use some of these digital services, you will need to learn the ins and outs before you can really take advantage of the systems they offer. This can be a huge time investment and is one of the major reasons why new small business owners are so busy in the first few months. They are starting to set up the systems that will serve them throughout the life of their business.
Thankfully, there is a “master system” that you can take advantage of that will set up all of these systems, along with maintaining and updating them as necessary: a virtual assistant. When you hire a great virtual assistant, they can set up everything for you. Want a project management system put into place? No problem, I’m on it. Looking to have your email marketing automated? Just tell us what you want and we will do everything including writing, designing, and sending out the email campaigns. With systems on your side, getting your small business up and running will be a breeze. And if you’ve already been in business for a while, it might be time to make things easier on yourself by hiring a virtual assistant to take care your systems for you.
In fact, let me do you a favor, download my free workbook that walks you through partnering with a virtual assistant! If you need help getting your marketing strategy in place, collaborating with a virtual assistant can be a huge help!
If you’d like to talk about how systems could revolutionize your small business, please contact me today. We can talk about the structure of your business and what systems and services would be the best fit for you and your budget. Just book a time for a free consultation and we can get started ASAP!