I’ll let you in on a little secret. As #curiousbab we know the key to running a successful online business without running yourself ragged is to have systems in place for everything.
You’ll be surprised how much time you’ll save and how much more productive you’ll be once they are in place.
But before we get into specific systems, let’s chat a little about what I mean by “systems”!
What Are Systems?
Systems are essentially a process that you repeat over and over again to achieve a specific result or objective.
For example, whether you realize it or not –a system can be something as basic as your morning routine!
You get out of bed. You feed the pets. You start a pot of coffee. While you wait for the coffee pot to do its thing you might meditate or boot your computer. Maybe you take the pets outside to do their morning business or start breakfast for the kids.
Regardless of what you do each morning, it’s probably often the same thing. It’s a system you’ve created that works for you.
In many ways systems are habits.
you can create systems that serve you – they help you manage every aspect of your business from planning to execution to follow up!
So let’s talk about how systems benefit you and your biz!
How Can Systems Benefit Your Business? Systems help you…
❣️Repeat frequent tasks quickly and easily.
❣️Provide consistency to your customers.
❣️Grow your business.
❣️Focus on getting ahead like a BOSS – rather than trying to keep up and working like an employee
❣️Provide the best customer service possible.
❣️Communicate effectively with your clients and prospects.
❣️Find balance in your life.
❣️Maintain the passion for your business that makes you smile and helps you create the best business possible.
❣️Provide peace of mind – you’re able to get your work done for the day and focus your attention on other areas of your life.
❣️A sense of achievement and satisfaction – being able to check off tasks that have a profound and direct impact on growing your business is extremely rewarding.
❣️More energy and less stress. It’s a huge drain on your psyche to always feel overwhelmed and underproductive.
❣️A feeling of being in control over your life.
So now that you know the value and importance of having systems in place, let’s look at some example effective systems you could create for your life and biz!
+ Customer/Prospect Inquiry System
+ Service Provider Invoicing System
+ Business Planning System
+ Product Creation
+ Content Creation
+ Social Media
+ Customer Service
Do you have any systems in place when it comes to your biz??
What’s working well?
There are so many different aspects to your business, and you can work smarter, not harder by creating systems for each of them!
But you have to take it one step at a time! This is where not only having systems in place, but a business plan that maps them all out is essential!
❣️Customer/Prospect Inquiry System:
Having a contact us page or a form your customers can fill if they have any inquiry about the products, shipping, order fulfillment etc. is a system you can implement to make reaching out to you easy & efficient.
PS – Not only is having a contact form system in place important, but it is also essential to take time out each day to answer the queries you get.
❣️Service Provider Invoicing System:
When it comes to the boutique business model example— the payment processing is usually handled by the platform you choose! This makes choosing the correct platform a very important decision to get correct from the start!
When choosing the platform make sure you keep in mind – the platform fees, ease of using it for you & also at the same time meets your customer’s needs like easy for them to navigate etc. You can check out the related blog post on – How to find the right platform for your boutique here.
You’ll also want to make sure you have clear outlines of your return/refund policies and procedures and the systems to make them work as well!
❣️Business Planning System:
1 Each Sunday afternoon you review your task list for the week and evaluate your productivity and efforts for the prior week.
2 The first day of each month you plan your content for the upcoming month. You utilize your analytics to evaluate which content had the most response and/or helped you achieve your goals.
3 The first day of each quarter you establish your marketing strategy and corresponding tactics for the month.
4 The last day of each month you evaluate your marketing tactics taking a look at the data to determine which tactics need tweaking for better results.
5 The first weekday of each year you create a product/service plan for the year. What new products/services will you create/launch?
Of course, when you consider the above planning, you also need to have biz plan that helps you grow your boutique, stay on track & help you analyze if you are on the right track or not!
❣️Product selection & process
Your systems for product creating will depend on what your products are and how you will deliver them, but some of the things you may want to document in the form of a checklist are:
- Looking at important dates/events
- Creating product collection ideas
- Find order products
- Wait for products to arrive
- Creating content and product descriptions
- Photography or mockups (if you are dropshipping!)
In addition, it’s a good idea to create a template you can use for all your short reports and ebooks to make sure they look consistent across the board. This will also make your job a lot easier when it comes time to format your product.
Not sure how to plan all this? Don’t worry we have it done for you. Check out the Biz plan that allows you to plan your products & processes for your boutique.
Templates and calendars will make your life so much easier when it comes to content creation. Spend a little time each month creating an editorial calendar for your boutique so you know what to promote, what content to post & you are not just pushing product pics & asking your customers to buy now instead of providing valuable content to go with it.
Make your social media interactions faster with a system in place. Figure out how often you want to post and during what times. When will you post your own content, when will you ask a question or make an observation and when will you share other people’s posts? Having a schedule in place allows you to work ahead when you need to and just like the blog schedule, it helps you get things done faster if you know what you’re writing or sharing ahead of time.
❣️Website Maintenance And Security
Here’s a biggy. How are you keeping your site safe and secure? If you’re using a CMS like WordPress to run your site, you want to make sure it’s updated regularly. Backups are also a must. Schedule both those on a monthly basis and review your sites regularly to make sure everything is safe and secure. Set an alert on your phone or add the task to your calendar each month.
Do you have systems in place for handling customer service requests? Having a page with Frequently Asked Questions (and your responses of course) is always helpful. You can point customers to the page and be done. A list of “canned “responses to common questions will also save you a lot of time. Personalize them as needed, but have the bulk of it ready to copy and paste. Having these systems in place also makes it much easier to outsource customer service down the road.
Having these systems in place helps you run your online boutique more productively, but there’s an added bonus to getting them in place. Once you have a system set up, it makes it easy to outsource that portion of your business to a Virtual Assistant. As you grow and there’s more work to be done than hours in your day, you’ll appreciate being one step close to outsourcing.
Where to Start?
At this point, you may be feeling overwhelmed. There are so many different aspects to your business how is it possible to create systems for everything? The answer is to start with the systems that are most important to your business. To determine what is most important to your business there are a few questions to consider.
• Take a look at your daily, weekly and monthly routine. What tasks and responsibilities have a direct impact on your profits? For example, if you are an information marketer then creating information products has the most impact on your business. Do you have a system in place to consistently create new information products?
• What common complaints or concerns do you have from your customers or prospects? For example, do your customers often contact you to request another download link because they’ve misplaced the link or their link isn’t working?
• What tasks take the most time? Do you spend a large majority of your workday answering emails or on social networking sites?
• What areas of your business feel the most chaotic, disorganized and unplanned? For example, do you struggle to make time to create content for your business even when it is an important part of your marketing strategy?
Consider making a list of the tasks and responsibilities required to manage and grow your business. From that list, start prioritizing your tasks from most important to your bottom line and/or general happiness to the least important. Once you’ve prioritized your business tasks then start creating a system for the very first task – whatever it may be.
Evaluation and Adaptation
Don’t forget to evaluate and adapt! It’s important to know that creating systems generally isn’t a ‘set it and forget it’ process. You’ll want to occasionally evaluate your systems to make sure they’re effective. Some systems may need an occasional tweaking while others may need to be overhauled completely.
For example, in the invoicing system example used earlier, you might find that customers are confused about how to pay. In this case, you’d need a tweak in the content or perhaps a different invoice system.
Flexibility and occasional analysis will help you make sure your systems always work for you and help you create and grow the business you want.
Creating systems on paper is only the beginning. Once you have a written plan, you’ll want to embrace the tools and technology that can make your plan a reality.
For example, your invoicing system might utilize an automatic billing tool like PayPal’s recurring billing. There are many tools and resources at your disposal! Find what works best for YOU!