One of the most important things when setting up an online business is making sure that you have the right systems in place from the beginning. With an abundance of conflicting information out there it is hard to know where to start.
Below are some steps that you can go through to help you make the right decisions:
1. List important projects you do on a regular basis.
Write down all the things that you do from creating blog posts, training materials, writing proposals, preparing contracts etc. These are the things that you do most often when running your business.
2. List out all the tasks associated with each of the projects.
For example, one of my regular projects is any new website projects that I might be working on, so my steps would be:
- Prepare and sign contract
- Send out an invoice for deposit
- Develop wire-frame of site
- Seek approval of structure
- Build out site etc..
3. Think about if any of these tasks can be outsourced.
If your business is ready for you to outsource tasks, look at websites such as Upwork and take out an advertisement. I have just employed several new staff members this way. The great thing is that you can give them a small project, to start with and if they deliver, keep working with them.
4. Can any of these tasks be automated?
For example, you might be pinning blog articles to Pinterest over and over again. Why not invest in a tool such as Boardbooster or Tailwind to do this for you.
5. What software do you need to automate your systems?
Have a look at some tasks that you perform regularly and whether or not they can be automated. For example with sites such as Zapier, you can create zaps that perform these tasks for you. I recently set up a zap so that whenever a particular client emails me, the email goes to the appropriate Evernote notebook where I store all client correspondence.
6. Can I perform any of these tasks together?
For example, you might post out a new blog post to your Facebook page after you publish your post on your WordPress site. You can set up WordPress so that any new posts get sent to your Facebook and Twitter page automatically so you don’t need to do this manually.
7. Are there any tasks that can be given to somebody else on an ongoing basis?
As business owners, we tend to do everything ourselves and then realise at some point that we can’t scale up because we are too busy. Are there any tasks such as accounting or responding to emails that you could give to a virtual assistant? I recently hired someone to keep track of all my invoicing and accounting. This has saved me several hours per week.
8. Create a process document for each project.
Now that you have answered all the questions, create a process document for each project. Include in this document every step within your workflow as well as each point where you can outsource and details such as what software you will use.
Not only will this help you manage your business but as your business grows you can add additional staff members and the processes and procedures will already be in place and readily available.