7 Easy Ways To Organize Your Business For Success
If you are running a small business, you know this challenge: Every week you hear advice that says what you need to do to grow your business. Every day you have ideas that you want to do. But all of those ideas and pieces of advice can be overwhelming, especially when operating with a limited team. How can you get it all done? Where do you even start?
With today’s technology, and a little discipline, you can lay the foundation for doing more with less while maximizing the resources on hand. Here are 7 easy ways you can organize your business for success.
1. Time Management
I realize, that sounds silly, because you wouldn’t be reading this if you didn’t already know that solution. But stick with me –
There are a few ways to manage your time and tasks to make things more organized.
Set aside time on your calendar for certain tasks. If orders are typically due on Tuesday evening, set aside time every Tuesday morning to organize the information – and put it in your calendar every Tuesday.
Do you know what time of day you do your best deep work? For me, it’s the mornings. My family is still asleep. The house is quiet. There are very few interruptions. This is when I schedule my more creative tasks, like designing social media, or writing articles. Schedule your best time in similar ways.
Batching sounds like a complicated process, but it’s actually simple. Basically, save your similar types of tasks to complete all at once. They go back into that time blocking.
Let’s take email for example. The average person checks their own email at least 15 times a day. Most of that time is unproductive. The dopamine release we get when we see a new email alert keeps us coming back often, even if we should be doing something more important.
Instead, save checking your email to just 2 or 3 times a day, at the beginning, in the middle and at the end of the day. Outside of those times, turn your email alerts off – keep yourself from that distraction. Or completely shut down your email program.
Worried about missing out? You can have an automatic responder set up so that all emails immediately receive a response that their message has been delivered and you will respond soon, or in the next 4 hours, or within 24 hours. Whatever feels more comfortable for you.
Another complicated word that is really simple. Automation is the process of allowing technology to operate certain systems or tasks. Now, this can get technical as we add tasks to the process, but generally, there are really easy ways to add automations to your day-to-day tasks, like the email auto responder noted above.
Tools like Zapier and IFTTT are masters of the automation game. Both tools have free options once you sign up. They connect with other apps you use to automate repetitive tasks, saving you tons of time.
For example, you want to give your leads and customers a way to book time with you easily. So you set up an online scheduler that accesses your calendar. Customer chooses a time, enters their information, and you both get email alerts about the meeting. But then what? Do you just have the meeting?
You need to capture that customer information. If you are using a free scheduler, like Calendly, and an email newsletter service, like Mailchimp, then you need to get that customer information from Calendly to Mailchimp. You can Zap (Zapier) that information directly into Mailchimp with an automation.
Or, you can use an app like Smart Virtual Solution, that keeps all of those pieces in one place. You create the calendar, collect the information, send the newsletters, AND you can email that customer nurturing email messages over a period of time. No other technology needed.
The possibilities are endless. And once you get started, you will want to do it for nearly everything.
3. Understand Your Worth
The planning fallacy is a human phenomenon – we tend to optimistically believe a task or project will take much less time than it ends up taking. Even tasks we’ve done before can be underestimated. This underestimation can be very expensive for a small business owner, who’s time is already very limited and very valuable.
To fight this, use time-tracking software to measure the true time spent on tasks you perform. Clockify is a good tool for this. Then determine how much an hour of your time is worth.
Once you have an accurate picture of how much time things take, you will be able to determine the value of outsourcing that task to someone else. It may be less expensive to pay someone else to do it than taking it on yourself and losing out on other more important tasks.
4. Track Your Financials Automatically
One of the biggest headaches owners face, and one that can be shifted off your plate, is the tracking of all things financial. Payroll, accounting and tax preparations are all things that can be automated in one way or another. Or hiring a bookkeeper to help keep track of your books can relieve a lot of stress for you.
If you are a home service provider, such as cleaner, plumber, or electrician, you can create your invoice in an accounting program, like Wave, email or text that invoice to your client, and allow them to pay with a credit card or bank transfer. Wave will automatically send reminders to your customers so you don’t have to repeatedly mail balance statements.
5. Use Project Management Tools
Project management tools aren’t just for massive workflows and projects. They can help small businesses keep more productive on even small tasks. They help you create daily, weekly and monthly to-do lists to keep yourself organized. They are also great for creating a full picture of all the tasks you do for when you are ready to hire more help.
Project management tools with automated workflows take things to the next level. You simply enter the steps for a regular workflow, then let the tool do the rest. When you complete a step in the project, the next person needed to take action will be notified. The flow will keep moving. And you can see where any bottlenecks are in the process.
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6. Social Media Tools
The average person will spend more than 5 years of their life on social media – and that number is growing. Depending on your outlook, social media may be a necessary evil or a welcome distraction. Either way, it’s an important tool to market your business. But it’s not worth spending all of your time and energy on.
There are plenty of free or inexpensive tools out there that allow you to schedule posts in advance and automate your social media. If you are sticking with Facebook and Instagram, you can use the Creator Studio, which makes scheduling, measuring and responding super simple.
There are also tools that help you create content. Edgar, while not free, completely manages your social media, so you don’t even have to create or schedule your posts.
7. Find The Best Virtual Tools
I’ve already discussed quite a few great tools to help your business get more organized. One of the best tools that you can implement is a CRM, or customer relationship manager, with automations.
There is a good chance you already keep your customer data in a CRM, or maybe even on a spreadsheet. However, your CRM is little more than a glorified Rolodex if it isn’t set up with automations to keep in touch with your contacts.
One of the best tools I’ve seen is from a company called HighLevel. It’s so good, I’ve partnered with them to white label their software. That means it has my company name, but it’s their amazing technology.
Let’s go back to that scheduling example above. With the Smart Virtual Solution (HighLevel) tool, you can create a calendar link (as many as you want) for potential customers to book time on your schedule. The data provided is collected into the CRM system, so have access to contacting that person.
Now, if you are in a business that is super demanding, like real estate, you may need to contact that person within 5 minutes. What if you could automate that outreach? Let’s say you ask for their name, email address and phone number. That information comes into the Smart Virtual Solution (SVS) system. You have automations set up that once that information is received, a friendly text message is automatically sent out offering assistance, or thanking them for their submission.
They also receive an email with the details of the appointment they made. Then reminders are automatically sent out to remind them of the appointment via text and email. Everything is friendly, quick and automatic. You don’t even touch it until your appointment.
How much time would it save you to have all of that done in the background? I know it saves me hours!
With minimal technical knowledge, monetary investment, and planning, you can use these tips to get organized and ready to grow.
Need help with any of these ideas? Do you want to see the Smart Virtual Solution tool in action? Schedule a chat with me. I would love to learn more about your business and how we can get you more organized.