One of the keys to success in business is making sure you work efficiently. Being a solopreneur or small business owner can be stressful. However, don’t add to the level of everyday anxiety by not systemizing your business.
People ask me how I seamlessly operate multiple business entities. Having a degree in Industrial & Systems Engineering has assisted me in this area and I look for opportunities to reduce my personal effort where possible. In every aspect of business you have to ask yourself “Am I working too hard doing something that software/technology can do easier?”
Implementing business systems is key to maximizing your efficiency. Do you have the following elements in your business? If so, what tools are you using?
1. Online Presence – Every business should have a website. Most people won’t reach out to you until they’ve vetted you online or via someone they know and trust. There are several solutions for creating an online presence, some inexpensive, others not so inexpensive. A number of the inexpensive options like Wix and WordPress still offer you a professional appearance without breaking your budget. All of my websites, 15 of them, are built using WordPress. The tool is user-friendly and offer a number of templates you can use to customize your look. Also, your website needs to be responsive (mobile device friendly), otherwise you jeopardize losing potential customers because they can’t easily conduct business with you.
2. Business Phone System – Every business should have a dedicated business phone line. This should be self-explanatory, BUT there are still a number of people doing business via personal home phone lines. There’s nothing worse than calling someone for business only to have their kids answer the phone as if you’re interrupting something. With a number of options out there like Google Voice and Grasshopper (my choice), there’s no excuse for not having a dedicated business phone line. Plus these solutions are either free or very low cost in nature.
3. Business Branded E-mail – Another professional touch to add to your business is utilizing a business branded e-mail address. This might seem like a minor element, but there is a different view from a business perspective when you conduct business online with someone using a business-branded e-mail address versus other free options. Yahoo and Google are great companies, but I prefer to conduct business using my business-branded e-mail account. You can setup your own business e-mail account using companies like GoDaddy. I am also a reseller who offers the ability to register domains, hosting and e-mail, visit http://www.ktponlineservices.com.
4. Customer Relationship Management – Communicating and sharing products/services with your customers is a major key to the success of your business. Unfortunately, a number of people are still leveraging spreadsheets and offline distribution lists. This makes communicating with your clients and customers more complex than it needs to. Take a look at low-cost solutions like Aweber, Mailchimp or Constant Contact. You can also opt for other solutions requiring more of an investment like Infusionsoft (review Infusionsoft here) or Act-on. The main point is being able to easily organize and communicate with your customers leveraging streamlined automation.
5. Social Media Management – You can spend countless hours juggling between Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google+ and/or Pinterest. Quite frankly, it can be a downright hassle trying to manage all of those social media channels while still servicing your customers. Fortunately, there are a number of applications which assist with this effort. Take a look at options like Hootsuite, TweetDeck and Sprout Social. Entrepreneur had a great article on their website highlighting 14 Tools Every Entrepreneur Needs for Social Media http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/231851.
If you are an entrepreneur or small business owner and having trouble juggling the multiple aspects of your business, evaluate the various components of your current business to see if there are areas to systemize. I will share five more business areas with you in part 2 of Systemize Your Business.
Workplace love can be magical–or a complete disaster
Kevin and Tammy Jackson first noticed each other while working for a large telecommunications company in Dallas, Texas. Kevin was a mid-level executive in charge of running an IT support team, while Tammy worked as a technology analyst. The two worked together for about two years within the same group, but never in a superior/subordinate capacity.
Kevin personally acknowledged his immediate attraction to Tammy, but made a decision not to pursue her to be in compliance with the code of ethics regarding workplace relationships. He didn’t want to risk his job and career in pursuit of the unknown, but had a special feeling about Tammy.
The two were able to build a solid rapport in casual work interaction, and on special projects within their group. Even through their arms-length relationship, there was an ever-increasing curiosity in the minds of both.
The money didn’t last long: Though my mom helped me move to Dayton, which kept the move itself relatively cheap, I’d never owned furniture (it was always included in the rentals I had during college), so I spent more than $5,000 furnishing my new apartment from scratch, including $2,000 on a bed and mattress and $1,000 on a sofa. I needed a car to get around, and though I put down $5,000 (earned during my summer internship), and my parents and grandparents contributed another $5,000, I still had to take out a $12,000 loan.
How My New Job Landed Me in Debt
One of my biggest post-grad-school expenses was clothing. Even as a junior lawyer, I had to look professional—I knew from interacting with lawyers during my internships that cheap shoes and suits wouldn’t cut it if I wanted to get ahead. Though I didn’t keep a close tally, I’d estimate that I spent $7,000 or so on my initial wardrobe. Some of my suits were from Banana Republic and J.Crew, and cost several hundred dollars each, but I bought a few thousand-dollar department store suits too, and splurged on an Alexander Wang purse that set me back about $600.
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