How to Systemize Your Business (part 2)

Success, as an entrepreneur and business owner, hinges on your ability to maximize your efficiency and make doing business with you easy. Unfortunately, there are a number of entrepreneurs and small business owners who make life painful for themselves due to lack of business tools. They also make doing business with them painful for potential clients.

We explored five major operational areas that every entrepreneur should incorporate in (Part 1) Entrepreneurs: How to Systemize Your Business.

The following is a continuation of the key areas every entrepreneur needs to incorporate and systemize:

6. Online Appointment System (service-based businesses) – Do you enjoy calling and pursuing every lead you receive? What if you were able to reduce your effort by 25%? Try incorporating an automated process flow with an option to book appointments with you using an online application. Imagine waking up tomorrow morning with notifications of newly booked appointments that occurred while you were asleep?

There are potential customers who are savvy and comfortable with perusing your website or sales page, obtaining the information they desire, and making the decision to book an appointment with you. Options like TimeTrade and AppointmentCore can assist you with automating your appointment set up.

7. E-commerce Software – Similar to the online appointment service, you can eliminate a measurable percentage of your labor by offering customers the option to do unassisted business with you online. The days of manually taking all of your orders should be in the past. There are entrepreneurs all over the world who are making a living by selling products and services online. E-commerce software allows you to sell products and services online using your website, sales pages or other virtual alternatives.

E-commerce software offers your customers the ability to do business with you 24-7. Imagine receiving an after-hours notification that someone has made a purchase on your website? It is one of the most exciting business experiences an entrepreneur will have. I remember my first online notification for $79. It changed my perspective on how business can and should be done.

There are a number of e-commerce options to consider for selling products/services online including Ecwid, WooCommerce, Infusionsoft, and Selz, along with a host of others.

8. Online/Mobile Payment Solution – In today’s business environment, being able to accept payments online and on-the-go is an absolute necessity. I attended an event where a company was present, but was only able to accept cash payments. Unfortunately, today’s customers are shying away from cash and using debt/credit cards to make purchases. I witnessed countless individuals walking away from their booth without making purchases. This could have easily been alleviated by using today’s available technology.

PayPal and Square offer cost-effective solutions for accepting payments on the go. You’ll notice quite a few restaurants, cafes, beauty salons, barbers and clothing stores using these to manage debit/credit card payments. For those of you who do a large number of transactions and want to minimize the transaction fees, investigate merchant accounts like First Data.

Don’t miss out on sales because you aren’t properly set up to conduct business with your customers.

How to Systemize Your Business (part 1)

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 systematizing your business. Learn how to systemize your business and by implementing business systems and maximizing your efficiency.

People often ask me how I am able to operate multiple businesses using my laptop and handheld devices. Having a degree in industrial and systems engineering has assisted me in this area, and I look for opportunities to reduce or eliminate my personal effort wherever possible. In every aspect of business you have to ask yourself, “Am I working too hard doing something that software/technology can do easier?”

How to Systemize Your Business

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, GoDaddy Website Builder 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 to customize the appearance. 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 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, eVoice 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 in cost.

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 accounts. You can setup your own business e-mail account using companies like GoDaddy.

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 much 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 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, and/or Instagram. 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 or TweetDeck or Sprout Social.