Tag Archive: systems

WomanandGearsTypically business owners don’t think about getting their business in order, which is unfortunate because in order to run a successful business, you have to be organized.

For ultimate success, a business should run like a well-oiled machine.  There is no way around it, there have to be systems in place.  It saves time and money, has you making fewer mistakes and keeps you from constantly reinventing the wheel.

Look at the human body.  It’s the most magnificent machine there is.  It is comprised of a number of automatic systems that support proper function.  Each of these systems has a process that and all contribute to the function of the body.  The body continues to function properly until one of those processes or systems is disrupted.

The same is true with your business.  If you have established systems and processes for every area of your business, it runs like a well-oiled machine.  Use of time is maximized and productivity levels are high.  If not, things don’t run so smoothly and time is wasted and there are gaps that cause mishaps and poor customer experiences.  All of which negatively impact your bottom line.

If your business doesn’t have systems and processes in place, there’s no time like the present to create and implement them.  Start by assessing the current situation.  Get rid of the things that aren’t working, and then take a close look at what is working and be sure there are solid systems around those things. Next, create the new systems that are missing.  Typically you want filing, accounting, client and time management systems. Each one of these systems is an integral part of running a successful business.  Having them in place can make or break you.


BusyBusinessWomanThe equinox is here and summer is officially over. The kids are back to school, the flip flops and sunglasses are off and business is back in full swing.  This is the time to refocus on your goals and desires and be ready to bring in the fall harvest.

If you have children who just went back to school, you prepared for that—shopping for supplies and clothes or packing the car to send them off to college.  Maybe you planned your summer vacation or fun activities.  Just as you did that, you have to prepare yourself for getting back to business too.  When summer was in full swing most people cut back so they can enjoy themselves and their family and routines and systems got tossed to the side.  Now it’s time to pick it all back up and get the ball rolling again, which can be a lot easier said than done.

It can be hard to regroup after all of the summer fun or after any break for that matter, but it’s necessary if you’re going to bring in this year’s harvest.  If you’re finding it hard to make that shift, here are 5 key points for you to use to get back into the swing of things and focus on your fall harvest:

  • Get organized!  Organize your office space in a way that allows you to find anything in no time flat.  So many people waste time just looking for things and believe me that time adds up.  When you lose time, you lose money.  Get rid of things that you no longer need, archive files that you need to keep and mark them with a date that they can be destroyed.  Once you get your office organized, maintain it.
  • Develop systems that support you.  Any business will have the usual systems—accounting, sales, filing, etc, but many forget that they need a time management system, which is one of the biggest mistakes I see solopreneurs making.  Because of that gap, time flies by but nothing’s gets done.  Find the tool that fits for you and create a system around that tool.
  • Get back on track with your goals.  It’s really easy to get off track even without summer vacation in play.  Take a look at what you created, review your plan and the tasks that will get you to the end result and see what changes need to be made.  If there’s something that hasn’t gotten done because of your summer excursion, recreate it and get it moving.
  • Eliminate the time wasters.  If you haven’t yet learned how to delegate, now is the perfect time.  If you have someone that you can pass things to, then start handing them off so that you can focus on the more important, income generating things.  If you don’t have a Virtual Assistant, get one.  If that’s not in the budget, then find an intern who needs the college credits and hours.  Don’t forget the #1 time waster—email.  Control what hits your inbox and how you handle your email.  First, set designated times to check your email and don’t make one of those times first thing in the morning.  Check email for the first time 1.5-2 hours into your day.  Use email filters and folders to direct email to designated folders labeled for particular people, projects and newsletters then check those folders as needed.

Those are four things that will get you back on track and help you make that shift to get back to business. The fifth key is to implement them all. Just don’t take in this information, make your notes, say you’re going to follow the steps and then do nothing.  Be in action. Take the steps that will help you make that shift that you’re looking for. If you do they will help keep you on track.

WomanandGearsOne reason most solopreneurs start their own business is because they want freedom and flexibility.  They want to be able to run the show and at the same time be able to take time off when they choose for fun and family.  This sounds ideal and it can be, but one big challenge that solopreneurs face is that they’re doing everything themselves.  They start out that way and things tend to stay that way, which doesn’t allow much time for the fun and family, so they end up without the freedom and flexibility they were looking for when they started.

If you really want that freedom and flexibility that you were looking for when you started your business, your business has to run smoothly and it has to be able to run without you in the mix.  Can you say that right now if you chose to take a few days off that things would keep moving along?  If not, there are three things that you can do starting right now that will help you keep things up and running.

First, create systems that will help you streamline things.  Most people cringe at the thought of creating systems because they think systems have to be big, complex and cumbersome.  Truth is, they really don’t.  A system is has three components: processes, tools and people.  That’s it, and the components can be as simple or as complex as you like.  The most important thing is determining the processes within each, the tools that will be necessary to perform those processes and the people who will use the tools to carry out the processes.  Creating the systems that you need to keep your business running smoothly will cause you to invest some time, it’s not something that can happen over night, but it’s not something that has to take an extended period of time either.  Invest the time in yourself and in your business to take the steps necessary to determine and then set up the systems that will support you on a daily basis.

Once you have the systems created and up and running, document what you do and how it’s done so that you end up with standard operating procedures manual that anyone can follow to get the job done.  If you keep the procedures updated, anyone should be able to review a procedure and perform the designated task without a problem.

Another step in taking on the challenge of doing everything yourself, is to begin to delegate.  Let’s face it; you started your business not only for that freedom and flexibility, but to make money.  You can’t make the money that you want to make if you’re occupied with tasks that aren’t making you money.  Look at the things that you do on a regular basis and determine whether or not you have to be the one to do each.  Ask yourself if you are the only one who can do this and if the particular task is the best use of your time.  If the task at hand doesn’t require your knowledge or expertise, it belongs in the hands of a capable, trusted individual so that you can focus on the revenue generating things.  Delegating for some is not an easy thing to do.  Letting go can be a process in and of itself which is fine, the important thing is to let go of the things that don’t require your time.  If you haven’t invested in a virtual assistant, consider doing so.  If you don’t want to do that route, find a college student looking to fulfill an internship requirement. Make sure that whomever you choose has the skills to perform the job that you’re asking them to do.  Don’t be fooled into thinking that the time that it will take to train this individual will be time that you can spend on doing the things that you’re teaching them to do.  Use the operations manual that you create during your systems set up to guide them through the processes you’re introducing them to and make adjustments in the procedure where necessary.   The time that you spend teaching is time invested in your business and your bottom line.


Making Time

SpiralClock-Smaller2Time!  There never seems to be enough of it to get in all of the things we want or need to do. That’s the thought or conclusion on everyone’s mind. Well, here’s a news flash for you…YOU AREN’T GOING TO GET ANY MORE TIME! What you have is what you get.  That’s it; no more!  You get the same amount of time as I or anyone else and no matter how hard you wish, want, complain, or ask, more time is something that is not coming your way.  The thing about time is that it’s elusive and intangible, which makes it pretty slippery, so you have to learn to work with what you’ve got.

So now that I’ve given you that rude awakening, let me clue you in.  No matter what stage your business is in—start up, just starting to fly or one that’s been established for quite some time, the thing that you must do is manage your business appropriately.  That means understanding not just what it takes, but the amount of time that it takes to do so and planning accordingly.  You can have everything set up, have the knowledge to run your business under your belt, and be ready to rock and roll, but none of it means anything without you being in action.  Before you take action you’ve got to make the time to consider what needs to be done, how and when it’s getting done and who’s doing it.

When it comes to business, most owners think of all the logical or practical pieces of the puzzle that have to come together.  What they don’t think about is setting up systems to make things run smoothly and maximize their time and if they do think about business systems, they almost always forget about having one that supports managing their time.  If you don’t learn how to manage time, time and other people will manage you simply because you haven’t made the time to go about setting up that system.  As with the creation of other systems, you have to consider what the process is and determine each of the steps in the process.  After that comes choosing the tool or tools to support the process and finally, the people who will perform the tasks.

Once that system is set up, the focus has to be on implementing it and using it every day if you actually mean to get anything accomplished.  Some argue that planning wastes time, but the opposite is true.  For every minute you spend planning, you save 10 in the execution phase.  As you plan your day to day to-dos, properly estimating the amount of time that things take is key.  If you’re unsure of how long something is going to take, take a realistic guess, then log the amount of time that you spend on that task.  Once it’s complete you’ll know how long it took and will know what amount of time it will take in the future.  Over time you’ll get better at estimating your time so that your days aren’t crazy.

In consideration of what some say about planning, let’s look at the cold, hard facts.  Saving yourself ten minutes in the execution of the plan translates into the time that you make to plan giving you a return of ten times, which is 1,000 percent on the investment of your time and personal energy.  That is huge!  Where else can you make an investment and get this kind of return?  Another fact of the matter is that it only takes about 10-12 minutes to plan your day.  That small investment will save you about two hours every day, which translates to about a 25 percent increase in your level of productivity.  Regular planning has you spend more time on activities of higher value, which increases your effectiveness and your efficiency in everything you do. When you look at the facts you can see the advantages that making time affords you.  It’s a key component when it comes to the foundation of your business and without it sooner or later you end up paying the price.


The new year is here and if you haven’t already gotten into the groove, it’s time to get your new year off to a running start with things that will support your efforts.  Usually, we don’t think about this one key piece of the puzzle, but no matter who you are–business owner or not, stay at home Mom, or if you work a regular 9-5, you need tools and systems to get your year off to a rolling start and help keep it rolling throughout the year.  Imagine having your goals and a written plan to carry them out, but nothing to support you in your daily steps toward them.

This is the time of year for resolutions, fresh starts and the like, but we don’t think about getting things in order and people are typically scrambling this time of year to get off to a good start after a hectic holiday season, but there are ways of avoiding that scramble–at any time of the year.  Your business or work setting as well as your home should run like a well-oiled machine. The best thing you can possibly do to support yourself is to set up systems to streamline your tasks.  Your business or work environment should have systems in place for every area: filing, sales, accounting, payroll, etc.  The same applies to your home environment.  Each system carries out processes that contribute to the environment as a whole, ultimately leading to increased productivity.

To begin to get your systems in place, start by looking at what’s working.  This question might not be so easy to answer, because usually if there isn’t anything wrong, we can’t see what’s there.  If there is a system in place that’s working, leave it in place but look to see what improvements might be made to that system.

Next, look at what’s not working.  This question will be easier for you to answer than the first.  If something isn’t working, get rid of it and create a system that does work; one that will support you.  For example, your filing system should include three types of files, reference, action and archive.  Not having a solid filing system in place and using it is one of the top things that will waste your time.  Once you have a solid filing system, have processes in place that keep your system in top condition and continues to support you.  To give another example, set up a schedule for purging your files and for archiving.  Know when you want to remove things from your reference files and archive them and how long you need to keep them in your archives.  Statistically speaking, people waste 1.5-2.0 hours each day looking for things.  That translates into 7-10 hours every week of wasted time just for one person.  Think about the money that’s wasted just on looking for things.  Not having systems in place can break you and negatively impact your bottom line.



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