Whether you’ve been in business for three weeks or three years, you’re always learning something new. There’s new technology, new tools, new tactics. But some things never change. Like the fact that you have to pay taxes.
As business owners, there are many different ways we can handle the tasks that come our way. And when we’re just starting out, we figure out a way to just “get it done” and move on. When you’re the only one wearing any hats in your business, it doesn’t much matter. You do it pretty much on autopilot and don’t worry about it.
But as your business grows, you soon learn that just doing it doesn’t work anymore. You need help. And until science discovers a way to clone ourselves (memories included!), you need to have systems in place that can be reproduced.
There are seven main systems that every online business owner needs. Depending on what your specific business does, you may need an extra one or two to ensure that client work is completed successfully. And we can probably come up with others, but these seven are the main ones and it’s a rare biz that doesn’t need every single one of these.
What are they? Glad you asked!
- Email System: You need a system for receiving, processing, and handling email. A tool that will help you organize your incoming email so that it’s easy to locate a specific email from a client or vendor. Having a way to save answer templates makes responding to the same question over and over a breeze. And of course, you’ll want to have an email evaluation process. Something like: Do/Delegate/Defer/Delete.
- Appointments: No matter what your business is, you need some way to make it simple for people to set appointments to speak with you. A good scheduling system will allow your guest to choose an appointment time based on their own timezone. It will also sync with your calendar, so you can’t double book yourself (never a good idea!). And if you can link it with your video call service so the meeting location is all automated, then you have a win-win situation!
- Client Onboarding: It’s not a business without clients. And having a system to make the initial process smooth and easy is vital to their experience in working with you. Having an intake form prepared and ready to go is super helpful to both you and your client. And of course, having a system that can quickly send a contract and receive payment — practically automatically! — just increases your client’s confidence in you. Lastly, you’ll need a place to exchange information, save files, and share documents. This keeps everything in one place, which is super helpful if your work involves collaboration.
- Accounting: It’s not fun, but it’s one of those needful things. To make sure that you have all your ducks in a row, you’ll want a bookkeeping system. This will help keep track of your income (and what is owed to you), your expenses, and your cash flow. It may seem like overkill at first, but even a tiny business needs to have decent reports to learn how they are doing. You’ll also want a way to store receipts digitally. You never know when you’ll be called upon to prove an expense was business related. And finally, having a way to know how much money you have and what you can spend it on today is vital to keeping your business growing.
- Social Media: We all have a love/hate relationship with social media. To keep yourself sane, you’ll want a process for content creation so that the ideas keep flowing. And of course, scheduling software is a must if you want to increase your online visibility. And since so much of social media is visual, having an easy way to generate the images you need is vital.
- Delegation: What? Yes, you need a process for delegation. It’s easily overlooked, but you’ll want to consistently review your task list, looking for items that can be delegated. You’ll then want to verify that those processes are written out thoroughly to make it easy for someone to take over that task. And, just like clients, you’ll want a detailed onboarding process to add the new team member you’ll need!
- Self Care: I’m putting this here as it’s so easy to forget, yet it’s super important to the success of your business. Create a process/habit/system for ensuring that you spend time working on your mindset and meditation. Be sure to schedule free time, or free days, so that your brain gets the break it needs. And then, when you’ve accomplished the tasks on your list, be sure to reward yourself with more than a pat on the back and turning to the next list. #speakingfromexperience
As you can see, these seven systems are foundational to a business. Yes, there can easily be other systems needed that would be specific for the type of business, but these seven are the main ones you will need.
Do you have them all in place? Are you prepared to delegate?