If any business is to not only survive but also thrive, it’s essential to develop simple, repeatable systems for handling common business tasks and functions. Rather than dealing with inconsistencies and the need to make up new processes as various situations or problems arise, having a set system in place for how things are done can speed up work completion and improve overall productivity—and, in many cases, customer satisfaction.
There are many aspects of business that entrepreneurs should be systemizing, but below, the members of Young Entrepreneur Council share some of the most impactful. Consider developing systems for these areas of your business and start improving your team’s productivity today.
1. The Sales Process
When you’re an entrepreneur, having simple, repeatable systems in place is crucial to the success and sustainability of your business. One aspect that is often overlooked but highly beneficial to systemize is the sales process. This includes lead generation, closing deals and following up with customers. Having a clear, step-by-step system for sales can improve efficiency and consistency and ultimately drive more revenue for your business. To get started, it’s important to identify the key stages of your sales process, map out each step and then refine and optimize it over time. Automating and streamlining tasks, such as lead tracking and email follow-up, can also help ensure that no opportunities fall through the cracks and that you’re always on top of your sales pipeline. – Miles Jennings, Recruiter.com
2. Appointment Setting
One of the most important yet overlooked tasks that can have a dramatic effect on sales is appointment setting. Taking too long to respond or even letting inquiries fall through the pipeline can easily be avoided by getting systems in place to provide custom and automated responses. – Jordan Edelson, Appetizer Mobile LLC
3. Financial Operations
One business aspect that entrepreneurs should focus on systemizing is their financial operations. This includes invoicing, bookkeeping, budgeting and financial reporting. By having clear and repeatable systems in place, entrepreneurs can reduce the risk of financial errors and ensure they have accurate and up-to-date information on their financial performance. To get started, entrepreneurs should identify the key financial processes in their business and document them clearly and concisely. I recommend using cloud-based software solutions to automate manual tasks, such as invoicing and bookkeeping, and streamline their financial operations. All of this can free up time to focus on growing the business and making data-driven decisions. – Andrew Saladino, Kitchen Cabinet Kings
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Clear lines of communication are essential for any small business to survive. Without proper communication, your team can become confused and overwhelmed, leading to decreased productivity and quality of work. To get started systemizing communication, create a set of standards for how communication will take place and set expectations for how quickly messages should be responded to, the proper way to communicate and who is responsible for what. Create a system for tracking all messages so that they can be easily accessed and reviewed. Ensure that everyone in the company understands their role in the communication process and that it is discussed with each new employee. – Rachel Beider, PRESS Modern Massage
5. Customer Data Management
Systemizing ensures efficiency and consistency in business functions while enabling greater automation, and this is indeed critical for the survival of a modern business. While most aspects of any business can benefit from systemization, the management and tracking of customer data is a crucial function that must be systemized as a priority. This includes collecting customer information, such as contact information, preferences and purchase history and organizing it using data-management tools and cloud storage in a way that is easy to access and analyze. Additionally, having a system in place for keeping track of customer service requests, complaints and feedback is essential in order to provide timely and effective responses. – Vikas Agrawal, Infobrandz
6. Monitoring News Mentions
With the 24-hour news cycle, you have to know when your brand is relevant before it’s too late. Yet staying on top of news mentions and your competition can so easily fall by the wayside. Make it systematic with tools as simple as Google Alerts. When you’re tracking your company name, important buzzwords in your field, your competitors and updates to the platforms or tools you most frequently use, you get a great roundup of anything important right in your inbox every morning, without any of the hard scouring of the internet parts. This can, in turn, help you create new content, output better SEO and even up your PR game. – Kaitleen Shee, GROW
7. Onboarding And Training
As businesses adopt hybrid work environments, finding seamless and accountable ways to integrate new employees has become vital—not to mention the geographical barrier that makes this more challenging. Create a scheduled process and structure. This should include a digital library with guides for job descriptions, roles, expectations, learning modules or materials needed for training sessions and scheduled days for orientation and training. All of these can be documented easily and accessed by anyone on the team at any time. Orientation and training usually take up much time, so with a system in place, new hires can be useful to the team faster. This benefits the business in more ways than one, as the same process also sets a precedent for periodic organizational training. – Tonika Bruce, Lead Nicely, Inc.
8. Content Updates
I suggest entrepreneurs systemize their content updates. If you want to drive new traffic to your site, you need fresh, entertaining and accurate blog posts. You can easily start this process by creating a category called “Updates/Rewrites” on your project management tool of choice. Include outdated or irrelevant articles on the list of tasks and work with your content marketing team to get articles updated at least once a year. – John Turner, SeedProd LLC
9. Customer Service
One business aspect every entrepreneur must be systemizing is customer service. Handling customer complaints, feedback and queries can sometimes be daunting, but you need to handle it patiently without losing your temper. Your customers may yell at you or want an answer to their query immediately, or even vent their frustration on you, but you can’t just shout back at them. So make sure to train your customer service team accordingly and streamline the process to make it less frustrating. Identify the common customer service tasks and functions, such as answering customer questions, resolving customer complaints and providing customer feedback. Then develop a system for each task, such as a set of FAQs for common customer queries or a standard procedure for handling customer complaints. – Josh Kohlbach, Wholesale Suite
10. Decision Making
The best thing I’ve ever done was to systemize decision making as far as it can be systemized. We were having issues in our business where employees could not move ahead with tasks as they needed approval from leaders or stakeholders. It so happened that these leaders were away on vacation or were otherwise occupied with critical tasks. So, we came up with a system where we told everyone the following: If the change you want to make is permanent, then wait for a response from your team head. Get approval. But if the action you want to take can be reversed, then go ahead and make the best decision you can. Then, bring it up later so that the leader can check it. This helped us move forward and create autonomy without any drastic mistakes taking place. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner