I’ve always been a planner, a list maker, (my Christmas wish lists were legendary, #1 was ALWAYS a horse!) and I’ve always tried to find a way to do things more quickly and with less fuss. It’s a skill I honed early on with one of my favorite pastimes- baking bread. My 14 year old self learned that I could prep my yeast, proof my dough while tidying up, then clean up the kitchen while the bread was rising, AND get the house dusted and vacuumed just in time to bring out two golden loaves from the oven. I became a timing master. 😀
This worked well for me when I grew up and joined the workforce at the ripe age of 15, (worked for my parents mind you) and had a list of “to-do’s” the length of my arm to get done in my 8 hour shift. When I actually got a “real job”, I transposed my streamlining skills yet again, and it made me an asset to my employer.
When I eventually started my life as an entrepreneur, I let all those skills go to the wayside, and did everything the hard way, the long way, and it ate up HOURS of my day. It was time sucks galore and it was frustrating! I’ve been on a personal crusade to change that, and you should be too.
Before you try to take your business to the next level, you’re going to have to bite the bullet and get organized. If you’re not using any sort of CRM or organizational software, then get moving on that first. We use Evernote for our business and Dropbox to stay organized and it’s a total must. Make sure that you put relevant information in the proper place, so you can find it easily when you need it. Nothing is more annoying than when you try to find something and you cannot remember where it is, or the last time you saw it. That’s no way to run a business. So heed this and invest your time in getting organized before you move on to next steps in streamlining.
Being an entrepreneur comes with this notion that you gotta put in 12 hour + days, that if you’re not burning that midnight oil, you’re not doing it right. And … to some extent, you will have those long days where you realize it’s 2am, you missed eating dinner and you’ve lost the feeling in your feet from sitting too long.
Those days will happen, but they should not be the norm.
Getting your business as automated as possible will be like a dream come true and save you hours of time.
Social media automation
If you are spending your precious time every day setting up your social media posts in real time, that’s a waste of time. Instead, spend an hour or so each week on using a service like Hootsuite to set up a whole weeks worth of posts, and then you can add in some ad hoc posts during the week if necessary. You will be amazing at how freeing it is not to have to worry that your daily posts on Twitter or Facebook need to be loaded between calls and emails.
Automating the emails that your clients/email subscribers receive is a huge streamlining technique. Make sure you have email flows that are triggered when a subscriber/client performs a certain action, they should receive a pre-determined email automation flow.
This will save you so much time, and it will allow your business to grow more quickly since you won’t have to worry about sending new client “A” a welcome email, it will happen automatically.
The trick is to write down your workflows and see where there are leaks and missed opportunities, then patch the leaks, and move to the next workflow.
For instance, what is the onboarding process for a new client? Do you have a checklist for what to do? Or is it all in your head? If it’s in your head and no where else, that is a huge potential leak in your business.
Make sure you have a flow for all the major components of your business, this will help you really create a streamlined approach and lighten the load on you and your team.
Delegate where you can
Here’s how to streamline everything you do quickly. Grab a piece of paper (yes paper, unless you’re an Excel lover, then open a spreadsheet!), Divide your sheet into 3 even sections and in the first section, write out everything you typically do in your average work day.
That first column will fill up fast; from checking email, writing a blog post, to daily calls, posting in your Facebook group maybe, or creating a cute graphic for instagram.
In the second column, I want you to move some of the items from the first column that you can schedule in advance, like the social media I mentioned earlier. Writing blog posts in advance is also very helpful, so are creating your newsletters in one go.
In the third and final column, move items from column one that you can delegate out – farm out, hire out to someone else. Like creating a graphic for social media, or maybe editing an audio or video you want to post. These are the tasks you should hire out to a VA, or to a gig on Fiverr perhaps.
So now you have a list of your core tasks that you must do pretty much on a daily basis (column 1), tasks that you can schedule in advance which will save you time (column 2) and the tasks to give to someone else and free yourself up even further (column 3)
Spending less time on time suck tasks will allow you to spend more time on the ones you should be focused on, the tasks that grow your bottom line.
Being more efficient doesn’t sound sexy, but when you can shave time off your daily tasks and have more time and energy to do the things you love… yeah that is amazing!