If every online business owner focused on this one powerful strategy: creating effective systems, there would be a lot less stressed out, frustrated and unhappy entrepreneurs. An effective system will keep you focused on doing what you do best and give you a simple method for training your virtual assistants or outsourced workers to manage the day to day tasks of your online business.
I’ve written about the importance of systems before and have even reviewed a great book that does an exceptional job of explaining the role of the entrepreneur in a business. When you first start your online business, you’re the person who does everything: web design, copywriting, graphics, marketing expert, social media manager and more! It doesn’t take too long before things start to fall through the cracks and you start to get overwhelmed with the sheer amount of work that needs to be done.
For many of my clients, that point comes around two or three years after they start growing their business. That’s usually the point they come knocking on my door because the feel like they have so many balls juggling around in the air that it has affected their quality of life: time missed with family, weight gain, too much stress and frustration, no time for vacation… you get the point.
As an online entrepreneur, wouldn’t it be great to have a system (or more likely a series of interconnected little systems) that take the daily non-entrepreneurial tasks off your plate and leave you with the time, energy and focus to do the tasks that grow your business and improve your bottom line?
The Role Of An Entrepreneur
Here’s what I’ve learned from working with some amazing entrepreneurs: your only task is to service clients. If you’re a coach, that means coaching the people that need your help. If you’re an author, that means writing the book. Whatever the primary service or product your business specializes in, that’s what you should be doing. EVERYTHING else can be outsourced (and really, in some cases even the coaching itself can be done by others – then your role as an entrepreneur changes). As Michael Gerber says, your role is to work on the business, not in the business. To be the Queen Bee, not the Worker Bee.
So what do you do if you’re an entrepreneur who is too busy working in the business, rather than on the business? You create a series of systems that make it easy for others to complete the same tasks for you.
Let’s take a look at one of my favorite topics: customer service.
Customer Service is one of the first systems you should create. I bet when you first set up your business, all support questions, order problems, and refund requests would come directly to your email address. And it doesn’t take too long before you get buried in a flood of emails that you can’t keep on top of them all. One of the easiest things to do is to hire a Virtual Assistant to take over the Customer Support role in your business.
An even better practice is to set up a Customer Support Help Desk. Using a system like ZenDesk or Kunaki, you can set up a knowledge base for your different products and services that provides detailed answers to the most common questions you receive. Once you’ve documented all your products, it’s much easier to hire a Customer Support rep to log into the help desk, look up answers to the questions and answer them.
Making The Transition Seamlessly
One of the first things I ask a new client, especially if they’ve not worked with an Online Business Manager or Virtual Assistant before, is to spend a week closely tracking every task that they do every hour of the day. I have a chart where each hour, I ask them to write down the main thing that they were doing during that block of time. Over the course of a week, you’ll be able to see where you’re spending your time and what tasks can and should be systematized and passed on to a competent assistant. To create the system, you can work with an Online Business Manager who specializes in the creation of systems or you can start documenting the processes and procedures yourself. In fact, one of the best things to do if you’re wanting to create an easy to follow and effective system, is if there’s a routine task – record a video. Let’s say you have a membership site that needs new content loaded on a regular basis, you can record a screen cast the next time you update the site and then pass it on to your assistant to follow the steps so that they can complete the task for you – freeing up your time to focus on creating the content that needs to be delivered to members.
Once you make the shift from “Worker Bee” to Entrepreneur and truly harness the power of systems, you’ll find your business will be more profitable and a lot more fun. It will give you a chance to focus on the tasks that you enjoy the most, as well as focus on providing the services or creating the content that drive the economic engine of your business. And most important of all, by freeing up your time to focus on providing services or creating content, you’ll be better able to serve and help your customers.