Systems Aren’t Sexy, But Here Is Why You Need Them

Systems Aren’t Sexy, But Here Is Why You Need Them

It’s true. Systems really aren’t sexy, so most entrepreneurs NEVER create effective and efficient systems in their business. In fact when you say “do you have any systems or processes documented” most give you a blank vacant expression and say “no, should I?”.

Being unclear about how your business works, what the day to day operations are and what the business critical systems and processes is a sure fire way for your business to collapse when you try to grow it. It is also the number one reason reason why most entrepreneurs who start out hiring a VA or team, find that the relationship turns sour and they return to doing everything themselves.

The essential end up micromanaging the team and feel that they are better off just doing it themselves, because it is quicker. Let’s face it, no one can do the job as well as you. Or can they?

Building a business is JUST LIKE building a house.

They systems in your business are the foundations. I mean, would you build a house without foundations?

No.

So why try to build a business without systems? Without foundations, overtime, the house would crumble and collapse. And a business will do exactly the same when you try to take it to the next level.

For example, if you don’t have a rock solid client on boarding process, leads may fall through the cracks.

Where The Problem Starts

The problems begin when people first start their businesses, they get stuck in and do all the jobs, because let’s face it we need to save money and build a solid client base before we can invest. Or so we think. They spend a huge amount of time wearing all the hates and doing everything themselves. Working 16 hour days is the new norm and it’s all about the hustle, hustle, hustle.

But as some of the most successful entrepreneurs have shown, they don’t work 16 hour days, they work 16-20 hour weeks. They make money in their sleep and have kickass teams in place to help them achieve it. They work SMARTER not HARDER.

Between years 3-5 is when most entrepreneurs become very overwhelmed. They find their income plateaus as they do not have the capacity to take it to the next level and that they are constantly reinventing the wheel and struggling to grow.

Really at this point, you need to recognise it is time to STOP and REGROUP. You need to take time out and focus on putting the foundations in place. Yes it is time consuming, but it will save you a shit load of time in the long run by making that investment now. It will make hiring team members easy peasy because you will know what needs to be done, and it makes training them to perform the tasks you hire them to do super easy as well, because the hard work of documenting it all has also already been done.

It’s Time To Become the CEO

The reality is that most entrepreneurs end up working hard in years 3-5 then they really need to. Years 1-3 should be when you put in all the hard work and lay the foundations. Years 3-5 should be about you taking a step back and becoming the boss in your business, hiring a team and learning to delegate effectively. This is when you really need to be focusing on your zone of genius and growing your business. Not getting bogged down in the day to day operations. You need a VA or a team to be doing that for you.

Your priority right now is putting a company handbook or an ops manual (call it what you will) in place. Even if at the moment it is just you in your business. This document is your BUSINESS BIBLE. It has every single systems, process, procedure and tasks written down. It outlines your business culture, your vision, your values and your goals. It is ESSENTIAL to your success and your sanity! Don’t make the mistake many entrepreneurs do, start documenting and systemising today to be ahead of the curve, so when it comes to the point of scaling, the hard work has already been done and you just need to focus on putting all those incredible ideas into action. By not having the essential foundations in place, you’ll miss out on opportunities.

The Importance of Self-Care For Busy Business Owners

The Importance of Self-Care For Busy Business Owners

Right, so who is prepared to hold their hands up and admit that you come at the bottom of your own priority list? I think this is even more so the case if you happen to be a mother as well as an entrepreneur.

When tend to be all systems go, all of the time, running around focusing on everything else, rarely taking time for ourselves. But does this really affect our ability to run our businesses well?

ABSOLUTELY.

A number analogies spring to mind right now, but the best one has to be….“Put Your Oxygen Mask On First”. This isn’t a nice to have option, its an instruction because you are no good to anyone else if you are dead! If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of your business or if you are a mother, you can’t be the best mum you want to be. Stress, resentment and overwhelm begin to creep in when you are doing #allthethings.

Take a moment to have a think about the last time you took care of YOU.

When you think of self care what springs to mind? A day at the spa? A manicure? A weekend away? A yoga retreat? Whatever your definition of self care is, remember that it is doing something that refuels us, something that makes us happy. Not something that makes us unhappy. But how the hell do you make time for some down time, when you are just so busy and  when there is so much going on?

Set clear boundaries

If you are like many and a bit of a people pleaser, you may find setting boundaries far more difficult than those who aren’t. Some of us are actually recovering people pleasers, but we’ve usually be put in a situation where enough was enough and we’ve finally taken action. Wherever you fall into in the people pleasing camp, know that you really need to put your big girl pants on or alternatively grow a pair of balls (men are so much better in general at setting boundaries) and learn to say no (of course, with a polite thank you thrown in too), a lot more often than you probably are.

Only say yes to the things and people that are important to you, the things that light you up, the people that light you up. And start saying no to the other stuff.

By saying no more a lot more, you will soon find that you have more time to focus on the important things, get more shit done and have a lot more time for you as well.

Schedule time in each week

The key is to schedule in non-negotiable ME time each week. Mark it as an appointment in your diary, like a client meeting, and don’t let anything get in the way of some YOU time. It’s important, because you can’t bring your A-Game if you are running around on half empty, tired and heading for burnout.

Self Discipline

I know its tempting to keep working until the early hours of the morning, just to put the finishing touches on that eBook, new online course or changes to your website. Trust me I have been there, but you need to learn to switch off and step away. Although hard to begin with, you will actually find that you end up being more productive because you don’t have as many distractions.

Here’s a little confession, I am actually contemplating taking social media apps off my phone and having them on my tablet instead. So it forces me to step away and switch off, and when I wake up in the middle of the night I am not tempted to go hand out on FB, Instagram or Pinterest.

Outsource as much as you can

The one thing I hate more than anything is cleaning. It takes forever and bores me to tears, mainly because I struggle to finish the task as I get distracted by something else!! (Did I mention that I’m an aquarius, a creative and get distracted by starting the next new project before finishing the current one I a working on, it’s a never ending challenge, but that is a whole other story).

Make a list of the things you really don’t enjoy doing, business and personal and if funds permit, hire people to take over these tasks to free you up. Don’t waste your time doing things you hate, life is just too short and there are too many people to serve.

If you are struggling with setting boundaries in your business and your life, you can sign up for the PROTECT YOUR ENERGY WITH BOUNDARIES email series here. And as a BONUS For a limited time only, you can also get access to the HOW TO PROTECT YOUR ENERGY WITH BOUNDARIES WORKBOOK for busy female entrepreneurs by signing up.

3 Steps To Manage Your To-Do List and Boost Your Productivity

3 Steps To Manage Your To-Do List and Boost Your Productivity

Writing a To-Do list is supposed to help your manage your time and move you towards achieving your goals. But we often have so much to do on our “To-Do” lists that in actual fact we get less done because we are so overwhelmed by the sheer amount that needs doing.

I will happily hold my hands up and admit that in the past there have been things sat on my to-do list for months, they just keep getting copied over to the next list. Can you relate?

The reality is they are not essential to moving your business, so they really need to go on a different list. Our “To-Do” lists have in fact lost their main function and focus of helping you get shit done. Instead they are a dumping ground for everything, ideas, projects, notes and just end up becoming a NEVER ENDING LIST.

Fear not, I have a really good system that will help you to re-prioritise your actual tasks so you can start moving forward in your business, reducing the stress and overwhelm.

Step 1: Brain Dump

Sunday is my planning day and part of my ritual includes a brain dump. I love a good brain dump. It gets everything out of my head on to paper so I can focus on what needs to be done, rather than all the things going round and round in my head.

Grab a pen and start writing , get everything in your head onto paper. Keep writing until you have everything out. You can choose to do this weekly or daily, I find weekly works best and things that crop up throughout the week get added to the brain dump and NOT my to do list.

Step 2: Organise + Categorise

Let’s turn your brain dump into a more organised and structured list. We are going to rank them 1-3. The key here is to be RUTHLESS and very honest. This is how you break your To-Do list into manageable chunks and start getting more done.

Rank 1: Do-it

These are the tasks that take top priority. They are super important, urgent tasks that only you can do. And they need to be done to move your business forwards. Mark these tasks with a star and the no. 1.

Rank 2: Delay or Delegate-it

These are the tasks that are important, but that don’t need to be completed immediately or could be handed off to someone else to complete.

HINT: If it isn’t an income generating task, then it can be done by someone else.

If you are really serious about building a sustainable, profitable and productive business that you don’t work 16 hour days in, then you need to learn to delegate. You might think you need to do everything or that you are the only one capable of doing it right, but that simply is not true. Be brutal, it’s time to get stuff off your plate so you can get more done.

Rank 3: Ditch-it

Hmmmm, the tasks that are making you busy for the sake of being busy. They either don’t need to be done at all, most definitely can be completed by someone else, or are an idea/project to come back. More often than not, you will find that these tasks don’t need to be done at all, leaving you more time to focus on what really matters. You can always come back to these when you’ve actioned everything else.

Step 3: Write Your To Do List

You now know what needs your attention, what is a priority, what needs to be handed over to someone else and put on hold, so let’s write your To Do list.

Start with listing your top 3 priorities for the week (ideally 3, you can go to as many as 5, BUT absolutely no more than 5). Then list the tasks that need to be done, but can be either delayed or delegated until the no.1 tasks have been completed. Make sure you have a space to capture any notes, ideas, additional things to do in a separate space. Your focus for the week should solely be on your new revised and 100% focused on the task in hand To-Do list. Nothing else.

If you really want to make an impact, you could take your to-do list and schedule in the tasks you need to complete for the week into your calendar, blocking out time to complete each one and setting reminders if you work better in this way. Otherwise, simply keep your list to hand and take action daily.

Then simply repeat the exercise week after week and watch your productivity soar.

Obviously though, let me caveat this by saying like all things, you need to find a system that works best for you and your business. BUT you need to at least give this system a try, test it out for a few weeks and see how you get on. What works for one person may not for another, but the brain dump exercise is a great tool to use, so I highly recommend you make that part of your routine. It will help to eliminate some of the stress and overwhelm and if your brain happens to be anything like mine and is sometimes hard to switch off completely, brain dumping onto an A4 or even an A5 page really helps.

The key to being really productive is finding a system that works and consistently following a routine. It will help to keep you focused and to streamline identifying the most important tasks on a weekly basis, so you can keep moving your business forwards.

Let me know how you get on. Leave a comment below.

Is Too Much Tech Costing You Money In Your Business?

Is Too Much Tech Costing You Money In Your Business?

When I speak to clients and ask them about what tools and systems they are using in their business, I often discover that they are using multiple tools to do the same job, over complicating the process and then getting distracted by testing out yet another new one in the hopes that it will solve their problem or challenge. It won’t. It will just end up costing you money.

How many software tools, subscriptions, memberships etc… do you currently have in your business?

Do you know?

I bet you have a fair few tools, so grab a pen and let’s get started.

  • Write a list of all the software tools, memberships, subscriptions etc…. that you currently have.
  • Now, next to them write a list of the ones you are paying for and how much you are paying a month.
  • Circle the ones you use. Be honest, which ones do you use EVERY DAY or at least EVERY WEEK?
  • How many are you paying for and no longer using?

I am guessing that after doing this exercise you have indeed identified that you are spending money (or kindly donating it even) for at least one tool, software company, membership programme, [insert other], that you aren’t using AT ALL. It’s time to stop, cancel and SAVE yourself some money.

So Much More Than Just Money

You are now more aware of what you are spending and how much the tools you don’t use have been costing you. That’s the first step. The next step, is realising that too much tech is costing you money in other ways, such as your time and energy. Over complicating running an online business with too many tools and software programmes is costing you money, in the sense that you are spending too much of your time on the things you shouldn’t be spending your time on! For example, if you spend 2 hours a week scheduling social media across multiple platforms using different tools for Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook you are wasting time. Precious time you could be using to focus on other things. Either invest the money you have been wasting on software and subscriptions you aren’t using in a Virtual Assistant, or sit down and really look at your process and ask yourself….could this be simplified? Are all these tools really necessary?

Audit Your Business Tools

Which brings me nicely on to doing a business tool audit. I recommend doing this at least a quarter, if not every 6 months. Our needs, and the needs of our business change as we build, grow and scale. Sometimes free software won’t cut the mustard, so we need to upgrade to paid software which has greater functionality, scope and scalability.

The trouble is, as entrepreneurs we tend to fall foul of shiny object syndrome every now and again. We’ve all done it, someone mentions a great tool, you aren’t overly happy with the one you have so you set up a new account to test the software out and then end up paying for it after the trail period whilst you aren’t really using it to its maximum potential because you haven’t had the time to move everything over to the new piece of kit.

It’s time to stop. Get brutal. Cut your losses. Start keeping things simple. You don’t need to over complicate processes and systems by having too many tools that do the same thing. This duplicates effort and the task ends up taking 10 times longer.  It also causes confusion if you want to grow your business and start hiring a team.

Simplified systems are the key to success. So remember K-I-S-S…..keep it simple stupid!!!

If you need help, book a BE FREE session with me and let’s get your unstuck and moving forward with the right tools for you and your business.

4 Steps To Create A CEO Mindset

4 Steps To Create A CEO Mindset

We all know the importance of mindset when you are a business owner and an entrepreneur. The key to success is partially in the mindset work that you do, but super success is linked to your ability to really step into the CEO, into the leader in your business to take it to where you want to go. Without a CEO mindset, the one where you step into the leader and LEAD the business, you’ll stay stuck.

So here are my 4 tips to create a CEO Mindset…..

Step #1 – Make the decision to become the CEO

You need to consciously say to yourself, right enough dicking about and playing small.  It’s time to step up and step into the role of the leader in the business. To do this, you need to start acting like a 6 or 7 figure business owner and ask yourself everyday “what would a 6 figure business owner do?”. Own it. Embody the person you aspire to be and start making decisions and taking action from a place of, if I were already a 6 figure business owner what would I be doing right now?

Step #2 – Remember the 80/20 Rule

Do you know about Pareto’s principle? The concept is such that for example, 20% of customers generate 80% of the revenue. The point is that you have the option to focus just on the 20% that is going to get you results, so really you need to stop wasting your time being busy for busy sake and focus on being more productive. Focus on the income generating activities, not email or trying to multitask or spending an hour scrolling through your FB news feed. It Isn’t going to get you the results you want, but working out exactly where the sweet spot is, where you need to be investing most of your time, that will. Focus, focus, focus.

Step #3 – Systems and Automation are your new BFF

To help you maximise your time and energy, you should start placing a big emphasis on your business systems and automating wherever possible. Take your most popular selling content and turn it into an evergreen funnel that will make you money whilst you sleep. Automate your website backups. Stop sending invoices to your clients and waiting for bank transfers, start taking credit card payments for instant payment. Plan out and schedule your social media in advance, heck, plan it out and write it and hire a VA to schedule it all for you. It will be more cost effective for them to spend a couple of hours at £35 an hour, rather that you spending a couple of hours at £100 an hour!! Spend the time doing a FB, writing a blog post and creating more epic value filled content for your tribe.

Step #4 – Let Go God Damn It!!!

Stop thinking that you are the only person that can do EVERYTHING in your business and no-one can do it as well as you, because they can and you might even find someone who does it better than you. You also need to stop thinking everything needs to be perfect. You don’t need a sales page to sell a product, you don’t even need a website, it helps don’t get me wrong as it builds social proof and visibility, but it isn’t an absolute MUST. Don’t waste hours on create a sales page or a sales funnel. Get help to do it, spend your time being creative, building the know, like, trust factor and doing the one thing ONLY YOU can do, get transformational results for your clients!!

That’s it, it really is that simple (or not as the case maybe for some of you). As a recovering perfectionist myself, I know how hard it is to let go in particular, but finally after a few years I am starting to see that done is better than perfect. You don’t need to have all your ducks in a row to sell a new service, package or programme. As long as you have a way to take payment, then you are good to go. People buy people, they buy into your energy. Remember that.

Now go and start taking action to be the boss in your business. If you need someone to run ideas past, talk through tech, tools and systems or have no idea where to start with systemising and automating parts of your business, get in touch. Book a pick my brain session and lets get you unstuck and moving forwards.