The Catch 22 of knowing you want more ‘time off’ from your small business, is finding the time to set up the systems, hire the extra team members or implement something new that allows time off to happen in the first place.
Busy business owners never have ‘spare time’. Time is either spent working getting paid, working on business admin or, if they’re lucky, spending time with their family / other half / playing your sport / sleeping / doing something else. And so finding time for ‘something new’ gets tricky.
When there’s no time for new business systems
It won’t be the first time I’ve had a conversation about Connectably and heard that it ‘looks great’ but ‘I don’t have time to get it set up’. But this is part of the Catch 22. Because I know that duplication / triplication of data entry will carry on, the workarounds and ‘scenic route’ systems will still be used, and nothing is going to get better. Because these ‘workarounds’ are usually taking up much more time than they could be.
Yes, it will take a little more time now to set things up differently in the first place, but the future time saving is there as a carrot. But this is the catch 22 of being too busy for anything new in business–you don’t have the time now to save (more) time later.
How to find the time to work better
Like most things in life if you want it enough, you’ll ‘make time’ or ‘find time’. Or you’ll wait until it becomes urgent and you have to drop everything and devote time to it. But there is another way–to do it ‘as you go along’.
There is no rule that to do something new or work differently means a huge upheaval and ‘all-in-one-go’ change. There’s a lot to be said for a little bit of improvement every day creating a bigger result over time. Even 10 or 15 minutes a day will mean you’ve spent over an hour each week making a change for the better. And in terms of documenting a system or setting up new software this can mean a lot.
Every small step still gets you closer
When we set up our own Connectably account we didn’t do it all in one go. As a start-up we wear lots of different hats and have lots of different ‘jobs’ to do. So as we work through what we need to get done we set this up on Connectably.
First things first… customers and sales was top of our list (and probably yours)
The first thing we did in our own Connectably was run email broadcasts because we didn’t want to be out of contact with our users. These contacts went straight into the CRM as customers direct from Xero, so that was quick and easy, just an email template to set up ready to use.
Next we added prospects and our ‘marketing’ contacts so we didn’t lose sight of our sales pipeline. And as we did this we added tags and categories because it’s important we know who everyone is, and add the details we know about them so we can connect better (as opposed to send the same things to everyone).
The ‘nice to haves’ come next
Workflows were next for us as they make it easy to ‘see’ where you are with your pipeline / customers / projects / bwhatever makes sense for your business. Then quotes and order forms as they help with getting paid quicker.
We’ve also hooked up call booking with Acuity via a Zap (Zapier) which was a big time saver as no more ‘email tennis’ getting appointments and calls set up. We also set up our website forms (using Gravity Forms) the same way–with a Zap–to go straight into Connectably to save time on entering in new leads and contacts.
All the changes and set-ups we made were little pieces of a bigger marketing and sales system that we had planned out, but implemented one at a time. And each piece of the plan saved a bit of time each. Small wins added up to bigger process and lots of time saved.
Implement as you go along…
Now we add automations as we need them, and when we spot a ‘string’ of communication we can repeat and automate, we set it up. From welcome emails, to marketing campaigns to following up sales. We don’t expect our users to think of every scenario for their Connectably from the beginning either, which is why we keep sharing ideas and examples, to see if there’s ‘something else’ that could save time or make things easier.
It’s really hard to map out ‘everything’ when you sit and write out your systems. There will always be obvious ones that you know you repeat all the time or take up too much of your time. The rest you can spot as you do them.
This is the KEY move to getting things done one step at a time. Even if you simply implement AS YOU GO you’ll get something new set up. If every time you receive a new enquiry, you implement a new way of recording it that is more useful or efficient you’ll be setting up a new sales process. If every time you have a conversation with a prospect or customer and you notice what you’re repeating what you’re saying you can make that part of a system. If you know that every new customer needs the ‘same thing’ get that organised as part of on-boarding THAT time then it’s ready for NEXT time.
If you’re finding you can’t repeat a process or find a way to do everything the same every time, then it might be worth looking at how you can standardise your processes or create set packages of what you deliver. Done right this can improve both your level of service and your profits, as you’re not spending time every time on work that could be done once and repeated.
There is always mess
In most situations where you’re tidying up there’s almost always a stage where it’s more messy than when you started. Tidying up your shed / garage/ loft / spare room is a good comparison here. There’s that moment when you empty everything out that you’re sometimes not quite sure how it had all fitted IN in the first place. But seeing everything allows you to create order, get rid of some things, fix others, and put it back together in a more organised and streamlined way.
The easiest way to then keep things tidy is to ‘tidy as you go’. It’s the same in your business and systems. Don’t be daunted that ‘everything’ needs to be tidied if that’s too much. You’ll get there with everything if you do something.
How you implement when you have no time (summary)
- Know what you want to tidy. Which part of your business needs a system first?
Hint here: what is wasting most of your time or is most valuable?
- Know the ‘outcome’ of that new system, and the steps along the way.
- Work on a piece at a time AS you next do it.
- Don’t worry about tidying everything at once.
- Small steps will still get you there–just tidy as you go…