How to Create Effective Systems for Your Business. A look at What Systems You Need.
We just launched into a great new series all about the ins and outs of using systems in your business to create a more efficient and effective atmosphere for your work and clients. If you missed Part One of our series where we define a system & chat about how to develop one, make sure you go back and catch up! As we continue on our systems journey, we’re moving onto the naming process and more. Let’s jump in!
How to name a System?
Keep it simple. Title it something relevant to the subject and make it clear what your purpose is. Ideally, use any relevant keywords so it is more easily identifiable.
In my business and personal life, I use the same standard framework for all of my systems, and I utilize this same framework for titling everything from digital files, to receipts, to tagging clients in my CRM or email service provider. By using a standard framework or ‘taxonomy’ (naming convention) you will receive many great benefits:
All your systems will be clearly organized, labeled and easy to understand and identify.
All your systems will be grouped according to function, making them easier to find and manage.
A standardized framework will make it easier for multiple team members to work within the same system.
Coming up with your own framework or ‘taxonomy’ may take some thought and planning. You may want to sit down or get in front of a white board and figure out how you want to organize your systems, how to handle contacts within your business and how you will need to guide them through your sales cycle.
Don’t worry though, I’ve got you covered. All of my systems (SOP’s) share the same standard framework, and you can use my simple framework for naming your systems:
SOP-Title of the SOP-Company Name.
I always recommend saving your SOP with SOP at the beginning of the filename, as it helps you easily search or locate an SOP.
Within the Title of the SOP, you may choose to incorporate an ‘acronym’ that is easy to remember. By remembering the acronym you can actually recall the entire system. These acronyms use a singular word, yet each letter breaks it down and gives you the definition or identifier itself. For instance, CRM (customer relationship manager), SEO (search engine optimization), WP (WordPress), SS (SquareSpace), or ESP (email service provider).
Your title may include an acronym plus a keyword or action. Some sample SOP titles could be:
SOP-CRM Pipedrive How to Handle a New Prospect-Virtual Solace
SOP-CRM Pipedrive How to Onboard a New Client-Virtual Solace
SOP-SEO WP How to Add Google Analytics to WordPress-Virtual Solace
SOP-SEO SS How to Add Google Analytics to SquareSpace-Virtual Solace
SOP-ESP Drip How to Manage Tags-Virtual Solace
SOP-ESP Drip How to Send a Broadcast/Campaign-VirtualSolace
SOP-ESP ConvertKit How to Manage Tags-Virtual Solace
SOP-ESP ConvertKit How to Send a Broadcast/Campaign-Virtual Solace
SOP-ESP ActiveCampaign How to Manage Tags-Virtual Solace
SOP-ESP ActiveCampaign How to Send a Broadcast/Campaign-VirtualSolace
Where do you save the System?
A system is only as valuable as one’s ability to quickly reference and revise the system. There are multiple places you could save your newly created system, and the process of knowing where to save a system is actually a system itself. You can save your system as written or physical copy organized within a binder or file system, digitally, inside a project management system, by way of a customer relationship manager (CRM), or a combination of any or all of the above.
No matter where you decide to save it, your system will be ineffective if you cannot find the system quickly, you cannot revise or update the system, you cannot share the system, or the system doesn’t fit your preferences, objectives, and personality.
Let’s take this one step further.
You may prefer having a physical copy that can easily be pulled out and referenced is a simple way to make sure you stay on track while performing these tasks. You could type up the steps, print them out, and organize them in a binder or notebook for you and your team to reference. You could also display them in a common area, that would be fully accessible to your team, or somewhere you can easily access. In the beginning, having the steps in front you, especially at first, keeps you and your team accountable and prevents wasting time planning your next move. If you prefer having access to physical copies, you’ll need to think through where the physical copy will be saved and organized, but you’ll also need to consider who else might need access to your system, how will they get access, and where will the digital version be saved so that you can easily be shared, edited, revised, or improved upon as needed.
In my line of work, I virtually support small business owners and their businesses. I need digital access to their systems and processes. Even if they prefer the physical copy of their systems, I must work closely with them to develop and organize their digital systems so they can be easily accessed. Start now and begin saving your systems to the cloud (i.e. Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, iCloud, etc.). On this note, let me stop and take a moment to say please don’t store any vital business or personal information on your hard drive or desktop. You may think it’s saved, but all too often I’ve had to work closely with a client to restore or recreate lost systems due to a hard drive crashing and files that are unable to be restored. As a word of caution, even if you store files in the cloud, don’t assume you are immune to those files being lost. If you ever get into one of these situations, you’d wish you had taken the time to back up any important files.
There is literally an app or software for everything these days, and project management, task management, or workflow set-up is no exception. There are multiple options with a variety of different configurations. Some commonly used project management and task management apps may include: Asana, Teamwork, ClickUp, Basecamp, Trello, ToDoIst, etc. Once you have the steps of your process listed out, any of these tools can help you track you and your team’s progress and hold your team accountable.
You can also store your systems in a Customer Relationship Manager (CRM). If you don’t have one in place, I strongly recommend you incorporate a CRM for you and your business. A CRM is a tool that utilizes technology for managing all your company’s relationships and interactions with customers and potential customers. These programs are a tool that can help with contact management, sales management, productivity, and more. Some CRMs have workflow capabilities that are directly built in, combining your lead/client tracking and forms with communication workflows. Some popular CRMs are HubspotCRM, Pipedrive, Salesforce, Streak for Gmail, Zoho and Dubsado.
I personally use a combination of written or physical copy, digital storage (with a backup), project management software, and CRMs to manage and both my business and personal life. I get it, you may feel like I may be going overboard with systems, but in many cases these systems can be integrated with each other and data and information can be accessed, shared, and managed in a seamless way.
If you have worked with me in the past or if you know me at all, you’ll know that I have strong preferences regarding the tools I use and recommend to those that I work with and support. I’ve learned that some tools integrate more seamlessly together than others. But, I’ve also learned to take a step back and evaluate where a business is at and where they need to go and aim to see where I can add value. While I may not prefer to use your favorite tool or software for my business, in the end, I want to make sure you have access to tools and resources that support you and your business needs and objectives without overly complicating things.
If you are unsure of what tool, software, or app to use, or if you are stuck and not sure how best to implement the next step, I’d be happy to schedule a conversation where we could discuss your needs. Don’t let stress or overwhelm keep you from making progress and implementing a system.
What are some Examples of Systems?
Inbox Management Systems. Use a schedule to check email, write emails, and file emails.
Calendar Management System.
LinkedIn Messages System.
Social Media Management System.
Scheduling systems. How do people find available times on your calendar or schedule a meeting with you?
Meeting systems. Who takes notes during meetings, where are they stored, how to create actionable steps in a meeting and follow up on executing those steps?
Make sure you are subscribed to my email list and blog to be the first to hear about the upcoming How-To series on each of these Systems. We’re going to walk through the benefits of each of the incredible tools you can use to streamline your processes, and more!