As a self-confessed left-brain control freak – I like systems and processes – they keep everything organised and make life easier. So what systems does your business have?
Most of us have some kind of accounting system, these days that has to include online software as HMRC require tax data to be processed through a digital system. But what’s your system for getting the data into the digital system? Is it something you do daily, at the end of each week or month – or only when you have to?
It will depend on the volume of transactions you need to enter. If it’s only a couple of dozen a month, once a month may be enough, but if you have lots of transactions every day, leaving it even to the end of the week, could present you with a daunting task.
What about customer records? Do you have a CRM system or are your records kept manually? When I first started out in my own business I used A5 index cards. Every time I spoke to a potential customer, I jotted down notes about our conversation on the card, that helped me to remember the customer and what they were doing and made for much friendlier conversations – which often turned into business.
If you have more than one person in your team and you’re all working directly with the same customers, a CRM system of some kind makes sense. It ensures that the wheel isn’t being reinvented!
Systems aren’t just the software you use; they can be simple things to keep things on track and keep your desk clear. It might be a spreadsheet planner for your social media that you update weekly or monthly. This means that you can schedule posts ahead on days when you’re busy and never get to that last minute ‘I don’t know what to post today’ situation, which can quickly turn into ‘I haven’t posted anything for weeks’.
It could be a weekly stock check to ensure you have enough supplies, whether of saleable stock or office consumables. Never run out of tea, coffee, milk – or you’ll have a mutiny on your hands!
Your accounting software can give you much more than just your tax return information. How often to your review your regular bills? Are you paying more than you need for anything? In today’s world where prices are escalating fast, it’s good business practice to do a regular check on your outgoings and do price comparisons.
Do you have a process for price increases? When do your prices go up – annually, in response to inflation or when you remember? It’s a process and like all good processes, if you have the necessary bits in place, it makes life easier. For instance, if you write to clients to advise them of forthcoming price increases, a standard email message or letter template, where you can just change the details will safe time and effort.
Every business is different, but it’s worth examining yours and looking for where a simple system could streamline how things are done and set you free to focus on what you do best.