The most common question is: Where do I start?
It usually happens like this: A small business owner (a life coach, business coach, author, blogger, designer, realtor, etc.) finds my website through a Google search or from a friend, so they sign up for a free consultation. We get on the phone together, and they start telling me about the big plans they have for their business and where they’re getting stuck. Once they lay it all out, I ask them what their desired end-result is.
At this point, they are totally stuck for a coherent answer, or they have a very clear idea of what they want. In both cases though, they don’t even know where to start.
This is a really good opportunity to start talking through your list of everything that you’re doing on a typical day. From checking email in your inbox, writing blog posts, recording podcasts, making videos, updating social media, creating programs, to working one-on-one with clients. Knowing how you spend your day will help me determine how we can best support you.
What is giving you grief right now?
Next, we’ll talk about which of these tasks are giving you the most grief right now. Are you blog posts sitting there unfinished? Do you publish them but forget to share them? Is your newsletter going out on a schedule, or is it just when inspiration (or guilt) strikes? Are clients not getting answers to questions quickly enough? Are you creating programs for clients but no one knows?
Mentally, I am categorizing these tasks while we’re talking. What will have the biggest impact on you if we were to take it over right away? Is the lack of having a solid social media plan in place eating up your time, keeping you from responding to clients? I’m looking for three systems we can focus on to streamlining right away.
Some clients have a whole list of things they want to take off their plate because they either are so overwhelmed that it’s taking over their life, or they want to grow and start focusing their efforts elsewhere. Often this is unnecessary and can be a recipe for disaster.
Fix your systems
See, when we focus on creating or maintaining three systems that will make a big impact on your business, what we’re doing is strengthening the foundation of your business. Your business, your systems, your quirks, and they way you work are all new to us. If we were to jump in and try to take care of all of them at once, there is no way for us to get to know your business on a deeper level. We’d be frantically trying to learn everything AND make them better all at once, and in my experience, that never works well for anyone involved.
So we start with three. Once we get one system under control and running smooth, we can take on another one and start the process over with the next impactful item on your list, and so on and so forth.
Here is what it typically looks like:
- Client has multiple parts to her business that need to be worked on:
- Blog posts need to be edited & published
- Images need to be found and watermarked for blog
- Newsletter needs to go out weekly
- Blog post needs to be shared on all social sites, multiple times on twitter
- New membership program is in the works but is going nowhere
- Potential clients and coaching clients are scheduling throughout the week
- Storing forms, systems, templates and other “stuff” in Google Docs, Evernote, & Dropbox
- Using Asana for project management, but still having a hard time tracking todos and documents
- Leaving for vacation in two weeks and will be working from laptop as usual
- Want to make multiple updates to website, possibly change out theme or create new brand
- As the client is listing off all the things that need to get done, I am picking out the most urgent and impactful items:
- Blog posts
- Social media
- Systems storage
- I make a plan for the top three systems we’ll be working on:
- Blog + Newsletter publishing (from draft to published, including images)
- Social media sharing system for blog posts
- Scheduling system in place
What systems will you choose?
These are three very important, impactful systems that need to be implemented right away. You may be looking at this though, thinking that getting all of your forms, images, documents and systems stuff need to be organized right away, and that it was wrong of me to not add that to the list.
You’re right, it is important, but I can get the scheduling & social media components into place quickly and easily, relieving a lot of stress on your end. Once I do this, we’ll have more space in our minds to plan out exactly how you want to store your systems, and what makes the most sense right now AND down the line.
If you have a question you’d like for me to answer, leave it here in the comments or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org – make sure you put “Ask April” in the subject line!
Are you actively looking for someone to partner with you in your business to make it a happier, more productive, more organized place to be? Schedule a free business chat with me to see if I can help!