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5 simple steps to help you employ staff

5 SIMPLE STEPS TO HELP YOU EMPLOY STAFF

 

5 simple steps to help you employ staff

Is it time you employed staff in your small business? Here are 5 simple steps to help you do it right.

As your business grows, have you been thinking that you could do with an “extra pair of hands” to support you? Sometimes you might look to outsource certain functions, but you might feel that hiring someone is actually more aligned with your business trajectory and values. But where to start? Here are some essentials to consider when hiring employees and bringing them onboard.

 

1. Identify the tasks and skills you want to recruit for.

Let’s start at the very start, and ensure you are clear about what tasks you want assistance with, as this will aid finding the person with the right skill set.

In identifying these tasks, ask yourself:

Are you looking for someone to do a task that you don’t enjoy doing, or a task that isn’t your natural strength? For me this is marketing and graphic design! For you it might be accounts or procurement (for example)…

Or perhaps you have some “low hanging fruit” type of tasks that you can easily delegate to someone else which frees you up to focus on strategic or building the business activities?

Or do you have a project that has been on the “to do list” but you can never get to it?

Whatever it is, write these tasks down and use this as the basis for your recruitment.

 

2. Recruit the right person – for you.

Sounds simple doesn’t it! If only! Don’t just look at someone’s experience on paper, also determine whether their values are aligned with those of your business, and also consider if they have the interpersonal skills that you need. For example, is their customer service ethos aligned with yours? Do you need someone who can work autonomously and has great attention to detail?

Develop interview questions that covers the key skills you are looking for; and ask them of each person you interview as this will provide you with a consistent process to assess each candidate on and then select the one that is the best match for you.

 

3. Invest the time early on.

Make the time to have a comprehensive induction with your employee, as this is essential to the success of the employment relationship.

Make them feel welcome and a valuable part of the team.

Share with them your vision for the company and the role they will play in achieving this vision with the work they will be doing – creating purpose for employees is essential in engaging them and making them part of the journey of your business.

Also provide them with the tools they need to do their job so they can quickly get into the work – starting with some of the basics (such as IT equipment, email account, access to files, stationery, training on systems and processes, etc).

 

4. Create clarity.

Early on in the employment relationship also set goals for your employee about what tasks you want them to do and the desired standards for these tasks – not only does it create clarity for them about what they should be doing, it also sets expectations about the level of performance you require from them.

Also create a culture of feedback; whereby you regularly discuss with your employee the progress with their goals, which also reiterates to them what is expected.

 

5. Delegate!

You have made the effort of employing someone, so make sure you utilise their skills and delegate tasks to them! As a reformed perfectionist and control freak, I absolutely know it can be hard to let go of things (even more so when it’s your own business); but you hired them because you saw good in them, so give them an opportunity to shine!

Check in and remind yourself what you wanted assistance with when you decided to recruit and ask yourself – have you let all of these tasks go, or is there a phased plan in place to do so? If not, why not? Is it that you haven’t delegated enough, or do you have concerns about their competency that you need to address?

 

Recruiting for the right skill set that your business needs is essential; and the early stages of employment are essential to get right. Hopefully by following these steps you will be on the path to success for you, the employee, and the business.

 

RELATED: What Small Business Can Learn From The Game Changers in Culture.

 

Continue this conversation in our business community by becoming a She Will Shine Member. Join the She Will Shine business network today and connect with a community of Australia-wide women business owners.

 

 
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About Olivia Rowan
Olivia is an experienced HR consultant and coach, and utilises her business management superpower to bring a business lens to people management. After many years of corporate life in HR and business management, she established her own company to provide operational and strategic HR solutions to organisations. She also enjoys supporting people through coaching to grow and develop, achieve goals, and to make positive changes to their lives.

For more information about the services Olivia provides visit her website or contact her at olivia@olrcoaching.com

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5 simple steps to help you employ staff

5 SIMPLE STEPS TO HELP YOU EMPLOY STAFF Is it time you employed staff in your small business? Here are 5 simple steps to help you do it right and recruit the right skill set for your business needs.

read more

How did Rebecca start her Family Law Firm?

HOW DID REBECCA START HER FAMILY LAW FIRM? Rebecca McGowan shares what propelled her to pursue a career in Family Law, and open a practise that’s aligned with her values and mission to empower her clients.

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5 Ways To Increase Productivity In Business

5 WAYS TO INCREASE PRODUCTIVITY IN BUSINESS

 

Are you looking to increase your productivity in your business? Here are 5 ways to increase your productivity and improve efficiency for your business success.

 

So – your business is flourishing. Life is getting busier and every minute of your day counts. You’ve got the right technology in place and working hard but business flow is clunky and nothing is working how it should. What happened?

You’ve become a victim of your own success. You’ve been concentrating on the big picture, and your building blocks – the foundations of your business, are lost and forgotten, inhibiting your ability to scale. This is something we see frequently and it’s easily fixed.

 
 
Let’s review 5 key areas of your business and identify what you need to have in place for a truly productive business.

 

1. Document Management

Ineffective document management can lead to extensive frustration and lost time. It’s really not the most fun or interesting topic to talk about but it’s integral to your personal and business productivity. Think about how long you spend looking for documents, trying to figure out the latest version when there’s multiple copies with random file names. Worse still – you can’t find the document you’re looking for and end up re-creating.

So what do we need to do to get it right?

File Storage:
• Ensure your filing structure is clear and logical.
• Structure like sub folders i.e. clients, in the same way each time to allow everyone in your team to seamlessly navigate and find what they’re looking for.
• Set guidelines for your filing structure so that all new folders and all sub folders are defined,  replicated and ready to use.

File Creation:
• Develop document branding guidelines so every internal document has the same consistent formatting.
• Guidelines should include preferred font name & size for different header levels and paragraphs, preferred structure for footers and information to be included, colour codes to match logo fonts and position of logo (and if you have multiple logos – which one) on the page.
• Ensure that you use the styles feature in your document platform to make formatting quick and easy – if you’re not sure how this works, jump onto You Tube and view a quick tutorial. Invest 15 minutes in learning and you will gain that back for every document you create.
• Create naming guidelines and use version control when creating and updating your documents.  This will allow you to easily locate the exact document and version you’re looking for as you have structure around the naming convention. Eg. Doc_name_yearmonthdatev1 = Proposal_ABCCo_20180831
• Create templates for frequently used documents such as proposals, client research, client meetings etc. Ensure you save the document file extension as a template (.dotx in Word) so that it opens as a new document each time. Share these templates across the business so that everyone has access.
• If your current system is a dogs breakfast, don’t waste time re-filing and re-sorting all your old documents – it will be a waste of time. Simply create a new and effective system, pull existing files into your new system as you need them and sustain your new filing habits.

 

2. Email Management

Email is one of the biggest time wasters there is in business. It’s old and inefficient technology that’s become ingrained in our lives and given us bad habits.

How can you be more effective with email? Develop a system that works for you:
Action immediately: Process the email and ‘Do’ (complete the task immediately), ‘delegate’ (delegate or outsource the task) or ’delete’ (delete or archive the email)
OR if that process doesn’t work for you
Create 3 folders: Read, Action and Waiting then process your inbox into these folders to work from.

Reduce the amount of email landing in your inbox:
• Use your business email for business – keep personal separate.
• Use the rules & filter features available to put certain emails directly into certain folders i.e. articles you want to read into a read later folder. These emails will by pass your in box, reduce the volume received and also your overwhelm.
• Use an email plug-in such as unroll.me to unsubscribe from unwanted emails and bulk action others.

Automate information flow:
• Research the plug-ins and add-ons available for your email platform (you really need Google Apps or Office 365).
• Install the plug-ins for your CRM & Project Software. This will allow you to automate data entry of new contacts/leads and create tasks and projects from within your email platform, eliminating manual input and human error.
• Use a text expander platform or canned responses / templates to define frequent communications and eliminate the need to create time and time again.

 

3. Technology Management

When it comes to technology business owners shudder – they don’t want to know about it, they just want it to work. The good news is, pretty much all technology nowadays is plug & play (or pay and play). If you use one of the main email & calendar platforms integration is simple and many of the cloud based platforms are designed to connect with just a few clicks.

Top tips to help you manage your technology
• Ensure your email, calendar and cloud file storage seamlessly update across your mobile and other devices.
• Ensure your data is backed up. Automate your daily back up. Set it up once and check it’s working. There is nothing worse than losing your data. It could cost your business time and money.
• Use a password manager like Last Pass or One Pass. This will save you a huge amount of time finding and re-setting passwords. Another benefit is that you can securely share passwords: I share log-ins with my offshore staff without them ever viewing the actual password. If the relationship ends, I can easily revoke access with one click.

 

4. Knowledge Share & Communication

Whether you’re working with a team of 20 or a team of 2, (or if you’re planning on developing a team around you), streamline knowledge share and clear communication is essential. You need your people to be able to find exactly what they need quickly and easily, and it needs to have context so it’s not mis-interpreted.

Are you equipping your team for success?
• Have you developed business guidelines for employees and contractors? Your guidelines will share information around what expectations of them, what they can expect from you, how you work with clients etc. Sharing this information allows everyone to be fully informed of the business values and principles and will contribute to the flow of your business and overall productivity.
• Do you have a resource centre (maybe an intranet) that houses your internal policies and guidelines? Is there a location where staff can find information about internal business policies, resource documents and internal guidelines?
• How do you share updates about business goals, wins and losses? Having your team on the same page, working towards common goals massively increases overall business productivity.

Tools to communicate internally:
• Chat and Messenger platforms facilitate quick conversations. You may choose to use something you’ve already got in place like Skype or Google Chat.
• Slack or similar platforms allow conversation channels specific to topics/projects, and have search capability for easy information retrieval.
• Your project platform may also have message or conversation capability – this can be great for specific conversations around particular tasks/projects, as there is immediate context to the conversation and application of information.

 

5. Personal Productivity

There are hundreds of books and thousands of articles on this subject. It’s important to remember that not everything works for everybody. You need to find the tips and hacks that fit with your style of working. Here’s a couple that work for many.

Match your energy to task
• Map your energy levels throughout the day and identify when is best for you to complete certain tasks.
• When energy is high focus on tasks that require creative and strategic thinking.
• When energy levels decrease focus on tasks that create momentum, and when energy is low complete tasks that require less brain power.
• By understanding how your circadian rhythms work you can leverage your time in a more productive manner:  you’ll elevate the quality and quantity of your work and will achieve more with less effort.

Plan your day the night before
1. Start the day with purpose and focus instead of wasting the first 30 minutes (prime working time!) on mapping out your day.
2. Schedule time to implement. Don’t stack your day with back to back meetings, you need to plan time to actually do the work. Schedule time to delegate & plan after meetings so that you stay on top of what needs to be done.
3. Identify your non negotiable, must-do tasks for the day ( 1-3 usually works). If possible, complete first thing in the morning to give you a sense of accomplishment and help get your day into flow. Commit to yourself that these tasks will get done before you finish work for the day. Be realistic!
4. Carve out focus time during your day. Turn off everything, tell your colleagues you are unavailable and give yourself time to focus on the one thing that needs your attention. If you are able to enjoy focus time each day – you’ll be amazed at your increased productivity levels.

RELATED: Improving Productivity In Your Business And Life

 

The tips we’ve shared are just a taste of how you can help build your business foundations, improve productivity and get ready to scale. Work through those that are relevant to your business & see your productivity sky rocket!

 

Continue this conversation in our business community by becoming a She Will Shine Member today. Join the She Will Shine business network today and connect with an Australia-wide community of female founders.

 
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Debbie Eglin, Productivity HubAbout Debbie Eglin
Debbie Eglin is the Founder of Productivity Hub and knows that most small business owners are working far harder than they need to due to lack of smart systems and not having the right technology in place. She’s helping business owners achieve the lifestyle they crave through business systemisation.

Working in corporate administration for over 20 years taught Debbie that although business systems and processes aren’t sexy and are often unloved, they’re an absolute necessity for business productivity and growth. She’s translated this need to the small business market.

Debbie meets with small business owners who are frustrated at having to do it all which is inhibiting their ability to scale and focus on high value tasks. She’s developed a simple and transferrable method to help all small business owners systemise with ease.

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5 simple steps to help you employ staff

5 SIMPLE STEPS TO HELP YOU EMPLOY STAFF Is it time you employed staff in your small business? Here are 5 simple steps to help you do it right and recruit the right skill set for your business needs.

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The Importance Of Time Management

THE IMPORTANCE OF TIME MANAGEMENT

Time ManagementAs women we often feel like we are pulled in so many directions due to the fact that we wear many different ‘hats’ over the course of a day – that of a daughter, sibling, mother, friend, wife, business owner, employee, chef, caregiver, and the list goes on. It can regularly feel like you are a ‘juggler’ with many balls in the air all at the same time. 

Another thing women have a tendency to do is to turn on themselves at times when things don’t quite go the right way with everything they need to do. However, we should all remember that in most cases we are doing our best and usually that we are doing a pretty damn good job too! No one is a superwoman 100% of the time.

We all face time pressures and even myself as an organising expert & academic life coach, I often say I’d just love another hour or two some days just to get something done. Unfortunately, though time is finite and this is not possible – what is possible though is to ensure we manage the time we do have as effectively as we can. It is also extremely important to ensure that we still manage to find time for the little things we enjoy even though our schedules can be hectic and personal time can become a rarity.

To assist with all the various ‘hats’ we wear it is crucial to be a good time manager which in turn then links very closely with our level of productivity.

Here are my 16 tips to assist busy women with managing time both professionally and personally and in turn increasing productivity:

1. Using the right diary/calendar that works for you, your business and/or your family – this could be either a hard copy diary, a whiteboard planner, a wall planner/calendar, an electronic diary or even one of the many Apps that are available these days. In order to manage time, one needs to be able to see time and I cannot emphasize enough the importance of using something to assist you.

By using a diary that all the family or team is across it will make it much easier to know what is on and when. It is important that when using a diary that you note everything in it and those other family/team members can also access and use it. There are pros and cons to using either a hard copy or electronic diary but the important thing to keep in mind is whatever you use is that it works for everyone it needs too!

2. Use to do lists – often as women we have many different things on the go at once and sometimes think we will be able to remember everything. Unfortunately, our minds can only take so much and it is much easier on us mentally if we don’t try and retain it all. It is much better to declutter your mind by keeping to do lists.

You might like to keep physical to do lists or have these electronically in a device or an App (there are many great Apps available today so check some out and find something that suits you). Useful to do lists include having different ones within – for instance you might like to consider breaking it down into daily, weekly and longer term projects.

3. Take the time to plan – this is really important and by doing this you are more likely to save yourself time in the long run. With a plan you know what you need to achieve and don’t waste time having to work out what it is you need to do all the time.

I usually suggest to my clients that a Sunday night is a good time to prepare for the week ahead and if you have a family then having a meeting (doesn’t need to be long) with partners and older children in particular to ensure all activities are covered for the week ahead. This way no one can complain they didn’t know either!

4. Set boundaries for family time and personal time – women are often guilty of trying to just get that one more thing done which encroaches on one’s family or personal time. It is however important to have times where you do switch off from work both physically and mentally for both you and your family.

5. Stop multitasking – often as women we think we can juggle many different things at once.  Whilst at times it can seem possible, multitasking is really a bit of a myth and we are much better and more effective if we concentrate on one thing at a time and get that done before moving on to the next task.

6. Prioritise – knowing your priorities is another vital step when it comes to managing your time. In particular, it is worth taking the time (as mentioned in step 3) to plan so you know what things actually need to be done and what ones can actually wait.

One technique I often suggest is to have 3 items on your daily list – what are the 3 things that you must get done today? Then if you get through them then you can add others. Some days you may or may not achieve more than the 3 things and other days you might get through a whole lot more. It is important to recognize that either way it’s actually okay!

7. Don’t seek perfection/let go of what doesn’t really matter – as women one trap we can at times find ourselves in is trying to lead the so-called ‘perfect life’ and be seen to be in control of all those ‘juggling balls’. Sometimes on a work front, we can also get caught up in the finer details of something when just completing it can often be enough. Often in seeking perfection, we end up not being able to get the things we want to get done as we strive too hard for everything to be perfect rather than sometimes just saying it is good enough and it will do. Keep in mind that ‘done’ can be better than ‘perfect’ on occasions.

It is important to again take the time to determine what you can live with and what is essential in your eyes and that of your family to get done i.e. Can you live with the floors not being mopped every week or having all the beds made daily? Please note there are no right and wrongs here and you need to determine what your essentials and non-essential things are both on a professional and personal level.

8. Seek help/outsource and delegate – sometimes we again try to do it all when really it can be useful to ask for help from time to time, particularly during times of illness or business. Don’t be afraid to ask, as you will be surprised that others are more than happy to assist you. No doubt you will have the opportunity to repay the favour at times to assist them too. Why not look at sharing drop-offs and pick-ups with other mums for school or for after-school activities.

In terms of outsourcing and delegating there are no doubt some things that you actually don’t have to necessarily do yourself if you don’t have the time that can be outsourced or delegated to others. This can include administration tasks for work or on a personal level – cleaning, walking the dog, doing the shopping and even the laundry.

9. Have a ‘plan B’ – it can be useful to think about having ‘plan B’s’ for those times or things you are trying to do that don’t actually work out the way you had planned. Sometimes it is useful to think of these prior to doing something rather than putting pressure on yourself to come up with options or ideas when you are really busy and time poor.

For example, it can be useful to have a list of people you can contact if you get really stuck when you can’t leave work to pick up the children from daycare or school or your babysitter can’t make it as planned.

10. Take breaks – women sometimes just try and power through long to-do lists in order to just get it all done. Whilst at times this can be possible, on other occasions we can be more productive by having short regular breaks.

11. Learn to say NO – this is something many of us as women we can struggle with. I know that I was very heavily involved in kindergarten, school and sporting clubs at one stage and fortunately I realised that I had to learn to say NO to some things as I just didn’t have the time to do it all. It can be easy to over commit and volunteer our time before we actually even realise we are doing it! Being aware of your time in terms of what you do and don’t have time for can be useful in learning to say NO.

12. Weed out distractions – these days we are surrounded by distractions and most of what seems to take up both our time and energy can be our smart-phones, email notifications (on both our computers and phones) and in particular social media. It is so important to be able to manage and disconnect with this as it can be a huge time waster. Be aware that when you get distracted it can take you an average of 15-20 minutes to return to the original task after an interruption. Think about how much time you could be saving by eliminating such distractions before they occur.

13. Start your day a bit earlier – this can be a really effective way of just gaining a bit of time to make your day simpler. Even just 5-15 minutes more can make all the difference sometimes and take the pressure off both at work and at home. Why not give it a go and set the alarm a few minutes earlier tomorrow and see if it helps?

14. Put everything in its place – a lot of disorganisation, clutter and feeling overwhelm many of my clients experience, both in a work and home environment, is as a result of items/belongings not having a home or if they do not taking the time to put them away.

Often this is how clutter piles up and what would have been a very quick task in putting something away can become a larger task that you don’t really have time to tackle. A few examples of this include:

  • Paperwork – rather than having multiple piles of paper, files and notes on one’s desk it might be better to plan the time to regularly file away those you need to keep. Otherwise you can find yourself wasting time looking for things over and over sifting through piles rather than putting your hands on it quite quickly.
  • The laundry – when it is clean and dry take the 5-10 minutes to fold and put the clean items away rather than letting them pile up where you then add the next lot of clean clothes on top and then the pile just becomes bigger and more overwhelming.

It really does help by putting items away where they belong, as it can save you more time in the long run!

15. Cook extra meals – this is something you don’t actually have to do specifically but rather when you make a meal like pasta sauce or something else why not just increase the quantity. This way you will create a few extra meals you can add to the freezer for those times when you either run out of time to buy supplies or to cook a meal. Sometimes this can also assist by having that bit of extra food that you can take to work for lunches.

16. Prepare the night before – preparing the night before, by either working out what you need to do the following day or by putting out clothes or making lunches, will take the pressure off the next morning and make it a bit easier. Try and get the whole family on board for this, as it is a useful habit to develop for everyone, particularly children!

Finally, I’d like to highlight whilst you might be trying to do it all, please do remember one of the most important tips in that you also need to factor in some ‘ME’ time as well for your own sanity as well as that of everyone around you.  Finding that ‘ME’ time for yourself is crucial. If you fall in a heap, then quite often so can everyone else!

I trust some of these tips will assist you with the many juggling balls you no doubt have in the air all at once. Maybe even just pick out a couple and give them a go – what have you got to lose?



Amanda Lecaude, Organising YouAbout Amanda Lecaude
Amanda Lecaude is an organising expert and academic life coach who loves being able to help people – her clients – get organised. She sees the difference it makes in their everyday lives, particularly families, just to have a way to create some TIME, SPACE and BALANCE!  She is also very passionate about equipping school students with organising skills for life to maximise greater results primarily in secondary school and limit the overwhelm and frustration for both them and their parents. To find out more please visit her website www.organisingyou.com.au

The community supporting Australian female founders.

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5 simple steps to help you employ staff

5 SIMPLE STEPS TO HELP YOU EMPLOY STAFF Is it time you employed staff in your small business? Here are 5 simple steps to help you do it right and recruit the right skill set for your business needs.

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How did Rebecca start her Family Law Firm?

HOW DID REBECCA START HER FAMILY LAW FIRM? Rebecca McGowan shares what propelled her to pursue a career in Family Law, and open a practise that’s aligned with her values and mission to empower her clients.

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4 Simple Steps On What To Systemise First For Awesome Scale

4 SIMPLE STEPS ON WHAT TO SYSTEMISE FIRST FOR AWESOME SCALE

Scaling systems small businessMost business owners understand that systemising is a critical step to scaling their business. But where do you start?

In a perfect world, your people are delivering an amazing customer experience in line with your brand and values. But without good systems in place – that is, your processes, tech platforms and reports working in harmony, to guide your people down the right path, inevitably things fall back to the Owner to solve problems and drive the business.

Most business owners that have felt that pain know how important systems are to solving this, but struggle to know where to start. What to systemise first does depend on your growth stage of your business, marked by your revenue and the size of your team.

For the sake of this blog, let’s start at the freelance level and move into mature mid-market business. To provide concise advice on how to implement systems, let’s divide the process into 4 steps.

Step 1 – Systemise your ‘admin’ tasks
Particularly if you are a freelancer or micro business, you probably know how important it is to do “more with less”.

You have to eliminate all of those repetitive, non-creative tasks, and completely dedicate yourself to the actual building and innovation of your business. In other words, you have to maximize your revenue-earning hours.

How can you do this? For starters, you have to reduce time spent on paperwork tasks and backend issues like emails, invoices, etc. So starting there, organize all repetitive activities into backend procedures that can be followed up and done by a Virtual Assistant (VA). For example, have your VA follow the zero inbox philosophy which allows greater productivity by keeping your inbox as empty as possible at all times.

In fact, all those business hacks for increased efficiency and reduced repeatable activities become either easier or obsolete when you hire a virtual assistant. After you engage a virtual assistant to do this, your attention becomes untied, and you can focus on billable work.

Another example would be to create a procedure for gathering timesheets, schedules, and customer invoices, then train your Virtual Assistant to do it for you. Now, instead of spending your valuable time on each of these activities, you get the bundle of reports to either approve or send back for further refining. The most you might have to contribute might be a training video for your VA with further instructions on what you’re looking for. The idea, of course, is to get to the point where you’re simply reviewing and approving!

When I myself first ventured into my CTO business, I made the (back then) risky decision of hiring a virtual assistant, and it paid off. By relaying the ‘admin stuff’ to my VA, I liberated a big chunk of this otherwise unproductively spent time, and that saved me many hours in my working week.

That said, my company has its roots in leveraging Virtual Assistants for growth. We’ve even grown to offer these services to our clients in order to help them systematise their businesses as well. Also, Scale My Empire is managed mostly by an outsourced team. We practice what we preach!

Step 2 – Systemise Your Product Delivery
After you’ve taken the initial steps towards a proper systemisation of your operations, you will start to notice a shift in productivity. That is an essential part of scaling. As the Business Owner, however, it is critical that you are focusing your efforts on sales and strategy, not service delivery.

Why? Because, ultimately, your business would never scale beyond the hours you have available to service your customers. It’s crucial to empower people to deliver your service at the same level of quality as you. But, you can’t do that without a system.

So the next step is about systemising your service/product delivery.

Yes, each customer is different, and a one of a kind relationship develops between you and them. But, there are common points in the process of delivering products that can be repeated, hence systematised.

Holding onto the feeling that production is unique to every client is hindering your efficiency and productivity.

You always want your customers to experience the best from your business, and that doesn’t always have to mean a tailored delivery. In fact, your newfound system can pave the way for better service if it’s efficient.

Again, crafting procedures is what you want to do – turn your product or service delivery into a step-by-step process, whether it’s about creating websites, packaging, or delivering products. All aspects of delivery are susceptible to systematisation!

At this stage, you are beginning the process of real scaling!

From fulfilling orders to delivering products and services, everything that is systematised can now be conducted in a timely fashion because of programming. You don’t have to rely on yourself or your employees to remember a task.

Find ways to loosen the work from your shoulders and empower the people around you who are directly involved in the process. This helps them gain the initiative to make decisions that’ll strengthen their own leadership and expertise.

This is the moment when you benefit from a business that operates through concrete systems because you can remove yourself from the various stages of the process. With a system in place (however small), you can begin the process of adding other, more effective tasks to your plate that’ll actually help your business continue to scale.

Step 3 – Systemise Sales and Marketing
Congratulations. If you’ve arrived at this point, you are operating as a true business owner. You are spending your time on increasing business (sales) and working out how to take your products to market and generate leads (marketing).

I always recommend to my clients that the next step be to systematize sales and marketing, right after they implement systems in their product/delivery service department. Even after some of them have witnessed the success of systems in other fields, they tend to dismiss the value of sales/marketing systematisation.

They state reasons like the following: Too much investment. Who is going to script all of those processes, like competitor info, details about the product, documentation about closing deals? It seems all too troublesome.

Well, creating a standard and systematised selling process actually makes selling faster, more stable, and more efficient, with less effort. I have experienced, weathered salespeople. In other words, there are no rules in your sales process, no iterations, and no predictable results, as everyone does sales in their own way.

Being able to systemise your sales can allow you to discover what’s working for your sales force and what isn’t. You can quickly determine what is drawing profitable clients in and what’s pushing them back.

Nobody can sell my business like I can / I can’t articulate what makes me so good. We are often capable of performing our work very well but unable to articulate the means with which we achieved our favorable results. In that light, documenting our selling processes seems impossible.

To piggyback on the last point, this is where systemising and tracking your selling processes comes in handy. Organise a business meeting and talk with your people about the various ways in which they sell successfully. From there, you can create a solid selling system and continue to modify it as you go.

To scale your business, you need to increase the amount of total selling time available in your business. That means leveraging a team of people to do the selling for you. Once you have set your brand and marketing strategy, it’s crucial to let others work out the details to execute that strategy.

Implementing a marketing system means you’ll never again have to wonder if all of the work you’re doing is actually working. You’ll always have a clear idea of what direction to go in next even if the outcome still seems unsure.

Instead, you’ll have a list of predetermined tasks that can be completed in a set amount of time. You’ll be able to sit behind your computer desk and finish all market-related objectives without any pauses in creativity.

In other words, systems make marketing simple.

What else can the proper system do for you? Systems create results, or in technical terms, outputs.

When the process unfolds, you get your output that can either match or differ from the expected outcome. Such different outcomes have two consequences – they can mean a surprising benefit, which is great, or they can be a signal for you to tweak the systems a bit.

In her classic eBook “Get Clients Now”, C. J. Hayden writes:

“There is an interesting phenomenon that occurs when you get serious about marketing in a focused, consistent way. You begin to get results in unexpected places… Don’t make the mistake of thinking these out of the blue opportunities are accidents. There is a direct connection between the level of effort you put into your marketing and the results you get out of it, even when it seems as if the results are completely unrelated to your efforts.”

Systematisation is a necessary process to scaling a successful business but it does not replace all of the work!

Systems themselves are not automatic – Like with all systems, you have to dedicate time to set them up. You have to be responsible for what you set up at the beginning of the system in order to be satisfied with what comes out at the other end.

Systems require supervision – While they are automated, you still have to monitor their performance. You’re responsible for maintaining and tweaking them when you hit any unpredicted fluctuations.

Regardless of this, the benefits of systems in marketing and sales are many. As someone who underwent the same improvements as you will if you decide to take this step, I guarantee that you won’t regret it!

Step 4 – Iterate, Iterate, Iterate
Well, you’ve reached the point where you’ve now begun to systematise all aspects of your business.
So, you stop here, right?
Of course not! The journey is never really complete.

As you refine the idea of your ideal customer and the product/service that you offer, you’ll have to adjust your systems to go along with your innovations. When you want to increase the impact of your business, you have to turn up the switch on your systems too.

How? Well, you build a system for creating and modifying systems! Simple as that.

It boils down to the business valuation and profit that systematisation brings. When conducted in your business, you implement the right tech tools and devise a suitable strategy. What you want to achieve is that tech tools match your business tools, and systems match your business policies.

The result should be an awesome customer experience, productive and efficient teams, and intelligent reporting. It will bring you more profit while it turns your business into something more innovative and competitive. If you follow that recursive process of systematisation, you’ll notice that you’re growing, while your profit margins remain the same as they were in the initial stages of your small business.

To stress how important this growth is, let’s look at some statistics: In Australia, there are 2 million small businesses that are trying to grow. Conversely, there are only 27,000 mid-tier businesses. So, how many businesses succeed in reaching mid-tier?

Exactly 0.74%. A fraction of a percentage.

Here at SME, we use systematisation to help our clients effectively scale from small to medium, and escape the contraption of increased expenses while their profits remain the same.

Systematisation helps you scale. Scaling helps you healthily grow both your business and your profits.

When you grow from 10 to 20 people, and then to 30 people and beyond, you’ll notice that you can no longer run your business on spreadsheets, personal contacts, and relationships. (Or, not for very long anyway, since attrition will either get at your profits or stress levels!)

Looking to scale? Prepare to systematise. And, brace yourself for growth!



Scott Gellatly, Scale My EmpireAbout Scott Gellatly
With an extensive background in large-scale IT and project management, Scott Gellatly, founded Scale My Empire after recognising this growing overwhelm of solutions on the market and the need for smart, cost-effective technology strategies for Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners.

After many years of technology consulting and implementation, Scott has built a framework that can help any business owner to take control of the systems and scale up their business.

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How To Find Your Ideal Virtual Assistant

HOW TO FIND YOUR IDEAL VIRTUAL ASSISTANT

Outsourcing Virtual Assistant10 steps to help you find the best virtual assistants and fast-track building a powerful virtual team.

So many businesses start out as solo operators. And that’s fine – it’s usually the idea or the ‘love child’ of one person who decides to start the business. You work tirelessly, doing it all – admin, building a website, being social, bookkeeping…

If you’re like most new business owners, you’ll be so focussed on the running of your business, that the actual ‘doing’ of the thing we need to be doing to make money slowly gets neglected. These vital tasks include providing messages, pitching to potential customers, creating strategies for clients etc.

Soon, it becomes harder to fit everything into your day, and things start falling apart. Invoices don’t get sent (so you’re losing money), customers aren’t being nurtured (so you’re losing sales), and agreements aren’t being signed (so you’re leaving yourself open to being burnt).

After a little while, it becomes obvious that running a successful business needs a team.

And yes, this can be very intimidating for many soloist business owners.

You’re looking at putting your trust into a virtual stranger who’s going to see your business undies – the private bits of your business that you previously reserved for your eyes only.

But outsourcing doesn’t need to be the big, bad, scary thing you may have heard horror stories about.

Here are my top 10 tips to start your virtual assistant outsourcing journey on the right foot

Step 1:
Take a deep breath. You need to stop and clear your head. Visualise your to-do list by getting it all out of your head and written down on paper. Break these tasks down into individual tasks.

Step 2:
Either on a piece of paper or using a program like Word or Excel, create 2 columns. In one column write the things that you need to do to make money – the things that are vital for you to be doing.  In the next column write the things that could be done by someone else, even if you think it’s easier just to do it yourself.

Step 3:
Next to each item, mark down the value that activity brings into your business and the amount of time you spend on that activity. Many items (like bookkeeping or social media) won’t have any financial value. Place a star (or heart or whatever little symbol you love) next to any task with no financial value which must be done by you. These are the tasks you don’t want to outsource.

Step 4:
Look at how much time is being spent on items without a star next to them (the no-financial value items that don’t have to be done by you). Calculate that amount of time by the highest value activity you do as an hourly rate. For example, 20 hours x $80 (massage services) = $1600 per week.

This amount is the amount that you could potentially be earning if you weren’t spending that time on those activities.

Step 5:
Start looking at how you can get help for the activities your wasting time on. Are there tasks which can be bunched together and managed by someone with a certain skill set? Are you looking at one, two or more different sets of skills that you need to have covered?

For example, you may find you need a bookkeeper, a social media manager and an email manager to cover the various areas. Some social media managers can do email management too, so you may only need two VAs.

Step 6:
You don’t need to get all your ducks in a row. You don’t need to ‘fix’ everything before you speak to a virtual assistant with the skillset you need. You just need to make contact. Highly skilled VAs can guide you on how to outsource and in time, you’ll build up trust.

Visit Virtually Yours and submit a request for support. Include what you do, what you are trying to achieve and which skills you need the VA or VAs to have. Don’t worry about location. They don’t need to work next to you. With online meeting resources such as Zoom and Skype, you can still have a cup of coffee, chat and show each other what’s on your computer screen. Skills and personality fit are much more important.

Step 7:
Start having conversations. Speak to the VAs who contact you and see whether you communicate well together, they have the skills and availability you need, and they fall within your budget. Remember, you could, with the right support, be making an extra $1600 per week if you are working on the right activities. Also, remember that you get what you pay for.

Step 8:
Start with some smaller tasks to see how well you work together. While your new VA should already have the skills, they still need to learn your processes, goals and style of working. Allow for some adjustment time. Never start working without a written agreement in place which includes expected outcomes, boundaries, pricing, privacy and confidentiality.

Step 9:
Start handing over more work, and slowly spend more time on your valuable activities. Let your VA know what the outcomes need to be and don’t stress about each step along the way. If your VA knows what they are doing, you can relax! Make sure you catch up regularly for a skype chat to stay on the same page, keep moving in the same direction and identify goals and opportunities together. Schedule these, so they don’t fall to the wayside.

Step 10:
Fall in love. You’ll probably realise, on finding the right VA, that you have room in your heart for one more love of your life. Your business love. That’s ok. Don’t be embarrassed. It’s a great thing!

Be cool with your business undies (your VA won’t tell everyone your style)

You may find that during his process you need to show your VA your ‘business undies’. That’s what I call the administration behind the business. And it may not be glamorous. It may even feel a little embarrassing. But don’t worry. A VA understands that administration isn’t your zone of genius and you can shine in different areas. Let them shine in the administrative role instead.

Depending on the tasks involved you may need to share passwords and login details with your VA. You’re likely to show them your Intellectual Property and your trade secrets. It’s important to have a strong level of trust and to also include clauses around confidentiality and privacy in the signed agreement.

Depending on where you source your VA, you may need to consider what you will and won’t share with them. A VA within your country will need to abide by the same laws as you, so this can be reassuring. However, if they are offshore and not signed with a local company, you may find that the laws don’t apply.

Factor in your business goals

When selecting your VA, consider whether you want them to be an employee of another company or a self-employed contractor. You’ll have different financial obligations for both regarding taxes and entitlements. On top of that, you will find that the VA may have a different type of focus depending on whether they’re an employee versus self-employed. ‘

For some tasks, you may not care. For other tasks, having someone on board who is also running a business, who understands your business culture, and who is networking and building their business community (and therefore yours) may be a significant asset.

Knowing exactly where you want to go with your business and how the VA fits into this journey will help with these decisions.

And my final thought; make sure that above all else, the communication between yourself and your VA becomes a priority – it’s what makes a good partnership and great partnership.



Rosie Shilo, Virtually YoursAbout Rosie Shilo
Rosie Shilo has created a thriving and ever growing network for Virtual Assistants, Virtually Yours, a network for over 190 Australian Virtual Assistants founded in 2004.

Rosie has mentored many new and experienced VAs in their business, and seen them overcome many hurdles to achieve amazing goals. This inspired her to write ‘VA VA Voom: How to become an amazing VA and every client’s most Valued Asset’ which was published in May 2014 and has sold hundreds of copies to date. She has also launched her own VA podcast Outsourcing Mysteries Exposed.

This passionate woman is a true asset to the Virtual Assistant industry and her desire to see the industry grow and develop shines through in everything she does.

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