It’s a new week, new month AND new quarter, which means we shift to a new focus……the small things.
Let me introduce you to my 1%-ers.
I am going to share a whole raft of ‘small things’ that you can do, that will make a huge difference in your business.
In no particular order, here are the first that come to mind ~
1 – Email templates – identify all the routine emails that you send in your business. Thank you emails, follow up for info, on boarding routine, request testimonial or feedback…the list goes on. I am quite sure in your business, there will be identical or similar emails that you send more than once. And if you don’t have an automated system such as if an e-commerce business, then these emails can be a huge time suck. Recommend: draft all routine emails and save them with highlighted sections that need to be adjusted to suit or change names etc and name them. Once filed they can simply be cut and paste as required and are great for when you start growing a team and involving them in sending these routine emails.
2 – Customer experience – whether you are online or offline, the experience your customer has, is crucial to your success. Whether they connect via email, phone, website contact form, database, social media or walking in through your premises door, what will their experience be? Will it be the same every day or at any time of the day? Consider all of your touch points and then reflect on what a customer will experience on any given day or time – holiday time, busy times, out of hours…..how can you ensure that what ‘greets’ them, is a strong reflection of your brand. What will they see, read, hear, smell, feel? Test it out!
3 – Copywriting – a real bug bear of mine is spelling and grammar errors within key areas of the business – websites, printed material, signage especially and yes even the best of ‘em get it wrong! I am not soooo hung up about social media as I totally get that it is easy to make mistakes when typing on phones or you have a team creating social content – of course ideally you want to avoid frequent errors on socials, but the odd one is forgivable. Try to avoid it in main headers, or promotions, landing pages and lead magnets, paid ads or more personal messages. Remember – it’s the small things that make the biggest difference and build your brand.
4 – Managing new leads – for those of you in the service industry new leads are essential in the same way as new customers coming through the door of a shop, or new customers purchasing online. I will address them separately. For service based, let me ask you, do you have a process that is repeatable and manageable, to handle new leads no matter how they find you? Is it documented? Are all involved clear on their role in the process? Is it trackable? Is the process reviewed regularly? Can you automate any part of it to save time or money? Does it deliver a great experience? Can it cope with increased volume?
5 – The door bell tinkles…..what next? How do you and/or your staff, respond? Are they on their phones? Are they distracted with another task? Do they make eye contact? Do they smile? Do they greet with a friendly tone? Are they well-presented? Do they know your stock? Are they enthusiastic? Can they offer valuable advice and suggestions? Is this consistent no matter what time of day or day of the week?
6 – Knowing your numbers – this takes no explanation and you will all know the importance of this one, yet I guarantee there will be many of you who don’t have a tight grasp on your numbers. What do I mean by a tight grasp? If you use accounting software, how often do you reconcile, how often do you review your P&L, do you know how to read your P&L, do you know your profit margin, do you track all expense lines, how do you manage cash flow? My recommendation is, that even new businesses will benefit from using accounting software from the beginning as you can form good habits and track your numbers from day one. It also makes it much easier to use an accountant to support you with your tax returns or do your own BAS returns and even manage payroll. There are several options out there, some free or very low cost. My advice – use a system that can grow with you. I use Xero but take a look at the options out there and seek advice to find the option best suited to your business.
7 – Consistency – now this can be consistency with literally anything in your business – be it reconciling your accounts, changing your window displays, posting to socials, sending out newsletters, cleaning your mobile vehicle, updating your website, conducting team meetings. Whatever it is in your business that contributes to the efficient and effective operation of it, it must be consistent – and my big takeaway here is, if you can’t be consistent with it, consider how you can, what systems can you put in place to make it happen consistently and if you can’t be consistent, consider if you need to be. Quite often if you can’t be consistent you are better off waiting!
8 – Staff training – for those of you with staff, this needs to be something you address regularly whether they are casual, part time, full time or VA’s. Without an efficiently functioning and trained team, business becomes even more challenging. Your people should be your biggest asset, they certainly are for me. But they need your attention as much as your clients. I won’t pretend it is easy as at times it isn’t but with the right team, you can remove an awful lot of pressure on yourself. A couple of things I do to keep teams engaged and efficient – I have a weekly team meeting with a simple agenda to ensure everyone knows what is being worked on, goals and direction, share and celebrate wins and look at the dairy ahead. I also ask regularly if there are any skills they would like to learn or any tasks they would like to work on. I keep an eye out for professional courses and training opportunities to send them on – can be virtual or face to face.
9 – Time out. Yes, we all need time off to reset. Time off helps to reignite creativity, step back and spot opportunities or ways to improve things. Don’t be tempted to work 7 days a week and have a laptop or phone with you 24/7….it doesn’t pay off in the long run. And after all, if you are flying solo, who is going to pick you up when you burn out? When social media is flooded with entrepreneurs seemingly making millions whilst sitting on a beach sipping cocktails, it can be tempting to burn the candle at both ends and appear busy. In reality, you are rarely productive when working tired.
10 – I couldn’t finish on 9 😉 so #10 is probably one of the most important and something everyone should do regardless of being solo or with a team, and that is create SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures). Processes are crucial for growth and scalability and to keep improving. You might be thinking, you don’t have a need for SOPs, but believe me you do and once you write them, you will be amazed. It can be as simple as how to upload a blog to your website, how many times a week you post to each social platform, or how to package an item for shipping. There will be multiple processes in your business that you undertake daily, weekly, monthly and even annually…..my advice? Document them. They can be video tutorials (I love using Loom for this) , a word doc, screen shots, diagrams…whatever works for you and allows someone else to follow the process. You will thank me when you want to take that well-earned break and need a VA to take on some tasks! And if you follow them and realise the process isn’t quite right, update them! If you have a team, I ask them to update them. And when you recruit someone knew, I get them to have a go and see if they can follow them – that is the real test.
There you go – my 1%-ers….although I have more, these are a great start…….I’d love to hear what you think and if you use any of these or which one was the most useful to you.