On the eve of every New Year, business owners and entrepreneurs tell themselves the same tired promise: “This is the year — I’m going to get organized, stop winging it with my marketing and finally take a vacation without the laptop!” Unfortunately, like most goals, you’re highly unlikely to achieve your objectives without the right systems in place.
Before we share the top 16 systems every business should consider implementing in 2016, write down your top three business headaches. These can range from the simple (“I get too much spam email…”) to the serious (“We never know when bills are coming or due because our books are a mess!”).
The process of identifying a problem and building a system for the solution doesn’t have to be difficult, time consuming or expensive — but it does require your attention. The good news is that you don’t have to do it alone.
One way to cement your commitment to the systems your business needs in the new year is to schedule an hour-long team meeting once a week at a recurring time. Each meeting should focus on one system or struggle. Begin by describing current practices, discussing suggestions for change and then making decisions as a team for how to move forward. As you work through the problem, I recommend assigning one person to document the system, even if multiple people will contribution to the solution.
The systems shared below can be your agenda for the year — if you take 2-3 weeks to refine and implement each system, then your Standard Operating Procedures will be operational by the year’s end!
Here are my top 16 Systems that every business should implement:
- Plan your big promotions and 2016 sales
- Guidelines and instructions for posting on social media
- A process for maximizing the dollars you spend on advertising your business
- Keeping your website fresh and up to date with new products, blog posts or business hours
- How to get your name in the news, including a media contact spreadsheet and checklist for PR coverage
- New client welcome sequences for each service you offer
- Ideas and guidelines for showing client appreciation
- Step-by-step process to identify and fire bad clients
- How team members request and plan time off
- Procedure for hiring new employees
- Oh, and some system for training those employees
- And a procedure for firing employees
- A simple checklist for payday and procedures for a hypothetical system glitch
- An inventory control and update system.
- Managing the mess that is your inbox.
- Going digital and starting a company wiki.
As you can tell, we’ve already shared strategies for many of these systems to get you started, as well as ideas on how to implement changes without causing a meltdown. We’ll keep bringing you more strategic system tips into 2016, so stay in touch!
And now I want to know: what other systems or processes would help your business grow and thrive in 2016?