Not long ago, I was struggling to keep my head above water, trying to manage WAY too much. Unfortunately, this predicament isn't something that happens to me only. I know MANY businesses, organizations, and individuals that are currently under incredible stress, and exhausted due to juggling too many hats.
Sometimes it seems there just isn't a way out of the chaos. Hiring someone is not feasible. There's no time to recruit an intern. And volunteers, though great, just don't have the right skills.
So what CAN you do when you are on the verge of "drowning?" Create systems! With the right systems in place, you can eliminate quite a bit of reinventing the wheel. Also, systems provide a framework for hiring someone or recruiting an intern or volunteer. There is a clear expectation of what needs to be accomplished, and less time spent orienting because documented systems can serve as training material.
Here are the top 3 systems I recommend you put into place as soon as possible...
I recommend that you put marketing, sales, and customer service systems in place. For a non-profit, these correlate to marketing communications, solicitation, and donor/funder relations systems.
Marketing - compile all the facets of your marketing and then breaking those bits down into categories such as advertising, direct mail, newsletters, and press. Then go through and create timelines and workflow, how often tasks repeat, and how much money is allocated to expenditures in those categories. Also, list who does what throughout the process, if you have more than one person working in that area.
Marketing work and implementation can be outrageously cumbersome and can require a lot of repetitive tasks. That's why it is important to have a system in place for this category.
Sales - this work can be very complex. Like marketing, it requires a lot of steps. You need to be able to track your clients in the sales cycle, without having to rely on memory or searching for old emails. These methods work, but only if you want to stay super small as a business or organization. If you want to take things to the next level, you have to get out of this framework of sales. Find and use a sales CRM system that is simple and fulfills your needs. Then write down how you manage your potential clients and donors through this program. Keep notes on what happens before they enter the program, as well as what happens after the sale or donation.
Customer Service - this is a high priority when you run a small business or organization. Your customer reviews will make or break you. To keep a happy customer, you have to put a service system in place. Document all the steps a typical customer will go through, from their very first transaction to making them a loyal customer.
Before you say you don't have time for this, I suggest you look at your day and see where you can add another 30 minutes to your schedule. Those extra minutes can be spent on putting systems in place. There is motivation in that once you do it you will have more free time for the work you LOVE to do.
Now you tell me...what systems do you have in place, how have those systems helped your business? I'd love to know...leave a comment for me below.
As always, to your Illumination!