April 7th, 2014
In this week's guest post, we're talking about systems. It's systems week in the Fearless Launching community and even in my business. It's where my head is right now. And I love how this post goes into some ways to start using systems in your LIFE in order to get ahead in your business.
Welcome back Alex at wpcurve.com to the blog for a follow up to his post on Super Simple Systems to Improve Your Business series. You can read Part 1 here.
Ready to learn how to have a PA in your pocket, save time, rapidly consume content and stay accountable to your goals?
How to have a personal assistant in your pocket
Siri is one of my best friends. Siri is an built in voice recognition feature of the newer versions of iPhone (4S, 5, 5C & 5S), the iPad and MacBooks.
Siri will save you time, reduce your stress and listen to all of your hopes, fears and dream. Sound too good to be true? It’s not.
Plan your day. She remembers everything you forget and loves to set reminders, send messages and set calendar invites on your behalf.
Answer your questions. Ask her to find a nearby cafe for your next important client meeting – she will give you a list.
Make you laugh. She’s got a wicked sense of humor.
My favorite business use for Siri is rapid content production. Every morning at 9AM, I don my wireless Bluetooth headset and produce between 1000 to 2000 words of draft content for our blogs… while I’m cooking breakfast.
Who said guys can’t multitask!?
Processes… you gotta have 'em
Standard Operating Procedures… Operations Manuals… Process Documents. Have you fallen asleep yet? Sure – they sound boring, but let me share a little secret. The most successful businesses I’ve worked for have detailed, step by step guides of everything (and I mean everything) that they do in their business.
Here are a few examples of simple business processes:
Sign up new customer
Change payment method
Refund a customer
Manage a complaint
Processes are so important to larger companies… they pay ridiculous rates to consultants to work on ‘process improvement projects'. How do I know this? Before I was an entrepreneur, I was a Business Analyst and charged ridiculous rates.
Write a business process once and then find someone else (like a Virtual Assistant) to execute it for you. You will be able to spend less time on low leverage activities and more time doing the things you love, like asking Siri to make you a sandwich.
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Haven’t documented a process before? No problem.
1. Create a Google doc
2. Write a step by step guide of each activity
3. Read it aloud
4. Test it
5. Share it with your assistant
Wow – I just wrote a process about how to write a process… how meta!
If you’re still stumped, here’s an example process manual created by Patrick Mckenzie, a very smart and successful software entrepreneur.
Eat like a queen (or king) for pennies
What if I told you that you never had to cook again? For most of us, outsourcing low value and menial tasks like cooking or cleaning are well within our reach, but we make excuses why we can’t do it. Money. I should do my own cleaning, etc.
I have a long, energy draining (but highly rewarding) work day. I get home and want to relax, unwind and enjoy quality time with my wife. The last thing I want to do is stand in the kitchen, fumbling over ingredients and cooking utensils I have no idea how to use. My abilities are limited to cooking turkey and
eggs for breakfast only.
I’m more than happy to invest a few extra bucks a week so I can relax and prepare myself for another big day. I called Munchery. They deliver nutritious and tasty meals directly to my door. Sounds fancy and expensive, right? It costs between $7 and $9 per meal and saves an hour of my time.
By the way, if Munchery or an alternative hasn’t made it to your city – you can always look for ‘personal chef’ on Craigslist.
3X your content consumption
This nifty little application works a treat for rapidly consuming content. Wait – what do audiobooks have to do with building a successful business? Everything!
You’re probably time poor, but that’s OK. You can use Audible when you're at the gym, on the bus or lying in bed trying to unwind from a long day at work.
Remember my reading list from Part 1 of this series? Check it out now. I’ve ripped through 3 audiobooks
Applying the learning from masters of business, copywriting and strategy has helped Dan and I grow our WordPress support service from $0 to $10,000 in monthly recurring revenue in just 6 short months.
The logical path to improving your business is learning from the best, applying what you learned and reflecting on the outcomes.
Here’s a link to a free trial to so you can see if Audible works for you.
editorial note: I listened to 2 podcasts and started an audio book on a recent trip to Portland. Audible rocks!
Be accountable to a friend or the public
I meet my workout buddy Justin at 10am, 4 days a week. If it was just me, I would make excuses and miss a workout or two every other week.
I know he’s waiting there each day and I’m not going to let him down.
We work to a program, record our progress and push each other to do our best.
Public goals are another form of an accountability system. We’ve publicly committed to creating 365 pieces of content this year. There are site for all types of public goals, including DietBet. You will be surprised how a little accountability goes a long way!
We'd love to hear which of these systems are useful to you! I know that I wasn't a believer in Siri, until I used her to download my notes from a conference. So – try one or all of these and let us know what you think.
Also – if you've got a simple system to share with our community, post it below along with any questions for our guest writer Alex.
My name is Alex McClafferty and I am the co-founder of WP Curve. WP Curve provides business owners 24/7 WordPress support for small fixes and maintenance from $69 p/m.