What do you do when there perpetually seems to never be enough time? And always feel behind the eight ball? And are putting out fires?
Most times, the false urgency we give to our days is caused by not having a structure in place to the business of how to run your business.
This is a fixable issue.
Even better – streamlining your business operations doesn’t need to be a yawn.
In fact, you can use the structure you add to your business to allow you the freedom you crave.
I know that typically I share a story demonstrating why a particular tool is important for your business or how I used a specific tip to achieve results in my business.
Today, though, we’re just going to dive right on in to the top four tools for streamlining operations in your business so that you can get them set-up and on to your business dreams.
#1 – Project Management Software
This piece of technology, PM software for short, allows your business to be organized each and every day.
PM software affords you the ability to take the high level view of the actions and projects that are driving your business so that you know what’s going on now and what’s on the horizon.
Plus, you can zoom way in to know who’s working on what and when it will be completed by (or what the hold up is).
All without touching your inbox.
The added bonus is that the tool gives you the space and place to dump all those fab ideas out of your head and get them down on virtual paper. Because your brain space is a precious resource.
After you’ve done a project brain dump into your PM software, your team can pick it up from there, assign tasks to the best person on your team to get it done, follow projects from start to finish, and have conversations about that specific project right in the software.
Everyone knows who’s working on what and when it’s due, while the software keeps notes, comments, updates and files all together in one convenient place.
That’s right, no more hunting around for that one email your designer sent with the three new logo options.
My top picks for project management software are Asana and Basecamp.
#2 – Online Scheduler
You know that a phenomenal client experience is important. You want clients to be able to schedule time with you for sessions.
That process needs to be easy-to-use for both you and the client so that you and your team aren’t fielding back and forth emails just to schedule one dang appointment.
Depending on the number of scheduling requests you get each week, this could save you and your team easily one to two hours a week, at minimum.
There’s also the additional progress that can be made on other projects because energy and time isn’t being used with those dozens of emails and accompanying headaches.
My top two picks for an online scheduler are Acuity and Calendly, for ease of use, both on the client side and your side, and for fantastic customer support.
#3 – Email Checking and Inbox Management
You should be checking your email no more than three times a day. There, I said it.
I understand, though. It feels uber productive to be in your inbox responding to emails all the livelong day.
Until, that is, it isn’t any more.
Because spending that day in your inbox is a time, energy and brain space suck. Not to mention, a productivity killer.
That means that in order to streamline your ops, you need to check your email two or three times a day, at maximum.
That looks like popping in at the very start of the day, at the very end of the day and maybe once in the middle, and only responding to emails at the very start and end of the day. The midday peek is just to keep an eye on things.
As the leader of your organization, smooth systems start with you. You set the tone for yourself, your team and your clients.
So if you want less overwhelm, less stress, more calm, more ease, you get to decide how that happens.
Checking your email no more than three times a day is a super stealth tip to get you there. It frees up the brain space so that you can work on your big business goals.
For inbox management I recommend using tools like Boomerang for Gmail and Outlook, or Daylite for Apple Mail.
#4 – Team Communications
You understand that if you’re going to scale up, you need to have an effective, productive team.
But… working in a virtual space, you lose the ability to just pop into someone’s office and ask a quick question or get a brief update like you would in that traditional office setting.
To bridge the gap, make sure you’re in regular contact with your team.
That can look like weekly team meetings, preferably held on video so everyone can see one another, via a video communications tool like Zoom.
For real time questions and feedback in between those weekly meetings, also incorporate voice communications with a walkie talkie app such as Voxer.
There you have it, my top four tools to streamline your operations.
Sounds pretty simple, right?
I’m not about overloading you with tech tools you don’t need or leading you down the path of SOS.
Really, it comes down to a few key tools that support your business vision coupled with clear direct communication with your team.
Photo by CoWomen on Unsplash