Simple And Effective Business Systems
This month’s article is inspired by a conversation I had with a new supplier this week. I found out about this supplier from a market friend who highly recommended this lady, her business ethics and product.
So I sent her an email after market one Saturday saying who I am, how I knew of her, what my business requirements are and asking for her to send me a price list and catalogue. I heard nothing. I called a couple weeks later and had a lovely conversation with her and was promised the details. Nothing came through. I phoned again this week with a test order – a small quantity order – and another request for a price list and catalogue.
Why did I, the potential customer put so much effort into it all? Because I liked her from what my friend had told me and my first conversation with her, I realised she was running her small business in a very typical fashion – few systems, always running from urgent need to urgent need, frantic and working in the business rather than on the business. Plus, she had been nothing but pleasant and polite with me – manners make the world go round better.
Our conversation this week confirmed all these assumptions. I had been in her thoughts each week and she had all the right intensions to send out the information but it hadn’t happened because she doesn’t have systems in her business. The business is running her life when she should be running the business’s life through simple and effective systems.
So what simple system could she have to make sure she converts potential customers into spending customers? The answer is very easy, takes a couple hours at most to setup and saves hours and earns lots of income.
All that is needed is to set up a folder that has a price list and catalogue, a general thank you for your enquiry letter, envelopes, current business cards, a frequently asked question and answer sheet about the business and products, an order form and a new customer tracking form. So when a new enquiry is made a rapid response can be made that impresses the enquiring potential customer and gives them the information and tools to place an order quickly.
The new customer tracking form simply captures information about the enquiry and can also act as a reminder to follow up on these leads. All that needs to be set is a regular time to make follow up phone calls and the details are all there in front of you.
The next step is to write down all the steps involved in the process of looking after new enquiries. This will form a key part of your business manual that makes your business more valuable and lets others come in a work the business systems for you when you need to be doing other things.
So what is so important about having a simple system to follow up new business leads? Income. As simple and vital as that.
You might get 80% of your business from 20% of your regular customers but you must always be able to bring in new customers so you can build on that critical 20% that keeps your business going and growing.
Without new customers your business will, at some stage, stagnate and then disappear into nothingness.
I really recommend focusing on systems for your business. No matter what size it is you need to be able to grab opportunities and look after existing activities.
If you had such a folder that allowed you to rapidly reply to new enquiries you could also use it to share information about your business with a magazine editor who wants to profile your product or service in her magazine.
Systems are made of building blocks that can be easily re-used in different ways, for different opportunities. There is no rocket- science in any of this, it is simply about thinking things through, being organised little step by little step and building solid foundations for your business.
If you want to learn more about business systems read and study Michael Gerber’s “E-Myth” book (widely available and easy to read) and check out the improved Business Tips section on the website.
Just remember, business systems give you freedom, time and income, are simple to build progressively and makes your business less reliant on you and more valuable in the long term.