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3 BUSINESS SYSTEMS YOU NEED ASAP

The time-saving, heavy-lifting, magic-working systems that'll save your sanity + your biz

TRUSTED BY
DrMichaela Michaela Bucchianeri health and wellness systems aerial view of succulents

 

In therapy, I talk with clients about how strong emotions often carry important information + highlight opportunities to make some kind of change in our lives.

It’s the same in business.

If you’re feeling irritable, exhausted, and constantly scrambling to play catch-up… these are signs some kind of change is in order.

My suggestion?

Start with systems.

When you’ve got the right systems in place, your business will run more smoothly + efficiently. And that means you can go back to being your delightful, energized, ahead-of-the-game self!

Read on for 3 time-saving, heavy-lifting, magic-working systems that absolutely must be priorities in your business:

1) Organize complex series of tasks into workflows.

“Workflow” isn’t just another square on your Business Lingo Bingo card… 😉

It’s actually a very important concept to understand.

In short, a workflow is simply any series of tasks required to accomplish a repeatable goal in your business.

This is distinct from one-off tasks (e.g., writing a press release) or an assortment of different tasks completed together for one purpose (e.g., planning a live workshop).

Rather, a workflow is comprised of tasks that occur in a specific sequence. And, importantly, it occurs with some regularity in your business.

For example, in my therapy practice, every week I rely heavily on workflows for:

  • blog post creation
  • on-boarding new therapy clients
  • facilitating outside referrals

In your business, you might have additional workflow needs, such as:

  • paid marketing
  • scheduling + reminders
  • billing + accounting
  • insurance 
  • client retention + follow-up

The whole point is to have a framework to rely on when you go to repeat a set of tasks in your business. No sense reinventing the wheel, right?

Many organizations lay out elaborate workflows in graphic “maps”. But, for solopreneurs + small business owners, a simple list of tasks is usually good enough.

Here’s my basic workflow for on-boarding new therapy clients via my Psychology Today profile:

  1. Client sends email inquiry via directory Contact button.
  2. I forward email to my office manager.
  3. I respond to client inquiry with templated message (see section on automation, below).
  4. Office staff contacts client to gather information, answer initial questions, and schedule intake session.
  5. Client completes intake paperwork + submits electronically.
  6. Office staff sends appointment reminder.

Note that in the workflow above, I’m involved in 1 stage of this workflow. That’s what’s currently working best for me.

In some workflows (e.g., blog post creation), I’m involved at every stage.

Other workflows, however, (e.g., new therapy client on-boarding via phone) run from start to finish without me.

How?

I’m glad you asked…

2) Automate, automate, automate! 

The goal here is to reduce the burden of tasks you’re completing in your business unnecessarily.

(This doesn’t mean the tasks themselves are unnecessary. It just means you don’t need to be quite as involved.)

When I think about automation, I like to break it down into 2 categories:

  • Tech automation: Tasks that are outsourced to a tool (i.e., not handled by me)
  • Self-automation: Tasks that I streamline/simplify (i.e., to make life easier for future me)

Let’s start with tech automation

These are the tasks that don’t actually require your ongoing involvement at all. Once you’ve got the system in place, you’re free to go.

In the parlance of late-night infomercials: Set it and forget it!

There are so many awesome tools out there (and more popping up every day!). But, here’s just a mere sampling of the tasks you can outsource to a cheap (or FREE) tech resource:

  • advertising on social media
  • client inquiries
  • client scheduling + reminders
  • contract signing
  • email autoresponding
  • email response scheduling
  • email subscription management
  • online form completion
  • payment collections
  • social media scheduling

Cool, right?

But, don’t be so dazzled by the tech that you lose sight of your actual needs.

I recommend taking a good look at your day-to-day business operations, and coming up with a list of the top 5 to 10 items you’d like to automate. Then, start looking into options.

Now, let’s turn to self-automation

These are the tasks that you’re still technically handling yourself, but occur so frequently that it’s worth streamlining the process.

Again, your specific needs will depend on your business, your niche, and your work style.

But, here’s one that just about everyone can benefit from self-automating:

EMAIL.

That’s right. That great, big, time-sucking black hole that’s eating up hours of your day. Every day.

Email is super-tricky because it feels so productive.

We’re serving our dream clients!
Knocking off tasks!
Getting s#%& done!

…right?

Wrong.

Email is a huge time-waster.

And yet, the vast majority of us have to deal with it. Here’s how to automate it:

  1. Put your email provider to work for you. Does your email client have a built-in sorting feature? Use it. Target’s weekly deals, and any other of the thousands of mass mailings that go out each day, should never reach your inbox.
  2. Become an Email Ninja. I’ve talked about this at length because I believe in it so strongly. We’ve been using email all wrong, you and me. Commit to purging your inbox of To Do list items + lingering tasks, and set firm limits on the number of times you check it throughout the day. At a minimum: DON’T start your day with it.
  3. Create + use templates. When Psych Today (or whatever referral directory you use) sends you a new client inquiry, are you crafting a brand-new response from scratch. OH, NO YOU ARE NOT. It’s not necessary, friend. I promise. Take 10 minutes to craft a thoughtful template + it’ll continue working for you for years to come! Want an example? Here’s the one I use for every new prospective client who emails me through my Psych Today directory listing: “Dear {NAME},Thank you for getting in touch with me! It’ll be my pleasure to meet with you as soon as possible. If they haven’t already, a member of our office team will be in touch with you to identify a day and time that works well for you. In the meantime, you might find this blog post helpful {LINK}. Take good care, and I’ll look forward to meeting you soon!” (<– Note that the bulk of this message isn’t specific to the particular client. It doesn’t need to be. My new clients are consistently sharing that this (templated) message helps them feel respected + cared for.

3) Tackle similar tasks in batches.

When you’re running your own business (and especially when you’re first getting started), it’s natural to focus on one project at a time:

1 blog post…
1 social media caption…
1 email to your list…

And this approach makes sense, in theory:

See the thing through, from start to finish.

The problem? It’s not the most efficient way to tackle your projects.

Know what is?

Batching.

Batching is simply the process of taking similar tasks, and completing them all in the same sitting.

You know, like baking a batch of cookies. Or eating a batch of cookie dough. (No? Just me?)

The beauty of batching tasks is that it keeps your head in the same game without interruption. And uninterrupted time is productive time!

Take blogging, for example:

Sure, you could treat each blog post like its own project, beginning with keyword research and ending with promoting it on Pinterest. And dipping in and out of a zillion different kinds of tasks along the way.

Orrrrrr…

You could choose any of the little steps in that project and complete that step for 5 different blog posts at a time!

For instance, you could…

  • Research keywords for 5 different posts.
  • Craft 5 blog post titles.
  • Select 5 blog post images.
  • Design 5 Pinterest pins.

And you’ll complete each of these little batches more quickly + efficiently, simply because you’re staying focused on a single type of task!

PRO TIP:

Looking for potential tasks you can batch?

Look no further than your workflow! 


Let’s take action!

OK, here’s your action step for today:

  • Choose 1 of the business systems from this post to implement this week. (Be sure to share in the comments, so we can encourage you!)

Cheering you on!


TAKE THE QUIZ + FIND OUT!


HI!  I’M MICHAELA. 

I help health + wellness professionals connect with their dream clients through genuine, engaging communication. After spending over a decade studying, researching, and teaching psychology + communication principles, I started this business to empower health + wellness professionals like me to “preach what you practice”. I share practical guidance so you can get clear on your unique value, communicate it with heart, attract + serve the people you love working with most… and actually have fun along the way.

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