Today I want to talk to you about a concept that is not sexy at all – how to systemize your business for increased productivity.
I know it sounds a bit boring, BUT trust me – it can be a massive game-changer if you’re feeling like I was a few years ago.
A few years ago I was feeling really overwhelmed, really stressed, and after a sustained period of time where I was working too many hours I reached a point of complete burn out.
I wanted to grow my business and make more money, but I simply could work any more hours in a week. It physically wasn’t possible.
And that’s when I decided I need to take my mentor’s advice and start to figure out a way to work less, but make more!
Here’s how to systemize your business for increased productivity
The concept of ‘working less but making more’ never felt natural to me, coming from a family background where everyone worked really hard and expected to put years into a career in order to succeed.
At no point in my family’s DNA was there this entrepreneurial concept of making my money work for me or building any leverage into my income streams!
But these days, there are strategies and tools readily available to even the smallest of business operators that allow you to work smarter, not harder, and make more money doing it.
So, without further a-do, here are some of my best tips for systemizing your PRODUCT business, increasing your productivity, and making more moolah without working yourself to the bone!
1. Get clear about your focus for the year
The first thing that’s super important is to be very clear about exactly what your focus is for the year. Depending on how long you’ve been in business, your focus will be different.
If you’re in dream-up stage, still developing your product, your focus will be on designing, testing and validating your product ideas, working out your product/market fit and creating your brand.
If you’re early days in business, you’re in the start-up stage. You’re starting to make a bit of money, but it’s inconsistent. You need consistent revenue, so your focus will largely be on sales and marketing at this stage in business.
Once you pass the start-up stage, when your sales are coming through more consistently and you’re finding your foot-hold in the market, you’re in scale-up stage. Your goal is scaling up (that is – increasing quickly) your sales and revenue, and to do so you need to focus on systems and processes and building your team. (Totally un-sexy I know!)
Once you know what your key focus for the year is, you can work out what your key business drivers are.
2. Decide your key business drivers
Think of your business drivers as the ‘what you need to do’, while your focus is your ‘why you need to do it’.
So, if you’re in dream-up stage, your focus is ‘Validation’, and your key business drivers would be things like Product design, product manufacture, market research, branding/design, possibly also things like registration (registration of business or company, trademark, patent, website etc).
In the start-up stage, you would have key business drivers around sales and marketing, so you might be focusing on publicity, website, SEO, advertising, social media, retail, wholesale, and so on.
Once you know your key business drivers, you can use them to dictate how you spend your time and structure your operations behind-the-scenes.
3. Use your business drivers
I’ve written in a previous blog post about how I would spend my time when running my previous product-based business.
One quick note on using your business drivers to decide what you spend your time on – head back up to point #1 to give you some hints on what are the most important things you should be doing depending on what stage of business you’re at.
So for the purpose of this blog post, I want to show you how you can use your key business drivers to systemize your business behind-the-scenes.
Here’s a few quick tips to show you what I mean.
#1. Keep a clean and tidy computer desktop.
That means – DO NOT and I mean never, ever ever, save any files to your desktop.
I subscribe to the concept of ‘Touch something only once’. That is, look at it, deal with it, and file it away.
And always, save them somewhere meaningful and give each file a file name that makes sense.
#2. I like to use Dropbox or GoogleDrive to store all my files.
That makes it possible for me to access all my folders and files from laptop, desktop or phone, wherever I happen to be working for the day.
It also makes it easy for me to share my files with contractors or team members who need to collaborate with me.
#3. Name your folders after your key drivers.
This not only helps you to stay super organised, but also keeps your attention on the activities you should be focused on. For instance:
Note: I routinely start a new folder structure with the same names each calendar year. I keep things that I need to retain access to, such as images or logo files etc, and then archive the last year’s folder contents onto a USB stick.
#4. Create folders in your email inbox
And give them the same or similar names to your filing system. For instance:
#5. Use Gmail for your business email.
This means that all your email folders, sent and received emails will be accessible on any device you use.
If you send an email on your phone, it’ll be in your sent items on your desktop. If you file an email in a particular folder on your laptop whilst travelling, it’ll be in the same folder on your phone or desktop.
#6. Formulate your business & marketing plans
Use your focus area and key business drivers to formulate your business and marketing plans each year. I like to do my planning in Google Sheets (Google’s version of an Excel spreadsheet).
That way it’s like one big calendar with my activities for the year mapped out each month.
4. Smash your to-do list with Pomodoros!
It’s easy to fall into overwhelm, as the “busy-ness” of the daily hustle takes over.
Sometimes it feels like you’re putting out fires left, right and centre, and not actually moving forwards with anything!
If it feels like your to-do list keeps getting longer and you’re never getting anything done, it’s time to embrace the concept of Pomodoros.
A Pomodoro is, I believe, a tomato-shaped timer used in Italian cooking. It goes for 45 minutes.
The concept of Pomodoros for productivity is:
- Choose some work that you think you can do in 45 minutes and then set a timer.
- Focus entirely on the task at hand, eliminating all other distractions (turn off social media and email notifications, and put your phone in the other room!)
- When the timer goes off, take a 5 minute break.
You’ll be surprised by how much you can actually complete when you FOCUS entirely and completely on the task at hand.
Especially when you have a short space of time in which to complete it!
5. Monitor your progress
In our business, we’ve coined the term “Metrics Monday”. We’re trying to inject a bit of fun into a slightly boring but ESSENTIAL task in your business:
Measure your results to monitor your progress.
You want to track the performance of your various marketing efforts on a weekly basis, to make sure you are actually making progress.
Doing this weekly allows you to learn what is working and what isn’t in your marketing, and to then make future plans based on past results.
This is by no means an exhaustive list!
But hopefully gives you an insight into HOW I systemize my business stay productive AND focused on the right activities.
Being as productive as possible is just as important as choosing WHAT to spend your time on in your business.
In fact, staying focused and productive is the #1 key benefit many of my clients mention they love about working with me!
(There’s another added benefit of working with a coach or mentor and that’s staying ACCOUNTABLE! Accountable to yourself, to your business, to your customers, to your vision, to your dream!)
If you’re not afraid of success…
…and you want to achieve it for yourself as fast as possible, then why not book a free Product Profits Strategy Session with my team.
It’s a conversation where we talk goals, hurdles and strategies, and there’s completely no-obligation on you to work with me afterwards.
If you’re looking to supercharge your product sales and boost profits instantly, then I invite you to book your session with us today.