Set Your Business Up For Success With the Right Systems

Set Your Business Up For Success With the Right Systems

At Bx, we are huge fans of systems, both for our own businesses and for our clients. Systems allow your business to run more smoothly and provide the foundations for growth. They improve the experience of working in your business for employees and provide the best conditions for outstanding customer service. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of systems, what can and should be systemised, and how to create systems for your business.

The benefits of systems

Systems enable businesses to grow beyond the owner or founder of the business. The right systems create an environment that is better for the business, its employees and its customers. Having clearly communicated systems can:

Website, Lead Magnet, Email, Details, Bx, Matt Alderton, Business for life, success with systems

– Improve employee performance
– Help employees feel that they are contributing more within the organisation
– Reduce mistakes
– Prevent tasks from being forgotten
– Help convert a higher percentage of leads to paying customers
– Increase average spend per customer
– Increase the number of services customers use

What to systemise

Essentially, if a process, task or undertaking is completed more than once in a business, it should be systemised. This allows the process to be carried out by anyone within the organisation. It helps to speed up the induction process for new team members and can help team members to operate effectively if other team members are absent or busy.
Here are just a few examples of repeated processes that you can and should systemise:

– Answering the phone
– Greeting a customer
– Filling a drinks fridge
– Collecting the post from a PO box
– Setting up your company email signature
– Locking up the office or shop at the end of the day
– Using EFTPOS/credit card facilities
– Using CRM systems
– Inducting a new employee
– Using the photocopier
– Company email procedures/etiquette

How to set up and implement systems

It is no use having systems if no-one knows where to find the information. That’s why in my businesses, we use Google Sites to create our Operations Manual and I highly recommend this option to the businesses we work with. Google Sites gives you the ability to control access to the overall manual and to specific procedures. It has the functionality to add users, collaborators and team members to the site. As it is online, it can be easily shared internally with staff, as well as with outside parties, like your bookkeeper or outsourcing partners for example.

As well as making sure information about systems is easily accessible and shareable, it is important to have a process in place for creating new systems and procedures. Most businesses are constantly evolving and needing new or updated systems as a result. This is another reason why an online repository such as Google Sites is fantastic, as it allows the Operations Manual for your business to be a regularly updated living document.

Of course, it isn’t just enough to point your team in the direction of the Operations Manual and leave them to it. Take the time to train your team on the systems and processes that are critical to their role. And don’t forget to encourage your team members to provide feedback if they feel any systems aren’t working well and could be improved.

Do you use systems in your business? What benefits have you experienced as a result? If you haven’t got clearly communicated systems, what is the biggest roadblock to developing these processes?

We’d love to speak about how we could help your business to improve its performance. Contact Bx – info@b-x.com.au

Getting Organised Amongst Business Chaos

Everyone is time poor – how often, when you ask someone how they’re doing, do they respond with a simple “busy”? Sometimes, it’s with a smile – after all, being busy in business usually means money is coming in. Other times, their expression is more akin to utter exhaustion – being busy can leave us feeling drained and weary.  How do we get organised amongst all the business chaos?Getting organised in small business

We all have the same 24 hours each day, so how do we make the most of that time, feel organised and avoid becoming depleted of energy along the way?

Of course, there are simple things we can be doing every day to make sure we stay productive, have a great mindset and stay sane amongst all the chaos. Eating healthily, exercising throughout the day, taking scheduled breaks, maintaining a great filing system and using technology to your advantage are all great ways to get the most out of every day and stay organised.

Here at Bx, we strive to be implementing every single one of the above but we are huge fans of using apps and other bits of technology to our advantage.

Why apps to get organised?

Technology is everywhere – there’s no denying it, but instead of treating the influx of technology as a negative, we’ve chosen to treat it as a great opportunity. Apps can integrate with our phones as well as our desktop and keep us organised and productive throughout our days, no matter where we are. Which apps do we swear by?

Asana

Free for up to 15 users, Asana is a project management tool that keeps all your employees on the same page and across every detail of every project. It’s like a to-do list on steroids. It has changed the way we work at Bx in the last few years and turning back won’t be an option.

Life Cycle and Sleep Cycle

Using both these apps together lets you track your days and nights so that you know exactly how you’re using your time and what you need to do to improve your productivity. Life Cycle tracks your days, taking note of where you go and how long you spend doing certain activities. This is great for those workaholics amongst us who don’t even realise they spent 90 hours working this week. Meanwhile, Sleep Cycle tracks how long you sleep as well as the cycles within your sleep and wakes you up when you’re in the lightest stage of sleep.  

Evernote

If you’re carrying around your laptop, phone or tablet anyway, it doesn’t make sense to decide to add a notepad to your luggage so using Evernote is a great way to have the convenience of a notepad combined with the convenience of technology. Evernote allows you to take notes any time just like any other notebook app, but you can pull other documents into the app, videos, photos and snippets from the web to compile a notebook that fully encompasses your vision for whatever you happen to be working on.  Keep it all in the one place so you’re not wasting time searching for that great idea you had last week!

Have you found some great ways to use technology in your business? We’d love to know more about what works for you and your business and help you out by sharing our successes too. Call Bx on 1300 068 229, or find out more about what we do here http://www.businessforlife.com.au/ProgramFindOutMore

 

Getting Financially Fit

Our business and personal lives are so closely connect that, sometimes, we find ourselves neglecting one while we focus on the other. One area in which we cannot afford to be doing this is our finances. Staying on top of our finances in our personal lives can have a really positive impact on our business lives. Earlier this month, Ryan Porter shared five tips to help you get financially fit this year:

  1. Have Goals

What is it that you’re working towards? A new car, a trip overseas or even starting a business could be on the cards for you. You can have as many goals as you desire and they can be as big or small as you like but you must have goals.

Having a target that you’re aiming for means that you can track your progress easier and, when things get tough, you can visualise what you’re putting in the hard work for! Get specific about your goals by writing down an exact dollar amount, a time frame and a few immediate steps you can take to get started! Make it as easy and clear for yourself as possible.

  1. Know Your Numbers

When it comes to budgeting, you need to know what you’re starting from so you can be realistic in moving toward your goals. Do you know what’s coming in and out of your account every month? What happens with the money that’s left over after your everyday expenses? Finding answers to these questions and setting up solutions and a purpose for every single dollar will set you on the right track.

  1. Automate Things

Many of us still shuffle our money around ourselves but with online banking, automating your money is a huge possibility and a great tool for saving. It’s tempting to look at our money as it grows, but by setting up payments for bills, savings etc, there is no need for us to keep looking and be tempted to spend that money all in one go.  Create a new bank account specifically for one of your new goals and set up automatic transfers into the account for every time you get paid.

  1. Monitor and Review

Find a way to track your goals throughout the year – perhaps what you’re doing isn’t working for you and you need to adjust; maybe you’re going really well and can increase your saving!

Find someone to keep you accountable; whether it’s an advisor, partner, friend, family member or even an app, having someone to check in on you throughout the year and give you the motivation when you’re not keeping on track.

  1. Start

The first step is always the hardest – but once you’ve taken it, the other steps will follow naturally. As soon as you’ve set your goals, take immediate action towards that goal, never procrastinate and start the way you intend to continue.

If you’re on top of your finances in your personal life, it can only benefit you in your business life. Start setting your financial goals now and get started – don’t let another year go by without being in control of your money.

 

How To Stop Missing Goals

setandreachgoals

Everyone has lofty goals; some of us want to increase sales or get that promotion, some even have grand plans to change the world. Those goals can be easy to set, but how often do we actually reach them? My bet is, not very often.

There are a few mistakes people make and the biggest of them is trying to tackle one big project in one go without much thought. Many people become overzealous in their attempt to get something done and jump straight in but, while doing so can often feel productive – we all want that instant gratification – taking too big of a leap can mean we find it difficult to keep our heads above the water and inevitably find ourselves overwhelmed.

Failing to specify the details of our big goals can doom us to fail right from the beginning; when our mind is unclear of what we really want, we struggle to visualise where we want to go and we give up. Losing sight of our goal can mean we lack the commitment to all the tiny details, so we start moving away from that goal instead.

“When eating an elephant, take one bite at a time.” – Creighton Abrams.

If we think of a university degree – a big goal, chased after by many people, young and old – we can see how a goal can become overwhelming. Degrees are made of years, which are broken up into semesters and then subjects. Each subject has a list of assessments while the assessments themselves are comprised of paragraphs, sentences, words and letters. The smaller your goal is broken up, the easier it becomes to achieve.

A university degree seems insurmountable when you think of everything due at the end of the semester, but it simplifies itself and seems far easier to attain when you think of it as writing one word after another.

The next time you set yourself a goal, ask yourself these questions:

What do I want to achieve? Sometimes, this could be stating the obvious, but for bigger, more complex goals make sure you consider all the details; if you want your income to increase by the end of the year, write down the exact amount so you can visualise and work toward it.

What do I need to reach my goal? Think about every little step you can take on your way to the big goal, as well as people you might need to network with and set out a timeline.

How can I break it down? Break down every task, regardless of how small each step becomes. Remember, every tiny step is getting you to that giant goal.

How long will each task take? Setting realistic time boundaries, for each individual task can help you get to that big goal, on time. Setting mini-deadlines can keep you moving forward.

Do I need help? Thinking you’re alone in this journey can be detrimental to actually achieving your goals. Think about who can best help you to move forward and contact them to see if they’re willing to help you when you need it.

What can I do right away? After you’ve written out all your mini-deadlines and tasks, you’ll find there are some small things you can do straight away to start moving forward. The best part? You can put a little tick next to that box and get that instant gratification we mentioned earlier.

Remember, your goal will hopefully have a positive effect on your life, business or career – staying positive on your journey to achieving the goal means that your goal will be even sweeter when you get there!

Goal setting plays a massive role in all aspects of business. Through our Business for Life program, we help business owners from across Australia build a toolbox of skills that they can use to grow their success.  We’d love to chat about how we could help you. Call Bx on 1300 068 229 or find out about our Business for Life Program.

The Step you can Immediately Take to have a Better Attitude

Your attitude is the tipping point to success or failure

You may have heard the quote from motivational speaker Zig Ziglar – “Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.” Or perhaps this gem from Henry Ford – “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t – you’re right.” Snappy little quotes? Yes, without a doubt. Trite quotes? Absolutely not.

Every day, life throws us challenges. Some of them are just mild inconveniences, others are life-changing events. Many of these events are completely beyond our control, whether they are good or bad. But while we can’t control what happens to us, we can absolutely control how we respond to them. Your response to life events is a choice; your attitude is your choice.

I had to learn this lesson the hard way when in 2008 my business partner fraudulently robbed us of over $500,000. He’d taken money out of the business, not paid taxes, and used the money to prop up his own failing business which ended up going bankrupt anyway. I was left with an enormous debt – nearly $750,000 once penalties and interest were applied – and facing the prospect of declaring bankruptcy myself.

The Step you can Immediately Take to have a Better Attitude

If your attitude is positive and buoyant, so too will be the attitude of your team and followers. As a leader, your attitude is amplified by your followers.

I chose to do everything possible to pay back the debt. Despite the circumstances of how the debt was incurred, I decided the only option was to act with determination and integrity and face the debt head on. My wife and I sold our family home. We moved in with family and sold everything we could be to reduce the debt as much as possible.

The financial struggle was monumental, but it was the emotional battle that was beyond imagining. In addition to the money issues, life threw a series of other events at us – the death of beloved family members including my wife’s dad and a close family friend, a miscarriage and an ectopic pregnancy. It truly seemed that things could not get any more difficult. But every day, I would swing my legs out of bed, jump to my feet and greet life with positivity and enthusiasm. I knew that to overcome adversity, I had to hold my head up, smile in the face of it, and live in a space of positivity.

How to change your attitude

When somebody asks “How are you?” do you respond with a negative or a positive? I strongly encourage you to make the effort – and believe me I know that some days it really will be an effort – to respond in the positive, with something like “I’m great!” Your brain will hear these words, assume that these words are the truth and alight your body to act accordingly.

Think of your brain as a computer. If you input information into a computer, it will behave in a certain way. Your brain is the same; the information that goes into your brain will affect the way we think and feel, but it is your attitude towards these thoughts and feelings that determine how you act.

Why attitude matters for leadership

As a leader, your attitude and your energy is amplified by your followers. If your attitude and energy are positive, happy and buoyant, so too will be the attitude of your team and followers. Put simple, positive attracts positive.

Leaders with a great attitude get great results. Productivity is higher, morale is higher, and staff turnover is lower. Enthusiasm and positivity are contagious, but someone must start it. As a leader, you need to inject positive energy into your business so that energy can grow and spread.

Personal development plays a big role in developing a positive attitude. Through our Business for Life program, we’re helping business owners from across Australia to build a toolbox of skills that they can use to create and grow their businesses and lead more fulfilled lives. We’d love to chat about how we could help you. Call Bx on 1300 068 229 or find out about our Business for Life Program.

 

Could Outsourcing be the Secret to Accelerating Your Business Growth?


It’s a common problem that all business owners face at some point – how to get everything done in a limited amount of time without sacrificing their own quality of life. When your business is growing and you have more to do, but not necessarily more team members to help to do the work, it can be easy to become overwhelmed.

The answer to this problem is simple. As soon as your attention is being consumed away from sales and customer service, pause and think about where YOUR time is most valuable. For any business owner, that time is best spent on growing your customer base and nurturing leads. Any tasks that distract you from that focus are prime targets for outsourcing.

Outsourcing also allows business owners to manage growth in a scalable and cost effective manner. When a task – say bookkeeping – is taking your time away from more valuable tasks, but you don’t have the need for a permanent internal resource, outsourcing is the perfect interim solution to mana
ge this in-between period of business growth. After all, the cost of an employee is more than just their salary – you also need to factor in additional costs like insurance, superannuation, office space and IT infrastructure. Suddenly a contractor’s hourly rate can become a lot more reasonable! Then once your business has grown further, there may be a tipping point when it makes sense to create a dedicated internal role. Outsourcing allows you to dial this capacity up and down in a scalable way that meets the unique needs of your business.

What to outsource

Essentially, you should consider outsourcing any function that distracts your attention from sales and growing your business. Here’s a list of a few ideas to get you started:
– Bookkeeping
– Graphic design
– Data entry
– Rostering and payroll

– Email and calendar management
– Social media management
– Marketing

Depending on the skill set required, you can find excellent outsourcing solutions both within Australia and internationally. There are a number of websites, such as Upwork, that can connect you with a range of freelancers with different skills, as well as companies that specialise in managing these relationships for businesses. As well as searching online, don’t forget to asOutsourcingk your network for any recommendations and referrals.

10 tips to successfully manage outsourcing relationships

1. Define what you want to achieve and the required skills and resources

2. Know your desired results
3. Complete due diligence: ask to see portfolios and samples, check references and so forth
4. Know your budget, but don’t select only on price
5. Clearly communicate expectations – use written contracts to document scope of work and expected standards
6. Set realistic timeframes
7. Regularly monitor performance and set agreed performance milestones
8. Ensure copyright for any original work, such as design work, writing, computer code and so forth, is passed on to your business upon payment

9. Get legal advice to protect your business from any wrong doing by contractors
10. Start with small projects and increase the scope when your outsourcing partners have proven they can satisfactorily deliver

Have you used contractors to outsource non-core business functions? What benefits have you experienced as a result? If you are reluctant to outsource, what are the concerns that are stopping you? We’d love to speak about how we could help your business to improve its performance. Call Bx on 1300 068 229 or find out about our Business for Life Program.

Technology

Technology has begun to rule our lives, yes? My first mobile phone was a Nokia 1610 (in 1996!), there were no apps on it, no Facebook or other social media was around. Get this, email first started being used in the mid 1990’s! Now, I know I am sounding old here, but I’m only in my 30’s and I can still remember being at uni and in the workforce, and not using email, and not having Facebook! I can still remember having an alarm clock by my bed and reading a book before going to sleep!
With the rise of technology, our time is now dominated with an OPPORTUNITY to be connected at every instance of the day and night. To be purposeful and have the best day, week, month, year and life every – you need to be the master of your time, and therefore use technology and NOT let it use you!
Here are my top tech tips:
1. Email – this is a quick communication tool. It is not designed to rule your day.

• Check it maximum twice daily
• Don’t let your inbox be your to-do list. Don’t action items from your inbox, create a task instead.
• Create rules/ filters to file/ archive messages that clutter your inbox
• All actionable items in an email should be created as a task.

2. Embrace the Technology, it should increase your productivity, not take up your time

• Check out my blog on ‘The Top Tech Tips’.

3. Task Management – There are heaps of options for managing your tasks. Without a doubt, the hands-down best app I have seen and used for managing your tasks is…Asana. This has revolutionised our workplace and team communication. And even better at a base level it’s free!

4. Outsource – many people think that outsourcing is expensive, but if you know where to go it really isn’t. Here are some options for outsourcing and an idea of what this may cost:

Bookkeeping – you may do all your accounts, or have people that do this in-house, but can some of it, or all of it be outsourced? The answer is probably yes. One of my businesses has been providing an outsourcing solution for all your bookkeeping needs, and provides bookkeeping solutions from around $100 per week. You can also check out Odesk, bookkeepers on Odesk usually work on an hourly rate of about $6-$15 per hour (depending on experience).
Graphic Design – there are thousands of graphic designers on Upwork (formerly Odesk). Don’t pay a fortune, when you don’t have to. If you have a good idea of what you need, artwork can cost you from as little as $20!
Data Entry – We get all our admin/ data entry work done for many of our businesses through Upwork (formerly Odesk). It’s not only cost effective, but is done professionally and quickly.
Rostering & Payroll – one of my businesses is an online rostering and payroll company, we serve thousands of clients, who opt for a no-fuss, cloud based solution for their rostering & payroll for their businesses. What used to take them days a week, is approved in minutes and actually saves them money.
Personal Assistants – one of the best things an entrepreneur or business owner can do is have someone manage their email. There are many options with outsourcing this, from using someone on Upwork (formerly Odesk), or using an affiliate company in Australia, such as Ms Virtual Assistant.

It is important to embrace technology to serve us, not let it distract, delay or reduce your productivity.

Do you have a story to share about Technology?  We’d love to speak about how we could help your business to move forward with Technology and have great success. Call Bx on 1300 068 229 or find out about our Business for Life Program.

Top Tech Tips

The most successful people, are those that are highly productive and are masters at getting things done efficiently and effectively. They know what to focus on, when to focus on it, and for how long. Technology has made productivity more achievable and easier for everyone, but only if you embrace it, and not let it rule your life.

Here are my Top Tech Tips:

Asana This is a project and task management tool that we use in our organisation. Think Outlook Tasks on steroids. If there is more than one person in your team, this is an absolute MUST. It is free for up to 15 users and has great functionality.

Google AppsI was a Microsoft junkie. I had been using Microsoft Office for years and knew it inside out. I was avoiding the change because i was so comfortable with Office. At the beginning of 2015, we switched from Office to Google Apps. What a difference! The most significant difference is the number of apps that integrate with Google Apps. This provides almost limited additional functionality and automation.

Google SitesAs with Google Apps, this is a must for any business and their intranet/ Systems manual

Secret SeverIn an age where internet security is critical to every business, Secret Server provides online access on your PC and phone for all of your passwords. You can share access within your organisation. Never write down another password again.

Orderfast An amazing app-based ordering system designed for small business. OrderFast allows you to place all your stock orders straight from your smartphone, iPhone or iPad at the click of a button

Online Accounts – Don’t mess around with accounting software. Having your accounts in the cloud is an absolute must – no exceptions, for any business. QuickBooks Online is fantastic for small business and has tonnes of integrations, making it extremely powerful. We use QuickBooks Online for all of our businesses.

IWSAustralia’s largest provider of integrated rostering and payroll, IWS offers cloud based rostering for shift based workers as well as fully integrated payroll and bookkeeping for businesses. Priced especially for small businesses, IWS is a great solution to allow business owners to stop working in their business and work on it.

UpWork (formerly Odesk) –  Find freelancers on Upwork – the world’s largest online workplace for freelancers. My business has used Upwork for a few years. We have had mostly good experiences with freelancers. the benefit vs cost is significant, although ensure you match the candidate to the job, and usually it is best to have a couple of final candidates and put them both to the test. Clear communication on what is expected is also essential. Outsource to Upwork everything you possibly can. Trust me, you will save a bomb AND the quality and timing of work is great and it’s twenty-four hours a day!

Facebook – Most businesses rely on people spending money with them to grow…correct? To achieve this, we need customers, and therefore in most cases we need new leads or opportunities. If your business is not yet on Facebook, then this should be a serious consideration for you. Not only can you post and update your current customers, but Facebook is one of the best (if not the best) lead generation platform. With recent changes, it has become even better.

Landing Pages – Landing pages are like a stand alone web page or series of web pages where you send your leads to (rather than your website). A lead page guarantees you a higher rate of conversion or opt-in than sending to your web page which is often confusing for a lead as on a web page, there is usually no one single purpose and call to action. There are a few great options for lead pages. In our company we use Instapage, and have also used Leadpages.

MailChimpOnline email marketing solution to manage contacts, send emails and track results. Offers plug-ins for other programs. Mailchimp is where the information that your leads have submitted through your lead page is stored. Mailchimp then allows you to create marketing channels, email flow and so forth to communicate with these customers, to move them from a lead to a paying customer.

With all of the above, there are skills required to use these tools. It is always best to work with someone who knows what they are doing. Our suggestion always is, learn as much as you can from a trusted source, and then find a company you can outsource the work to, that will give you the greatest results. Ultimately, you should budget cost vs. return, and look at all technology as an option to increase productivity and sales in your business.

The advice above is based on what has work in our business. The advice may not be right for everyone, and you should consider this when making decisions. Feel free to reach out to us for assistance.

Do you have a story to share about Technology?  We’d love to speak about how we could help your business to move forward with Technology and have great success. Call Bx on 1300 068 229 or find out about our Business for Life Program.