Many entrepreneurs believe that they can't take a vacation because there's too much to do, or that if they left their business, everything would come to a screeching halt.
While this is common for entrepreneurs, it also is the culprit causing many of them to get 'stuck'.
Picture a juggler - would you agree that a juggler could juggle 3 balls in the air pretty easily? And as they get better, they can juggle 4, 5, and 6 balls. Each time they add more balls, the level of difficulty increases exponentially.
Similarly for entrepreneurs, the more balls you have in the air, the more strategies you're running, the higher the degree of complexity, and the more balls you start to drop.
The more money you inadvertently lose because things aren't being done like they should. Follow ups aren't happening, customers aren't being re-engaged, prospects aren't being nurtured, advertising is being wasted, and so forth.
So, what can you do to increase your freedom, eliminate inefficiencies, and grow your business?
It comes down to creating systems for your business.
Business coach Charles Gaudet lays the foundation for this system in his book The Predictable Profits Playbook and trains entrepreneurs to systematically capture more market share and dominate their markets via the Predictable Profits Academy.
"When it comes to operating a systematic business, McDonald's has it mastered," Charles gives an example. "You order a burger, and predictably, the order taker then asks: 'Would you like fries with that?'
And if you've already ordered fries, they'll make you an offer to supersize your meal, add an apple pie, and so forth. They've created systems that ensure no opportunity to upsell the customer is missed, and as a result, they've made billions. Without this system, none of this would have been possible."
Charles shares his 5-step approach to build a long lasting, predictable and ever-increasing amount of profit, with a caveat that these strategies must be permanent in nature through systematic thinking.
Step 1 - Take Inventory
Take inventory of all the marketing tasks and processes you have in place. This includes follow up strategies, appointment setting strategies, communication strategies, re-engagement strategies, sales strategies, content marketing/social media strategies, and so forth.
Write them all down in a spreadsheet under two categories - Time and Money. On one side, mention the inventory and on the other, the four columns will look like: Automated, Manual, Hybrid and the time it will save/make money.
Step 2 - Categorize
Check off the category that best explains the type of system you plan to use. Automation means everything happens automatically through technology like Infusionsoft.
Manual systems can't be automated. Back to the McDonald's example - you have people manually taking an order, and therefore, they must manually ask the question "would you like fries with that?"
Hybrid is a combination of both. If McDonald's had this process in place, when the order taker placed the order for a hamburger, the computer screen would prompt the order taker to ask: "Would you like fries with that?" with a checkbox for "yes" or "no."
Step 3 - Prioritize
How do you proritize the tasks? There are a couple of ways to do so.
The first way is to identify what tasks are most likely going to move the needle the most for growing your company - and start with those.
The other is to set priorities based upon what repetitive tasks are taking up most of your time. If you're doing something that takes you 4 hours a week to complete, and you're able to create a system so it frees up those 4 hours/week,
and dedicated those hours to growing your company, how much more money could you add to your bottom line?
Step 4 - Create a Process
You need to create actions from 'Step 1 to done' for each action to occur successfully.
Go into as much detail as possible so that you can theoretically provide information to anyone in your company or new hires.
Create a step-by-step plan for performing the action, following up, and contingency plans in the event that things don't go as expected.
For example, let's say I have a system for product fulfillment, and for one reason or another, we're sold out. How should my sales team handle this situation? There's got to be a process for everything.
Again, wherever possible, automate! We talked about Infusionsoft, and you can also integrate it with two other services we use: IFTTT (short for "If This Then That") and Zapier.
Step 5 - Report and Improve
The only way for you to know how well your system is working (or not working) is to build in key metrics and reporting features - which must be tracked and followed regularly.
"In the McDonald's example, I'd have a system in place that measures the ratio between burger sales and fries for each order taker. You'll see a trend among all order takers, and if you see someone's not selling enough fries - look into root cause of the issue. Chances are, you'll find the process wasn't being followed as you designed.
If you see that 60% of all burgers have accompanying fries - ask yourself: what can we do to modify this process to get an incremental improvement. Adjust the process, test, and see what the results are. Having a tracking device and/or mechanism built into each process is critical to ensure it's working or not working," explains Charles.
With marketing automation, you can track all sorts of things - conversions, time to convert, upsells, down-sells, where people are (or drop off) in a sequence, etc.
Systems require ongoing, constant improvement. You put a system in place to test, you see what needs to be improved upon, and you update the system. Charles mentions working with companies that are still improving their systems 6 years later - and it's precisely this type of strategic thinking that sets them above the rest.