Processes, Systems, & Manuals – Steps to Starting A Business: Step Five (2 of 3)

Written by Tammy Durden

Processes, Systems & Manuals

Steps to Starting a Business may seem daunting and overwhelming at times. Yet, like many things in life, if taken one step at a time (as has been done in the series) it can help accomplish so much. Steps to Starting a Business continues the discussion about ‘Processes, Systems and Manuals’ (2 of 3).  The need to set these up is an integral part of the business.  The best plan of action is to begin when first starting a business and establish these systems.

checklist - tammysoffices.

Processes:

When a business is brand new it is easy to begin to develop systems and processes without documenting anything.  The tendency is to simply DO the day to day to keep everything running, especially if the sole person (or main person) doing all of the work.  It is much easy, however, to take a moment to write it down, as you find your way and figure out what the processes in the business. Whether you jot it in OneNote, Evernote or other forms of recording it, just as long as it is recorded.

Work ON Your Business Not IN Your Business

As the business grows it will become much more difficult to find the time to go back to recreate it all.  Also, keep in mind, that there will come a day when others will possibly be running the business and they will have to figure out the ‘how to’.  The goal is to run a successful business.  All experts agree that in order to have a successful business, you must get to the place where you are Not working IN your business, but working ON your business. Learning to document all steps early in business will make it much easier to get to the place of ‘working ON your business’.

Systems:

Ron Carroll of The Box Theory defines System as:

“A System is a procedure, process, method, or course of action designed to achieve a specific result. Its component parts and interrelated steps work together for the good of the whole. Creating effective business systems is the only way to attain results that are consistent, measurable, and ultimately benefit customers.”

Ron further goes on to give this list of various examples of Business Systems:

EXAMPLES OF BUSINESS SYSTEMS
Lead GenerationCustomer ServicePurchasing
Sales ConversionHiringInventory Management
WebsiteTrainingShipping
PricingAccounting*Information Systems
OperationsPayroll*Safety
Order FulfillmentCollectionsCustodial
 [*Links Added by Tammy's Office Solutions]

How To Set Up Systems

Systems are an integral part of any business.  If we call processes the ‘to do’ list of business, then systems could be called the ‘how to’ in business.  Often, systems can be considered the glue that holds the company together.  In order to keep all processes flowing, it often requires programs and software to be purchased.  It can anything from email systems, marketing automation to the business’ own database.

Bookkeeping & Other Systems

An important part of any business is to know the numbers.  An Accounting system is a must and will keep up to date information on the numbers for any business. Establishing the accounting process and system in the beginning and not waiting months down the road will cost less in the long run, both in time and money.  Often prospective clients call in and discuss our bookkeeping option.  Many have MONTHS of receipts and deposits, along with credit card slips and more that have never been entered into accounting software.  This will cost much more than setting up the software in the beginning and connecting it to their bank.  Even if a  Bookkeeper or Accountant is not hired in the first few months, it is much less manual labor for them (equating to less expense for the business) if the business is already set up with the bank account(s) streaming into the software.

Software & Programs to Help

Quickbooks

One of the best-known software systems for Business Accounting is QuickBooks.  I, personally, love and recommend the newer QuickBooks Online version.  It is much easier to use and gives the account holder the ability to access it from anywhere because it is in a secure cloud system.  It will also allow the Bookkeeper or Accountant access, along with the account holder.  This is much preferred, rather than having to gain remote access to the computer or printing out documents to send over to the Accountant. Another feature is that you can quickly see a ‘Company Snapshot’.  This means being able to see where the company is financial.  QuickBooks is a robust, complete, Accounting System with many features. In fact, most CPA’s and Accountants recommend one of the QuickBooks products.

Freshbooks Logo

For Services only providers, Freshbooks can be a good alternative system, mostly for invoicing and general expense tracking. Unlike Quickbooks, Freshbooks is not as robust, but for those unfamiliar with accounting it can be a good accounting system(for service providers). It is very easy to use and if you sync your bank, you will see an overview of how you are doing, by the numbers.

A couple of other systems for accounting would be Xero and Sage if looking at a complete list.

Processes & Systems - tammysoffices - operating manual

Project Management Systems

The other important systems that need to be included here are Project Management and CRM (Customer Relations Management) systems.  There are so many out there. It could take pages to list all of these systems. Rather than do that, let’s just list a few for consideration, not forgetting that to also Google these and others.  Wrike is a very comprehensive system.  Using the Free version will help with most projects, while you can add 5 team members or clients who can view, add comments, files, pictures, videos and more within the project.  Asana has been around for some time and has many fans, especially in the virtual assistant industry.  Teamwork and Trello are also very used, well-known systems, that help to set up projects, deadlines, communication and more.

Important PM Factors

1.  Keep the Project Moving Forward

2.  Give the Team Accountability & Deadlines to Meet

3.  Help the Team Communicate

CRM Systems

CRM Systems have been around for a long time and have come a long way from the simple contact and email system it used to be.  Salesforce is well known, very robust and sort of the Grandaddy of the CRMs for Salespersons.  Pipedrive and Big Contact are also gaining credibility. Even Hubspot is jumping in on helping Inbound Marketers to keep up with their prospective and regular clients.  Zoho is another newer, all in one, system.  Better yet, why not see PC Magazine, as they have a great comparative on these CRMs and more if the business needs one.

For all of these systems, it can be trial and error to find a good fit.  Do not give up if one does not work for the business, as there is one out there that will be a good fit. The system has to feel right for the business and work the way the business works. Do the research, give the trial a test first and then decide.  Also, figure out which features are most important for the business before making a final decision.

Remember not to ‘settle’ on something that does not seem like a good match for the business.  Moving forward will discuss the final step, setting up the Manual of Operations., please read next time.

Remember, especially those new to the business, to grab our ebook: It contains common-sense tips on branding.

Thank you for reading and until the next time…

To Your Continued Success!

Tammy S Durden

[Disclaimer Note: I am not affiliated with any of the systems, only giving you possible systems that may work for your business]

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