Forget Perfection: 3 Ways to Systemise Your Business as a Female Entrepreneur
Nothing has to be perfect
Female entrepreneurs are often perfectionists. In this interview with Anna Brailsford, founder of Code First Girls, she shares that perfectionism would hinder the success of women entrepreneurs. I completely agree with this.
In Asia especially, women are raised to believe that we have to be beautiful yet effortless, successful yet non-threatening all at once.
That’s because perfection isn’t real and seeking perfection in your business is just as unproductive as seeking it in your personal life.
There are a couple of reasons why being perfectionists will not work for entrepreneurs. This includes being hesitant to take risks, pleasing people too often, difficulty adapting to new situations that can help you evolve or struggling with delegating tasks. When you have a business idea, go ahead and get started on validating it.
In the world of startup, we start all business ideas with validation. Validation here means that you will go find your ideal clients and ask for their opinion on your business idea. I share the exact steps to complete this validation stage in our Profitable Fempreneur program. After that, we push out a minimum viable product or MVP to quickly get some feedback. Don’t take any of the not-so-flattering comments personally. Instead, analyse and use them to improve your products to the next level.
Instead of perfecting everything, focus on being systematic. That way, your success is less tied to you as an imperfect human and is more driven by systems built specifically in a way that leads to desired results.
Here are three ways you can systemize your business.
Use a Trello board paired with the Scrum method
The Agile Scrum method, usually used by software developers, can actually be tweaked to work for any type of business. Pair the Scrum method with Trello, an easy, free, flexible, visual way to manage your projects and organize your business. It’s able to help you organize and systemize your time and activities using a Kanban-style method.
The basic idea is that you create individual tasks and move them along through a workflow until they are finished. This way, you can track where different tasks are on their journey to being done.
Build Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to follow
When you outsource, the best way to ensure that your team completes tasks to your exact requirements is to create step by step instructions, or SOPs. This helps your team members know exactly how to approach the tasks assigned to them without having to depend on you and take up your time.
SOPs in place help ensure that every team member knows exactly what is expected of them and how to reach those expectations. Apart from that, it is vital to the growth and development of small businesses because they create benchmarks for the output of every member of your team. Eventually when you get to establish SOPs of your own, you’ll see the effect of it in time, that it creates a harmonious and progressive work environment that your team members will love and your clients or customers will get to mark in your business.
So even if you don’t have a team yet, go ahead and store all of your day-to-day operations and activities in an SOP library. It’ll come in handy later.
Pre-create templates for your business to follow.
Templates speeds up your work!
Every week brings new projects, emails, documents and tasks lists and starting each of those from scratch can be a real drain on your time. Many of your tasks like email campaigns will comprise variations of something you’ve done before or something you’ll be needing in the future.
When you pre-create templates, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel every time you start something new. Instead, you pull out that specific template, just add, remove or change any info for that unique document and you’ll have the new work completed in a fraction of the time.
Previously, I had to create 3 documents for each client in my video production company: Quote, Invoice and Service Agreement. Since each project is unique, I’ll be typing multiple times! Not only that, I would have to wait for clients to accept the quotation and keep following up with them via email. Some would ghost us; some have resulted in losses when work has been done but payment not made.
I was really frustrated with how long it takes for each client to approve the documents, and how long it took for us to generate them.
So, I searched high and low all across the internet for a solution that would work for service providers in the creative industry like me. I was pretty convinced at that time that Allah was listening to my prayer, and 17hats emerged in their beta stage.
I started using 17Hats for our invoicing system and cut my admin time by more than four-folds!
Now, I just need to click on a template which auto generates quotes and accompanying service agreements. When a client accepts the quote, an automatic invoice is generated with instructions for payment. I still remember the amazing feeling of receiving money in our Stripe account before we even knew the client existed!
Just like 17Hats, you can find tools that works for your business. If you can’t find any (which I doubt will happen), you can create cheat sheets and templates using Google Documents, Sheets or Slides. Templates are key to determining the success of your business, freeing your mind from doing repeated work without a standard process. From templated emails to social media and phone calls, you can move much faster by using templates.
With the three things you can implement, you can ignore perfection and start focusing on your message. Remember, no one is expecting you to be perfect. Someone can be 10 steps ahead of you; another person can be 10 steps behind you. What matters is that you are at least 1 step ahead of your potential clients, with a clear message they want to hear.
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