5 Key Considerations To Your Next System Investment
Businesses who invest in systems can dramatically improve the efficiency, scalability and performance of their operation; therefore it is important that the proper assessment is done before purchasing a new system. There are 5 key considerations you must think about before even looking at what system options you may available to you.
1. What’s The Problem?
What is the main driver for you to start looking at a new business system? Here are some questions to get you thinking:
- You’re spending too much time completing manual tasks that’s impacting your ability to sell or deliver for clients?
- You physically cannot fit any more hours in or take on any more clients due to how you are manually working?
- You’ve got a remote team that you know could work more efficiently together if they had the right tools?
- You’re losing leads because your follow-up is inconsistent or non-existent?
- You’ve got multiple systems and you’re sick of wasting precious time double data entering key information?
- You’re not delivering the quality and consistent client experience that you’d like?
Whatever the reason, it is critical that you get clear about what the real problem and what that is really costing you. This will help you to determine what solution you may need to consider.
2. What Do You Need?
To ensure the best decision regarding a new system, it is important to document what you need. I encourage you to write a list down of all the functionality that you need possible. Think about your business. How do people find out about your business, how do they connect, how do you keep in touch with your prospects, how do you accept payments, how do you deliver the products and services that you offer, how does your team interact with each other and how to do keep track of what you need to do? What security level do you need, who needs access, where do they need access (computer/mobile etc.) and how often do they need it? Your list may be very long, so it’s important that you review and make note of what the top priorities are that will make the biggest difference. Whilst it’s important to focus on the highest priorities, do keep in mind other functions/requirements that are important from a solution you choose today, that may also meet your priorities tomorrow as well. Take some time out to document all the ideas that you have of what type of system functions you require. I want you also to consider how tech savy you are and/or your team who will be using the system. Will you be administrating it, and if that’s the case, how user friendly does it need to be? Or are you willing to consider a better solution that you might need to invest a little more effort to learn? I encourage you to spend time to fully document what you really need from your technology to operate and scale your small business and what your immediate priorities are.
3. What Have You Got Now?
Not only is it great to document out what you want and what you need, it’s also helpful to assess what you are using in your current business right now. You may want to jot down all the different systems that you’re using, what role they play in your business, when was the last time you used them and how much do they cost (initial investment and ongoing). To add to the exercise, look at where you’re not using systems and get clear about how much it costs you for any manual work around. A helpful and sometimes painful way to look at this is to consider your hourly rate. For example, it takes you three hours to on board a new client because you don’t have an automated onboarding client process. Then work out your hourly rate times multiplied by 3 and that’s how much that potentially it will cost you by not having it automated (Sorry if that was a bit of a shock!). Take this opportunity to get clear about what you’ve got, how is it working and how much is it costing. This will be helpful to now review your list considering what you need, what you’ve got and some opportunities to fill gaps with existing system functionality or new systems to improve your business efficiency.
4. Where Is Your Business Going?
Another critical component of any system investment is ensuring that they align with your strategic business goals. How much revenue do you want to be doing in 6 to 12 months or even 2 to 5 years’ time? How many contacts do you currently have and how many more are you planning to have over the next few years? How many customers are you serving now and plan on serving in the future? You may be considering a bunch of different system options right now, some cheaper and some more expensive. What’s important to remember is you must always come back to the functionality you require and if you have big plans for growth you may be better off taking an important step into a better system sooner rather than later. This obviously comes down to your individual circumstances, however consider the time and effort it will take for you to learn and set up a new system, and then if potentially you have to do it again with the growth of your business in 12 months’ time. Be clear about your end game and your business goals to help you make a better system investment in the short and long term.
5. What Are Your Resources?
A system is one thing but to make sure that you have the necessary resources to be able to ensure the system success. Systems are really based on processes in your business and executing them in some systematic or automated way. Systems are great, but only if they are addressing the problem that you had in the first place. You really do need to consider a couple of factors in terms of resources. Firstly, your budget; how much are you willing to invest in the initial setup to make sure the system is running as effectively as possible. Also, what’s the ongoing investment that is required and does this pay for itself by addressing your problem areas. This of course goes back to point 3, around how much it costs me right now with multiple or no systems and doing tasks manually. By spending extra time manually completing activities you can automate, it can cost significantly in eating into time that you could otherwise be consulting/coaching or generating revenue. So you might be willing to invest hundreds of dollars every month because you know you’re going to get back that in time and you’re going able to generate more income because of the result of the free time that you have available. You also need to consider the time initially to set the strategic direction for the system use and get you up to speed on how to use a new system. Not only that, what about who will be administering your system. You may have a dedicated person to maximise the system or who will be administering the system for you and that’s completely fine. So what resources do you have available that can really maximise your use of the system and take business to the next level.
These are 5 considerations related to choosing a new system and hopefully these points will trigger important decision points for your next system. Make sure you’re clear about the problem that you’re trying to solve, define what you need, what you already, what the opportunities are, what resources you need and how a system may contribute to helping you achieve your strategic goals. Has this article been helpful? Drop me a line; I love to hear your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org
(NOTE: Ready to use more automation in your business to make more sales with less effort – even if you don’t have a fancy system? Check out the Marketing Automation Game Plan and discover in this free 3-part video series the proven steps you must follow to successfully transform your business with automation. Learn more now.)