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Episode 031: Improving the Systems In Your Business

In this latest “Question of the Week” episode, James and Phoebe address the topic of systems in your business. Want to learn how to manage your time and your team? If so, this is an episode you’re not going to want to miss! If your tendency is to improvise in your business, no amount of systems will really help, as there is a bigger problem. Phoebe notes that you can improvise a little within the system though, and the system is just giving you the direction.

James adds that running a business takes some discipline, and the larger your team gets, the more that discipline becomes a necessity.

In Gary Keller’s “The One Thing” (see “INTERVIEW LINKS”), he advises that you start asking the little questions that put structure in your day. James likes to identify one to three things for the upcoming week that he needs to accomplish in order to get him and the team closer to the results that they’re looking for.

People can’t read your mind, which can set your employees up for failure.

“It’s a game of how we become more efficient and how we become a more well-oiled team”

James’ team uses dapulse (see “INTERVIEW LINKS”), a tool for managing projects. Within this tool, there is a color-coded weekly task board where the tasks are identified, assigned with a due date and given a status. Using this, by the end of day Sunday, he is clear on what the upcoming workweek is suppose to look like to advance the business.

They have a team meeting every second week, which is important since James can explain why he’s making the decisions he’s making.

“What’s the vision, where are we headed and what are we up to?”

The team exchanges emails every Friday, in which each member tells the others about his or her biggest wins, high and low points, and more, along with a random question to help with team building.

There is a distinct difference between running the day-to-day operations of a business versus creating something new, like a launch or promotion. When creating something new, the team uses Jeff Sutherland’s “Scrum Method” (see “INTERVIEW LINKS”).

James has the team run in “sprints” and focus 100% on a project, with a specific start and end date. During this time, they get on a call at the same time every day to have a meeting, and each team member answers what they did yesterday, what’s getting in their way and what they are doing that day. Knowing what is getting in the way for each person is the most important question, as it will give an indication of how communication and efficiency can be improved.

James always looks to see if a process can be automated, as the more you can remove the human element, the less likely there will be errors. For example, they use SamCart, which links to InfusionSoft and automatically applies a tag if a payment is rejected. With this tag, Infusionsoft then automatically removes the customer from the members’ area, until payment is received. Automatic emails from both programs also save the team time and energy in the process.

Using a plugin that integrates with Infusionsoft, SendOutCards is another tool that provides automation. When a sale is made, the customer can automatically be sent a “thank you” card. Phoebe believes that extra touches like this are often missing, especially in online business (see “INTERVIEW LINKS”).

There are a number of screen capture tutorials that can take the guesswork, and skill required, out of the equation of training new employees (see “INTERVIEW LINKS”).

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"The ONE Thing" by Gary Keller


"Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time" by Jeff Sutherland