One of the best things I have come across is a book called the E Myth. My version is old and tattered, but it talks about how as entrepreneurs we need to spend as much time on the business as working in the business. What this means is developing systems, streamlining processes, creating hands-ff systems that clear the way for automation of day to day tasks. It suggests that as an entrepreneur we need spend as much time in “entrepreneur” mode as in “technician” mode. For me that means spending as much time working out how to build websites, better, faster and more beautiful, and great design that meets a clients needs in as few steps as possible, as well as actually doing the work itself. It can often mean bringing in experts to be technicians and to do the work in the business. In my case I want to be making creative decisions so if I need to, I bring in web developers and less senior designers, who can put my ideas into action.
This also means setting up things like forms for emails that I send regularly, asking for content. If I ever find myself writing the same email twice I create a template for it, using the signatures in Apple Mail, so when I need to send a specific email, I select a certain signature, personalise it and press send. And it takes 2 minutes not 10. I also have auto responders set up for a variety of scenarios, such as when a form is submitted or a person enquires about pricing.
The key is to look carefully at your business processes, and ensure they are streamlined and consistent. That way all your customers get the same brand message and treatment.
Another example of this is to set up time tracking so you don’t need to write on a bit of paper when you start and finish each session of a project. You simply set up each project, even if it is non-billable like blogging and creating content, marketing or updating your own website, so you can keep track of where your time goes. This then enables you to set an hourly rate, because you need to factor in non-billable and admin time as part of your hourly rate.
The official blurb is “In this first new and totally revised edition of the 150,000-copy underground bestseller,The E-Myth, Michael Gerber dispels the myths surrounding starting your own business and shows how commonplace assumptions can get in the way of running a business. He walks you through the steps in the life of a business from entrepreneurial infancy, through adolescent growing pains, to the mature entrepreneurial perspective, the guiding light of all businesses that succeed. He then shows how to apply the lessons of franchising to any business whether or not it is a franchise. Finally, Gerber draws the vital, often overlooked distinction between working on your business and working in your business. After you have read The E-Myth Revisited, you will truly be able to grow your business in a predictable and productive way.” – via Amazon
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