Well this is going to be a long one so buckle up and also it mostly applies to a UK audience but lots of the set up steps can translate into any business arena. I was asked to write a list of things to think about when you are setting up a business. These are great pointers for any small business to get sorted from the off and stay organised and on top of your business vision.
Register with HMRC
This is a UK thing and a very important step that you need to take. It’s also something you should get done early on so that you can make sure you can file your self assessments on time (https://www.gov.uk/set-up-sole-trader).
Insurance / Contracts
It’s important to get the right insurance – always talk to your current provider and then look to others to see which is best and what you need (& whether it affects your current insurance if you work from home). It’s a good idea on top of what you go for to add Cyber Cover if you work in an online capacity. For Contracts Lucy Legal is great for coaches and online businesses with lots of bundles available https://www.lucylegal.co.uk/templates
get this up and running from the start – no more spreadsheets (this is also important as we all move to online submissions). This doesn’t have to cost to start with – Rhino Apps supports online submission – Wave is another great one (but doesn’t support online submission at the moment). As you grow you can move to Xero or FreeAgent which are both great for small businesses.
Start with thinking about the process you want your clients to go through and then work backwards filling in the gaps. Having this in place allows a seamless transition. So for instance having your calendar available on your website for them to book an initial consultation – then a reminder email – if they become a client, sending the contract and payment details instantly – then a welcome email – reminder email before the first session – a thank you after the session and what to do next. Automation is the name of the game here, the more things you can automate means the less overwhelmed you get, the more time you have and the more organised you are.
CRM (Client Relationship Management) Tool
Again you can start small with this. Trello is a great starter point (& Free). You can have a board for each client and detail out the process. As you grow you can move to a paid version such as Dubsado or Asana, the advantage of these is that you can set a workflow to send documents, set reminders and integrate with other systems.
Free versions of Mailchimp and Mailerlite are great to get started and grow your list. You can set up some of your automations here for welcome emails and sending out your calendar links. You can send out your lead magnet from here and put the links on your website for people to sign up to your list.
Set up Calendly, 10to8 or Acuity – the paid versions of these allow you to take payment and also link up to integrations such as Zapier*. You set your days and hours of work and an email reminder will get sent to your client as well as yourself.
Social Media Scheduler
You can directly schedule to Facebook but other social platforms such as Instagram and LinkedIn you can’t. Hootsuite, MeetEdgar, Planly, later and buffer all work well. To start with use a free version and use a plan to schedule out your offering.
Take some time to find one that suits you – this depends on ease of use and also cost. Don’t go all guns a blazin to start with – a basic drag and drop template is better than a website that costs a lot of money but is hard to change or costs even more to update. Wix are great for first timers, as are GoDaddy and Squarespace. You get a blog on there which is important to help with promoting your website.
if you go for a dedicated email address alongside your website (lots of website providers offer an email address) or a gmail account. Set it up to serve you from the beginning. Create folders, set up rules so that emails go to certain folders. The more organised you can make this the better as you grow.
That’s Not All…
There are so many more things you can do (& probably should do) to get your business moving in the right direction. But lots of these things can grow as your business does, try not to get shiny object syndrome and concentrate on what you need.
Try not to go big too soon and pay for all the different platforms yearly as you may find they don’t always fit for what you need. You’ll get lots of people telling you that the system they use is fantastic…and it probably is for them but doesn’t mean it’s such a great fit for your business. If you do need to follow someone else’s recommendation then just pay monthly until you know it’s perfect for your business.
If you need setting up any of the systems you want to use then let me help…Or if I can help you get organised and plan your systems lets talk.