Picture this - it’s Monday morning, your alarm goes off, jarring you awake. Immediately you feel a pit in your stomach - there’s SO MUCH to be done today! How in the world are you going to complete it all?
You think that maybe you should start by creating a list, so you walk to your desk (still in pajamas), but the moment you open your computer there’s an urgent email that needs your attention. After answering a few more emails, it’s time to check in on your company social media for the day, but you feel the pang of hunger because you haven’t even had breakfast yet. You jump up, determined to grab a quick bite and a cup of coffee and get back to work. In the middle of pouring your coffee, you receive a client call from “that” client and there goes 45 more minutes of the day. Before you know it, it’s nearly 11am, you’re still in your PJs, and you haven’t completed a single task that is on the to-do list that still only exists in your head.
You’re overwhelmed, overworked, and you’re not even getting to do what you love anymore. Most days you’re putting out fires, and some days you question if running your own business is even worth it.
We’re here to tell you there’s a better way.
Even if you have better processes in place than the business owner in our hypothetical (or is it?) example, you may very well still be feeling overwhelmed, overworked, and on the brink of burnout. The good news is that we’ve been there and we’ve worked our way out. The bad news? It’s going to take concentrated effort, a mindset shift or two, and whole lot of behind-the-scenes work.
It’s no secret that most entrepreneurs didn’t start their business because the just loooove paperwork, creating perfect systems, or getting organized. In fact, many small business owners I’ve met are the opposite of well-organized and systematic. Creative business owners especially want to focus on the making and doing of their service or product - not the systems that keep everything going.
The problem with focusing entirely on everything but the administrative work in a small business is that you’re always overwhelmed. There’s always a fire to put out and a new process to create (because you’re not saving processes that you’ve used in the past because that’s scary administrative work). Your costing yourself a significant amount of money and time (which could be more money) if you’re operating without standard processes.
Organized processes and systems are imperative to smooth operating in small business. They ensure that you always know where you’re at (financially, with your customers or clients, and with your own to-do list), you’re consistent with customer communication, and that your company could keep running if you drop off the face of the earth for a few days - because even business owners need to take a break every now and then.
So, you might be asking, how do I get there?
1. If you’re totally new to this, start with a mentor or accountability partner. Growing into consistency and changing your mindset is an uphill battle and you’re gonna need somebody (or a few people) on your team. If you don’t have a mentor or accountability partner to turn to, we recommend joining The K Club! It’s a group of people working to be better together, and you can join it by filling out the contact form here.
2. Once you’ve got a team on your side for this transformation, start focusing on significant tasks - these are tasks that may not feel urgent right now, but will have a lasting impact on your business. These tasks look slightly different for every person, but typically include the task of developing and WRITING DOWN your processes. Why write them down? So that you can identify pain points, bottlenecks, and make them BETTER. This is how you’ll begin to move beyond the overwhelm.
3. Invest in your business. You need a great CRM to manage your client and customer base, you need an app or two for marketing, a website host, and anything else that will automate your processes. This means less work for you! If this is a personal organizing journey, just start with a REALLY GOOD planner (we recommend Notions).
4. When it’s time, hire out. You cannot be and do everything. Hire a bookkeeper, a social media manager, or a website developer - let other experts do their jobs so you can do yours better.
Once you’ve gone through this list on your own and experienced the benefits, you can let professionals take an objective look at your processes and streamline even further! There’s always room to grow and improve, but getting organized and setting processes in place is your first step. Then you'll be on your way to a happier, freer business owner experience.
If you need help with any of these steps, Kaizen-Life has solutions! We offer Workflow Maps for optimizing processes, Software Solutions to help you find the perfect CRM, and (of course) bookkeeping!