We are continuing our theme in the month of June talking about your mid year business review. Already we took a look at how it’s performing and what goals might need to shift those of you who followed along in January. And you know, we did an annual planning exercise to help us set up how we want it to perform and how we wanted our business to perform for the year.
And now, June is a good time to go back to some of those business review goals and see how you’re doing. We’ve talked about impact to your finances, impact to the way that you’re serving clients and also how you’re performing against the mission and vision of your small business. All super important things. And so if you’re doing some of that checkup, what you might start to realize is there is great opportunity for you to also do some cleanup work.
Today we’re talking about some areas that you could start to clean up and especially now in the mid point of the year, why that’s going to benefit you and your business and really start to catapult you towards some of those goals.
I. Clean up your Client Communication
The first thing that I want to talk about is cleaning up your communication. Oftentimes when we’re thinking about entrepreneurship, we think about communication and we think about our elevator pitch. And quite frankly, I’m not going to dig into that kind of stuff in this post. We talk about pitching like a PSA and elevator pitches in some other areas, so feel free to check those out if that’s where you’re at, but today I want to talk about your written communication, how well you’re leveraging your email.
Now those of you in the She Runs It community, you know we recently had a live webinar with Tonya Joyner. Tonya runs a publishing house. She is the owner of TJS Publishing. She’s the publisher of my upcoming quote book – be sure to look out for that. And she is masterful at email organization and email communication. You have full access to that webinar if you are a part of the She Runs It community, but if that’s not your jam, I’m going to give you the Cliff’s notes right now.
Tip #1. Address your emails in real time
When it comes to organizing your email, the first thing when you open email, prepare to address it in the moment. This means you’re either going to respond to it, or you’re going to flag it for later, or delete it.
At no point do you want to have messages in your inbox that are unread or not attended to. Because that’s how communication falls through the cracks.
So one of the things that Tonya spoke about was how you can use some of the features, especially in Gmail, to make sure you’re addressing email in real time. Setting aside time each day for checking email is a good opportunity.
Make sure that you’re addressing your email in this way by using some of the innate tools that are built into your application. If you’re on Gmail, the first thing you can do is one set aside time each day and dedicate it to reading and responding to email, preferably before you begin your workday, or before you open your door for your clients. This means that you can read through everything, and file it away appropriately in terms of how you need to address it later.
Tip #2. Create an email folder system
So one of the things Tonya talks about is having a foldering system for her clients or a system to identify when she’s going to address something.
- Now, a great way to think about this is if you subscribed to a bunch of newsletters for business tools, you might have a Business Tools folder. If you have communication from existing clients that might be an Existing Clients folder. If you have communication from prospects that need to go into your client relationship tool, set those aside as unread in our inbox, or to be filed in a Categorized Leads type of folder.
- And then of course if you look at something and you’re like, “Oh, I really need to respond to this, this is important”. You can use the Snooze feature in Gmail to have it hidden in your inbox. It’ll go away into your snooze file until the time you scheduled it to reappear. And you can address it in that moment. In this way you can keep your inbox super clean and organized and nothing falls through the cracks.
- The next most important thing when it comes to organizing your email is having that foldering system. So again, deciding, whether you’re organizing by client, or by when you need to follow up? Or are you organizing by a certain day of the week when you do things? If you’re using our ideal entrepreneur’s schedule, make sure that you have concrete places where email communication fits into your day and that you are reading those messages.
Unsubscribe from Newsletters
- Do you find you’re getting a lot of newsletters or subscriptions and you’re not reading all of it? Then it might be time to consider unsubscribing just to clear the clutter. So you can truly find the communications that need to be addressed for yourself and your business.
Tip #3. Block off time to address/schedule your emails
We already talked about blocking it off in the morning, preferably before you open. The other thing Tonya recommends is to consider using the scheduling tool for sending emails. Maybe late at night you do a lot of drafting, communication and responding. But you don’t want to send all of those messages at 10:00 PM or 11:00 PM when a lot of entrepreneurs are getting our deep work done.
Instead you can draft all of that communication, and again, in Gmail there is functionality to schedule when those messages go out. So they are occurring during regular business hours. In this way you make sure that clients don’t have an expectation that you’re going to respond to email at 1am in the morning.
II. Clean up your Client Prospect List
The second thing you can do as part of your mid year business review is cleaning up your list of potential clients. One of the things that I’ve been doing this month is walking myself through this amazing marketing book, Get Clients Now. You can see this book is phenomenal because it really walks you through the four stages of the sales cycle. And helps you identify your challenges, or where need to beef up some of your skills in getting your clients.
For me, that challenge has been around my follow ups. So all of this month I’ve been actively following up with people using a very rudimentary client relationship management tool. (Literally a piece of paper with names on it) and making sure that I’m following up. But this is a great opportunity at mid point in the year to drop those names into a spreadsheet. I will be using Airtable, and their new template for client relationship management. I could track all my communications whether someone is interested in coaching or financial consulting or public speaking training. And the best part? Making sure I’m communicating with them and checking in because clearly they identified that they had a need. This project is a great opportunity for you to start uncovering those sales opportunities and service opportunities that you may have overlooked. That alone can boost some of your business revenue and service goals for the back end
III. Clean up your Money
The third area that you can clean up as part of your mid year business review is the money. I know I always talk about the money, but truly if you haven’t reconciled receipts up to this point, if you don’t know how much you spent, or how much you’ve received to date, and don’t have a very clear picture of your profit and loss statement, at least from Q1, now is a good time to do some of that reconciling. Please, please check out my good friend Megan Villinis who has a bookkeeping clean up that you can do. She walks you through how to get organized at this point in the year so that come tax season, it won’t be a total disaster. Take the time now, do your checkup, do some cleanup and prepare yourself for success.
Where do you need help cleaning up?
Those are my three areas for your business review folks: Cleanup client communication. Clean up prospecting and follow up with some type of CRM tool. And clean up the money situation. Take the time to do a little bit of bookkeeping, reconciling your receipts and getting yourself in order. I hope that helps.
Please let me know which stage you’re in with your business review and clean up and how I can help.