Back to School- In Your Business

Even as adults, I feel we are programmed into a 'back to school' cycle. Gone are the halcyon days of summer--it's time to get back into a routine and settle into our normal lives again. For kids, they are back in class. As business owners, we get back to the core of our business. And like it or not, that core isn't what you do best or sell. That core is HOW you do it best and how you sell your product. The core is your administrative time.

At my former job, one of my bosses had what he called 'admin Friday' when at the end of the week, he intended to focus on all the administrative tasks that get pushed throughout the week. From my distant post as underling (my term, not theirs), it seemed like a cruel and vicious game of whack a mole. The billable work of the week would creep into Admin Friday and the administrative tasks would get pushed and pile up. From my distant post, it was mildly amusing to see the weekly swim upstream against the flow of work keeping him away from doing the tasks at hand. It became a joke-'admin Friday-like that's actually going to happen'.

Well all is fine and well when you're a worker bee but the chickens came to roost when I started my own business. I have my own personal game of administrative whack a mole.  Administrative work happens in fits and flurries of flailing arms. Websites redesigned in a day. Filing system redone on a weekend. Workflow software gets implemented on a Tuesday after a four day weekend (okay, that one was blindly avoiding my workload . . .). And I don't even have staff! It's a constant game of being behind, feeling guilt of neglecting the gears and works of the company while I do what I love-help my clients. 

This year, while preparing for ‘back to school’ I took a good hard look at my business and knew I needed to address my greatest stumbling block. It was time to implement a workflow management system. It's a big step and took a long time to find the right one. And it takes time to get to know the software, upload all the reoccurring work and generally create a wheel to watch it turn in the coming months. It takes time to train my clients in a new system. It's like cleaning out an over stuffed closet-you have to make a giant mess before you can clean up. It's a necessary change, though, required to keep my business current and moving forward and to ensure I can give my clients the best experience possible. Taking serious time to invest in your administrative processes frees future time for clients and frees energy to focus on client tasks. 

The concept of ‘back to school for business’ is to address the evolution of your business as it grows. Back to school is back to basics to build on what we have learned in prior years. You can study Shakespeare in elementary school and you can do a PhD on him. It's all about layers upon layers year over year. Basic addition leads to multiplication. Knowing your letters to words to sentences to powerful paragraphs. All layer upon layer.

Our businesses are the same. When we start out, we tend to focus on the thing we do and ignore how we do it. As we get better, and need to be more proficient, we study the 'how' more and more. Our 'how' is our admin time. Our 'how' can be our freedom with the right systems! 

This year, I encourage you to go 'back to school' with your business to evaluate your 'how' and what trouble spots your business has. Do you need a better payroll system to direct deposit and auto remit to the government? Do you need an easier platform to direct sell to your clients? What about easier communication in house? Appointment scheduling systems? Do you need a better bookkeeping system? Take the time to invest in your administrative process and see how your company can grow, layer upon layer, the same as we learn. Invest in your how. Build your layers to where you want to go.