There has never been a better time to systemise, streamline and automate your business. But there are so many different options out there, for most consulting business owners it can be quite overwhelming in knowing where to start.
When you first look at a new software, program or app solution, it is very easy to look at a demo and think that you have found the answer that will solve all your problems. So you sign up and it isn’t until you implement it that you realise that it maybe doesn’t work quite how you were expecting or as you wanted it too.
Before you sign up to anything, you need to sit down and document all of your processes and key activities. I’d suggest one area at a time, for example your proposal process. Map out every step of the process of how you currently do this, from when a client requests a quote, right through to having a contract agreement in place. You then need to look at this map and decide what parts of this process are similar for every project. For each of these parts you then need to determine if that process is efficient and streamlined. If it is, you need to get the process documented, so that anyone can complete that task with minimal effort required. If it isn’t an efficient process and/or use of time, then this is an area you either improve using your current systems, or find an alternative.
Within our consulting business we are constantly looking at ways to improve efficiency and streamline our processes, but when doing this we always ask ourselves a few important questions before we implement a new system or tool:
- Does it integrate with our current systems?
- Will it make our current process more efficient?
- Will it free up more time and energy within the business?
- Is it cost effective?
- Will it reduce the dependency on business owners and key personnel?
Remember; keep it simple, fast and effective. Less is definitely more in this instance. There are so many really expensive solutions out there that claim to do everything but wash the dishes! So take a deep breath and look at exactly what it is you need to improve, one process and one step at a time.
Technology is changing all the time. You are never going to find a perfect solution and there is not one software program or app out there perfectly designed for your business. Have some key criteria that drives the right behaviours and you will choose the best solutions that meet your consulting business needs.