Business – Constructing Efficient Systems – What Are the Three Necessary Systems For Business?

Think about your body. It consists of a number of parts that all work together in a very intricate and efficient manner. Each part is absolutely necessary for health and life. You do not have more parts than you need. If there is a problem with one part, the whole suffers. That is the same with systems that you will need in your business in order to do well.

The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary has several definitions for the word system. Two of these are: a regularly interacting or interdependent group of items forming a unified whole and an organized or established procedure.

If you invest time and energy in setting up at least three systems, you will be richly rewarded as things will then operate with efficiency and accuracy.

Technological system – We live in an age where there is new technology being introduced to the market every week and it would be very difficult to keep up with all the latest things that are available. On the other hand, very few businesses operate without at least some technology. There are a number of things to consider when you choose the parts for your system including the costs, features and benefits. If you do not have some items, you will likely find that your relationships and communications with others are hampered.

Bookkeeping system – Businesses who do not have a system usually do not survive very long. You will need to have accurate information about the income, expenses, assets and liabilities in order to make appropriate financial decisions. Some people use manual systems but most businesses prefer to set up computerized systems that will provide accurate reports and allow for growth

Filing system – Even though there are many efforts to “go green” and protect the environment by using as little paper as possible, most businesses have paper files for at least some of the information associated with their business.

Besides the above, you can set up systems for marketing, client process, personnel, or a multitude of other topics.

Systems contribute to the process of making your business a wonderful adventure.

Business – Constructing Efficient Systems – New Client File

Once your prospect has asked for an appointment and you have gathered the necessary information, there are some administrative tasks you need to complete as follows:

1. Enter the appointment in your computer or book. By entering the full name(s) and telephone number you will be able to contact the client without looking in a manual file. Also, I like to enter the method of payment (Employee Assistance company, Self or other details).

2. Assign a file number. Beside files need to be kept for a number of years to comply with Income Tax and professional standards, I have set up a system to help with that. Each client has a unique number that consists of the year, month and number of new clients in that year. The seventh new client in 2009 who calls me in May would therefore have the file number 09/05/07. I have a form which I keep in a binder that has the following columns to record this: Referral source, year, month, referrals in the year, surname and first name.

3. Prepare a file folder. All of my client files are burgundy in colour so they are easy to identify. I use a white file label with three lines of print: Client file number, name (surname in capitals, comma and then first name) and name of payee (company, insurance or the word “Self”)

4. Set up file. I use fasteners to hold the paperwork in the folder. The right-hand side has referral information, reports from others sources and my handwirtten notes with the most current on top. The left-hand side has financial information with a summary sheet on top.

5. Enter the information into the computer bookkeeping system. My Quick Books system allows me to put the client under the company that is paying as “Add Job” and then have another “Add Job” where I enter the file number.

6. File the folder in a cabinet for active clients.

Once you have completed the above, you are ready for the first appointment. There are many times, however, that the client will call to change the appointment time or provide other information. We record every contact on a separate Contact form and immediately hole-punch and put in the file when it is received. That way you never have a pile of notes that can easily be lost or replaced.

Business – Constructing Efficient Systems – Technology Should Make Your Life Easier

Many people are fascinated with technology and invest a great deal of time and money into buying more “toys”. This can not only drain the company of capital but also steal hours of time that might otherwise be used to increase income and profits. Technology, when used as a tool to help you can make your life much easier and save a great deal of time and effort.

Consider how the following items might be help you in your business:

Telephone – There are a number of options available when it comes to a telephone. One of my psychologist friends uses only a cellphone with a voice mail to operate a very profitable private practice. This gives him the opportunity to check messages and return calls no matter where he is at the time. I also have a cellphone but usually use it only for calling others. My Assistant uses a cordless phone to schedule all our appointments and I have a telephone with hands-free option in my client office so that telephone conferences with the client in the room are possible. Be very careful about signing up for long distance or cellphone plans as there is a great deal of difference in the costs and terms available. In this case research is a good idea.

You can now get cellphones that have a number of features such as built in cameras and email/internet availability.

Computer – It may seem that desktop computers are “a thing of the past” but I actually like the one that I have in my administration office. It has a large screen which makes everything easy to view. I also don’t have to carry it anywhere.

My Assistant uses a laptop for scheduling appointments which she then sends to my desktop for viewing. I also have a laptop that I use at home for projects. Remote control access allows me to view everything on my desktop computer at work from my laptop. This is a wonderful setup which saves me many trips to the office.

When it comes to software, you will likely want a package that offers email, spreadsheet, word processing and bookkeeping. A good coloured Laser printer allows us all the options we need. We have a separate FAX machine that accommodates scanning for thick books but you might consider buying an all-in-one that has everything you need.

Technology that is set up properly with your business needs in mind will save you several hours each week. That allows you to see more clients to build your profit or rest so that you protect your health. The hard part is learning about what is available and then how it can be customized.