For Black entrepreneurs, there is no shortage of things you need to do. From emails to appointments, there is a never ending to do list that can steal your day from you if you are not careful. As a rule, if you are a Black business owner and lower level tasks take longer than 15 minutes to finish, you should find someone or something else that can do that task. This is a rule that should be respected if you want to grow your business while keeping your sanity.
If you want to succeed in business, you must build systems, create empowered teams, and outsource relentlessly to scale your business.
Create Systems For Every Part of Your Business
For Black Entrepreneurs, business systems deliver more results in less time than anything else that I know of. This is the secret weapon behind every profitable business on Earth. And I can almost guarantee that if you don’t have a system, you are destined to fail!
What is a business system?
A business system is a set of people, products, and processes that you put together to achieve results. Here is how a typical business system works:
You find the people who can do the things that you cant (or should not) do. You give them very clear instructions on what you need done and put them on autopilot. Ideally, you want to completely replace yourself.
You use specific products to make your system run more effectively. For instance, is it easier to send individual emails to all 1000 people on your email list, or is it easier to write your email once and have a piece of software automatically send your email out?
Processes put people and products together to make things happen in a logical, step by step sequence. Lets say you run a notary business. Here is how your system might look:
You have a website built
- People: Web Designer
- Product: Website services
You fill your website with content that would help a potential customer
- People: A content producer
- Process: Each week, you automatically pay a blog writer to write and upload content to your website
The customer books an appointment with you
- Product: An automated booking system like Appointy
- Process: Customer fills out important information in an online form before they set an appointment. This will give you the information to have a price estimate ready to go as soon as you call them. It will also prevent you from wasting time asking for the same information again later on.
You conduct the appointment and answer all the potential clients questions
- People: A customer service rep that you train conducts the over the phone appointment that was booked using Appointy
- Product: A 1-800 number, so that you are not giving away your personal phone number
- Process: You rep calls the client, asks them a number of pre-arranged questions (organized like a script), and gives them the next action steps to take to complete their order.
Client places an order with you
- Product: You should have an automated billing and collections system set up. It can be as simple as Paypal or as complex as ABS. Whatever you use, it should be completely hands off.
- Process: The client is clear about where to go to pay, what payments are accepted, and how often the system will automatically collect the payment from them. Once the payment is received, you set up a confirmation email to the client. You also set the system up to send your team a notification so they can be sure that payment has been made and they can get to work. This system also automatically sends out payment reminders, and assesses overdue fees if necessary. Again, all this should be hands off.
You drive out and perform the notarization
- People: You can train notaries beneath you to perform the service and take a percentage of every client they service. Chances are your city has hundreds of notaries who wouldn’t mind doing this for you since your system makes it easy for them to do one time work. Many full time notaries quit their businesses early and don’t have any work.
- Product: In this case, your products are all the tools you use to perform the notary. An electronic scanner for fingerprints might make your job easier and more efficient than ink and pads. Also, taking all paperwork online might help as well. You can keep track of your mileage and expenditures using the automatic mileage tracker in Quickbooks. Quickbooks automatically adds this into information that will make it much easier for your accountant to prepare your taxes.
- Process: You follow the process of notarizing documents, looking for places where you can make the process more efficient and hands off.
You follow up with the customer for repeat business
- People: Ideally, the same person who did the initial interview should do a followup with the client later on.
- Process: The rep contacts the customer, asks them how we could have done better, and asks the client for repeat or referral business. The client and their referrals should be placed in a CRM (customer relationship management) system
- Products: CRMs like Zoho and Salesforce , your 1-800 number and an automated email system
Create A Culture of Empowerment Among Your Team Members
Have you ever heard the saying ‘If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself?’ This is probably the worst saying that Black entrepreneurs could adhere to. The purpose of building a business is not to create another job for yourself. Your mission is to build a system that others can use to achieve to receive a product or service. The best businesses run without you having to micromanage every part of it.
Think of your business like a car: you don’t want to operate the engine, the fuel pump, and the brake systems, you just want to drive the thing! You determine where you want to go in the car, and you let the individual systems do their job. It is up to you to build the car, but once you have a viable vehicle, let the individual parts do their jobs.
As a Black entrepreneur, give your team members the power to do the things that you should not be doing. Since you have built the system that they work in, you can be sure that the job is done the way you want it to be. Let them know that they have full power to do whatever they think is necessary without asking for your permission. Trust the system you have built to ensure they don’t do any more than what they should (like withdraw all the money from your Paypal account!)
Black Entrepreneurs Must Invest in Outsourcing
I know what you are thinking: you don’t want to pay someone to do something that you can do yourself.
I could tell you that you can always make more money but you can never make more time. But that wouldn’t sink in. Lets do the math:
Outsourcing tasks that are not important but still need to get done is an investment in your time and your peace of mind.
Tasks that you do not understand should also be outsourced to professionals until you can teach your team how to do those tasks. For instance, we use a tool called GTMetrix to measure site speed. GTMetrix will give you suggestions on how to improve your scores, and we thought we could save money by figuring out how to make these improvements on our own. Instead, we waste weeks trying to do something that only took a professional 12 hours to knock out.
The three weeks we spent grinding through those improvements could have been used to take care of our existing clients or bring on new ones.
Not a good return on our investment!
So if you haven’t done so already, map out every process in your business, then find the people and products that will make running your business as easy as taking a nap. This will free you us to focus on growing your business and building new streams of income. If the time comes, you can sell your entire business system and move on – something that is impossible if you have not taken the time to create a system in the first place!