Five really effective ways to streamline your business

I often find myself in the first few working days of the year feeling a little aimless. I know there are things I should be doing but I can’t quite get back into the routine just yet. What helps is to start on a task I know I can complete that day, and that will make my life easier in the coming year. Finishing a task like this gives me a sense of achievement and motivates me to crack on with bigger projects. Here are my suggestions for tasks that won’t take too long, but that will get you moving and make a difference to your business in the year ahead:

1. Clean up old subscribers

If you have subscribers on your mailing list who haven’t opened an email from in (say) 6 months then they probably aren’t going to buy from you at all. Consider removing them, either with a simple delete now or send a series of emails intended to re-engage them and delete those who don’t open after that.

2. Get your contacts under control

Do you have a pile of dusty business cards you’ve collected or an inbox you’re afraid to tidy up for fear of deleting important client info? Now would be a great time to get those names, addresses and phone numbers into a CRM. You’ll save time in 2019 because you won’t be searching for phone numbers. If you need some help setting up a CRM (customer relationship management system), just let me know.

3. Plan your mailings

Are your marketing emails sporadic? Take some time to write down a plan for what you’ll send in 2019 and commit to it. How frequently will you send emails to your list? What will you put in them? If you’re sending articles, write down some ideas now so you don’t have to think up new ideas when you’re busy later in the year.

A few small business owners have told me they have a kind of GDPR hangover where they’ve been so confused or worried by the GDPR rules of May 2018 that they aren’t emailing at all. It’s still perfectly possible to do email marketing in a post-GDPR world, so why not take a little time now to plan a relaunch?

If you need some help getting to grips with your mailing list, whether that’s setting it up, relaunching it, tidying it up or some training on how to use it,  let me know.

4. Have a task list for each day

It’s easy to have either no task list at all, or a huge one where you have no hope of ever reaching the end. I know, I’ve tried both! But it’s far more effective and motivating to have a list of tasks each day, that you can tick off by the end of the day. It’s far more effective again if those tasks lists are linked to your business goals (I use the 12 Week Year for this, but use whichever system works best for you).

I use Asana to keep track of my tasks but alternatives are Trello and Todoist. Keep it simple, pick a system you can stick with and that gives you a sense of achievement.

5. Review your opt-in forms and landing pages

These days we tend to have many places to opt-in to our mailing lists on our websites and social media. Perhaps there’s one on your homepage, one on your blog page, one on a landing page all on its own and more. Over time these can become out of date and not fit with as closely with your branding or what you offer. Sometimes they just need a freshen up to attract more subscribers. If you have a little spare time, go through your landing pages and opt-in boxes to make sure they are all at their best. Even better, make sure you can track which opt-in forms and landing pages are performing the best – your email marketing service should give you reports to help with this.

If you’re struggling to find the time to work on your contact management or mailing list, I’d be happy to do this for you or work out a strategy with you to make it a whole lot easier in future. Just drop me a message here.

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