We really love this whole tidying up craze.
Partially because - well - have you met any of our team? While we're all wildly different, most of us thrive in a well-ordered environment. It literally sparks joy!
But the other - and more pertinent - reason is that we think 'tidying up' is a great way to get your business working smarter. We regularly help our clients become more efficient by reviewing, consolidating and implementing cloud-based systems and smart marketing practice.
It's our own, systems based, KonMari method.
Do you need to tidy up?
We've been accused of being app-oholics. In a past life, our team had more apps to communicate with each other than people to use them.
We learnt that we had to stay on top of our "shiny new thing" syndrome. So we appreciate how your tech ecosystem can get out of hand.
We've seen businesses who work across Google Docs and Office 365 for document management AND SharePoint and Asana for project management. If you don't know what these platforms are, don't worry. All you need to know is, it's a lot of duplication of features - and cost.
And I'm not just referring to the subscription cost, but also the cost of:
Training new staff in multiple systems
Lost productivity due to unclear communication or crossed-wires
Poor staff morale and high frustrations caused by keeping too many things up-to-date
So how do you get a handle on it?
Like the KonMari method, we have to pull everything out, look at it, and discover whether it really 'sparks joy'.
Start by knowing where you stand. Grab a spreadsheet. Pop in a column for each of these elements:
who actually uses it
who owns it
who pays for it
Send it around to your team. Get them to add a line every time they touch a different system over a week. Gather the results.
Yes, your team will fill out the sheet individually. By getting each team member working in a different sheet you won't just get a handle on what systems exist in your business, but also:
Who uses each system the most (are systems are particular to certain roles, and should they be?)
Who should use each system more
Who is confident with each system (are there essential systems certain people just avoid?)
Which systems just aren't being used at all...or enough to justify their cost
Is your business a well-oiled machine, or a bit of a mess?
And don't forget...
You should include your website. Your website is not only the face you put out to the world but is often the hub of all of your digital systems. It can generate leads, take sales, house secure zones and intranets, direct people to other systems and more.
When you look at your site consider:
Does it talk to the other systems that it needs to?
What is your 'best-case' scenario site?
What are the immediate steps you can take (or investigate) to take it closer to that ideal?
An example. Our CRM, quoting and project management system is one
, but our email marketing and automation system are separate. Our website feeds into our email marketing and automation system but NOT our CRM. It works for us for now, but our whole team know that we need to stay focused on keeping the right data moving between the two. We've had to focus not only on the systems and their relationships but the culture we build around those systems.
So how do you decide what sparks joy, and what should get binned?
This depends on your business and what you're trying to achieve, but these questions can help you make your final decision.
Is the system open to integration? That is, does it (or can it) talk to the other systems you need it to?
Will the system scale with you as you grow, or will you need to migrate at a certain time?
Does the productivity benefit (savings of time or frustration) match or exceed the cost of the platform? For example, a social media scheduling tool that costs $350 a year can seem expensive, but if it saves your team 15 minutes or more a day (an extra hour a week, 4 hours a month - you get the idea) in exchange for a dollar, it could be a good investment.
Are you using all the features of a given system? Is there a double-up of any features that might make one redundant?
Does your team need training or upskilling to get the most out of one of your subscriptions? Does the business behind the system have a good track-record for support and training?
Of course, you don't need to go through this process alone.
We're here to help businesses get clarity on what will give them efficiencies - and how to get there.
Understanding systems - and how they work for humans - is one of our favourite things to do.