Want to expand? Start as you mean to go on

October 5th 2022 – Written By Stephanie Sheargold

The early days of setting up a business are an explosion of emotions. Excitement, nerves, relief, expectation… and that’s without actually doing any work. It’s no wonder then that so many start-ups and solo business owners fudge their admin and processes. Especially when the focus is on getting new business and making sure customers return.

After all, if you know where things are stored and how to repeat a process, that’s all that matters.

Or is it?

The problem with an admin-can-wait approach

The problem with a laissez-faire approach to admin is that issues creep in when you’re ready to expand. Whether you’re taking on a virtual assistant or recruiting an employee, disorganised admin comes back to bite you on the proverbial.

It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of ‘it’s quicker to do it like this’. For example, boshing files onto your desktop instead of setting up a proper filing system. Or doing things slightly differently each time you onboard a new client.

And that’s because when you’re ready to grow your team, nothing is in place. And the heart-breaking result is that you have to redo EVERYTHING. You’ll end up spending untold hours putting processes in place to teach them your company.

And this is something we see a fair amount of. A new client comes to us and their cloud space is chaos. They don’t have a filing structure; everything has just been thrown into a folder or – even worse – onto their desktop. They haven’t documented any processes, their passwords aren’t stored anywhere, and there is no way to collaborate online or share items.

This means that it’s a Herculean task to get them online and VA-ready. And that’s before we’ve even started supporting them.

But it doesn’t need to be like this. You can save your future self time, money, and – let’s face it – hassle, by developing a few good habits now.

Seven ways to make your business expansion-ready

Laying the ground for business expansion isn’t just about having a winning proposition or enough money in the bank. It’s essential to have the right processes in place too. Here are some of the ways you can do this:

  1. Start documenting processes as soon as you establish them. Bullet points are a great place to begin, a fully written set of guidelines is even better.
  2. Invest in a good cloud system that will make it effortless for you to collaborate with others, regardless of where they’re based.
  3. Set up a logical filing system and always (always) file your work.
  4. Log ALL passwords using a trusted password manager.
  5. Create templates for regularly repeated documents such as client onboarding documents and proposals. This is really fast – it will only take five minutes to convert a current client contract into a re-usable file.
  6. Use platforms like Loom to record processes as you do them. This saves you time typing things while still documenting things for you.
  7. Make-believe that you have someone else working for you. How will they know how to do a particular task?

The essentials you need to work with a VA and really hit the ground running

There are a few never-fail essentials that you will need to work with a VA or to onboard a new employee. These are:

– A cloud platform – I love Google Drive, but One Drive and Dropbox are also great.

– A password manager – we use LastPass at Timpi, but there are a host of excellent password managers available to choose from. This is a great guide to password managers if you want some trusted advice.

With these two things in place, your VA or new employee can get everything organised and hit the ground running, ready to add value to your business.

Building your business from the ground up? We’ve got your back. Here’s what we learnt from our first five years in business.