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So, you know the benefits of systemisation, you know how to implement business systemisation and automation and now you have the fun, fun task of choosing your platforms!
With so many systems out there nowadays, it can be really hard to choose just one and if you’re not careful, you can spend a lot of precious hours choosing rather than implementing.
Unfortunately, it can be a difficult balance to find though as you don’t want to jump into implementing a new system completely blindly either. Choosing your business systems is, to a large extent, a personal choice and as every business is different, you are best placed to make that decision effectively, either by yourself or with an operations consultant like me by your side!
I am frequently asked about the software I recommend and while I can absolutely tell you the ones I use and love, that doesn’t necessarily mean they will work for you and your business.
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My Approach to Selecting Business Systems
I spend quite a bit of time getting to know my clients and their businesses before I am in a position to confidently recommend the solution I feel is best for them using this framework, so if you are going it alone for now, here is what you need to consider!
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1. Does It Do What I Need It To?
Ok, so a bit of an obvious one to start, but if the answer to this isn’t yes, you can rule it out immediately without going through the rest of this list! Make a list of what you need each system to do and check that it actually does it. Don’t be afraid to hop on a chat (most platforms have them these days) and talk to the customer service team if you aren’t sure!
2. Does It Allow For Business Growth?
Think about your goals for your business and consider from your shortlist of systems which ones have the capacity and longevity to grow with you. Changing systems after your business has outgrown its current platform is generally A LOT harder than choosing a system that can grow with you in the first place.
Having said that, the systems that do offer the flexibility to scale with you generally have a larger learning curve, so if you are just starting up your business, consider whether you have the capacity to go through this across multiple platforms (it can be exhausting, even for a tech lover like me).
Instead, maybe choose 2 or 3 core systems that have longevity and use simpler systems for the rest of your business that won’t be such a pain to move later down the line.
If you aren’t sure which systems fall into this bracket, I can almost guarantee it will be your file storage and password management (both easy to set up but a bugger to switch later) along with your project management (PM) and customer relationship management (CRM) systems (big learning curve on the more complex platforms for both of these, but better to do it now)!
3. Is It Intuitive & Easy To Use?
Different people will find different platforms easier to use. Watch a couple of set-up videos for each system on your shortlist, one may call out to you. Also, put yourself in your customer’s shoes; would you be impressed using this system? Would they find it easy to use and is it a good reflection of your business?
4. Free vs Paid
When you are starting out, you are likely to want to be utilising as many free platforms as possible until you start generating consistent revenue. This is absolutely possible, but make sure there are paid versions you can upgrade to as and when your business grows.
In fact, I encourage the utilisation of the free versions of platforms when you are starting out EXCEPT when it comes to digital file storage and website hosting. Please, if you take just one bit of advice from this post, just bite the bullet and pay for both of these, as migrating from the free platforms is extremely tedious at best.
For file storage, I recommend Google Workspace which is less than $6 a month and also gives a whole suite of extremely valuable tools as well as a domain-based email address, which is a must for any professional business.
For my hosting, I use Siteground (their customer service is fab and it is one of the easier interfaces to use) and this can be from as little as $5 a month.
Having a team may seem a far-off dream now, but it comes around quicker than you expect. Think about where you want your business to go and the ways you envisage communicating with your team. Does the platform you’re looking at allow collaboration in the way you are envisaging?
6. Integration With Other Platforms
Does it integrate with the other platforms you are looking at using? As your business becomes more advanced, your systems will need to scale along with it, along with the level of automation and integration functionality helps massively with this. If there isn’t any direct integration, does Zapier provide this functionality?
7. What’s Everyone Else Using?
Keep an eye on what other people offering similar services to you are using and what they like and dislike about their platforms – Facebook groups are a great place to start here.
Additional Tips for Choosing Your Business Systems & Tools
While I know better than anyone the excitement of implementing a new shiny system, be careful with the number that you use. When I first started out I actively tried to use as many different systems and automation as possible. I had a good reason; as an operations consultant, it was beneficial for me to know lots of different platforms to best meet the needs of my clients.
However, while integration functionality is ever-increasing and automation platforms like Zapier make inter-platform integration a lot easier than it used to be, you’re still adding in complexity that you don’t necessarily need and “zaps” do sometimes fail. Don’t make things more complicated than they need to be.
That’s A Wrap! How to Choose Systemisation & Automation Platforms for Your Business
Ok, all that’s left for you to do is to take your shortlist of each software type and work out which one ticks the most boxes for you! Set yourself a time limit for how long you are going to take to decide on each one so you don’t spend too long agonising. Also acknowledge that with the best will in the world, you are likely to have to switch at least one of your systems at some point!
This doesn’t mean that you didn’t think about it enough, it’s just part and parcel of not being able to predict the future and even businesses with the most solid strategy take unexpected turns as you learn and grow.
Spend a little more time on deciding your file storage, website hosting, PM and CRM tools as these are the harder ones to switch, but for everything else, I would recommend spending a maximum of an hour deciding, sleep on it and then going with your gut.
You can find out my favourite systems and tools here!
If you would like to have some support setting up systems in your business, check out our services page for how we can help.