For Black entrepreneurs, there is no shortage of things you need to do. From emails to appointments to building websites and managing social media, there is a never ending to do list that can steal your sanity from you if you are not careful.
I have personally built, ran, and sold several businesses. No one taught me what you are about to read – I had to learn it the hard way.
And I made mistakes along the way that almost killed my business. So learn from my mistakes with these 3 things you MUST do if you want to succeed as a Black Entrepreneur.
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.
Almost every individual part of your business has its own system. Lets say you run a Notary Company. In order to be successful, you will need to have a website that is filled with content that targets people in your area who need your services. Once they place their order with you, you will need to travel to them to notarize their documents. Once everything is done, you want to keep in touch with them for future business.
Based on this example, there are 7 systems involved:
1. You need to have a website built for your company
- People Needed: A web designer and programmer
- Products Used: Website hosting services like Bluehost and website building products like WordPress
- Process Followed: The steps that you give to your people that allows them to connect your website domain to your hosting account, upload WordPress, customize your site design, and make sure everything works.
- People Needed: A writer for your blog posts and a graphic designer for your cover images
- Products Used: Proofreading services like Grammarly that the content producer uses to check her work, and graphic design software like Photoshop that she uses to create graphics for your website.
- Process Followed: Each week, you automatically pay your writer to write and upload articles to your website. You send her the answers to questions like the topic, the length of the content, step by step login information, and the format that she should use.
3. You want to give customers the ability to book an appointment with you
- People Needed: None – this is something that you can use a product for!
- Products Used: Appointment setting software that runs 24/7, lets you choose when you are available for appointments, and lets your client choose a time that works best for them. If you are looking for a Black owned solution, we use Calendly.
- Process Followed: Customer fills out important information – type of document being notarized, etc – 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 or meet them. It will also prevent you from wasting time asking for the same information again later on.
4. You want to be able to conduct an over the phone screening to make sure the client is right for you
- People Needed: A customer service rep that you train conducts over the phone appointments for you. This representative can be a virtual assistant, or a company like Simplr.ai.
- Products Used: Give your customer service rep script and a list of frequently asked questions so they will be able to answer any questions your client has. You never want to give out your personal phone number, so you will need a 1-800 number.
- Process Followed: Your 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.
5. You want your client to pay for their service automatically and on the spot
- People Needed: None – that’s what your products are for!
- Products Used: You use Stripe, since they give you a free credit card reader. That means you can swipe your client’s card and have the payment automatically deposited in your bank account. You should also have a payment system set up on your website, so if you arent physically meeting your client you can direct them to that payment page.
- Processes Followed: 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. Your payment system should be able to handle recurring payments, reconcile failed payments, and invoicing.
6. You want to perform the notarization without having to drive out to the client yourself
- People Needed: You can train other notaries 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.
- Products Used: In this case, your products are all the tools that you give to your notaries to perform the service. These could include an electronic scanner for fingerprints, notary record book or journal , and ink pads. You can also keep track of your agents mileage and expenditures using the automatic mileage tracker in Quickbooks.
- Processes Followed: You give your agents all the steps they would need to follow to process documents, conclude transactions, and confirm that they have performed the service.
*If you decide to use other notaries, you can have clients pay ahead of time on your website, then pay the notaries once the service has been performed. That way you wont have other notaries collecting 100% of the payment and cutting you out.
7. You want to follow up with the client for repeat business
- People Needed: You can have your Virtual Assistant or the company you use from step 4 to contact the customer a few days after the service is provided. These representatives could ask the client about their experience and offer them a discount for future work.
- Products Used: Customer relationship management software like Zoho and Salesforce , and an automated email system that sends past clients discounts for future services. This email system can run on autopilot for years to come.
- Processes Followed: You set up a frequency for followup contact, along with scripts that keep your notary business fresh in the client’s mind
While the example above applies to notary businesses, you should plan out systems that are relevant to your own business.
Break down all the steps that your business goes through to deliver its product or service, then identify the people, products, and processes that go into each step.
That is how real business planning is done.
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.
People are a critical part of every business system, but if you don’t create a culture of empowerment, you will end up doing the tasks that you hired them to do in the first place.
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.
Creating a culture of empowerment means letting people know they have permission to make decisions and complete tasks without your direct supervision.
Let them know that they have full power to do whatever they think is necessary to deliver your product or service in a way that keeps customers happy. 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 bank account.)
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 working vehicle, let the individual parts do their jobs.
Outsource Damn Near Everything
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 must be respected if you want to grow your business while keeping your sanity.
Do not make the mistake of trying to learn and then do a task that you can outsource. Let me give you a real life reason why you should outsource relentlessly:
In one of my past companies we used a tool called GTMetrix to measure site speed. GTMetrix gives 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 wasted weeks trying to do something that only took a professional 12 hours to knock out. To add insult to injury, it only costed $5 for him to get the job done!
Instead of trying to save some money, 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.
Keep in mind that you can always make more money, but you can never make more time!
If you want to get your feet wet, start with Fiverr. I have used this service for the past 6 years. There are thousands of Black virtual assistants, graphic designers, blog post writers, and voice-over talents that you can hire for just $5. Click here or the banner below to do a service search.
Outsourcing is critical if you are serious about running your business. Think about it like this:
Restaurant owners don’t cook every dish, wipe down every table, serve every plate of food, swipe every credit card, and stand at the front door to greet every customer that walks in. Instead, he or she hires people to do all those things while overseeing the entire system.
So get started with just $5 by clicking here.
If you are struggling to build or grow your business, bookmark this article and start taking action now!
Start by mapping 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.
Finally, outsource as much as possible. 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.
Is there a piece of advice you would add? Leave a comment below.