Time Saving Templates
Templates are one of the most useful tools you can have in your business. Not only do they save you time (even if it’s just a few precious minutes) but they also help you maintain a consistent and professional image of your business.
Take a moment to check if you have the following templates covered:
There are some emails you will send out regularly to clients and business contacts. And although you may tweak these slightly to suit the individual, most of the content will likely stay the same. Consider every type of email you send out regularly and create a template for it, so that you don’t have to re-create it every time you send it. Even if it’s only a very basic template it can still save valuable minutes in your day (which will add up quickly when you have a number of them to do). And if you also make sure that your templates are free from spelling and grammar errors (in addition to having a visually pleasing layout) it will convey a professional image of your business every time.
In addition to emails you may also have some letters that you use regularly, so set up templates for these as well. And again check that the layout, spelling, grammar (including the positioning of your signature) is creating the correct image with clients and business contacts. If you have someone to assist you with admin tasks then supply them with these templates, so that what they send out on your behalf looks exactly as you want it to.
Website & Mailing Software
There are automated templates you can use on your website for when people contact you, download information or buy online from you, etc. Mailing software also uses templates to send emails to your database and has the option of personalising information according to the person it’s being sent to (for example, addressing each email by the relevant first name). To make sure that all of these templates are working effectively, check firstly that the content is correct and the layout looks right. It’s a good idea to also test them for yourself (e.g.: sign up to your own mailing list, buy something from your website, etc). Once these automated templates are checked and set up there isn’t much more to do, however, periodically consider if they need updating and make sure they stay consistent with your branding (as well as every other template in your business).
There will likely be different documents that you use internally in your business (for example, an excel spreadsheet for your accounts or a form to capture information). A good example of how templates like this can save you time is with data entry documents (which often have very specific layouts and formulas that take time to set up). Being able to simply copy and paste from a previously created data entry document can save valuable time in your business for both yourself and/or your staff. Make sure you maintain a master copy of each of these in the one file so they’re easy to use and update (as well as preventing multiple versions being stored in different locations). Adding a date to these documents (every time they’re updated) will also make it easy to see which is the latest copy (especially if you find it challenging to keep them all in the one place).
Some marketing material can be used over and over again successfully (to generate new business) whereas other marketing material needs to be updated or changed as time goes on. Always keep a copy of all past and current marketing material, as they are useful starting points for new ideas and provide templates for future material that can be easily modified. Additionally, past marketing material can be used to illustrate to anyone creating new marketing material for you exactly what you’re looking for (in addition to the changes you want to make).
It can take a little time setting up templates and getting them to look exactly right, but it will save you a lot more time in the future if you use them. Using templates allows you to leverage off work already completed and redirect this saved time to more income generating areas of your business. It also ensures that what you use with clients and business contacts looks consistently well put together and professional. Invest some time now into setting up templates for every area of your business and it will definitely be time well spent!