As an entrepreneur, you’re probably gearing up for the New Year. Perhaps you’re looking at putting new systems in place, becoming more automated, or re-vamping some systems you may have now that you’ve outgrown or that aren’t working for you anymore.

No matter which category you fall into, one of the most important systems you’ll want to have in place and running smoothly is your client onboarding system. Your onboarding system is what you do once a client agrees to work with you.

If you don’t have this system in place, you’ll want to get it implemented. Here are some of the items that may be included:

Your contract. You may already have a contract that you use with new clients. If not, I highly recommend you start using one. You can choose to send this through the mail, email it to your client or use an electronic signing program such as Adobe Echo Sign.

Set up billing/invoicing. If your client has enrolled in an ongoing program or package, be sure to set up automated recurring billing so you don’t have to remember to do it manually. You can accomplish this through your shopping cart or PayPal.

A welcome letter. This is where most entrepreneurs drop the ball. Does your client have clear information on what they need to know to work with you? For example, if they need to schedule ongoing coaching sessions with you, do they have the link to your online scheduling system? Is there a member area where they get training lessons and if so, do they have that log in information? Do they know the best way to get hold of you in case they have questions and how quickly can they expect to hear back from you if they send an email or leave a phone message? Be sure to use this letter to address any questions they may have and to set the expectations for them to work with you.

You can create a template with this information and set it up to go out automatically or even set up a template within your email program that you can use again and again.

A thank you card. This is a nice touch if you aren’t already doing this. You can use something like Send Out Cards to set up a template to send out, or if it’s not too time consuming, a brief handwritten thank you note expressing how grateful you are that they decided to work with you.

A welcome phone call. This is also a nice piece to put into place in this system. If you have a team member who handles your customer service for you, you can have them make the call. This call shouldn’t take more than about 5 minutes and you can script it out, so it doesn’t become a long conversation. Be sure to welcome them working with you and just touch base to confirm they received all the pertinent information they may need (member area information, scheduling link, etc.). They will really appreciate the extra steps you took in making the call.

I’ve also heard of other people sending a flower bouquet or a small gift through the mail to welcome new clients. The point of this system is to make them feel confident in their decision to work with you and to set you apart from the competition.

Do you have something special that you do for new clients? Please share it in the comments below.