It’s the age-old story of the cart before the horse; the chicken or the egg. As entrepreneurs, we are juggling a lot of things and our time is precious. We crave time to create, but there are also things that need to be done and in place to run a successful business, right? Will anything ever save you time?
I’d wager that for many of us, workflows and a system could be the missing pieces!
Imagine you have a foundation in place for your business that allows it to effectively serve you – almost like your personal secretary! It keeps your tasks organized, deadlines prioritized, and clients happy and on task. Plus, your templates are all consolidated and your workflows are automated!
While all of that is happening, you’re blissfully sitting in your favorite chair by the window enjoying a hot afternoon cup of coffee before getting back to creating!
That’s what well defined and organized workflows and systems can do for you, friend. It’s not a myth – it can be your reality!
Before we dive in, let’s address a conversation that comes up often. I frequently hear that people don’t feel that they have the time to set up workflows and systems, so it’s on the back burner. Sound familiar?
I totally get it, but I have to ask — If you don’t have things documented and set up, how will you train someone and be able to trust them to deliver the same level of service to your clients?
How will they know what’s expected of them and what they should be doing?
Won’t they be spending most of their time asking you what to do?
If you don’t want or need a team, think of how much more mental space you’d have if you weren’t storing everything in your head!
Friend, here’s some tough love. If you don’t know WHAT you’re doing and WHY, you won’t be able to grow your business and team successfully. Whether it’s been in my business or corporate experience, training and teaching others doesn’t work well if you wing it. It leaves everyone involved frustrated.
I’m so excited to share with you how you can be on your way to that slower, more creative, hot coffee lifestyle! It all starts with workflows and how, at their core, they help you save time and prepare your business for growth.
As with any part of life or business, we’re all on our own journey and everyone is unique. For that same reason, there is not a one size fits all way to put together a system. It can be as simple or complex as you need it to be and should ultimately serve you and your clients well. But where to begin? Here’s how:
5 Steps to Set Up Workflows that Save You Time and Propel Business Growth
Step 1: Define what YOUR success looks like
Before you can move forward, before workflows can save you time, you have to know where you are going. The first key thing to do, then, is to define your success, not someone else’s. Think through what you envision for your day-to-day life in an ideal world. What is it that you are working toward?
By determining that first, you’re doing a few things:
● Clearly defining what will bring you contentment and help you stay in your lane. (Goodbye comparison monster)
● Help you set realistic and necessary financial and time goals. (How long will it take you to accomplish xyz goal… and how does that fit in your daily office hours?)
● Allow you the clarity to build your business and systems around your life (not the other way around). Amen!?
Step 2: Understand the Lingo: What is the difference between a process, workflow, and system?
Now you know what the end goal is and how much time you have to dedicate to the plan to get there, you’re ready to dive in. Yay! Let’s talk about the benefits of workflows and systems to get you there. I know that it can be confusing what the differences between workflows and systems are. I’ve got you – check out this post!
The Cliff Notes:
● A process is the high level experience you share with your clients on your website or in conversation.
● A workflow is the detailed list of all the tasks/steps required to execute your process.
● A system is an orchestration of various tools (most commonly apps) to help you automate and streamline your workflows in harmony!
Step 3: Put it all on the table
Starting with your workflows, or detailed task lists for your overarching process, is going to help you edit down what you are doing to the essentials. No fluff = more time, right!?
There is so much floating around in our heads at any given moment – ideas, tasks, appointments, remembering to eat! It is so mentally exhausting to try to recall #allthethings. This is where documenting workflows begins to lift a huge weight!
Start with a brain dump of what you do for each service or process in your business. Then, you’ll be able to see areas for improvement and automation. For more detailed tips and resources, make sure you download your FREE ebook, How to Define Workflows & 3 Simple Steps to Get Started, to guide you through the process!
Writing workflows down and putting them into a system that saves you time will be an investment up front.
This is an exercise you may need to repeat a few times to drill down. It’s a process. It is also one that requires attention over time to keep it running smoothly. However, I promise that when it’s in place, it will save you time. You’ll have so much time back to focus on other things (business or life!).
Step 4: Organize your system!
Let’s get that system set up! You’ve done the work to make all the lists, draft copies of your content, and chart the workflow map. Now, it’s time to put all those pieces together and get that ‘personal secretary’ ready to work for you!
A system is made up of a few tools, including, but not limited to:
● Your CRM or client workflow automation software (like HoneyBook)
● Social media scheduler(s) (CoSchedule, Later, Planoly, Tailwind)
● Email (Flodesk)
● Finance tools (Quickbooks or the like)
● Calendar and/or meeting scheduling tools (Acuity, Zoom, G-Cal, i-Cal, HoneyBook)
● Task manager (Asana, Trello, etc.)
Some CRMs include task lists and template lists as part of their workflow templates. However, not all of your business tasks and workflows will fit perfectly into a repetitive automated workflow. In my experience, you will still need an intuitive and easy to update task manager for one off items, team assignments, and a few other things.
The key when mapping and building a business system is to streamline. Nothing should duplicate in functionality if possible. Once you have everything set up and tested, I highly recommend scheduling quarterly/bi-annual reviews of your workflows and system to keep everything current and running smoothly.
Step 5: Create more and grow into YOUR success!
Once you have time freed up, order established, and your definition of success, you’re ready to start working toward that reality! You’ve laid the groundwork and put a structure in place that allows you to almost seamlessly bring on help and grow your business and/or team.
You don’t have to wonder if you’re on track with a client because your system will tell you at a glance. What freedom, right?!? Freedom to focus on your clients, creating what you do best and even the freedom of more time to spend living off the screen! Fuel your real life, not your screen life, friend!
By investing your time and energy to document, streamline and define your workflows you are setting yourself up for success and growth in the long run. And let’s face it, we’re in it for the long game, right?
Of course, I’m always here to help in any way I can. I’d love to hear how your business organization and systems save you time and are helping you focus more on what matters in your life – don’t be a stranger! I’m cheering you on as you navigate this beautiful journey and continue to create from the heart while serving your people well!
Ready to automate your business and get quicker wins? Get our Systems, Automations, & Workflows Ultimate Guide.
Plus, 5 more posts you might like:
- The Difference Between Management & Maintenance Systems and How to Implement Them
- How to Save HUNDREDS of Hours a Year With Workflows
- How to Automate Your Business Without Losing the Personal Touch
- 3 Tools I Use to Streamline Content Creation and Social Media Posting
- Using Canned Emails to Set Client Expectations and Protect Yourself from Liability