How do you create effective business processes that help save you time, money and make things easier? Great question.
In the past few months, we’ve talked about how to choose a niche that inspires growth, what makes a powerful brand story, creating clear business offerings, and creating a sales strategy that will get you more leads.
Now that you’ve got all of those resources under your belt, it’s time to think about designing effective business processes that will keep things running smoothly — both internally for you as the business owner and externally for your clients.
Decide on a time management system and stick to it.
Time management is crucial for your business processes, and yet it’s something that so many don’t focus on. They spend all of their time chasing fires, rather than having dedicated time in their schedules to focus on their main priorities.
There are all kinds of books out there surrounding the topic of time management for entrepreneurs (you can find a few of my favorites here), but one of the best that I’ve found is Eat That Frog by Bryan Tracy.
The idea of “eating that frog” is that you narrow down your task list to your top three priorities for the day, order those priorities based on what you least want to do, and getting that task done first. (Hint: the task you want to do least is the “frog” here!)
I also recommend blocking time throughout your week for time working with your clients, time working on your business, as well as personal time.
When I first started my business, I would cancel personal appointments (like workouts or even lunch) and book over them with client meetings. But I learned that eventually, mismanaging your time in that way can cause you to burn out! I finally started to “trick” myself by putting my personal appointments into my calendar as client meetings … just with myself. This removed a mental block for me and allowed me to manage my time much more successfully and make room for some much needed breaks!
What kind of time blocks will you put on your calendar to ensure you have time with your clients, time to work on your business and time for yourself as well?
Put internal success systems in place to help you run your business more smoothly behind the scenes.
Creating internal success systems comes down to finding automated ways to make it easier to run your company.
For example, if you’re working with clients and doing sessions with them, what would make it easier to keep your client notes organized? Perhaps a tool like Evernote, where you can set up individual shared folders for each client with your notes, then share those notes automatically so you can both make updates and changes as needed.
You might also benefit for automating scheduling. With apps like Square Appointments and Schedulicity, not only can your client schedule with you directly, but payments are accepted automatically, and your client will receive text or email reminders prior to the appointment. All without you having to do a thing but block out open time for clients on your calendar.
You can also use programs like Asana, Trello, or Basecamp to keep track of project management tasks, deadlines, teams and files. And you can digitize your files with Google Drive to make them easily accessible and shareable when you’re on-the-go, too!
What are the tasks that you least look forward to doing when it comes to your customers? Something that steals time from you, but you have to do — could those actually be automated to save you time and effort?
Create external success systems to make it easier for your customers to interact with you and buy from you.
With external success systems, the focus is on making it easier and more convenient for your clients to work with you. The scheduling platforms listed above could also be considered external, since they make it easier for a client to get on your calendar, pay you, and get reminders about their appointments with you.
One wildly important external success system to consider is your website. Your site should make it easy for your clients to find your information and services or products. It should also have easy forms that allow your clients to fill in all the information that you need from them to set up a sales call directly on your website, which is then stored in a database and delivered straight to you once they’ve filled it out.
Mailchimp is an easy and inexpensive way to automate customer communication. You can create automated welcome emails to be distributed to a client as soon as they sign up for your email list, as well as regular email newsletters linking back to the content on your site (or anywhere else). You could also create drip campaigns based on a product ordered that automatically delivers a series of informational emails over a set period of time to the client about their purchase.
Curious about other external success systems that you could put in place in your business?
Determine a sales strategy that will invite return business.
Did you know that 52% of consumers are likely to switch brands if a company doesn’t personalize their communications? This is one of the major reasons why it is crucial to make your information as personalized as possible when you’re connecting with your clients — more on that here.
When your clients come to your website, they should immediately know that your content is directed at them and that they are a good fit for whatever you have to offer.
The more that you can personalize the journey that your customer is going through with you, the more likely you are to invite return business.
So the question becomes: at what point in your client’s journey with you are they likely to experience fear or confusion? If you’re able to make them feel supported with a card, a gift or an email like you anticipated their needs when they get to that point, they are much more likely to become a return customer.
Map out your business process and the standard life cycle of a client’s interactions with you. At what point does a client need extra support? What kind of touchpoint can you set up at that moment to let them know that you are there for them?