One of the biggest things I love to teach my students is how to create systems in your business. The truth is, most of our day to day operations don’t vary much – we are constantly doing the same things over and over again yet we seldom stop to think about how we can increase our efficiency or create workflow systems to streamline.
It’s all about working smarter, not harder and it’s been a giant focus on my team over the last year. Here are 6 ways I’ve created workflow systems that have not only made us more efficient, they’ve helped us have more work/life balance.
1.) Create Templates:
If you find yourself trying to reinvent the wheel every time a client asks you a question or you’re spending hours writing custom responses, STOP. Templates will save your days (seriously, the amount of time you’ll save is INSANE!) We have over 40 templates being put to use in our business every day, from answering client questions to setting up podcast interviews.
It’s so important to sit down, hammer out some templates so that YOU can step away from the computer and get back to life. Templates are also a giant lifesaver when the time comes to get a team, if you have templates, your team will have awesome responses that are in your brand, tone, and voice. Cool, right?
2.) Map Out Workflows:
So many things in our businesses require multiple steps in order to complete. When we actually sat down and said: these 10 things must happen in order to xxx, we were able to create repeatable workflow patterns that we could all stick to – better yet, add those workflows into a management software like Asana or Trello and you can check each item off of your list as you complete them. You’ll be surprised at how many steps a simple task can take but if you map it out, you’ll have a repeatable system that you can use over and over again.
One of the best things you can do is experiment within your own business. Have an idea of something that might simplify your process? Test it out. We are constantly thinking of new systems or filters that we can use to help us streamline our communication process. You can’t be resistant to change, your business and needs are going to be constantly evolving. It’s important to keep an open mind and encourage your team to come to you with new ideas or ways you can innovate. I am always asking my team: what work are you enjoying the most, what are gaps you think we have that we can fill in, what are your three biggest priorities this week? It’s important that we are constantly challenging ourselves and our systems to experiment.
Yup, here we go. There are probably 10 places in your business where you could be outsourcing currently. I know, I know, you’re afraid of the money, but the truth is, you have a max and you’re likely sitting at that max thinking how you can’t possibly take on one more client or you’ll combust. When I finally opened my hands (and pocketbook) to the idea of outsourcing I started experiencing an insane freedom. In that freedom I was creative again, I was given rest, I had credibility.
The more I outsource to the right people, the better I am at my job. We are constantly thinking of ways we can evolve and add to our team so that each person is focusing on two big things: where they are most passionate and where they are driving the bottom line the most. Start small, work big. Hire an intern, train a Virtual Assistant, pick up help on sites like Fiverr.. whatever it looks like, chances are you probably need some help.
5.) Create a resource library:
Okay, so maybe you’re not totally ready to outsource. Don’t worry. It takes time. What would it looked like if you started creating a resource library – if not for a future team, but for yourself. Create a working document of email templates, create a page of your brand voice, screenflow record yourself doing tasks that you do every single day and explain them.
We are always adding to our resource library. Why? Because we know my team is only going to grow. Instead of having a giant and steep learning curve, what if there was a folder with video after video on us doing the tasks? What if you could learn without the fear of forgetting (because you had a resource to walk you step by step through the project?)
Chances are, your team won’t be with you forever. It’s important to know, understand, and be able to train someone new if/when the time comes. A resource library is a brilliant way to start setting yourself up for success so you don’t find yourself in a bind. Better yet, attach the videos you record to your workflow created in Asana or Trello so that when the time comes to add to your team, you’ve already got your training materials created!
6.) Track your time
Know where our best resource (time!) is being spent is key when determining potential areas for outsourcing our identifying areas that may need to be tightened up from a workflow standpoint. Ex. Even after outsourcing emails AND having 40 templates as a team we were still spending too much time in the inbox. SO, we’re segregating our email lists even more and setting up auto-responders for emails that don’t need a personal individual response.
You didn’t become an entrepreneur to work 24/7, in fact you dreamt about freedom. One of the best ways you can incorporate freedom into your life is in getting serious about creating workflows in your business that you, your team, or a new hire can complete. Yes, it’s going to take time to set it all up and jot it all down, but time is going to pass anyway. It’s time to start working smarter, not harder so you can get back to less work, more life. Amen? Amen.