Let me guess, you’ve been hearing people talk about “workflows” and “systems” and your googling and pinteresting led you down a rabbit hole of uncertainty that left you feeling like you’re getting ahead of yourself. And honestly, when it comes to systems and workflows, one of the most common things I hear is, “My business is too small to start thinking about that.” I truly think that is stemming from not knowing what exactly all us business strategists and system experts are talking about. I mean we do tend to speak in a business code language of our own. 😉
In addition to laying out exactly what we’re talking about, I am gonna let you in on a little secret….
Your business already has a workflow.
Are you feeling a bit more 🤨 than 🤯?
Well it’s true.
Whether you’ve thought about it or not you created a workflow when you started taking on clients. It may be clunky and different each time but, it’s still your workflow. So keep reading, because I’m going to lay it all out there because your business has a workflow, and you probably didn’t even know it!
Systems…workflows…what’s the forking difference?
Ok, the truth is there isn’t a difference. Honestly the difference between systems and workflows is purely semantic and truly depends on the person using the word. ( I tend to use them interchangeably myself. )! In business, a workflow or system refers to the step by step process you go through to accomplish a specific objective. Your business has many different workflows that all make up your brand’s unique client experience.
Here are some of the most common workflows you tend to hear experts talk about:
And, just because this topic isn’t already complicated enough, workflows for different product lines differ from one another. Simple right?! 🙄
Ok, no the topic of workflows and systems are NOT simple. They get more complicated the more you dig into them. So that’s why I am here to help you try and keep it as simple as you possibly can.
When to start designing your unique workflows?
So, when do you start thinking about workflows? Is it when you get your first client, or 5 or ten? Is it once you’ve reached 6 figures? WHEN?! A common misconception with workflows and systems is that they get built once your business “has arrived”.
Well I’ve got news for you…
There is no such thing as arriving.
It’s just a lie our imposter syndrome tells us to keep us from achieving our big sexy business dreams. So go ahead and tell that stupid voice inside your head to pipe down because you’re achieving your dreams over here.
Which brings us back to when…the answer is NOW.
I don’t care where you are on your entrepreneurial journey, NOW is the time to start thinking about your workflows and systems. Forget all the “I should have done this earlier…” bullshit and let’s just dig in and fix it now.
Now, maybe you’re thinking, “I don’t have time to think about workflows!? I barely have time to get the mandatory things I need to get done!”
Then answer me this…why don’t you have time?
- Do you type out every email from scratch?
- Are you building out a different kind of proposal every. single. Time?
- Does onboarding a new client look different for everyone?
- Is your inbox getting filled with the same questions from every client?
If this is starting to sound like you, then I bet it all boils down to mapping out your client experience from start to finish. Building all those workflows that your unique business needs to effectively and intentionally get work accomplished. (Which honestly sounds way more complicated than it is.) Not sure where to get started? Grab my client experience design guide here.
Ok, you’ve convinced me, workflows are important. So, how do I make it all less time consuming?
Oh boy, I could talk about streamlining your workflows with applications and platforms for days. No really I could! But let’s keep it simple for now. Here are some basic systems that can make your business life 100% easier.
Create Templates for EVERYTHING!
From your recurring emails and answers to common questions to proposals and design files, do yourself a huge favor block of time on your schedule and make EVERYTHING you do into a template.
My team and I use Google Workspace and Adobe Suite for all our clients, and one of the first things we do is create templates specific to each client. We even go so far as to have templates for our client specific templates so that we are NEVER working from scratch. That shit takes too damn long!
Keep your calendar automated.
I LOVE a paper planner like every other Type A person on the planet, but the truth of the matter is that planner won’t remind me of a meeting or a conflict. Between my kiddo, my business, my clients business and every other thing happening in the damn world I can’t rely on myself to write down everything. Google Calendar is a great tool to make sure I have a color coded calendar for each thing and I am able to look at everything at once!
I have even taken my calendar automation to the next level, and incorporated automatic scheduling for my inquiries, client meetings, and podcast interviews (yes…podcast!). I use Dubsado for my CRM and it includes a scheduling feature that looks at my calendar and makes it so I don’t have to worry about when I have availability, because it figures it out for me! If you’re looking for a stand alone service like this I highly recommend Calendly.
Bulk schedule your marketing.
This is a big one. Bulk scheduling is a huge helper especially when it comes to marketing. Your blog, podcast, emails, social media…all of it can be written ahead of time. If you like to keep things fresh you can always review it closer to publishing time and give it a tweak. Tweaking takes way less time than a blank page!
Most websites, blogs and podcast hosts allow you to schedule content ahead of time, and this means you can pump out all your content for March in February or Black Friday in July. Think of the possibilities. When you map out your year and fill your less chaotic months with content building, it leaves your super ridiculous months to focus on your clients.
So…what are you going to tackle first?
I hope you can now see that your business has a workflow, and that putting some intention behind them can help you fine tune your brand to have one killer client experience. Whether you build your systems yourself or hire a workflow and systems expert to help you, treat yourself and your business like the success you want it to be.
Remember that where you are right now doesn’t matter when it comes to systems. All that matters is your big sexy business dreams. If you do that, you will meet your goals and exceed them, I promise you that!
I’d love to know the first part of your workflows you started to tweak. Post a story or a reel and give me a tag (@themollyhicks) so I can see what you’re up to!