What’s In a Workflow?
In business, workflows are what makes the world go ‘round! They bring your systems to life by turning them into repeatable processes that streamline your workload. You do not have to spin your wheels every time you do something because you can rely on an established workflow that has resulted in success over and over.
The reality is that you probably already have some workflows in your business. However, it’s likely that they are not operating at 100% efficiency. Or, if they are, there is a good chance that you have some gaps elsewhere in your business.
Don’t worry — this is normal for businesses that are growing! As you scale, your needs evolve and your systems and workflows must adapt to the changes. What worked when you had five clients is probably not the best method when you have 50 clients. Change comes with growth, so the best business owners are those that are agile and adaptable to their clients’ needs, as well as their own.
If you are looking for more clarity in your day-to-day, it’s time to adjust, refine, and refresh your workflows, so they work seamlessly in your business. The better your workflows, the better your life flows — am I right?
To start, I want you to consider the eight in your business:
- Customer Experience
- Human Resources and Team Management
- Marketing and Visibility
Each of these “departments” involves unique processes and, thus, should employ its own workflows. In Financials, you might have a process for saving your receipts and adding them to a spreadsheet on the last day of every month. For Customer Experience, you may follow a specific sequence of steps from onboarding to execution.
Simply put, a workflow is how you do a particular task in your business from start to finish. Without it, your business will lack consistency, and that disparity will spill over into all other aspects. If your operations are disorganized, it will impact everything from your marketing strategies to your customer experience.
While these eight areas are distinct from one another, they are all interconnected. After all, a business is the sum of many moving pieces. All it takes is one breaking for the whole machine to come to a halt. Your workflows help to keep all of the gears well-oiled and operational.
For each of these areas, consider the repeated processes you perform and break them down into the following categories.
These are the small but necessary tasks that fill up your day: responding to emails, calendar management, marketing, and other responsibilities that keep your business running. While they are significant, they typically do not drive your creative process or client work.
Your weekly workflows are the tasks that are less urgent but still vital parts of your day-to-day business. Perhaps you write one blog post, organize one team meeting, or make five sales calls each week. Get clear on what needs to be done regularly but does not need to be on your plate every day.
When you get to quarterly tasks, you start to see more of the higher-level strategic work. This is your chance to map out the next three months and the actions that will propel your business forward. Developing content calendars, sending client gifts, reviewing website analytics, and revisiting your goals are all great examples of quarterly workflows.
Annual workflows are those that formulate a direction for you to take your business in the next year. This is when you should review your standard operating procedures (SOPs), update your website, refresh your mission, vision, and values, and set new goals to reach for more success.
At this point, you should have a list of daily, monthly, quarterly, and yearly workflows that keep your business afloat. With everything laid out in front of you, dig into each to see where you can adjust and optimize them. Perhaps your quarterly content calendars would be better suited in a monthly capacity, or maybe you can batch a quarter’s worth of blog posts so you do not have to write a new one each week.
The best way to do this is simply to start documenting what you are doing and how you are doing it. Look for the gaps that take up valuable time, energy, and resources. When you identify areas that could be further streamlined, that turns your workflows into a seamless part of your business.
Then, take all of these tasks—big and small—and add them to your calendar, to-do list, and/or project management software. One of the most common mistakes entrepreneurs make when developing workflows is forgetting about them when life gets too busy. Hold yourself accountable with scheduled reminders to stay on track, knowing that checking those boxes will help build a successful and sustainable business for years to come.
Ready to iron out your workflow once and for all? Get in touch with Jen for help optimizing your systems and workflows to find clarity and focus in your business again.
System & Workflow Strategist
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