What’s In a Workflow?

What’s In a Workflow?

My Favorite Biz Books from 2020

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:

  1. Financials
  2. Operations
  3. Customer Experience
  4. Human Resources and Team Management
  5. Marketing and Visibility
  6. Product
  7. Systems
  8. Development

 

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.

What’s In a Workflow?
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DAILY

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.

 

WEEKLY

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.

 

QUARTERLY

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.

 

YEARLY

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.

Jen Taylor

Jen Taylor

System & Workflow Strategist
www.jentaylorconsulting.com

about

Jen Taylor

Jen Taylor Consulting, is a firm that helps small businesses experience more freedom and abundance through systems, strategy, and workflow.
 
I know you want to be able to enjoy all the reasons you started your business in the first place, instead of putting out fire after fire. In order to do that, you need systems and growth strategies that turn your business from a creaky rust-bucket into a well-oiled machine. The problem is there are a lot of “unsexy” tasks that need to get done. And since you’re not sure how to best automate or outsource, you’re left grinding away day after day.
 
The stress and frustration are almost enough to get you to throw in the towel, give up on your dream, and start working on your resumé.
 
I believe it doesn’t have to be so complicated. I understand how you feel and know it may not be “fun” for you to establish business procedures that fully support your success and growth. But lucky for you, that’s what I love to do!

5 EASY STEPS TO AMPLIFY YOUR MESSAGE ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Learn 5 simple things you can do to boost your social media presence in your marketing strategy.

Creating Systems That Work for You

Creating Systems That Work for You

My Favorite Biz Books from 2020

As a business owner, you wear a lot of hats in your business. You aren’t just the CEO, but rather  . You make strategic decisions about branding, messaging, budgeting, team building, and more. But, even if you’re a solopreneur, the reality is that you don’t have to do it alone.

 

By developing systems in your business, you can effectively streamline every process that takes up valuable space and time. From how you onboard and offboard a client to how you ship a product, systems take the guesswork out of your work and, in some cases, even do the job for you. Ultimately, systems will help structure your business so you can do more with less brain power. Sounds enticing, right?

 

Now, I’m willing to bet you already have certain systems in your business. Whether they’re optimized to simplify your life is another story, but you likely have specific processes that run like clockwork. Consider how you:

  • Respond to inquiries
  • Create and send proposals and contracts
  • Accept payments
  • Organize client information
  • Develop content for social media

 

There’s a good chance you have some systems in there. You aren’t recreating the wheel every time you take a payment or welcome a new client into your brand experience. Systems tend to develop naturally over the course of a business, but that doesn’t always mean that they are as efficient as they could be.

 

In other areas, you really might be scraping together the pieces every time. How does that help you in your business? Furthermore, how does that help your client?

 

Creating new systems and revamping existing ones follow a similar four-step process: Audit, Research, Implement, and Evaluate. Let’s break each of these steps down so you can start getting your systems in order today.

 

AUDIT

You know what they say: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” This rings true when it comes to your business operations, but that leads to the big question: How do I know if it’s broken? Before overhauling your business, take some intentional time to look at your current systems and processes under a microscope to identify where it flows and where it’s blocked.

 

Start with your administrative responsibilities since that tends to be the area that bogs down creativity the most. There’s nothing like an hour’s worth of emails or a spreadsheet of numbers to suppress your genius. What are the repetitive tasks that must be completed but make your eyes roll into the back of your head? Where are you spending more time than necessary? Here are some suggestions:

  • Responding to emails
  • Creating and sending proposals, contracts, and invoices
  • Scheduling meetings and appointments
  • Organizing your filing system
  • Collecting receipts and tracking expenses
  • Managing regular client communications

 

Now,  move onto the more focused tasks that are specific to your clients. Consider these questions, adjusting them as needed for your business model:

  • What does client onboarding and offboarding look like?
  • How do you ensure a consistent client experience?
  • What are your shipping procedures?
  • How do you request and gather feedback?

 

Then, set your signs on your creative process:

  • What are the steps you must take to bring a project to fruition?
  • Do you have a structured workflow to ensure you meet deadlines?
  • Are you blocking time to work through your projects?
  • Is anything preventing your productivity?

 

By the end of this brainstorming exercise, you should have a clear idea of the systems that are operating smoothly, those that need some love, and the areas that never had a system in the first place. That leads us to the next step: research.

 

RESEARCH

You know what you need to fix, so now you need to figure out how to solve it. In many cases, you can find online, cloud-based software that can bridge the gaps in your business.

 

In today’s market, you have many options to sift through to find the right fit. Be mindful of the must-haves for your ideal system and keep looking until you find the perfect solution for your needs. It could be a robust customer relationship management platform (CRM), or it may be as simple as an appointment scheduler that syncs with your calendar. You know how you operate best, so find a solution that matches your work style.

 

For other tasks, you may not need any fancy software at all but rather a shift in procedures and mindset. Perhaps you start blocking out time on your calendar or adopting the   technique for time management, which limits distractions by breaking your projects down into manageable 25-minute blocks. Maybe you create an out-of-office responder to enhance your client touchpoints. Sometimes, the smallest adjustments to your systems can make the most significant impacts!

 

If you’re ready for new software, take advantage of the free trial period to ensure it’s a solution that will meet your needs. If it’s more of a shift in standard operating procedures (SOPs), commit to it for three weeks to see if it provides the results you expected. Then, it’s all about implementation.

Creating Systems That Work for You
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IMPLEMENT

The implementation stage can be the most exciting experience…or the most frustrating. It can take some time to see real change in your business and, on top of that, you’re learning an all-new process. You have to change your habits, which is never easy!

 

I encourage you to stick with it for at least three weeks to a month. If you reach the end of that period and you’re not happy with the change, revisit the research stage and see if you had noted potential alternatives that would better suit your needs.

 

Implementing a new system is challenging on your own, but it can become even more difficult if you have to onboard clients or team members as well. Plan for a soft rollout, letting them know about the transition in advance to set clear expectations. When it comes time to introduce your new system, explain it in detail, open yourself up to answer questions, and assist in getting everyone up to speed.

 

As time goes on and your new system is adopted as an  , you should start to see the results over time. It may even inspire you to adjust some of the other processes in your business to boost productivity. But, first, you must evaluate your new system’s efficacy.

 

 

EVALUATE

Evaluation should be a part of every system and process in your business, not just the new ones. It helps you be proactive and stay on top of your operations, ensuring that nothing falls into disrepair. Consider your business like a vehicle: You wouldn’t leave it to collect dust in a garage, would you? No, it needs regular maintenance and, in some cases, a little extra fine-tuning to run smoothly.

 

Of course, if you get a new feature installed in your car, you’ll be keeping an extra close eye on how it performs. Were those new speakers really worth the cost? Is that upgraded engine everything it promised? The same goes for your new systems.

 

In business, accept that you are always learning. Even after your three-week period is over and you think it’s a fit, pay close attention to your return on investment. Are you really saving all of the time you expected? How have you felt since optimizing XYZ process? Keep this speculative mindset up for six months to a year before filing your new system away as one of the good ones. (Even then, be open to new possibilities!)

 

The most successful businesses run on a collection of practical, streamlined systems that keep the gears turning, even if you’re out of the office or neck deep in a client project. It’s never too late to kickstart your systems, so go ahead and make an appointment with yourself to put that audit on your calendar!

 

Looking for more guidance in creating systems that work for you? Connect with Jen to take the next steps to a more streamlined, productive future for your business.

Jen Taylor

Jen Taylor

System & Workflow Strategist
www.jentaylorconsulting.com

about

Jen Taylor

Jen Taylor Consulting, is a firm that helps small businesses experience more freedom and abundance through systems, strategy, and workflow.
 
I know you want to be able to enjoy all the reasons you started your business in the first place, instead of putting out fire after fire. In order to do that, you need systems and growth strategies that turn your business from a creaky rust-bucket into a well-oiled machine. The problem is there are a lot of “unsexy” tasks that need to get done. And since you’re not sure how to best automate or outsource, you’re left grinding away day after day.
 
The stress and frustration are almost enough to get you to throw in the towel, give up on your dream, and start working on your resumé.
 
I believe it doesn’t have to be so complicated. I understand how you feel and know it may not be “fun” for you to establish business procedures that fully support your success and growth. But lucky for you, that’s what I love to do!

5 EASY STEPS TO AMPLIFY YOUR MESSAGE ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Learn 5 simple things you can do to boost your social media presence in your marketing strategy.

Setting Boundaries & Expectations For the Summer

Setting Boundaries & Expectations For the Summer

My Favorite Biz Books from 2020

With a bright summer upon us, many of us are thinking about sun-soaked vacations and finally taking some personal time to unwind. The last year has been a tough one, but there is a lot of hope for the future. And, let’s face it — you deserve a break!

While it’s vital to take time off for yourself to preserve your sanity and practice self-care, it does little good if you’re jetting off somewhere fun only to be glued to your laptop and taking client calls at all times. If you’re taking time off, it should be spent resting and recharging so you can return to the office fully refreshed and ready to get work done.

Of course, you can’t just go offline without preparing your clients and colleagues. As a business owner, it’s your responsibility to keep your operations going – even if you’re stepping away for a few days. Transparency is the name of the game, so don’t be shy about establishing boundaries and setting realistic expectations for employees, creative partners, clients, and other industry peers who rely on you.

Get crystal clear from the start.

When setting expectations, you need to draw clear and defined lines from the get-go; otherwise, your boundaries will be blurry and other people won’t know when they’re pushing it. A great way to set these terms early is to define them in your contract. Every client that books must review and sign your contract, effectively agreeing to everything inside. From day one, they’ll know what to expect from a working relationship — whether that means you have set office hours, specific days off each week, or a rule that requires appointments be made at least 48 hours in advance.

I recommend laying out your rules and policies in one of the first pages of your contract. The average person has a rather short attention span, so they have a tendency to read a few pages of a document and glance through the rest. Don’t let your boundaries be skimmed! To go the extra mile, consider having an extra signature line on your policies and procedures page to ensure that every client understands the terms they are agreeing to.

Appeal to others’ empathy.

As business owners, we sometimes feel obliged to be the face of our brand all day every day. But, don’t forget that you’re a human, too! You have all the same needs as your clients and colleagues, whether you own a business or not. When you approach people through a personal connection, you can establish empathy and help them to understand why you need to be out-of-pocket. If you’re planning a special trip for your kiddos, be honest about it!

As long as you’re providing good service and practicing strong communication skills the rest of the time, your clients and colleagues will be understanding—if not encouraging!—about giving you the space you need during the summer.

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Setting Boundaries & Expectations For the Summer

Ask questions to confirm it’s understood.

New clients have a tendency to nod and sign, but don’t always fully grasp the full terms of agreement. It’s understandable when you consider how much information they are processing, particularly if they are in the process of booking several professionals at once. However, that’s no excuse for pushing your limits and breaking the rules you’ve drawn out in your contract and/or discussed in meetings.

Be intentional about confirming that your policies are fully understood. A simple question asking them to verify agreement goes a long way in protecting your boundaries.

Here are a few examples to adapt with your own rules:

  • “Do you understand that I do not accept phone calls after 5 p.m.?”
  • “Will you be OK if I do not respond to emails on Saturdays?”
  • “Do you accept that our meetings will be virtual rather than in-person?”

All they have to do is say “yes,” but saying that simple response out loud will help them commit those rules to memory.

Commit to your own boundaries.

People will not respect your boundaries if you don’t adhere to them yourself. If you say you’re going to be offline for a long weekend, do not wake up and start responding to emails. When you ignore your own policies, you’re telling other people that the rules don’t mean much and inviting them to step over the line.

Give credence to the rules that you’ve established, and make it clear that you mean business. It’s your responsibility to set the standard and let your clients and colleagues follow in suit. After all, you created them for a reason—likely to give yourself some space to recharge—and you can only achieve that if you follow through. (Don’t worry, your inbox will be there upon your return!)

With a brighter future in 2021 and beyond, you may find your business growing to new heights. As busy as you may get, though, it’s even more important to be mindful of your mental health and personal wellbeing. Ultimately, a positive state of mind will help you to be more productive and harness your creativity. In order to achieve that, you will need to set clear boundaries that allow you the space and freedom to take a timeout and return to the office restored.

Need someone to talk through your client experience and how to establish boundaries? Jen’s an expert — reach out to get the support you need to grow your business.

Jen Taylor

Jen Taylor

System & Workflow Strategist
www.jentaylorconsulting.com

about

Jen Taylor

Jen Taylor Consulting, is a firm that helps small businesses experience more freedom and abundance through systems, strategy, and workflow.
 
I know you want to be able to enjoy all the reasons you started your business in the first place, instead of putting out fire after fire. In order to do that, you need systems and growth strategies that turn your business from a creaky rust-bucket into a well-oiled machine. The problem is there are a lot of “unsexy” tasks that need to get done. And since you’re not sure how to best automate or outsource, you’re left grinding away day after day.
 
The stress and frustration are almost enough to get you to throw in the towel, give up on your dream, and start working on your resumé.
 
I believe it doesn’t have to be so complicated. I understand how you feel and know it may not be “fun” for you to establish business procedures that fully support your success and growth. But lucky for you, that’s what I love to do!

5 EASY STEPS TO AMPLIFY YOUR MESSAGE ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Learn 5 simple things you can do to boost your social media presence in your marketing strategy.

Rediscovering Freedom & Abundance in Business and in Life

Rediscovering Freedom & Abundance in Business and in Life

My Favorite Biz Books from 2020

When was the last time you took time off for yourself? No, I don’t mean for doctor’s appointments or to go see your mechanic. I mean, when was the last time you really prioritized rest and self-care?

On a similar note, think about the last time you pursued an exciting business opportunity because you had the time and space for it. When was the last time you enthusiastically said “yes, let’s do it!” to an idea that floated through your head?

I’m willing to bet that the answer to both was, “it’s been a while.” That is, if it’s not “never.”

So many creative entrepreneurs get bogged down in the business of doing business that they lose sight of the real reason they started a business: to gain freedom in their lives. Why sacrifice a steady 9-to-5 job unless it means you can lean fully into the independence and abundance that entrepreneurship grants? I’m guessing you didn’t start a business just to count receipts, send emails, and write social media captions.

No, you’re a creative. You thrive when you get to make use of your right brain, but feel overwhelmed when business keeps throwing left-brained analytical tasks your way.

If you’re constantly stuck in the grind and can’t find your way out of the never-ending hustle, it’s time to breathe a sigh of relief because there is a solution that will give you back your freedom. What is it, you ask?

You need to implement systems and workflows that make your business run itself. That doesn’t mean you get to pack up and move to Hawaii, never to look back again — but it could mean you can do that for a couple of weeks without worrying about losing profit. Let’s get started.

Run an audit on your business.

Before you can implement new systems, you need to first evaluate where your business currently stands. In which areas do you excel? What are your biggest struggles? How is your time spent, and is it the best you can do?

I encourage you to spend a week tracking your time throughout the day, even down to the smallest email or the easiest project task. A minute here and a minute there can certainly add up! At the end of the week, review the areas that fill up your schedule most. Ideally, they are also the tasks that drive the most profit. Time is money, remember?

If you find you’re spending too much time in admin and operations, it’s a red flag that something needs to change. You should be immersing yourself in client work because it gets you paid and it’s what inspired you to start a business in the first place! Make a list of all of the processes that are inefficient or broken, as well as those that you simply don’t like. This is your starting point to a profitable-yet-peaceful future for you and your business.

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Rediscovering Freedom & Abundance in Business and in Life

Team

Yep, you are your own Chief of Staff, too! If you have a team already, this means you serve as a leader to all of your employees whether they are on payroll or contractors. You are responsible for ensuring they have everything they need to perform their job and meet expectations, as well as providing feedback to help them improve in their role.

If you’re on your own, you might not worry about wearing this hat right now. But, when you reach a point where you need help (and you will!), you will be responsible for navigating every step of the hiring process, from writing the job description and conducting interviews to selecting the right candidate and onboarding them.

Products + Offerings

Of course, what’s a business without its actual offerings? Whether you’re product-based or service-based, you need to be putting out quality work — otherwise, you’ll never be able to keep your customers happy.

As a CPO (Chief Product Officer), it’s your duty to design, develop, and manage great offerings that solve your ideal clients’ needs. While mostly an internal responsibility, it does involve going out to the market to gather feedback that will help you adjust and improve your products and services to better serve your audience.

Visibility

Now, let’s talk about your role as CMO (Chief Marketing Officer). You have established a great selection of offerings, but they won’t sell if people don’t know about them! Visibility is all about marketing your brand in a way that captures people’s attention and convinces them to take action.

This is where you need to elevate your social media presence, create compelling blog content, and send impactful sales emails to attract new customers and build the Know, Like, Trust factor that will get them to say “yes, please!” to your offerings.

Personal Growth

Remember: While you carry all of these responsibilities for your business, you are also CEO of your personal life. The best business owners and the best leaders are those who recognize the importance of self-development and continuing education.

Create a system that allows you to nurture yourself beyond your business, so you can prioritize rest, outside passions and hobbies, and learning opportunities for personal growth. When you keep yourself fresh and inspired outside your work, you’ll find yourself bringing that energy inside your business.

As you work through each of these areas of your business, you will find new solutions to tame each of them and find simplicity in your work life once and for all. Running a business will always present new challenges to an entrepreneur, but it will really only be as difficult or as easy as you make it!

If you need a helping hand in navigating these areas of your business, Jen’s your person.  Get in touch with her to learn where to take your business next.

Jen Taylor

Jen Taylor

System & Workflow Strategist
www.jentaylorconsulting.com

about

Jen Taylor

Jen Taylor Consulting, is a firm that helps small businesses experience more freedom and abundance through systems, strategy, and workflow.
 
I know you want to be able to enjoy all the reasons you started your business in the first place, instead of putting out fire after fire. In order to do that, you need systems and growth strategies that turn your business from a creaky rust-bucket into a well-oiled machine. The problem is there are a lot of “unsexy” tasks that need to get done. And since you’re not sure how to best automate or outsource, you’re left grinding away day after day.
 
The stress and frustration are almost enough to get you to throw in the towel, give up on your dream, and start working on your resumé.
 
I believe it doesn’t have to be so complicated. I understand how you feel and know it may not be “fun” for you to establish business procedures that fully support your success and growth. But lucky for you, that’s what I love to do!

5 EASY STEPS TO AMPLIFY YOUR MESSAGE ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Learn 5 simple things you can do to boost your social media presence in your marketing strategy.

Harnessing the 8 CEOs in Your Business

Harnessing the 8 CEOs in Your Business

My Favorite Biz Books from 2020

Wait, eight!? Isn’t it just…me?

Yes, of course it is. But, there are eight fundamental areas in your business that require you to wear different hats, making you an eight-sided CEO. That’s a lot, so I applaud you for taking on that endeavor! If it feels like you’re carrying more than you can handle, know that you’re not alone.

Many entrepreneurs—particularly solopreneurs—reach a point where their business is growing faster than their capacity. When this happens, they either need to streamline their operations to simplify their workload or they need to hire some help (whether that’s in the form of employees or a coach to help optimize their business). Some might need to do both.

If you’re wondering how to start cleaning house and creating an operational structure that works for you, it all starts with the 8 CEO hats you’re wearing. Let’s break down each one.

Financials

Money matters! That’s why financials are one of the most important areas for entrepreneurs to manage. As the CFO (Chief Financial Officer) of your business, you must know how much money is coming in and going out at any given time.

You don’t have to pull exact figures from the top of your head, but you should be able to forecast your expected revenue and expenses each month so you don’t make any costly mistakes. Managing your money allows you to know what’s doable in terms of new opportunities, like purchasing new software, hiring a new team member, or renting a storefront.

Operations

Without proper operations, a business lacks strategic foresight and will struggle to meet goals (if there even are any). Your role as COO (Chief Operating Officer) means you are responsible for overseeing day-to-day admin, setting goals, developing a company culture, designing processes, and promoting business growth (i.e. partnerships, investments, new hires, etc.).

It’s your job to keep everything organized and maintained so your team can be productive and efficient (even if it’s just you!). To put it simply, you must ensure your business remains functional and sound with potential for growth.

Client Experience

What’s a business without happy clients? Even if your finances and operations are organized, a poor customer experience can tank a business. All it takes is a few unsatisfied clients leaving bad reviews about your company for sales to plummet.

Thus, you must prioritize your role as CXO (Chief Experience Officer) to ensure business continues to flow in and your happy clients go out and refer your services to other people. As CXO, you must ensure your brand identity is cohesive and aligns with your products and offerings, as well as implementing customer service initiatives to guarantee a reliable, positive experience for anyone that associates with your company.

Systems

Large corporations have CIOs (Chief Information Officers), but I prefer to think about this role as a Chief Systems Officer. This is less IT-based and more about using tech to develop structures that set your business apart from competitors. Some of your responsibilities as CSO may overlap with those of a COO, which is natural because great operations are built upon great systems.

While operations are more of a big-picture look at one’s business, systems are the tools and tactics that bring the business to life. Think of how your customer relationship management (CRM) software or project management (PM) platform keep your workflow steady. Your job here is to always be on the hunt for better systems that can improve your business’ operations.

*paid advertising

Harnessing the 8 CEOs in Your Business

Team

Yep, you are your own Chief of Staff, too! If you have a team already, this means you serve as a leader to all of your employees whether they are on payroll or contractors. You are responsible for ensuring they have everything they need to perform their job and meet expectations, as well as providing feedback to help them improve in their role.

If you’re on your own, you might not worry about wearing this hat right now. But, when you reach a point where you need help (and you will!), you will be responsible for navigating every step of the hiring process, from writing the job description and conducting interviews to selecting the right candidate and onboarding them.

Products + Offerings

Of course, what’s a business without its actual offerings? Whether you’re product-based or service-based, you need to be putting out quality work — otherwise, you’ll never be able to keep your customers happy.

As a CPO (Chief Product Officer), it’s your duty to design, develop, and manage great offerings that solve your ideal clients’ needs. While mostly an internal responsibility, it does involve going out to the market to gather feedback that will help you adjust and improve your products and services to better serve your audience.

Visibility

Now, let’s talk about your role as CMO (Chief Marketing Officer). You have established a great selection of offerings, but they won’t sell if people don’t know about them! Visibility is all about marketing your brand in a way that captures people’s attention and convinces them to take action.

This is where you need to elevate your social media presence, create compelling blog content, and send impactful sales emails to attract new customers and build the Know, Like, Trust factor that will get them to say “yes, please!” to your offerings.

Personal Growth

Remember: While you carry all of these responsibilities for your business, you are also CEO of your personal life. The best business owners and the best leaders are those who recognize the importance of self-development and continuing education.

Create a system that allows you to nurture yourself beyond your business, so you can prioritize rest, outside passions and hobbies, and learning opportunities for personal growth. When you keep yourself fresh and inspired outside your work, you’ll find yourself bringing that energy inside your business.

As you work through each of these areas of your business, you will find new solutions to tame each of them and find simplicity in your work life once and for all. Running a business will always present new challenges to an entrepreneur, but it will really only be as difficult or as easy as you make it!

If you need a helping hand in navigating these areas of your business, Jen’s your person.  Get in touch with her to learn where to take your business next.

Jen Taylor

Jen Taylor

System & Workflow Strategist
www.jentaylorconsulting.com

about

Jen Taylor

Jen Taylor Consulting, is a firm that helps small businesses experience more freedom and abundance through systems, strategy, and workflow.
 
I know you want to be able to enjoy all the reasons you started your business in the first place, instead of putting out fire after fire. In order to do that, you need systems and growth strategies that turn your business from a creaky rust-bucket into a well-oiled machine. The problem is there are a lot of “unsexy” tasks that need to get done. And since you’re not sure how to best automate or outsource, you’re left grinding away day after day.
 
The stress and frustration are almost enough to get you to throw in the towel, give up on your dream, and start working on your resumé.
 
I believe it doesn’t have to be so complicated. I understand how you feel and know it may not be “fun” for you to establish business procedures that fully support your success and growth. But lucky for you, that’s what I love to do!

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Reclaiming Your Creative Process with Systems and Workflow

Reclaiming Your Creative Process with Systems and Workflow

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For creative professionals, running a business is a careful balance between the art and the structure. In other words, right-brained creatives have to switch gears to keep up with the organizational responsibilities that keep their business going so they can continue to do what they do best: create.  

However, when these two realms aren’t in balance, it’s easy to burn out and lose steam on both sides of the business. You may end up losing the passion for your trade that drove you to start your company in the first place. Perhaps you’re thinking that owning a business isn’t all that it was cracked up to be.  

Yet, this mindset isn’t an indictment on creative entrepreneurship — it’s simply a sign that you need to make some adjustments to your business so it can better support your productivity and your drive to create. To avoid fizzling out, creatives need to create a reliable internal system that will streamline operational tasks, freeing up time and mental space for what matters most: the craft. 

After all, none of us decided to start a business one day because we wanted to spend our hours tracking expenses and responding to emails. Are these necessary tasks? Absolutely. But that does not mean you need to spend more time working on your business than you do working in your business.

If you’re ready to dive back into the world of inspiration, the solution lies in the systems and workflows that form the foundation of your business. Here’s what you need to know to embrace efficiency and reclaim your creative process.

START WHERE YOU ARE.

Before you can improve your operational structure, you need first to assess where you currently stand. Jot down all of your business’s recurring processes, from your sales workflow to your client intake procedure to your offboarding technique. For each one, identify the steps you take from start to completion and take note of the areas that consume the most time in your schedule. Also, consider the tasks that are necessary but fill you with dread.

These are the areas prime for optimization and simplification. The goal of building systems and workflows into your business is to standardize operations and rely on what is proven to work instead of recreating the wheel each and every time. Only then will you find more freedom and abundance in your schedule to focus on your creative process.

Reclaiming Your Creative Process with Systems and Workflow
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EXPERIMENT WITH NEW SOLUTIONS.

The only way to grow is to try new things. When you have a good idea of your business’s efficiency gaps, you can begin exploring alternative solutions that will save you time and energy. Today, there are countless digital tools for every facet of business administration — from social media schedulers to time-tracking apps to accounting software; you can streamline virtually any part of your company’s backend.

Spend some time researching applicable programs that can help you to bridge the gaps in your workflows and streamline your usual tasks. Perhaps you just need to build in some canned responses for email inquiries. Maybe you need a more comprehensive solution, like a CRM database that manages contracts, invoices, timelines, and other client account information. When it comes to new technology, you really can’t know what works without trying it. Take advantage of free trials and demos before signing on for the long haul.

If you’re in a place to hire, consider outsourcing the most time-consuming tasks to someone more adept. For example, an accountant will make short work to track your expenses and keep your books updated regularly because it’s what they do best. Likewise, a social media specialist or copywriter might be an excellent addition to your team if you’re always struggling to keep up with fresh content. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to hire a new employee; in fact, outsourcing to a contractor can be a cost-effective way to check off those boxes without investing too much capital.

MAINTAIN NEW SYSTEMS AND ADJUST AS NEEDED.

Once you’ve implemented some new systems and processes that seem to work, give them a few months to iron out the details. For example, if you’re using a new CRM platform, wait until you’ve put in all of your templates and have used it for a while before doing a full evaluation. Often, new programs come with a learning curve and you want to be sure you’ve given your due diligence before making a final decision. 

If you do decide to switch things up, revisit your initial research to see if there were other ideas that might be a fit. Consult with colleagues and industry peers to gather feedback and inspiration. Speaking to professionals who have faced similar issues can lend a wealth of clarity to the situation and you might discover some ideas that hadn’t occurred to you prior.

Once you find the right formula for your business—and you will!—it’s a matter of maintaining the system’s integrity. Just as you take your car in for routine oil changes, your business processes also need to be tuned up at regular intervals. The market is always changing and, if your company isn’t keeping up, it will ultimately result in disrepair — just like a vehicle that is left forgotten in the garage for too long.

At the very least, check in with your systems and procedures before the busy season to see if it needs to be updated. Rely on your recent experiences from the year to determine what has and has not worked for you thus far. However, this process is made much easier if you’re always keeping an eye on your progress and making minor adjustments when necessary. If you notice a gap during your day-to-day workflow, it’s worth addressing it sooner rather than waiting for your annual evaluation to roll around.

Building more efficient systems and processes into your business is a matter of understanding; you must have a deep grasp of your current operations, personal strengths and weaknesses, and the areas in which your business can improve. Once you begin adjusting your approach to better serve your business and your clients, you’ll find that your schedule—and your brain—will have more space to revel in the creative process and discover new directions for growth.

If you want to reclaim your creativity in your business let’s set up a time to chat and see how I can help you!  CLICK HERE to set up a call.

 

Jen Taylor

Jen Taylor

System & Workflow Strategist
www.jentaylorconsulting.com

about

Jen Taylor

Jen Taylor Consulting, is a firm that helps small businesses experience more freedom and abundance through systems, strategy, and workflow.
 
I know you want to be able to enjoy all the reasons you started your business in the first place, instead of putting out fire after fire. In order to do that, you need systems and growth strategies that turn your business from a creaky rust-bucket into a well-oiled machine. The problem is there are a lot of “unsexy” tasks that need to get done. And since you’re not sure how to best automate or outsource, you’re left grinding away day after day.
 
The stress and frustration are almost enough to get you to throw in the towel, give up on your dream, and start working on your resumé.
 
I believe it doesn’t have to be so complicated. I understand how you feel and know it may not be “fun” for you to establish business procedures that fully support your success and growth. But lucky for you, that’s what I love to do!

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