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.

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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!

5 EASY STEPS TO AMPLIFY YOUR MESSAGE ON SOCIAL MEDIA

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Reclaiming Your Creative Process with Systems and Workflow

Reclaiming Your Creative Process with Systems and Workflow

My Favorite Biz Books from 2020

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!

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.

Everything you Need to Know if you Plan on Hiring

Everything you Need to Know if you Plan on Hiring

My Favorite Biz Books from 2020

As we have moved through the first quarter of 2021, maybe you are ready to bring on new employees. There’s no hiding the fact that this was a particularly challenging year for business owners, particularly those in the special events industry. Many companies have had to make the difficult decision to furlough or lay off employees as the pandemic forced our events to be postponed or cancelled.

In the wake of coronavirus, many business owners have found their teams fractured. However, as we anticipate a rebirth of the industry in 2021, you might be left wondering how to manage the hiring process in a post-pandemic landscape.

If you plan on hiring anyone in 2021, here’s what you need to know.

Understanding Your Hiring Options

There are several ways to hire help, each with distinct pros and cons. Most commonly, employees are your traditional W-4 team members on payroll. These are people you expect to be on your team for the foreseeable future, whether on a part-time or full-time basis. While reliable and consistent, hiring employees is a big commitment that entails regular pay (and benefits for full-time workers), as well as strong leadership skills on your end. 

For those that aren’t yet in a place to consider hiring new employees, consider looking into bringing contractors into your team. Contractors provide freelance work through a 1099 nonemployee agreement. While they work for you, they don’t work under you. Since they are not on payroll, you aren’t responsible for benefits — you simply provide them with assignments for them to return when completed. They require much less overhead than an employee and you’re not tied to them, but it is essential to set expectations early. Be sure to review their portfolio and ask for references before agreeing to any contract. You do need to be aware of the rules for contractors, both at the federal and state level. If you tell them what to do and where to go, there are employees — thus, contractors are best hired for project-based work. 

Lastly, you may consider launching an internship program to get some low-cost help on a temporary basis. Interns are often students seeking academic credit or people new to the industry and looking to get some experience under their belt. Either way, the compensation is minimal — a basic stipend can suffice. Since internships are typically time-restricted, they’re ideal for project-based work. Again, you’ll need to be mindful of federal and state laws surrounding internships. Be prepared to lend extra oversight when working with interns, as they are typically inexperienced and still in the process of learning the ropes. For interns that are extra impressive, you can always consider bringing them into the company as an employee at the end of their internship period.

Ultimately, who you need to hire will depend on what you need to be done. If you’re looking for someone to help take on new client accounts, a part-time or full-time employee is probably the best option for you. For more specialty needs, like web design or content writing, a contractor may be all you need to check off those boxes. Meanwhile, interns do well in roles that involve administrative tasks, office management, social media, and light client work.

*paid advertising

Navigating the Hiring Process

When you’ve determined the direction to take when hiring, your first step is to draw up a compelling job description that summarizes responsibilities and expectations for the new hire. It should be detailed enough that candidates enter the interview process with a strong grasp on the role they’re applying for. 

Once you’ve fleshed out a description, share it far and wide. Add it to your blog, post it to local job boards and Facebook groups, and send it to industry peers in a position to make referrals. Depending on the position available, you may consider sending it to local colleges to share with their students.

When you start hearing from candidates, review each application carefully and compare it to your job description. Reach out to the top contenders to schedule interviews; due to the pandemic, this will likely take place over a video call. Then, it’s time to prepare interview questions that will help to reveal candidates’ competencies and measure how they’ll fit into your company. Keep the questions consistent through all of the interviews so you have strong benchmarks for comparison.

Eventually, one will rise to the surface as the clear choice to hire. Send over the offer and, once accepted, notify the rest of the candidates that you’ve made your selection and thank them for their time. From there, you can get right into the onboarding process with your new hire and provide training resources to catch them up to speed. 

The hiring process isn’t fun, and it can be time-consuming; there’s no getting around that. However, the time and energy you spend seeking the right fit for you team is an investment in the future growth of your company, so be patient and keep moving forward until you find the person you can’t see your business without.

If you need a plan to create your new hire checklist and onboarding plan, please reach out and we can chat about my How I Can Help series focused on hiring onboarding!  CLICK HERE to schedule

Everything you Need to Know if you Plan on Hiring
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.

Staff Training Techniques That Will Ensure Your Team Stays

Staff Training Techniques That Will Ensure Your Team Stays

My Favorite Biz Books from 2020

As we look back at 2020 and all the unprecedented circumstances that have come our way, many of us have had to make hard decisions within our businesses. Some have been forced to downsize and cut their teams down to the ‘essential’ members, whereas others have had to reorganize or pivot their operations to keep everyone onboard despite a downturn in business.  

If we learned one thing last year, it’s that a stable and productive team is the backbone of a successful company—they keep our businesses running like a well-oiled machine and it’s important to show them how much they are valued and appreciated. 

Yet, a team that is disorganized and without a system in place can end up being more of a burden than a blessing. That’s why it’s essential to implement a detailed staff training program that ensures each team member is meeting expectations and contributing to the company’s success. 

Here’s what you need to know about training a team of employees so you can confidently call each of them a valuable asset. 

Get crystal clear on expectations. 

If you’re working with a new hire, they likely already have a good idea of your expectations from the original job description and the subsequent hiring process. It’s still worthwhile setting up an introductory onboarding meeting to help them ramp up and learn the processes that will help them reach their goals.  

Beyond the hiring process, it’s important to keep your expectations top-of-mind with your team to ensure they continue measuring up. This is especially critical if you’ve adjusted your operations due to the pandemic; if your employees are taking on responsibilities that are new to them, give them some grace as they learn and engage with them to help them catch up-to-speed. 

A great way to continue the discussion of expectations (and ensuring they are met) is to set regular check-ins with your team members to assess their performance. Try weekly meetings for newer hires and, if you’re comfortable, you can likely stretch it out to biweekly or even monthly check-ins with established employees. This isn’t meant to be a time for criticism or negative evaluation, but rather an opportunity to see how your staff are performing and provide them with additional solutions to enhance productivity if needed. 

Develop a comprehensive training manual. 

A great training manual is the single best thing you can do for your team and yourself. On one hand, your employees will have a useful resource to consult and learn on their own. This simple act helps to empower them to make decisions and take ownership of their responsibilities, without feeling like they need to check in with you every step of the way. 

On the other hand, you surely have plenty of work to do outside of overseeing and micro-managing every detail of your staff’s performance. With your regular check-ins set, you should feel comfortable taking a step back and letting them run with it.  

When creating your manual, ask your employees to contribute and share feedback about their roles. After all, they’re the ones who are in-the-trenches and will likely provide insight into a position or task that you may not know from your oversight role.  

Think of your employee manual as a living document that can be adjusted and updated as needed; things change, and this handbook needs to be able to adapt with the times. Consider keeping it saved on Google Drive, Dropbox, or another cloud storage program that allows you to edit it in real-time, so your team can always access the most updated version.  

Staff Training Techniques That Will Ensure Your Team Stays
*paid advertising

Keep it fun. 

The term “training” doesn’t sound interesting, and it might even make some team members feel nervous to take on new duties. Try spicing up the process by incorporating games or competitions into the training program for tasks like sales calls, inventory management, or design production. Offer up a small little prize, like a $10 gift card, to the employee that performs best and let them have some fun with the competition. 

Or, consider incorporating role-playing exercises to get your staff comfortable training in a group setting. This will help them to open up and provide feedback to one another, which will enhance your company culture in addition to each employees’ performance. It’s also a smart way to allow new hires to learn from the seasoned veterans of the company, which can introduce an environment that encourages mentorship. 

Make yourself readily available. 

With all of these techniques in place, you might feel like you brush your hands off and get back to your work. If done properly, you probably can—a combination of your employee manual and a collaborative culture can mean your employees have the tools to work self-sufficiently.  

However, it’s important to remember that you are still the leader of this team and that means you need to be ready to consult at any given notice. Institute an open-door policy and let your team know that you’re always prepared to answer questions, give advice, or simply provide some inspiration and ideas. 

If you’re on-the-go more than you are in the office (or, if you’re fully remote due to the pandemic), stay connected through regular calls, texts, or messenger platforms like Slack or WhatsApp. Try to carve out at least an hour or two each day for ‘office hours’ so your team knows they will be able to reach you to discuss any questions or concerns. 

Counter to popular belief, staff training isn’t just for newly hired employees. Instead, it should be an ongoing process that is designed to help your team members grow and improve their skills, while becoming more productive in their day-to-day responsibilities. While micro-managing is damaging to morale, being present and engaged is essential for a leader to keep employees motivated.  

In this way, you can build and train a team that will help your company weather the hard times and, in better times, increase profitability and grow to new heights. It all starts with your most valuable asset: your staff. 

Sign up for a Strategy 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!

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.

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