At the end of 2019 I joined a Mastermind. It opened my eyes to many things around running and growing a successful business. However, the lesson that has had the biggest impact but also took the longest to learn is the building of systems.
As a solopreneur growing a business and a team it can be difficult to do as a one-man-band. With competing priorities and maxed out calendars our days can sometimes become overwhelming. That’s where systems come into play.
WHAT IS A BUSINESS WORKFLOW OR SYSTEM?
Systems are basically a stack of processes (and possibly tech) that allows you to smoothly and quickly complete required tasks more efficiently and successfully. It’s a set workflow that removes inefficiency and waste.
There are several different kinds of systems out there in businesses: financial systems, customer development systems, lead generation system, content system, etc. The list goes on. Sometimes (in the case of myself) I didn’t even know what a system contained until I saw one laid out in front of me. That’s when I noticed that it’s basically what I’m already doing but it was structured in a slightly different way so as to maximize time. An additional step here and there were added for things like quality checks, approvals, reviews, etc. And if a different software was being used then there may be an automation added to free up time.
BENEFITS TO BUILDING A BUSINESS WORKFLOW
Building a system allowed me to document the process so that the outcome was exactly what I wanted. This helped me outsource the tasks and reduced onboarding time. In turn, it freed up my own time without compromising my vision or standards.
Another benefit is that with a defined system around a process there then comes the opportunity to automate! This is my favourite part. Automation was what sealed the deal for me. And there are so many ways to automate something:
- Update a task in your project management
- Update client record/deal
- Update/notify a client around a task completion
- Notify a team member of an action (so that their role can begin)
- Trigger an order or purchase within an approved account e.g. a client onboarding gift box.
- Actually, this list is pretty exhaustive and completely depends on the process you’re building out and the tools you’re using
Establishing systems allows you to run and grow your business more efficiently. WIN-WIN!
HOW TO GET STARTED WITH WORKFLOWS
My first system was around my content creation and extended to social media posting. These were two areas that I struggled with as they were always last on my list and client work (as we all know) is a priority.
Thankfully, I had guidance in discovering systems. If you’re looking for some guidance to build your own systems here are a few Instagram accounts I follow that talk a lot about systems. I haven’t yet worked with them personally but they share great tips and insights that may help you get started. Some of them have programs/groups you can join or just reach out to them!
As a b2b marketing consultant that works with small b2bs I find systems to be a valuable share. Especially when it comes to helping my clients stay on top of their marketing.
My first workflow for blogging looked something like this:
- Generate topic
- Create outline with sections
- Fill in sections
- Edit draft/research/format
- Source image
- Create post page
- Schedule post
- Promote post
I started using Asana to track the workflows and assign dates (I’m now trying Click Up). It all looked so…busy. So much that I thought is it really worth it? I mean, some of these tasks take just as long to put into the workflow as they do to complete them! This is a persoanl decision. I removed them from the workflow and soon my process started to fray. Before long it was a jumbled mess at my feet. So I learned that for me adding these steps makes me actually do them. The other reason was that when I started to outsource things it was important to know how much time it takes, what sort of documentation is needed for each step, how difficult was the task, etc.
Now, once my workflow was in Asana I can just copy it to the next week and change the dates, etc. So it’s not a big make-work project.
The fact is, if I want to grow then some of my time needs to be freed up and to do that I need to outsource or hire staff to help. And this becomes immensely easier if these workflows are documented and can be followed.
I’m not an expert on these things. I learned about them then suddenly saw them everywhere so just in case you’re like me, I wanted to put a spotlight on something that could make your life (and business) a whole lot easier! Good luck!