What's the number one way to set you and your business up for eventually scaling and growing to the next level successfully? WORKFLOWS. Let me unpack that...
As entrepreneurs in the creative world, like the wedding industry, we more than likely launch our businesses completely solo. Figuring things out on the fly and adjusting as we learn what works great and what, well… flops.
Because it’s just us in the trenches, or maybe 1 - 2 other helpful friends or family members, there is no one there holding us accountable to create systems. Create “standard operating procedures” (SOP’s if you will). Create manuals and streamlined ways of doing each and every little thing involved in our business.
If I’m being completely honest? That’s something I wish I had done from the very start. Or at least a year in once I started to get a consistent rhythm. Of course, I had “systems” and ways I did things, but it was ALL in my head. Nothing written out step-by-step. No "workflows".
I’m going to share with you exactly how I use workflows in my business currently and as I scale the business, as I grow my team.
Let’s take it from the top, I CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT MY GIRL GANG. You likely have a "girl gang" of sorts in life to lean on. Best friends, moms, sisters, a teacher, a coach, anyone! You don’t need a million, but we all know we need at least ONE.
SAME IN BUSINESS.
We need someone to lean on, to take over the tasks that as business owners we shouldn't be spending our time doing, to learn from (*COUGH* hiring a coach *COUGH*), all of it.
1st step? You guessed it: WORKFLOWS.
What is a “workflow”? A detailed step-by-step of quite literally every single thing you do to complete a task. I write down everything I do to run my business that I keep in my head so I can see exactly where I can outsource help and grow my team.
You may be thinking, “Where do I need a workflow? Do I even have things I do that I could write down?” Ohhhhh yes you do!
Here's an example: how do you onboard a new client who is ready to book? The next time you do, open a Google Doc. & write down every single step from start to finish as you are actually on-boarding someone.
And I mean EVERYTHING.
STEP 1: receive booking request from client
STEP 2: double check calendar availability
IF AVAILABLE = open Quick books, add new client info, build invoice, save PDF or email to client.
IF NOT AVAILABLE = open the email thread and reply with informing them that you’re unfortunately booked on the date they requested.
And so on and so on as you physically go through the on-boarding process.
Does it take WAY longer to do each task? YUP. But guess what you’re building as you go? Workflows that make up an actual system for your future team member(s) to follow.
IT’S WORTH EVERY EXTRA MINUTE UP FRONT.
So how does this workflow exercise help you scale your business and grow your team once you’re ready?
Writing down your workflows allows you to hand off tasks in a way that gives the new team member clarity around not only exactly what you’ve done in the past, but what you expect them to do moving forward. It gives you, the business owner, living documents to create job descriptions based off of which tasks you are ready to give to someone else. Ultimately, what you’re going to be holding them responsible for accomplishing.
It’s so important to be able to set your new team up for success. Without clarity, they will be left to guess what is in your head and what you expect of them. That doesn’t work for anyone involved. And it's your responsibility, not theirs, to make sure each team member is fully equipped with the info and tools to succeed.
BONUS: it gives you a chance to see where you’re not being efficient or giving quality effort to your more redundant tasks. When you hold yourself accountable to writing out these steps that eventually become your workflows, which allow you to delegate and grow your business - it’s very apparent where you have holes in the “system” you thought you had down to a science. Quickly you see where you can add steps to make it smoother or implement a different strategy to make things simpler for the client, yourself, and your future team.
Businesses are messy. Especially in the early years. Don’t get “stuck in your ways” and refuse to critique your own work. Being adaptable, open to change, and open to new ideas is what separates you from businesses that, sorry to be harsh but it needs to be said, just won’t make it.
Workflows will help you understand your business from a 3rd party perspective. They will help you streamline your day to day and give you the opportunity to to expand your business. Don’t pass it up.
I couldn't do anything I'm setting out to do without this dream team right here. Janelle, Kate, + Olivia - you're my rocks!