How many of you have worked in jobs where you wanted to tear your hair out due to ridiculous, convoluted processes and workflows. Processes that actually seemed to prevent you from doing a good job.
My hand is up.
Inefficient Processes Sabotage your Business ProductivityComplicated workflows and inefficient processes are a sure fire way to suck the passion out of your work. They block human potential, stunt creativity, create tension with those you need to collaborate with and mire you in self-doubt.Click To Tweet
And like so many forms of sabotage, I don't think we always know it's happening. If we do, we aren't really aware of the potential damage.
Find the efficiencies. Remove harm.
Do no harm.
Have a look at the way you currently do business. What's working right now and what isn't. We want to remove the "harm" and look for how we can make things more efficient. Sometimes that means that we shouldn't be doing a task at all. Where do you struggle, what do you dislike doing and why? Take a look at your business processes right now.
When you evaluate what's working and what isn't, you can create a workflow that is efficient and will help you:
- Save time
- Save money
- Reduce risks
- Ensure consistent client experiences
- Evaluate best practices
- Outsource work
Brain Dump all the Tasks for a Workflow
Grab a pen and paper right now. From beginning to end write down all the steps you need to take to complete a common task. What needs to happen from beginning to end to complete a process?
A Sample Coaching Client Workflow
Client Wants Coaching
Setup client folders
Collect Name, Skype, Address
Send Client Pre Session Questions
Send Welcome Package & Coaching Agreement
Signed Coaching Agreement is returned
Client Pays for All Sessions
Client Books 90 minute Session
Client Books 5 60 minute Sessions
Final Session Complete
Feedback Survey & Testimonial Sent
Feedback Survey & Testimonial Received
Client Review Notes - Lessons Learned Documented
Client Service File Closed and Archived
Follow-up 30 days
Outsource, Automate, Template, Evaluate.
Now for each step in your current workflow ask yourself:
- Would outsourcing this step make me happy?
- Can I automate this step by using a tool, how?
- Can this be templated (documents, emails, checklists, folder structures)?
Then ask yourself: How can I make this better?
Perhaps once you look at your list you decide that adding a "Lessons Learned" step would be a great way to make your process better! Then you decided to always follow-up with past clients 30 days after your program ends as well.
Document your workflow
You don't have to get fancy. You can use a spreadsheet or a document. Check out the tools below.
These "checklists" become your best practices. When you follow them you know a certain standard of care and work will be achieved. You can now use these checklists to easily outsource work and know the same care and standards are met.
Clean up your folder systems
Create file & folder templates for everything you re-use. Depending on the workflow you've nailed down -now create the folder structure you need to complete the workflow complete with the template version of all necessary documentation within the appropriate folder.
Now when you need to say work with a new client for a particular coaching package you simply copy and paste the folder template, rename it and all the appropriate folders and document templates are already inside for the full process.
Tweak as necessary, but you get the idea.
Use Project Management Tools
Consider that all the work you do for your business and your clients can be called "Projects". Part of tidying up your processes and workflows is getting a grip on how you manage your projects. Here are 2 Ah-MAZING tools you can use. If you've never used a PM tool before start simple. Make it work for you and build from there.
For now, Asana is a powerhouse for free and it just got an amazing upgrade.
It's cloud-based. Just sign up for an account and you are off.
Choose from one of their pre-made templates or create your own as a "New Project" and save it with the Name and the word "TEMPLATE" at the end ie: New Client TEMPLATE. Then whenever you need to set up a new "project" to use this workflow just select the "New Client TEMPLATE" project and chose "copy" via the drop down by the title.
Basecamp is a paid service and is worth the investment if you have projects with teams or clients with a lot of information and files.
I love Basecamp for small projects. No tool is perfect. For small businesses and solo entrepreneurs, Basecamp is a great choice. One of the many things I love about Basecamp and its ability to streamline processes and workflow is its ability to template the whole project process including documents, tasks, due dates and team members.
Not simply one workflow or set of tasks. See this quick video as an example.
If you've tried all these tips you are set up to streamline your workflow, evaluate and outsource your tasks. They can save your sanity and free your soul if you tend to them.
If you are a coach or service-based entrepreneur just starting out you might like this.