Documenting business processes is one of the top ways to grow your web development business, but how do you get started?
Answering these questions, and more, is process expert Brian Richards of WP Sessions. Join Mike Killen as he and Brian discuss the ins and outs of creating processes on today’s WP Elevation podcast.
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Currently, Brian Richards runs WP Sessions and all the training they offer for web developers. They focus on WordPress related subjects and topics about running a WordPress business, including creative problem solving and client relationship management dynamics.
Brian explains to Mike that today, to be a great web developer, you have to do more than just write code. You also have to know and understand project management, contracts, and client management.
He has come to this understanding through his various interests and experiences. Brian discovered Photoshop at a young age, which led to an interest in CSS and HTML, then PHP. He also earned a photography degree in college; he wanted to expand beyond the world of coding and computers.
The more he studied and learned, the more he understood the business aspects of service offerings. He could see the importance of having the best practices mentality in any service business, whether it was web development or not.
Mike asks where to start when we’re creating a process for our projects. If we want to create a process for building a website, for example, what’s the first thing we should do?
Three ways to start creating a process:
- Screencast your process on video.
- Dictate your process and then have it transcribed.
- Create a template.
Brian says to start by first looking at how you build the website. What are the steps involved and how does that layout in a process? Write them down; you can add and improve as you go along but write down the steps you take as of now.
Then you can look at what you can offer your clients as add-ons. This opens the door to creating monthly packages and in turn, monthly recurring revenue for you. Equally important is the fact that it also gives you additional touch points for offering new features and services for your clients down the road.
For example, you could start offering security audits or offer an ongoing package where you do regular reviews and check-ins on their site as a service. This leads to more opportunities to talk to and interact with a client who you otherwise might not have spoken to again. With a monthly package and regular communication with the customer, you stay top of mind as a resource. When they need additional web work done, they will most likely come to you first.
And all of this starts by having processes.
Brian also recommends that you have checklists for all aspects of any project, everything from onboarding your clients, to the completion of the project. When you do this, you’ll find things you can outsource.
Whenever you hire someone, he suggests you start by giving the person a checklist, a consistent process, and targets or goals to achieve. Then be sure to check in with them throughout and encourage them to ask you questions, too. Spend more time with them in the beginning, and once they figure it out you may never have to do that task again! You don’t have to come up with the best way to do something, just document how you do it now and improve the process over time.
Even if you don’t hire someone and you’re only doing something once or twice a quarter or once or twice a year you should still write down the process for it. The reason? When you come back next quarter or next year you’ll have to spend time remembering how you did it the last time.
Around the 20 minute mark, Mike and Brian dive into what to do if you think you have lots of pieces of your business that you can’t write a process for, and how to get over that barrier. They also talk about how to find step one of your process (for any task or project) and how to get past the “fuzzy beginning.”
Be sure to check out this process gold on today’s show