Over the years that I have been running my agency, consulting with other businesses and coaching, there is a very common problem that I see:
Many business owners are completely exhausted and working long hours because they don't have the right processes in their business.
When I tell them that they need the right processes, many look at me like I'm crazy. They tell me they can't create processes because their clients always want different things, or that they already tried creating processes, or that they can't find the time to create proper systems and processes. After all, with an overdue project and finishing work at 10 pm each night – how on earth would they find time to make processes!?
The thing is, the reason they are working until 10 pm is that they don't have processes.
Ironic isn't it!
In this post, I'm going to make it super easy for you to start creating processes to ensure you finish work at a decent hour, you'll gain your client's trust through predictability, workflow will be quicker and your whole team will be on the same page.
And if you don't have a team yet, this will also help you prepare for when you onboard a new team member.
Let's dive in!
Why Is It Important to Systemise?
To put it simply:
Time = money
Processes = huge time saver
By way of example, one of our WP Elevation coaches Christina Hawkins told us:
I live for systems and processes and checklists. It's helped me grow and build my Net Profit by 200% in 2017.
This shows just how important processes and systems are – Christina DOUBLED her net profit.
This speaks to the power of systems (and, of course, that Christina Hawkins is a rockstar).
Mistakes I Made With Processes
When I was first creating systems and processes for my business, I started by systemising everything. I focused so much time on putting systems in place for how I deliver my services, that it took time away from actually getting new clients in the door. Rookie mistake!
I was systemising all my delivery processes just in case I got new clients, instead of looking at how systems actually help me attract new clients, provide a great onboarding experience and help me and my team deliver consistently great results for them.
I have seen many freelancers and agencies make the same mistake too.
What you need to create processes for is what actually brings value to your business and your clients.
What To Create System & Processes For
When it comes to deciding what kinds of activities in your business you need to create systems and processes for, look at these three things:
- Revenue generating activities
- What gets great results or delights your clients
- Activities that you need to do on a recurring basis (that bring value and you cannot automate)
How To Create Processes
Start With High Level Steps
High-level systems are important to get in place so you can easily see the big steps and the outcomes of each step
For example, the process for building a website for a client would look something like:
- Collect payment
- Gather content
- Get login details
- Have kick-off meeting
- Create wireframes
- Wireframe approval
- Create designs
- Design approval
- Build website
- Connect to third-party software
- QA Checking
- Website approval
- Add content
- Launch approval
- Website launch checklist
- Follow up process
Within each of these high level steps, you would then include the what needs to happen within each step.
You can use this systemise the approach and the workflow even though each customer and project is going to be different.
Of course, you'll also want to have a client sign-off and approval process each step of the way, like what we teach in the Delivery Module of The Blueprint.
Use Existing Templates
There's no need to waste time reinventing the wheel when it comes to your processes. Use processes from others that you know have been tested and that work.
Our Blueprint Course contains all the processes you need to get better clients and charge better fees from your projects, from incoming leads right through to project delivery and follow up.
As an example, our Proposal template helps you convert high ticket projects, raise your rates and close more sales. You can use this template (plus the free training that's included) to create your process for creating proposals.
Download Your Free Proposal Template
- How you create your newsletter
- How you post on social media
- How you run your client meetings
- How to onboard new clients
- How to collect content from clients
- Any software or tools you use (in most cases, you can just link from your process to the welcome videos or support content for the relevant tool)
Delegate To The TeamIf you have a team, you absolutely should not be creating all your business processes yourself. I remember having a chat with Troy who said something along the lines of “it's actually really arrogant of the business owner to think they know how to do everything.” Time to eat some humble pie and get the team involved. The more your team are involved in the creation of the processes, the more ownership they will have over them. Involvement breeds commitment. This is where you can really delegate to your team to build out your businesses processes and keep them maintained without having to be involved in every part of it.
Golden Rule: Keep It SimpleDocumenting processes doesn’t need to be difficult. There are so many deals and new tools coming out all the time that claim they will fix all of your problems and promise you the world. Whilst there are some great tools out there to help with your processes, if you have a small team or you're just getting started, it's easier and cheaper to just keep it simple. Check out this podcast with Brian Richards for more tips of keeping it simple when it comes to creating your processes. To start with, you can use Google docs to create and save your processes. Keep them all in one processes folder and then any process is easily searchable. Create a template that includes:
- Your logo
- The date which the process was written
- The date it was last updated
- Formatting of headings and font to keep everything consistent
- Create an Overview section with high level steps
- Include screenshots with a tool such as Droplr
- Create videos with a tool such as Loom
- Keep all passwords to any software or tools that you use in a vault such as 1Password so that everyone can access them easily
The Process to Make a Process
- Business Name
- Outline / overview of this process and how it fits into the overall systems.
The end result of completing this process.
Why It’s Important
A short sentence or two about why this is important.
What You Need
List the things they would need access to, such as passwords, files, etc.
1. The main steps in the process
2. Defined nice and clearly
3. So you can see what needs to be done
Link to video showing the process being completed (using a tool such as Loom):
Main Step 1
1. Sub step
2. Sub step
Main Step 2
1. Sub step
2. Sub step
Main Step 3
1. Sub Step
2. Sub step
What Done Looks Like
Image / video of the finished product.
Well done! Now get up and have a stretch.
If You Have A Problem
Who to contact if you have an issue and how you should contact them.
Any supporting or additional notes here.
It's important to keep your systems up to date, but what's most important is that you actually follow them. Standardisation is one of the keys to profit and scale and you can't do that if you keep changing the way you do things.
I hope you found this article helpful and helps you create some more consistency and time freedom in your life and in your business.
Let me know in the comments – what processes does your business do really well? What processes do you need to improve the most?
Want to get all our systems for running a successful agency? Join our Blueprint Course and get the training, tools and support you need to start and scale.