Owning a business can involve a bit of trial and error when it comes to implementing internal processes to keep everything running smoothly. Client communication, employee training, standard operating procedures (SOPs), you name it – none of these things would be possible without a strategy set in place. We asked a few industry pros what they’ve done to streamline (including how their business has changed since they first began).
Don’t leave your team in the dark
Since we were the first ones at the helm of our own growing companies, it can be tempting to want to shoulder all of the work and DIY your way towards success. However, your skills are often better suited by putting in valuable time with clients, and you’ll never see growth if you can’t trust your own employees to get the job done.
Shannon Tarrant of Wedding Venue Map says that her business began without systems entirely. “In the beginning, I was a solopreneur. Being the only person taking on everything, the systems didn't have to be documented. With growing my team, I've had to go through and document my standard operating procedures (SOPs). It took time, but it was so helpful in training my team.”
What to test and what to tweak
Existing structures you have in place may have been a great choice when you first started your business, but as you reach a certain client base and team capacity, they may start to seem rather outdated. You don’t necessarily have to throw out everything, but adjusting small things here and there such as introducing new technology to your staff and/or clients can make a world of a difference. Emily Sullivan, owner of Emily Sullivan Events says that this can come in the form of apps that offer online contract signing and invoices to keep everything efficient and automated.
Keith Phillips of Classic Photographers agrees, noting, “Even when you think that you may not necessarily need to make any changes in your business, your clients and employees may feel differently. We personally look for trends in our external and internal feedback to decide what we want to improve on next.”
Understand what’s not working (and how to fix it)
Knowing when it’s time for change is the first step, but sometimes it doesn’t always work how you’d like it to. Software that comes with a complicated learning curve sometimes isn’t worth the small bit of relief it provides. Being receptive to constructive criticism is often key to knowing where the issues are! If the adjustments you’ve made don’t seem to be working, it’s worth it to keep working toward a seamless automation.
Tarrant continues, “My customer on-boarding process was okay – not great, but better than most. I was busy and didn’t really have the time to make it a priority. In teaching my newest team member the process, she pointed out opportunities for improvement and made all the changes to the original process. Now, we get applauded by our customers for our on-boarding!”
From making your mobile website easier to navigate for clients to transitioning to a new software that makes your services overall more accessible, you’re responsible for how your services and processes are put in place. Growing within an evolving industry shows that you care about staying relevant and becoming a leader that other professionals look up to!
Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast.