If you've never recorded a process for your business it can be difficult to know where to start. Here are 5 processes every small business owner should be using.
When a new client starts working with you it's best to get them onboarded as efficiently as possible and not only because it means you can get to the work and start helping your client (and bringing in income) sooner.
This is your client's first experience of actually working with you. The onboarding process gives them a real taste of how you will work together going forward. The quicker you can produce well-put-together, easy-to-read onboarding documents and explain how things will work going forward, the happier your client will be.
A smooth start to the working relationship benefits everyone.
2. Client management
How often are you in touch with your clients?
How do you get feedback from them?
How do you communicate with them?
What's your process if a client has a complaint?
These are all important aspects of day-to-day client management. You need (at the very least) outline processes for your working relationship with clients. It will help you to keep track of how things are going and if potential clients ask any of these questions you'll have the answer ready at your fingertips.
3. Business admin
As small business owners it can be tricky to make the time to tackle our own admin. Having a written process for this can save hours and make your business so much more efficient.
It doesn't have to be complicated - a list of daily/weekly/monthly tasks that need doing, with a summary of the steps needed to complete them will get you off to a good start. And will also make it easier to identify what can delegated as your business starts to grow.
4. Marketing activities
Once you have a marketing plan in place it is vital to break down how you are going to achieve it. As with your business admin, identify the different tasks that need doing and in what order. Include links/file paths to any regularly used resources and social media accounts so that all your information is in one place. It will make you more efficient and it's delegation-ready.
5. Client 'offboarding'
To paraphrase: clients are not just for Christmas, but they're probably not for life either.
We will all part ways with clients at some point. This transition can be made smoother with an 'offboarding' process. Have clear steps written down on how the work will be wound down, how long data will be held, and how you'll communicate this with your former client. A professional and effortless transition benefits both of you.
It's important to note that processes are not static, they change as your business changes, and yours will need reviewing at regular intervals. Put a date in the diary to review some or all of your processes at 3-, 6- or 12-month intervals. With good processes in place your clients will have a better experience working with you and your life will feel so much easier.
Helen Leach VA Services specialises in helping small business owners implement and streamline processes. I take on the day-to-day admin enabling you to focus on your business and serve your clients. Get in touch to find out how to take your business from chaos to calm.