Effective workflows, procedures and systems in business are necessary to ensure that your business runs consistently and efficiently. But it seriously sounds like boring stuff and because of that most business owners avoid setting any of this up until they come up against problems.

If you’ve ever experienced any of the following then this article will help you see the light of automations and planning…

  • you’re always delayed in getting out contracts, amendments, and quotes.
  • all of your proposals, descriptions, and everything else needs to be written from scratch and they’re more than slightly different for everyone.
  • you’re not providing the same level of service to everyone.
  • your Etsy or Shopify store is chaotic. You mail things out when you get a chance. Sometimes customers receive their product in 5 days, sometimes it’s 30. You wish you could blame it on Canada Post but….you know this one is on you.
  • you never get a chance to work on social media, your business goals, or new product. Everything just feels like it’s piling up all the time.
  • there never seems to be enough time to take care of yourself, look after the kids, make a healthy dinner, and grow your business.
collage of photos to support the blog post on taylor-johnson administration: Workflows + Systems Aren't The Scary Monster of the Solopreneur World (plus they're super effective when set up right). The image shows a schedule with flowers and plants. paper with a note saying 'make it happen' and an image of a mobile phone next to wireframes and planning material. Taylor-Johnson Administration

Effective workflows really help in any size business whether you’re a startup or you’ve been at it for 10 years.

It’s never too early to start making life, business, and customer service easier and better. And, better yet, it doesn’t even have to cost much to get useful, effective systems in place. In fact, quite often, it’s free!

What’s A Workflow, System + Process?

Over here, I use workflow, system, and process interchangeably because they’re all very much the same as systems of consistency and procedure.

A system is a set of procedures, principles, or methods that are used to interconnect with other methods (etc) to meet a common goal.

collage of photos to support the blog post on taylor-johnson administration: Workflows + Systems Aren't The Scary Monster of the Solopreneur World (plus they're super effective when set up right). Quote says: "it's never too early to start planning workflows and systems that make business + life easier"

Workflows in business are very similar. They mainly pertain to work. And, workflows in themselves can be manual (e.g. you have to go in and read it each time) or automated (e.g. they work whether you look or not). But overall, a workflow is a set of procedures or methods that outline a task/project/goal from start to finish. If we think of a system as a overarching set of procedures then your workflows are the things that help you keep things running. Workflows are followed the same way every time and are repeatable. The workflow is the most clearly actionable of the system, process, workflow trio.

Processes on the other hand can be a workflow or part of system on it’s own. I like to think of processes as a detailed procedure. For instance, the process of getting a client from lead to customer has a process attached, which may take the form of a workflow but may also be a general procedure that guides people through how to work.

If it feels a little overwhelming at this point remember that I offer amazing system setup services and can set these workflows up for you.

Here’s why you need effective workflows, systems and processes in your business.

How do systems, workflows, and processes help me to run a better business?

Guaranteed Results That Always Work

When you find your ‘right’ process, the one that gets you the results you’ve dreamt of, then you want to ensure that you do it right every single time. To do this you’ll need to document your process and create a system you can replicate each time you want to achieve the same result.

Putting this into a workflow in Trello will help make all the difference.

How to Start Using Workflows In Trello

Routine For Important Tasks

Regular tasks that cause panic or boredom or avoidance should be spread out over a period of time.

Assess anything with a deadline (or panic associated) and create batched time blocks daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly to assess those tasks + make strides to meeting your deadlines/diluting your panic.

Adding repeat events to your calendar is an effective workflow for your business – but in disguise.

Not all workflows need to be in Trello.

collage of photos to support the blog post on taylor-johnson administration: Workflows + Systems Aren't The Scary Monster of the Solopreneur World (plus they're super effective when set up right). Quote says: An advantage of client workflows is providing an experience that clients rave about. They've maybe gone through the workflow (without knowing) time and time again, so they know they love you and can confidently recommend your brilliance!" Taylor-Johnson Administration

Non-project management tasks can be shared in Google Calendar and make your business more effective. These tasks are a great way to monitor and make sure that your repetitive and regular activities are scheduled and ready to go.

  • Review dates e.g. quarterly review dates + the tasks that need doing before the review dates
    • e.g. for your quarterly review, you’re required to collect data from the last three months, look at income and expenditure, see where your leads came from, see what content was well received on social media. Each one of these tasks is repeatable. So you can set up your calendar with the:
      • Review date (repeat every three months)
      • Income and Expenditure Assessment (3 days before the review date – repeat every three months)
      • Lead sources (7 days before the review date – repeat every 3 months)
      • You get the idea.

By breaking down big tasks that you avoid but that make your business stronger you’ll be creating a system that allows you to work effectively at the harder parts of being a business owner.

Client Workflows For Efficient + Great Customer Care In Business

Treat all your clients the same – with a process. An effective workflow also helps, as I detailed in the video above.

Using workflows for effective business client experience means that any referrals you receive will have the same experience guaranteed by their referree. This might seem like a small thing but if you’ve ever referred a friend to a plumber who solved all of your problems and the plumber proceeded to provide a dreadful experience to your friend then you’ll know what I’m talking about. When we refer people we’re using our word and guarantee that they’ll love the experience. If you’re the company that lets everyone down you not only isolate the new person but you also risk the relationship with the past client too!

Another important plus for client workflows is providing an experience that clients rave about. They’ve maybe gone through the workflow (without knowing) time and time again, so they know they love you.

collage of photos to support the blog post on taylor-johnson administration: Workflows + Systems Aren't The Scary Monster of the Solopreneur World (plus they're super effective when set up right). The image shows glitter, someone studying a board of paper. and two women of colour writing in note books with stickers saying "# WOC in tech". Taylor-Johnson Administration

Ideas for client workflows that build efficient business practices:

  • Onboarding workflows
  • Service workflows
  • Lost lead follow up workflow
  • Discovery call workflow
  • Lost discovery call lead workflow
  • Lost mid-service workflow
  • Follow up post-service workflow
  • Monthly client review workflow

Improve Quality Control In Business Practices

Do the same thing multiple times – make sure that your products and services are always exceptional.

If you just sell services then you can quickly read the client workflow section above.

If you’re a product seller then there’s an extra layer to think about.

You want to ensure that your products are produced the same way. When your work and product is lined up you want to see a consistent quality and branding. Creating workflows can help you achieve this consistently.

Workflows that can help you create an effective business presence include:

  • Production workflow for each product e.g. when do you sew it together?, do you batch priming canvas?, when do you sign or sew on your signature or label?, when do you add a price?, is it sewn in, stuck on, labelled?
  • Purchasing workflow e.g. the steps for purchasing fabrics, paints, etc
  • Photography workflow e.g. how do all your products look online?

Creating a consistent and effective system requires setting aside time to create repeatable workflows. It’s also a process of reflecting on what you do and how you do it best.

collage of photos to support the blog post on taylor-johnson administration: Workflows + Systems Aren't The Scary Monster of the Solopreneur World (plus they're super effective when set up right). Quote says: An advantage of client workflows is providing an experience that clients rave about. They've maybe gone through the workflow (without knowing) time and time again, so they know they love you and can confidently recommend your brilliance!" Taylor-Johnson Administration

Next Steps

At the end of the day, your business grows, gets referred to others, and makes money from the product and services you offer. So any investment in developing repeatable processes to provide consistent and professional experiences is time well spent.

While I have done the free process + workflow design with Trello and strongly recommend it, I also recommend investing in some quality services that will help you to grow your business further on an automated basis.

Sign up to dubsado (a client management system that implements workflows/makes things easy/ makes things consistent) – I have 20% off code for first month PLUS the first 3 clients are free so you can set it up and put clients through without investing a penny.

By using this link or the code “hannahadmin” when you sign up, you’ll get 20% off and I’ll get a free month. But I would recommend this even without the affiliate link.