Emylee here. Words like “systems”, “audits”, “workflows”, “processes” and “checklists” - they can either make the extreme Type A person rejoice and ask for more or they can make the whimsical creative clam up and cringe.
Here at Think Creative Collective, part of “thinking creative” is to put on the business hat every once in awhile so we can check in with our growth and sustainability. And that’s exactly what a systems audit does for you.
But it’s not as scary as you think!
Running a systems audit on your business simply means carving out some time (perhaps an entire day) for you to check in with the way you run your business. It’s a deep look under the hood so you can spot problematic areas that are sucking too much time or energy away from important tasks. It’s designed to help you quickly notice areas of improvement so you can implement new systems that will ultimately save you a ton of time, frustration, and make you more money.
You see, as creative small business owners we relish when things are working, even if they aren’t working well. We’ve convinced ourselves that we’re creatives first and business owners second so if there’s a system we’re using we’re usually sticking with it to the end of time.
Even if we hate the system.
Even if the system causes us frustration.
But there is so much value in taking a second look, truly knowing how long it takes to do a task, and always asking ourselves if it could be better.
For instance, take how you onboard a new client.
Let’s go to the very beginning stages. How does your client initial contact you?
- Perhaps through a contact form on your website
- Maybe they find your direct email and open communication there
- Perhaps they message you on social media
What’s your next step for each of these ways of communication? What’s your preferred method that you want every client to use? How are you redirecting them to that preferred method?
To go from initial contact to scheduling a discovery call or consultation meeting could look different.
- Perhaps you get the contact form in your email or you see their email directly and you respond back asking when their availability is. This results in a few back and forth emails for you both to set a time that works.
- Maybe you’ve seen their message on social media and you take the time to answer a few of their questions first and you communicate for a day or so on Facebook or Instagram. Then you share your email or you ask for theirs so you can move the conversation there. This then results in a few back and forth emails for you both to set a time that works.
What if in your systems audit you realized that this took you a total of two hours per inquiry to even get them on the phone for a meeting? Wouldn’t you want to streamline that a bit?
- Perhaps you set up an autoresponder on your email that acknowledges their inquiry, introduces yourself and provides a link (in the email) for them to book their discovery call or consultation with you.
- Maybe you set up an auto response system inside Facebook or one to use for Instagram that acknowledges their inquiry but lets them know you’d rather they fill out your contact form or email you to start the process (thus, triggering the auto response with your booking link).
- Perhaps you skip the autoresponder all together and provide the booking link for your free consultation inside your contact form itself.
These are all variations of time-saving system hacks that you can find in your own processes by doing a systems audit. And there’s plenty more where that came from! We’re talking taking a look at every nook and cranny. In fact we listed all the places you might want to automate in your business over here.
Still not convinced? Perhaps there’s some tweaking we can do to your social media posting, specifically Instagram. Here’s what your process might look like:
- Take picture
- Upload to Instagram
- Write Caption
- Type out your 30 hashtags individually
If you’re doing this for every single picture and every single post you’re wasting a lot of time.
- Batch shoot pictures
- Batch edit pictures
- Batch upload to Later using the app on your phone
- Open Later on your desktop to batch schedule
- Batch write captions inside Later on your desktop
- Post as Later alerts you on your phone
- Type in one phrase that auto-populates your 30 hashtags for that image
None of this is rocket science, it’s simply looking at each and every process with a fine-tooth comb. It’s asking yourself if you’re using the systems and tools you already have to the best of their ability or if there are systems or tools you need to look into that can save you time and energy.
It’s when we save this time and energy for big and small tasks that we begin to open up our day to other things. It’s when we have a process for things like client onboarding or posting to social media that we stop resenting it when these things pop up.
If you’ve gotten to the point where you’re rolling your eyes about a new inquiry because you are dreading the process that comes with booking them then you know you have a problem on your hands. We know, cause we’ve been there.
It was when we dreading blogging, dreaded being on Instagram, dreading posting in our Facebook group, dreading when someone asked us if we offered a service we had discontinued that we would groan and complain.
Once we got a stack of those dreadful tasks we realized it was on us to look at our systems and do better.
Is it time for your business to do its own systems audit?
We’ve got good news for you: you can use the same format we used for our own systems audit for free. We’ve put together a totally free course called Your Biz On Autopilot because we know how many of you need to do this. But most of you won’t. Because it isn’t sexy or creative or fun...yet - until you free up loads of time to spend on tasks you do find fun.
Well, it’s gonna help your business run smarter not harder so it’s time you do it anyways.
You can enroll for free by heading to Your Biz On Autopilot.
We can’t wait for you to dive in and have some major a-ha moments about the areas of your business that need your attention. We’re literally giving you time back in your everyday after you take this course. You’re so welcome!
Get your booty inside Your Biz on Autopilot right now.