Scaling your business requires many moving parts that can work in conjunction with each other. As a former agency owner, I know the challenges of growing a business. Out of my frustration, I developed the systems and processes we offer to our clients today.
Why You Must Optimize Your Agency Operations
When you start a business, you have these ideas that you can create your own schedule and life that you will love. But, once you get into a growing business, you quickly realize that you have created a job for yourself that has terrible hours and no overtime.
As a business owner, you are used to wearing many hats and solving all of the problems in your company. As you grow your teams and bring on new clients, getting overwhelmed with everyone coming to you to answer questions is easy. Next thing you know, you find yourself working all through the night and on weekends just to keep up.
What is the solution to this overwhelm? Systems and processes. This is a necessity for all organizations to reign in the chaos and scale their company.
How to Get Started With Putting Systems and Processes in Place
If you feel like you are already drowning in work, it can be hard to prioritize creating processes or looking into tools that will help your team. Here are a few tips to help you get started on putting systems in place.
1. Get Buy-In From Leadership And The Team
When everyone on the team has their own way of doing things, it can create chaos in the organization. It makes communicating difficult and ensures things do not slip through the cracks. Moving members of a team away from their own way of doing things is going to take buy-in from leadership and passing that down to the team.
It’s important that everyone on the team follow the systems that are put in place. Otherwise, it will lead to frustration from the rest of your employees.
2. Determine What Is Working And What Needs Work
Typically, I bring leaders in a company together to share what their core processes are and figure out what’s working well, what isn’t working, and their biggest pain points. I like to get the perspective of the leaders first in a top-down approach. We discuss the core processes, what is working, what isn’t working, and the pain points for the company.
Then I move to the heads of each department to get their perspective on what is and isn’t working. Lastly, I get feedback from the teams themselves. As you can imagine, the owners, leaders, and team all see different blindspots that have to be considered in determining what processes need to be put in place.
3. Start With Simple Processes
One mindset that can be really dangerous is to think a specific tool is going to solve all of your problems. You could invest a lot of time and money into a tool that doesn’t work for your agency. It’s best to start simple. Focus on one area of your business at a time and find ways to improve it.
Ask yourself what your biggest pain points are in this area of the business. For example, if you’re looking at creating a system that will help with sales leads, here are some questions you would need to answer:
- Do you need automation?
- Do you need something to be triggered when someone visits a certain page or clicks on a link?
- Does someone in the company need to be notified when a lead comes in?
- Is there a series of emails that you want to send out to new leads?
- Do you need a reminder to check in with a lead when a deal reaches a certain stage?
While there are many tools out there that can solve all of these problems, it doesn’t mean it’s the right step for you. There could be a big learning curve to these tools that cause your team to become overwhelmed.
In a case like this or if resources are scarce, I recommend that you build a light version of a CRM (I like Asana for this) where you can manually track what’s happening in your customer lifecycle. Tools can be powerful, but they can also be a trap if you think simply investing in the tool will fix the problem.
4. Get Feedback From Your Team
There’s nothing worse than putting a process in place without getting feedback from the team. Taking more of a bottom up approach will help you to successfully implement new processes and tools.
Bring your leadership team together to discuss the goals and problems each department is facing. The group should evaluate the tools, talk with the people that are doing the work for feedback, and then decide if it is the right move for the company.
Once a decision is made, the leadership needs to communicate to the team why they are putting the process in place and why they should care. Discuss how it will impact them and answer questions. This removes friction and reduces the frustration they may feel by implementing new processes.
5. Give The Team Time to Adopt The New Processes
When I work with businesses that are creating new systems and processes, I typically see adoption rates coming in and around where 45 to 60 days of doing that process. It takes doing it day in and day out, reviewing the SOPs, retraining on things, and ongoing support to get there. But after that point, it’s more natural and easier to stick with.
It takes time and intention to put processes in place, but until you do, you won’t be able to have the freedom in your business that you long for. If you’re looking to learn more about how you can optimize your Agency Operations, let’s connect. I’m always open to chatting.