We all want success, right? Yes! Like pizza! I know there are a bunch of people who don't like pizza so yeah, maybe not like pizza but we all want success!
When running a business, you have to constantly make sure that your business is prepared for success, otherwise you’ll find that you’ve missed opportunities to grow when you had them because your business just wasn’t prepared to handle or make use of those opportunities.
Wouldn’t that be tragic?
Less tragic than a Shakespearean play but much more tragic than coming home after a long day excited to eat those leftovers but opening the fridge and finding that someone had already eaten them.
Let’s stop that from happening, shall we? In today’s post, I have complied 5 ways to prepare your business for success and they are the very same methods that I am currently using in my business and I’ve seen quite a bit of growth already. After the jump:
Streamline your processes
Make sure to create working systems in your business so you can save more time and have more time available to actually work on your business or to binge-watch series on Netflix...ahem. Create systems for stress-free organisations of those less-than-enjoyable business tasks like taxes, emails, social media scheduling etc.
If you are a solo business owner looking to grow your business, streamlining your processes early on is especially important so that you can have more time to actually work with clients and build your client-base instead of behind-the-scenes tasks keeping you super busy. And boy, do I know this!
These are several ways you can streamline your processes:
- Automated greeting following a contact query
Show potential clients and customers that you really care that they’ve taken the time to contact you by creating an automated greeting email that they’ll receive when they fill out the contact form on your website. This way you’ll get to thank them for contacting you and in the same email, let them know when they can expect a reply from you.
- Create welcome and goodbye packs for clients and customers
Honestly, I think welcome packs should be a staple in every service and product based business that deals closely with customers. Not only do they save a lot of time, they’ll be much appreciated from your clients.
Typically welcome packs include an introduction to what you do and why (basically an extension to your About page on your website) and even a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section so they’ll have much of their questions answered without you having to go back and forth answering questions.
There’s no limit to what you can include in your welcome pack but make sure it’s easy to understand and reassures your potential client so they’ll have a clearer idea of what they can expect from working with you. This also helps to prevent costly misunderstandings down the road!
Goodbye packs are similar, but you typically include information about what will happen now that you’ve concluded your working period with your client. For example, as I am a brand and website designer and I mostly design on the Squarespace platform, I’ll include a short instructional video on using Squarespace from the backend so my clients will have the confidence to maintain their websites themselves. And if they’ll need to hire me for more work afterwards, I’ll include info on how they can do that… and so much more!
Now, I’m not about to reveal the nitty-gritty details of what’s in my welcome and goodbye packs for clients because every biz owner’s process has some special things meant only for their clients. After all, that’s the allure, right? Haha! ;)
- Create client workflows
Before creating client workflows for my business, my client process was a mess! Goodness gracious, and I believe this set my business goals back for a few months, yikes! I used to conduct everything through email and needless to say, it was quite stressful!
Nowadays I have a client workflow in Trello, which I use for everything client related; I can have conversations with clients, send them documents to sign, have them proof designs and so much more...all in Trello! Everything is easier to find and it’s organised and everyone involved doesn’t have to dig through hundreds of emails to find something. Bonus? Trello can be used for even more than client workflows, you can even use it for your editorial calendar, which brings us to:
Schedule your social media
I have a confession to make: I am not very active on social media and I can go months without posting anything on Instagram .*gasp* I know, I know, I’m trying to be better and in some ways, I’ve succeeded with that, especially posting to my Twitter.
I read a lot of content! I love reading articles and blog posts online and I have made it a necessity to sh are posts I loved and found helpful on my social media so that other people could also find them. I created a handy system for doing this, I dedicate a day per week to reading and log onto Pinterest and as I read, I pin the posts that I’ve liked to Boardbooster scheduling boards and also copy and paste the links with descriptions onto a spreadsheet.
When scheduling day arrives, I just take my spreadsheet and copy the and paste everything to CoSchedule (plus self-promo links) for scheduling throughout the month.
Rather useful, isn’t it? To this day, I’m still surprised at how useful it is and I wish I had created this system when I first started.
Takeaway: Creating systems and streamlining your processes saves you a lot of time, stress (and hair) and money and your audience and clients get to benefit too! Don’t be afraid to experiment with different processes; find out what works for you and what doesn’t and create your very own special process. The biggest objective here is to make sure your business can operate without you at the helm of everything, this way you prepare it for more growth!
It’s no secret that to grow you need other people to help you grow and vice versa. When collaborating with people you love and respect, you will be inspired to bring something new to the table and by doing so you’ll become better and thus grow and grow and grow!
Many successful people today have achieved great things by collaboration. Even Lin-Manual Miranda (gosh, is the man even real!?) said it best when he was asked how he got to where he was and he said if he didn’t meet with his collaborator (and director of Hamilton and In The Heights) Thomas Kail, he wouldn’t have gotten anything done and thank goodness he had a collaborator, right!?
A collaborator can also act as as an accountability partner for you so you have someone who reminds you of those goals you’ve set months earlier but still haven’t gotten round to achieving. You get a collaborator, accountability partner, friend, cheerleader and motivator all in one! Always be open to mutual collaboration opportunities with people who are either in the same industry as you are or those who think have more or less the same business goals as you are.
Takeaway: Sometimes we can fall victim to the ‘going it alone’ mentality but in reality, there is no such thing as a self-made person. Every successful person had people behind them to push them to success. Which brings us to…
Find a mentor
Finding a mentor (and the prospect of being mentored) can feel rather daunting and leave you wanting to run for the hills but it can be highly beneficial to you and your business. You have no idea what insanely awesome gems you can learn from your mentor or how many business goals you can smash if you had a mentor. Hint: many!
When finding a mentor, find someone who inspires you and who you respect. Some who you know won’t take it easy on you because you want them to take it easy on you. The objective is learning as much as you can from that person (or persons) and apply what you’ve learned to your business and life with the aim to grow.
Write down a list of 5 people who you’d love to be mentored by and reach out to them. Some may say no to a direct request asking for a mentoring relationship but if you were to begin first by asking questions and advice, you might just naturally develop a mentor-mentee relationship!
Takeaway: Don’t be afraid to ask for advice from people you admire and to seek mentors. No one is really self-made and if you insist on being self-made and doing things alone, you might find that your business is growing quite slowly.
Read a whole lot!
Okay...maaaaaaybe I am a little biased as a bookworm here, sue me. No, please don’t sue me.
There are a whole lot of amazing books out there that can fuel your creativity and knowledge. They don’t even have to be strictly self-help or business books to be beneficial to you and your business. Take me for instance, I read a lot of fiction and whereas I’ve read a couple of non-fiction books here and there, I find that it’s mostly fiction novels (and even comic books! Sorry, is my nerd showing?) that kick-start my creativity when I’m feeling tapped out.
There is just something about ordinary people creating extraordinary worlds and things that inspired me to create my own versions of extraordinary.
I know that as busy business owners, we hardly have time to read but you’ll be surprised as how much reading you get done when you spend little moments of free time productively.
Instead of refreshing your Instagram feed during a break, you can get a little bit of reading done. You can sneak in some reading time when traveling or just before bed.
I always have my phone nearby so lately I’ve been reading more eBooks than physical books and trust me, the convenience is very much welcome!
And you know what? You don’t even have to read only books. Blog posts and online articles count too! Except you read to enjoy and have your mind blown a little (hopefully). I love reading articles on:
- Interview Magazine
- Vanity Fair
And many more! Granted, many of those publications are aimed at men but my favourite articles to read are interviews for people who are leading in their fields. Hmm, mmm. BAM! I get to learn a thing or two from them. ;)
Well, this is kind of a weird one, isn’t it?
But hear me out. By being generous with either your time, money or skills, you get to cultivate a feeling of joy in getting to use your skills, time and money for something other than bringing in more money for yourself.
I feel like if you’ve been blessed enough to be able to pay it forward, you should do that in a way you feel is best for you. Just as you probably had help getting to some point of success in your biz, you can also help out another person.
For example, you could be a mentor to someone or you could share your knowledge in a free course, blog posts or a podcast. You could volunteer your time at an animal shelter (who wouldn’t want to play with kittens and puppies for free, amirite?) and yes, you could even donate a little cash here and there to a charitable cause of your own choosing.
How much more motivated would you feel if you feel like you are effectively doing your part to help out and make the world a better place? You’d feel energized to get to work every morning, wouldn’t you?
Being generous gives you a cause to achieve more so you can in turn, give more. By show of hands, how many of us feel helpless and disconnected from reality when we watch or read the news? Too many of us.
The good news is, you have the ability to do something and you don’t even need to be on the Forbes 100 Richest list to begin although you can actively work towards that if you believe it’ll help you do more!
Another example of being generous and how it relates to business growth: when you are constantly sharing your knowledge in depth and in detail to help out other people without asking for anything in return, they’ll see you as someone who always has value to offer and they’ll want to work with you and this time, pay you for the privilege. And there you go.
Takeaway: Generosity can be a strong motivator in helping you achieve your goals because you’ll be inspired to do more and you’ll also be much happier meaning you’ll be looking forward to it too!
Now, I’d love to hear from you. Comment below (with your blog or social media links so I can stalk them) and let me know other ways to prepare your business for success.