As a business owner, you understand the importance of providing your clients with a consistent and high-quality experience. However, trying to manage every aspect of the client journey can quickly become overwhelming and limit your ability to ensure quality at every step. And that’s not including all the other invisible work you do as a service provider or agency owner.
When I first made the switch from a solo service provider to an agency, one of my biggest assets wasn’t in a team member or even a platform; it was investing time into creating solid systems for my business, so I could maximize my efforts where necessary to grow that business.
Systemizing however can be daunting (there is SO much you can do!), and in the midst of setting them up you may find they can be:
Daunting to set up, and end up defaulting to what worked (you dining everything manually)
Easy to forget to use in the moment
Too complex to actually follow through with, without someone asking you what to do next
So in today’s article, we’re going over our easy to follow process to systemize your service-based business (that you and your team will actually follow).
Why Don’t We Use Our Systems?
We see it so often: We create systems to help us streamline our teams and be more productive, only for us to fall back into old habits of how we were “used to doing things”. This under-utilization of systems, despite having them in place, can be stemming from a few different places:
Doesn’t Play Well with Other Tools:
Have you ever tried building a big block tower but some of the blocks don’t fit together? It can be frustrating, right? Well, that’s what happens with systems too. Sometimes, they don’t work well with the other toys (or tools) that the team already has. This makes it hard to share information or do things smoothly. Just like blocks need to fit together nicely, systems should also work together nicely with other tools. When they do, it makes everything easier and more fun!
Adverse to Change:
Resistance to change is a prevalent barrier to the adoption and utilization of new systems within organizations. When you, and by extension your team, have grown accustomed to established processes you may be hesitant to embrace change with the fear of disruption, increased workload or uncertainty on the horizon. So we go with what we know; the old set up. This resistance can be compounded by a lack of clear communication and user engagement during the implementation process.
Isn’t Up to Date with Current Needs:
This is a big one; working with an outdated system than what you and your internally know is off, can cause a system to go unused. This leads to your processes being managed solely by what people know, and not by what has been documented. Which can become a problem iof anyone is out sick! We want to make sure your systems are aligned with your current needs, and can support you in building your vision.
Not Knowing How to Use It:
Imagine if you got a brand new toy, but nobody showed you how to play with it. You might only use the basic buttons and miss out on all the fun features. That’s what happens to teams sometimes. When they get a new system, they don’t get proper training to understand how it works. So, they end up using only the easy parts and not exploring all the cool things it can do. To fix this, it’s important to teach everyone how to use the system properly, so they can have lots of fun and get things done faster.
So how do we build this into our current systems?
Building Intentional Systems that Support Your Business Growth
Enter the operational engine™️. By creating a system that triggers the right tool, automation, and team member at each stage of the process, you can guarantee that every client’s experience is of the highest quality.
Not only does an operational engine™️ ensure quality, but it also streamlines your business operations and frees up your time to focus on the most critical tasks. Let’s dive deeper into the benefits and steps to creating an operational engine™️ for your business.
What is an Operational Engine™️?
Contrary to the popular sentiment, your business isn’t your baby— it’s closer to a vehicle.
A vehicle that is self-sustaining, that only relies on you to set the destination, the direction, and provide maintenance to keep it running. But no vehicle can run without an engine; which is where the operational engine™️ comes in!
This interconnectivity and intentionality allows for you and your team to easily begin streamline your current workload, freeing up valuable time.
An operational engine™️ is operating ecosystem for service-based business owners that we created here at The Afro Coach. It streamlines and manages the six major systems of your business, connecting together to create a self-sustainaing foundation for your business.
Those six systems are:
Business Admin: These are processes that manage the day to day tasks that are necessary to manage and run your business. Think emails, organizing files and documents, keeping track of calls, etc. They typically are necessary, but can consume a lot of time that could otherwise be used for core work to drive the business.
Communication: This is your process that allow you to effectively track and manage communications with your audience, your team and your clients. Communication is pivotal to a business, but can quickly become complex when they are SEVERAL platforms you need to track.
Client Experience: These processes are focused on driving a high-level, consistent experience from lead to client interations throughout the buyer’s journey. This can include lead nurturing, customer service, client onboarding, progress updates, and post-project follow-up.
Finance: These processes ensure that your business financials are effectively managed and tracked. This can cover invoicing, payroll, and A/R collection to keep your business in the black!
Sales: These are your processes for managing your sales efforts for your business. That can cover your lead generation, follow-up emails, and customer relationship management, allowing you to focus on building relationships and closing deals.
Offer Delivery: The lifeblood of your business is in your offer delivery. These processes are about not only delivering your offers, but managing multiple services at once in a timely manner.
To see it at work, picture an assembly line at McDonalds. For every offer, they have an assembly line of people ready to take an order, take the payment, create the order, and deliver the order. Even with slight customizations, you still can expect the same level of deliciousness no matter WHAT fast food restaurant you are at.
THAT is an operational engine at work.
We can replicate a similar level of cohesiveness, where every function of your engine is working together to propel your business forward to manage increased levels of client capacity, while also taking several hours of time off your plate.
Do you even need an Operational Engine™️? Here are a few benefits:
But do you even need an operational engine if you are making money in your business? Here are just a few of the benefits an operating system like this can support you with:
Consistency: An operational engine™️ creates consistency in your business processes, ensuring that every client receives the same level of service and quality, no matter which team member is serving them.
Efficiency: By automating repetitive tasks and streamlining your systems, an operational engine™️ can help you complete projects faster, leaving you with more time to focus on your business’s strategic direction.
Scalability: One of the biggest stop gaps for service providers and agency owners is that the work they are doing is limited to the amount of hours they have in the day.Having an operatioal engine acts as a value-add to your business, making it possible for you to increase your working capacity without increasing working hours on your part. As your business grows, an operational engine™️ allows you to easily onboard new team members and maintain quality as you scale.
How to Create an Operational Engine™️
Identify your systems: Start by identifying the critical systems within your business that impact the client journey. This could include project management, communication, business organization/administration, marketing and sales, client experience, and offer delivery.
Map out your processes: Map out each step of the client journey and identify the tools, automation, and team members needed to complete each task.
Document your processes: Once you have identified your systems and mapped out your processes, document them in Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to ensure consistency and clarity for your team.
Automate and streamline: Look for areas where you can automate repetitive tasks and streamline processes to increase efficiency and reduce errors.
Test and refine: Test your operational engine™️ and refine your processes as needed to ensure quality and efficiency.
In conclusion, an operational engine™️ can revolutionize the way you do business. By implementing a system that ensures quality at every step of the client journey, you can free up time to focus on what you do best and increase your chances of success. Don’t let overwhelm or myths hold you back from achieving your business goals.
Not sure you have the time or space to implement the operational engine™️your business needs? We’ll partner with you to design and build your engine!
You can get support in creating your operational engine™️ through our services here at The Afro Coach! We are here to help you build your business operations stress-free, so you can increase and manage your growing business.
Check out our services page, or, join the Simply Streamlined weekly email series at the bottom of the blog!