In a recent blog post on business foundations, I touched on the importance of strengthening your business foundation so you can have a business that is built to last and stand the test of time. Inspired by the southern live oak trees, I want my business to spread its roots deep and wide so it can withstand any storm and thrive.
Head over to last week’s blog to read about the first five core building blocks I covered: client management, task/project management, financial management, marketing and mindset.
Click here to read: Core Building Blocks to Strengthen Your Business Foundation
In today’s part two of that blog, I am going to cover five other core building blocks that will complete our conversation about a solid business foundation. So, without further ado, let’s dive in and learn more about how to structure our business for long term success.
1 – Email and Communication Processes
Just as task, client, and project management are essential to managing our day to day business operations – email and communication processes also play a BIG role in how we successfully and efficiently communicate in our business.
As with any relationship – but especially business relationships, communication is a KEY component to success. From setting expectations with our clients, to having proactive and easy communication with them, this is something that every business owner needs to prioritize.
If you are a timely and efficient communicator, you are able to show your clients the level or organization and professionalism you have as a business owner. You are also building trust with your clients and even other industry professionals.
Since there are a 1,000 different ways to communicate with people these days, I recommend that you direct all your communication into 1 – 3 places so nothing falls through the cracks.
Here’s a snapshot of the different ways I funnel and manage all of my client and internal communication:
- For client communication, I use my CRM exclusively for all emails, questionnaires, contracts, invoices, and so on. For meetings, I use video for consultations and phone calls/texts for any random questions.
- For team communication, we use Slack to send files, ask questions, share our progress on certain projects, and everything in between.
- For inquiries, I connect my website contact form with my CRM (Honeybook) so everything funnels into one place and I never miss a new Lead that comes through
2 – Scheduling and Calendars
Alright – clearly this is a HUGE one! We gotta know what’s going on in our business at all times! While I’m a huge fan of paper planners (trust me I have a bin full of them in my office), it is absolutely necessary to have a digital calendar and scheduling system.
If you want to double up and have a paper calendar and digital, that’s fine, but be sure you’re keeping all your appointments on something like Google Calendar.
With a program like Google Calendar, you can easily invite others to your event (whether it’s in person or online such as a zoom call), quickly change times and notify everyone involved, and have your calendar in your pocket when you connect it to your phone.
Another great time saving tip for scheduling is to use a program like Calendly or Acuity. These tools allow you to simply send a link to your calendar (which you’ve already pre-set with session dates, out of office days, working days, etc) so all your client needs to do is select an available time that works for them. Say goodbye to the back and forth emails of “are you available this day”, “no, okay, what about this day.” An automated calendar system is a life saver!
3 – Time Management
This is very much an all encompassing word because there are SO MANY things that can fit under this umbrella. All of your workflows and systems help make your business more efficient and productive. BUT, that’s not the only factor. You also need to know how to manage our focus and time in all aspects of our business.
In order to achieve all the goals you’ve set for yourself and your business, you first need to learn how to efficiently manage your time and plan each day for success. Time management and mapping out your schedule each day is one of my favorite business foundations topics. So much so that I’ve written a handful of other related blogs that might help you get started finding that elusive “work-life balance”.
Check it a few of my tried and true time management tips below:
- The Secret to Getting More Done in Less Time
- How to Create Balance Between Work and Life as a Small Business Owner
- How to Batch Tasks Like a Pro for Maximum Efficiency
- How to Schedule Your Work Day and Stay on Task [My 7-Step Process]
4 – Branding
Simply put, your BRAND is how you are perceived by others. Your brand is all about who you’re speaking to, how you’re speaking to them, what your brand voice is, what your brand visuals are represented by, and so much more. This is why you want to be conscious that your brand is represented accurately in every part of your workflow.
Take note of these few places where your brand can shine through:
- Your communication is a representation of your brand
- Is it typo-free and professional? Is your voice sweet and kind? Are you carefree and more of a best friend vibe?
- Your client gifts are a representation of your brand
- Does it match your brand style? Is it something you would love?
- Your editing style is a representation of your brand
- Is it consistent every time?
- The way you show up on social media and your blogs and your emails is a representation of your brand
- Are you representing your personality accurately? Do your images match your style? Are you consistently showing up? Are you timely? Are you genuine?
- The way you show up ON shoots and wedding days is a representation of your brand
- Are you approachable? Are you on-time? Are you kind, friendly, present, excitable?
Think about how YOU want to be thought about in your clients eyes.
How you show up in your marketing, your messaging, your communication, your visuals, in person, on calls, and more, is so important to attract the types of clients you want to continually work with. Let this guide you and help you figure out how YOU can differentiate yourself from the market.
5 – Your Team
The people who help you keep your business afloat is an essential pillar of your business foundation. And depending on where you are in your business journey, you may not be in a position where you have a team yet.
However, as you continue to grow and scale your business, you might find yourself in a position where you want to bring on team members – be it a subcontractor, an intern, an actual employee, or a part time assistant – either in person or virtually.
Just know, when that time comes…your workflows, systems and organization are going to be a KEY FACTOR in your team running efficiently. When it’s more than just you working in the business and you actually see money going out the door to someone doing work in your business, it becomes much more real how important it is to be efficient.
So while we won’t be diving into anything specific in this blog, I did want to share blog resources about growing and working with a team:
- How to Hire a VA (Legally)
- How to Effectively Work with a Virtual Assistant
- SoloEntrepreneur to CEO: How I grew a Team and Stepped into a Leadership Role
And that’s a wrap – part two of the core building blocks of a business foundation! Now I want to hear from you, what are the essential parts of your business foundation? Which pieces of your business foundation have you mastered / which are you still working on? Tell me below in the comments – I can’t wait to celebrate your successes with you!