Every business faces operational bottlenecks from time to time, especially when navigating growth. While it’s a natural occurrence, internal gaps can lead to lost time and revenue if left unaddressed. Thus, entrepreneurs must be monitoring their businesses regularly to identify areas for improvement in all stages of its life cycle.
As we head into the new year, there is no better time to optimize your efficiency and accuracy in the workplace. Sectors poised for growth, such as those in the wedding industry, should prepare for an extremely busy year ahead. That said, time-consuming, outdated manual processes need to be replaced with streamlined, automated workflows before busy season picks up.
A solid operational foundation allows you to focus on tasks that nurture your creative passion and take your business to greater heights. At the same time, your team can dedicate more time and energy to profit-producing activities. And ultimately, your clients will benefit from your well-organized and dependable way of doing business because you’ll be able to give them an excellent service experience unlike any other!
Of course, automated solutions are one of the best ways to develop efficient processes in your business without increasing overhead for additional employees or equipment. Here are four reasons to ramp up your operational automations in 2022.
It facilitates smooth onboarding for clients.
To provide excellent customer service, you need to know your clients’ primary needs and expectations. After all, your ability to solve their problems is what leads to returning business and continued referrals.
For many, the onboarding process can leave many extra questions. They’ve signed a contract and paid their invoice…now what? By creating an automated digital workflow, you can let technology walk your client through the initial stages of working with you.
For example, your client signs a contract and immediately receives a comprehensive introductory email that links to an intake questionnaire to gather their wedding details. Once completed, they are given a link to schedule their first meeting with you to discuss the information provided and start planning.
By the time you talk with them, you have everything you need for a more effective onboarding call without lifting a finger. The client, on the other hand, understands the expectations and has felt engaged with a hands-on process from the moment they booked your services.
It allows your client to book appointments faster.
If you aren’t using a calendar scheduling software yet, let this be the first thing you do for 2022! They are low-cost, easy to set up, and will save you from the time (and headaches) associated with coordinating meeting times and sending appointment reminders.
Scheduling software, like Calendly and Acuity, allow clients to book calls with you directly within your calendar. This prevents accidental overbooking and removes the back-and-forth emails trying to pinpoint the perfect time. Most schedulers can also connect to Zoom or Google Hangouts to automatically generate and send the video link.
Make sure to create auto-reminders to send prior to a scheduled meeting, whether it’s 24 hours or one hour before. Nobody likes getting ready for a no-show meeting because someone forgot about it! To streamline the process further, there are several customer relationship management (CRM) platforms with built-in schedulers to consider using.
It enables you to track your revenue efficiently.
Managing your finances can be stressful, overwhelming, and even chaotic! But if you’re not in a position to hire a bookkeeper, that doesn’t mean you need to let that drawer of receipts runneth over. If tracking expenses and revenue takes up more time than necessary, start looking into bookkeeping software to simplify your money management.
In addition to accounting for revenue and expenses, these programs also make it simple to send invoices, receive payments, and automate your cash flow. Turn the calculator off, generate a report, and start reviewing! No more clunky math equations, just clean and clear numbers to support your business decisions.
It supports a streamlined social media presence.
If you’re not a marketer, you probably don’t love the pressure of posting to social media. Scrolling Reels and watching Stories? That’s a different story — but having to choose photos and write captions day after day can start to feel tedious.
Instead of taking time out of every day to post regular content, a social media scheduler gives you the freedom to schedule posts on multiple platforms at specific times you set. This way, you get everything batched in one sitting so you can sit back and let your social media do its thing!
While this solution does still require some effort on your end (who else is going to write those captions?), it will save you far more time to carve out a couple of hours once a month to get it all done. Plus, you’ll be able to look at your social media strategy from a bird’s eye view and incorporate more strategy into your posting schedule instead of tossing up a random post when you have time.
As we head into the holidays, consider how automated solutions can help you do more in less time during 2022. Many wedding pros intend to scale this year, so focus on freeing up your to-do list so you have the space to step in as the strategic CEO you are. It all starts with automating everything that doesn’t need your manual attention!
Jennifer Taylor is the principal of Jen Taylor Consulting, a consulting firm that works with creative businesses of all sizes to implement streamlined workflows and organized systems to find more time and space for business growth and personal development.