Episode 104: New Business Roadmap: Systems, Processes, and Workflows (Part 4 of 5) - With Grace and Gold | Brand and Web Design for Creative Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs

Episode 104: New Business Roadmap: Systems, Processes, and Workflows (Part 4 of 5)

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March 14, 2022

This week’s episode is Part 4 of 5 of our New Business Roadmap Series. This 5-part series is an exploration of how we would approach starting a brand new small business from scratch today. Whether you’re considering starting a new business, or you’re an experienced business owner who wants to solidify the foundation of your existing business — this series can serve as a truly helpful resource for strengthening your small business from the inside out. 

In Part 1, we discussed 5 questions to ask when you approach starting a new business, which can also be asked when you’re considering adding a new facet to your business. In Part 2, we shared 10 foundation-building to-dos — a checklist of tasks to complete when starting your new business. And in Part 3, we explored your must-have minimum viable product — how to start your business or launch your new offering in a minimal, yet curated way, so you can make the most of your resources like time, energy, and money. 

Ideally, through Parts 1, 2, and 3, you’ve created a strong foundation for your new business or your new offering, and you’re ready to get your business moving. It’s important for all of those foundational pieces to be in place before tackling this week’s topic — so if you haven’t yet done so, we recommend reviewing Parts 1, 2, and 3 before diving into this week’s episode. 

This week, we’ll be discussing systems, processes, and workflows — how to begin running your new business or offering your new offering — from a place of preparation and purpose.

Systems, Processes, and Workflows - Brand It Build It Podcast by Kelly Zugay With Grace and Gold

New Business Roadmap: Systems, Processes, and Workflows

Welcome to Episode 104 of the Brand It, Build It Podcast. This week, in Part 4 of 5 of our New Business Roadmap Series, we’re discussing systems, processes, and workflows — how to begin running your new business or offering your new offering — from a place of preparation and purpose. I want to begin this week’s episode with a few disclaimers:

  1. We believe processes are essential no matter how big or how small your business is — no matter how many or how few clients you have. Systems not only equip you to serve your clients and customers through a smooth process, but they also equip you to run your business smoothly and successfully, too. Through systems, you can ensure you always know what to do — how to lead and guide your clients through a client-focused process they will enjoy and value. 
  2. We believe processes are ever-evolving. At With Grace and Gold, for example, we have programmed our client experience within our project management system. Though we’ve guided our clients through our tried-and-true process year after year, every quarter, we revisit our client experience and determine whether any steps can be added, removed, rearranged, or combined. When you have a process to start with — a foundational process your clients or customers will go through — it really is a jumping off point… a place from which you can regularly tweak and adjust your process to ensure you’re serving your clients and customers well. So, know that any processes you create can change and evolve — especially as you practice journeying through your process, and as you receive feedback from your clients and customers.
  3. We believe every business’s processes should be unique. When you create a process for your clients and customers to journey through, your process can be a reflection of your experience, expertise, and values. For example, if you value a communication-driven process, you can build in opportunities for frequent client communication along the way. If you value giving your clients gifts or a personalized experience, you can build in opportunities for client gifts along the way. If you value creating a speedy or efficient process, you can create a smooth yet detailed process for your clients to experience. For this reason, we recommend designing your processes from a place of purpose — a place of wanting to serve your clients in a one-of-a-kind way. After all, when we serve our custom brand and web design clients at With Grace and Gold, we often say — when a client is shopping around from one business to another, it’s often your client experience that will set your business apart and give your prospective clients something to connect with. So, summed up, know your process should be unique and reflective of your values. When it is, you can create a process you truly believe in — and a process your prospective clients and current clients will deeply value and appreciate. 

That being said, today, let’s explore systems, processes, and workflows — the unique ways you can build processes into your everyday work within your business. Just like our previous episodes, these systems, processes, and workflows will be unique depending upon your type of business. So, we hope today’s content helps to serve as a foundation — a jumping off point — for developing processes you believe in. 

  1. Step 1: Make a list of every area of your business you need a process for. Visit your website as a prospective client would, and think about how your prospective clients will engage with your business — from beginning to end. It’s likely you need a process for emails, like setting up canned responses you can customize for prospective clients. It’s likely you need a process for clients who would like to book with you, like having a Quote, Client Contract, Payment Plan, and Questionnaire. In this first step, walk through every area and every facet of your business, and list the areas of your business you will need to create a process for. When you have a well rounded and comprehensive understanding of all the areas of your business you need a process for, you can move forward to Step 2:
  2. Step 2: Determine the systems you can use — to house the unique processes your business has. For example, canned responses can be set up using Google Workspace, Gmail, and Gmail’s “Canned Response” feature. Quotes, Client Contracts, Payment Plans, and Questionnaires can be set up using systems like Honeybook, Dubsado, 17Hats, and more. Just like we believe your processes should be unique, we also believe the systems you choose to house your processes should be unique to you, too. What works well for another small business may not work well for you, so our recommendation is to sign up for free trials for all of the project management systems you discover, and see which system works best for the processes you have within your business. Maybe you prefer list-making — or maybe you prefer a more visual project organizer. Every small business owner’s preferred organization-style is unique, so signing up for free trials is a great way to determine the systems you’ll enjoy using most. For a comprehensive collection of systems we use and recommend, visit With Grace and Gold’s Small Business Resource Library — linked in our Show Notes. There, we’ve gathered up all of the systems we use, love, and recommend — and perhaps you’ll discover which systems can work well for your business there, too. 
  3. Step 3: Determine the any workflows your business will need. A workflow is a series of repeatable activities necessary to complete a task. Your client experience — or the journey you bring your clients on — is an example of a workflow you’ll need to develop. In this case, walk through your client experience step-by-step — the tasks you will complete behind-the-scenes to on-board your client, the front-facing tasks or messages your clients will receive along the way, and any additional step-by-step details relevant to your client experience. Here, it’s necessary to be as detailed as possible. Steps as detailed as “Send Contract, Receive Signed Contract, Send Questionnaire, Receive Completed Questionnaire, Send Client Welcome Guide, Confirm Client Has Reviewed Client Welcome Guide” can be helpful in understanding the experience each client of yours will have. Though these steps may seem minute and way too detailed, as your client list grows and you’re managing several clients at once, knowing exactly which step each client is on will make all the difference in helping you remain organized, and in helping you personally guide your clients, too. Write down every step of your client experience, from beginning to end. If possible, consider organizing all of your steps into categories like “On-Boarding” “Providing Service” “Off-Boarding” “Client Follow-Up” and so on. Once every step has been written down and organized, review every step as if you were a client. Can anything be added, removed, rearranged, or condensed? As an example, we like to assume our clients are busy — so we try to condense details and ensure we are making the most of every message we send to our clients. Then, program your workflow into a system. If your workflow is housed in a specific place, you can stay organized, serve your clients efficiently, and ensure every client is receiving the same great experience.
  4. Step 4: Always be willing to review and revise any processes, systems, and workflows you choose or use within your business. The act of guiding clients through your client experience can help you to determine what can or should be changed. We wholeheartedly believe in the power of simply running your business — using several months of the year to simply run your business as-is. When you do, you can make note of what is working well and what can be adjusted to maintain better organization or to serve your clients better. It’s important to remember, your business can be two things at once — highly-organized and personal. In fact, when you develop processes for your business, you can build in personal touches while ensuring your clients are experiencing a smooth and engaging process. So, always be willing to review and revise what you’ve created. Having a foundation of systems, processes, and workflows is a powerful thing — a powerful starting place from which your business can grow.

Today, we discussed systems, processes, and workflows — getting organized so you can begin serving your clients or offering a new offering. Again, every small business is unique, but we’re hopeful today’s episode served as a great starting place for getting organized, developing processes, choosing systems wisely, and creating workflows your clients and customers will enjoy engaging in.

With Grace and Gold’s Small Business Resource Library is linked in today’s Show Notes. Tune in for our final episode of our New Business Roadmap series — marketing your new business or your new offering. Next week, we’ll share how, with 7 years of small business ownership behind us, we would market a brand new business or offering. As a hint: We’ve definitely spent time marketing in the wrong places, and we’re excited to share the mistakes we’ve made with you. 

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