It’s officially that time of year when we get to take a deep breath after a crazy-busy event season (ahhh—how good does that feel?). While it can be tempting to check out during December (spiked eggnog, anyone?), using your downtime to prep your business for another busy planning season ahead is a great way to set yourself up for success and—more importantly—less stress in 2019. According to the World Health Organization, even in the wonderful world of weddings and events, poor organization is one of the leading factors for workplace stress. So, then, we’re talking all-things process and workflow to achieve both streamlined and serene. Read on for three common workflow woes and our strategic solutions for fixing them…before “busy” is back in season.
Problem: You have a million things going on at any given time and undoubtedly seem to miss a step or make a mistake here and there with clients.
Solution: Sounds like it’s officially time to develop a defined workflow! When you’re first starting out, playing whack-a-mole with tasks as they arise is common but defining your process is a simple—and all too often overlooked—way to take the stress out of running your small business. (Trust us—when we first started out as event planners decades ago, we avoided sitting down and mapping out our workflow for years. But, the moment we took the time to do it, everything got so much easier.)
We recommend devoting a few hours to creating your workflow using an Aisle Planner checklist. Think through your current process (or the process you’d ideally like to follow) with each new client, from the moment they reach out to the moment their event is complete. Then, create a detailed checklist of the overarching steps you’ll follow with every new client. This gives you a guide you can follow with each new client and keeps you from having to reinvent the wheel every time you embark on planning a new event. Plus, by creating a defined workflow, you’re much less likely to miss important steps in the process or make mistakes. (Psst…not sure where to start when it comes to mapping out your workflow? Check out this archive piece on using our checklist to define your workflow.)
Problem: You spend way too much time on the proposal process and feel like you’re constantly reinventing the wheel with each new lead. You’ve a developed workflow that starts after you book a client, but you have no clear workflow for the initial booking process.
Solution: Create a workflow that includes your proposal process! Think about the very first touch point you have with a prospective client – that all-important moment they reach out to inquire about your services – and start there. Your workflow should include a clear list of the steps you take the moment a potential client contacts you—from sending a welcome letter to building a quote to getting them to sign on the dotted line. This way, you’ll have a comprehensive list of steps you can follow immediately rather than scrambling every time you get a new message in your inbox. Use Aisle Planner’s document template library to create a proposal, quote, and contract templates you can quickly customize for new clients and for every unique service you offer—and be sure to use our customizable Lead Management tool to stay on track of where you’re at with potential new clients throughout every step of the booking process.
Problem: You defined your workflow a long time ago but it’s been a while since you’ve refreshed it and many of the steps are outdated.
Solution: The only thing worse than having no defined workflow at all? Having an outdated one that slows down your process. Evaluate your workflow every year during your slow season. Walk through each step listed in your workflow and ask yourself the following:
Which steps are still applicable and can stay as-is?
Which steps no longer serve you?
Which steps take way more time than they should and how can you fix that?
Which steps need to be modified?
Are there any steps that can be moved around or combined to make for an even more seamless process?
Are there any major steps you’re missing?
Adjusting your workflow annually ensures that the steps you’re following actually make for a streamlined and simple process (the entire point of a workflow) for the work you’re doing today—rather than muddying the waters with steps and tasks that no longer apply.