— August 18, 2017
Improve productivity on a regular basis. Productivity and efficiency seem to go hand and hand. If you can get things done more efficiently, it can make you more productive. I worked with a client this summer that structured how we worked together. As a result, we found a more efficient way to collaborate. That’s new to me. Typically, I explain my service and processes and go from there. After this experience, I adapted my approach. Consequently, this pushed me to rethink all of my systems and to explore what else I could improve upon for myself and my clients. Here are some ways that freelancers or small business owners can streamline their processes to save time.
1. Put together or fine tune your onboarding process.
First of all, how you improve efficiency can start with fixing how you sign people up. A smooth running, easy to understand onboarding system can make all the difference. An onboarding process is a systemized way to taking on a new client. It’s usually a logical set of steps that create a structured, consistent way to sign someone up for your service. A system like this allows everyone involved to follow a set of procedures. You will be one the same page and know what’s coming and how things will work if explained clearly.
Some processes naturally develop over time just by doing a series of actions again and again. Learn to refine individual steps over time or tweak things if you find that there’s a more efficient way to do it.
2. Create free forms to free up your time.
If you have Gmail, consider using their free forms to create a questionnaire for potential clients to fill out in advance. You can get a better understanding of their needs, desired outcomes and goals without having to be present in real time. You can quickly figure out if someone is a fit for your services in minutes without taking any time out of your schedule to hop on a call especially if they aren’t.
Therefore, you can effortlessly weave it into your onboarding process by creating a link for the form. Filling out the form can be the very first step and serve as a pre-screening tool of sorts. Doing this will allow you to soak in the details and get a better understanding of the person’s current situation including their needs and goals before you even set up a call.
3. Refine other processes for better productivity.
When I first started working as a podcast guest booker for personal finance professionals, I explained what the client required to do before the interview. Unfortunately, the podcast guest and podcaster didn’t always give each other needed information promptly. Precise details were sometimes left out. Lots of back and forth would happen with everyone involved if someone missed something or misinterpreted any directions.
Rather than leaving it up to them, I now minimize correspondence and any confusion by providing needed details all at once. Setting up the interview in one email closes the loop, and no further contact happens until the interview. Since this drastically improves efficiency, I touch on this during the onboarding process, so there aren’t any surprises.
Another method to consider working on is how you invoice. Think about how to collect payment during your onboarding process and explain how you will invoice while working together. Determine how to refine other aspects of your business as well. If you collect the same amount of money from a client each month, consider signing up for recurring payments. Once set up, it will automatically send your invoices each month. You won’t have to remember how much to charge the client each time or continually recreate an invoice each month. Learn how to send monthly recurring invoices.
The Bottom Line
In conclusion, identify a process to help improve productivity. Start improving one process at a time and think of how you could change things a bit. Maybe you come up with an easier way to invoice the client, create a questionnaire or even find a tool that saves you time. Though it may take some extra time to setup initially, things can run a lot smoother once established.