Imagine if you could streamline your business processes to cut the number of hours you work in half while doubling your profits? Before you shake your head in disbelief, consider the impact that systemization could have on your business.
Are you doing the same tasks day after day? Feeling the overwhelm of working with each client, and letting your marketing fall by the wayside? Chances are you need to build more capacity into your business.
To bring you the best practices on creating systems for scale, we spoke to Katya Sarmiento who runs Reach and Make Millions. Katya helps 6-figure online service-based businesses scale to seven figures through systems and processes.
There are a lot of opportunities to scale, but not everyone is aware of how to do it. If you’re looking for strategies to help you regain the freedom you sought in starting a business in the first place, you’re in the right place!
Watch the video below to hear strategies for building scale into your processes to increase capacity and further spur your business growth.
What’s the difference between growing and scaling?
There are many views on the best way to grow and scale your business. The first thing to understand is that growing and scaling are not created equal.
Growth refers to an increase of something. In the context of your business this could be revenue, clients, leads, or sales.
Scale on the other hand, is the capacity to handle that growth.
To understand how these concepts work in tandem, here’s a question to ask yourself: if you had 40 new clients knock on your door today, what would you do? Do you have the ability to handle that kind of growth in your business?
If the answer is no (which it most likely will be for people reading this blog), then you don’t have the scale to handle your growth.
“If your capacity to scale is lower than your growth, you are going to hit an income ceiling. If you have no systems, you can’t scale, even if you’re seeing a ton of sales growth in your business.”
– Katya Sarmiento
When it comes to scaling, you need to take stock of how all the elements of your business are working as a whole, from marketing to sales, and client fulfillment. Beyond your business, take a good look at your time, and how your personal life is doing alongside it. The goal with building for scale is to create both a life and business that you’re excited to lead.
Identify your opportunities for scaling up
While it will look different for every business, a good place to start is looking at your client fulfillment process.
Many people start out as a coach, or by delivering a specific service. Since there is only so much time in a day, you can very quickly become a bottleneck if you are spending all your time working with individual clients, and zero time building scale into your business.
If this is you, start documenting everything you do. Even if you don’t feel like you have a process, just start recording the time it tasks to do your most common tasks – phone calls, creating materials for your clients, correspondence like emails, and setup tasks.
Often times, the easiest things for you to outsource are administrative and technical setup tasks. But you won’t know which areas to prioritize unless you start tracking your time.
Common business areas to scale
Here are Katya’s recommendations for areas that act as good starting points to build more scale into your process:
This is very easy to automate. Often when coaches sign on new clients, there is no process for follow up or engagement. This can lead to questions from clients, and you answering similar questions multiple times.
Start to build a process around your onboarding flow by setting up a welcome email to send to each client upon them signing up to work with you. Instead of email, you could try sending videos, or text messages explaining what clients should expect.
Outlining things like communication guidelines, boundaries, learning goals, and any homework they’ll be expected to complete.
Your clients will likely have those questions naturally. If you already know the answers to them, you could list them in a short onboarding course on Thinkific. Have each prospective client complete all the modules, and put a scheduling link at the end for them to sign up. If they do sign up using that link, you’ll know that they have read and agreed to all your terms as a coach.
Adding tools into the mix
There are many project management and time saving tools out there, but here are a few that Katya often recommends to clients:
- Trello. A visual project management and collaboration tool.
- Asana. If you’re a list person, this project management tool may be more up your alley.
- Hubstaff. An effective time tracking software to use for yourself, or with your team.
- RescueTime. A free time management software.
- Convertkit. An email marketing software you could use for communicating onboarding and training materials.
Track your time, to-do’s, and projects, you allow you to get an accurate picture of where your bottlenecks are. If you’re spending a lot of time emailing or doing the same project management tasks over again, there’s a good indication that you should hire a virtual assistant to manage your emails.
Related blog: Want to learn best practices for hiring a virtual assistant? Check out this article, How to Hire a Virtual Assistant: An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Outsourcing & Hiring Virtual Staff.
Pitfalls and Challenges
Here are some of the most common challenges Katya sees coaches and service-based business face when looking to scale their businesses:
Not hiring soon enough
This often results from a fear of not knowing how or what to delegate to people. If you think you’re the only one who can perform a task or that you’re the best at everything, you’re definitely going to struggle more than you need to. Burnout is created between the cycle of marketing, booking, and fulfilling clients – don’t let yourself be a casualty for burnout on account of not hiring soon enough.
“When you find the right person, you need to trust that person and learn to let go. They can also help you scale, and hire others to help you, so you can stay focused on casting your vision.”
– Katya Sarmiento
If you’re stressed about bringing people on, start by documenting everything. Do a time audit to identify where you’re spending the majority of your time. Then decide what energizes you and what drains you. Make a list of the things that drain you, and hire for that role.
For more details on Katya’s hiring process, and examples to applying these principles to build scale, watch the video above!
Not taking a long-term view
If you were to disappear for 30-60 days, would your business still be around? Most businesses are not in this position. Without casting the vision of being able to take a vacation, or a sick day, or even just to spend time with your family, then it won’t become a reality. Make sure to take a long view of your business and plan to build systems that allow you to not only have a successful business, but a full life.
Scaling a personal brand
Many coaches build their brand around their name, and feel stuck in scaling their business while remaining true to the personal brand that they’ve built. If this is you, you still have options to scale your business!
- Build a course. Create content that complements your expertise, and make sure to brand it as something other than your name.
- Certification. Build a certification process around what you do, and share it with others.
- Group programs. This could include a mix of other experts and mentors, enabling yourself to get in other existing communities to serve more people at a time.