des moines, iowa and beyond

workflow & systems strategist

What is a Workflow, Anyway?


You know you need to pay attention to how your business is organized. You know there are terms people throw around and that it’s time to do it. But, I’m guessing you aren’t entirely sure what a workflow is exactly. Have no fear, girlfriend. I have ya covered!

Workflows are the bridge between your overall process and your hard working nuts and bolts system. It’s the filling between the layers of that beautiful business of yours.

To understand what a workflow is, let’s start with the basics. First, it’s important to know the differences between common terminology that many people mistake to all mean the same thing…

What the heck is the difference between a process, system and workflow?

Processes are the high-level steps to achieve your end product – the ABC’s and 123’s of your services. What are the 3-5 steps you tell your clients they will go through when working with you? That is your process for that service or area of business.

Example: Inquiry, Booking, Planning, Relax & Party!

Workflows are the detailed checklists and tasks that have to be taken to achieve each of those process steps. What are all of the behind the scenes things that have to happen? Using the iceberg analogy – it’s all the stuff under the water’s surface. The more detailed these are, the better!

Example: To inquire, clients need to go to your contact form, fill it out, submit it to you.

Then, you receive the inquiry, send a welcome email and schedule their consultation, prep for the consultation, meet, send the proposal, etc.

Systems are where the magic really happens! They are the combination of technology and tools that work together to keep it all running smoothly. These tools will likely include a way to manage your social media, a CRM for client management, your task list manager (if separate from CRM), financial tools and more! The more streamlined your systems are, the more automated and efficient your business becomes!

The key is that all three need to work together in harmony to have that strong foundation for you to build your business on and grow for long term success.

Why Workflows?

Without drilling down to the nitty-gritty in a documented workflow, it is near impossible to craft an efficient system and automate in the optimal areas to get you time back in your days. If you aren’t aware of what you are doing, how much time it takes, how much is repetitive, what is excess and more, you’re just taking a shot in the dark every time you do something and likely wasting time. No one wants to do that!

Even if you think you have workflows, if they aren’t documented, you’re missing a crucial step! If you do have them written down (yay!), I’ve found with my clients that most of the time, we don’t even write down everything we should. There is so much living in our brains that just has become second nature that we don’t even see it as a part of our tasks, which opens the door and windows to a lot of missed opportunity.

The biggest reason that I advocate for workflows is that if you aren’t aware of what is going on in your business, you cannot make fully-informed decisions, improve and grow well.

Next week, we’ll start talking about where to start with your workflows. I’ll share some practical steps you can take to start them from scratch or revise what you have. It’s nowhere near as hard as many people think. I promise! Most of the information is already in your head, we just need to pull it out and document it so we can refine it and make it work for you!

What questions do you have about organizing your business, systems, and workflows? Comment below and I’ll be sure to answer in a post soon!



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