Intro by Skip Cohen
Jenn Bruno Smith is back with a terrific guest post and topic - your workflow.
I'm always surprised how many artists get in trouble because they lack organizational skills, and fail to do anything about it. I get it, you're artists and "right-brainers" - creativity and passion are your strong suits, not your operational skills. However, here's the sad part - you continue to run amuck, when there are so many ways for you to change the pattern of chaos you've created.
Jenn and I met thanks to AIBP (Association of International Boudoir Photographers) and our mutual friend Erin Zahradka. Jenn's core business is boudoir photography. Click on the image she shared with her post to visit her website. She's also got a wonderfully diverse skill set and love for children and family photography (LaBella Vita Photography).
A big thanks to Jenn for sharing some solid tips to help us all get more organized. In fact, reading her post gave me a few ideas to consider in my own business!
by Jenn Bruno Smith
As creatives I think we can all agree: organization is not our first language. But having a productive workflow is essential to running a business—so how do you find balance?
Ultimately, your productivity affects not only your business, but the quality of your customer service. Nobody writes glowing reviews about a business when it was a month late on delivery. And they sure as hell don’t recommend those businesses to their friends. A golden rule of customer service is you need to deliver when you say you’re going to deliver. Ready to make the leap? Here’s how you can get from stacks of chaos on your desk to becoming a workflow master.
1. Find What Works For You
Taking time to see what’s going wrong is the first step in making it right. What’s limiting you from providing your customers with the best possible experience? Once you’ve taken time to write these things down, set some boundaries!
For me, this means giving myself 1-2 weeks between the shoot and the in-person ordering appointment. For you this might look like scheduling more time to edit photos, or scheduling more time in between individual client sessions. Be intentional about noting where you’re struggling with workflow, make a timeline, and KEEP IT ON YOUR DESK! Also, clear off your desk. Nobody has time for that mess.
2. Use a Client Relationship Management Platform
Also known as a CRM, Client Relationship Management software will have your clients feeling like gold regardless of where your schedule (or your mind) is. Whether you opt for something like Dubsado, or a different system to get organized, having this in place will seriously change the way you work. It has changed my life- for the better!
3. Don’t Overextend Yourself
Believe me, I know how hard it is to rein yourself in when you’re an entrepreneur. We all hate to turn away clients. But there has to be a point where you stop and evaluate whether the work you’re taking on is building or breaking your workflow. Is your work and client experience suffering because of how much you’re taking on? When potential clients reach out, make sure you take that extra minute to evaluate whether having their business will be an asset to your business, in the long run.
4. Be Predictable
Creatively you should always be looking for fresh and new ways to evolve your business, but when it comes to management, predictable is what customers are looking for. If you aren’t well organized then your clients aren’t going to feel comfortable giving you their business. It’s important for them to know how and when you’re going to meet their needs. Set up a schedule and boundaries for how you’re going to make sure products are delivered on time—every time.
When it comes down to it, finding a successful workflow will not only save you time, but it will also allow you to build a stronger customer experience. Make the investment in your business, yourself, and your customers by taking the time to plan out your work. Ultimately, it will save you a whole lot of stress.
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.