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Time is Money in Workflow | Part 3

Time is Money in WorkflowTime is Money

“Time is money”. How often do we hear this expression? Weekly, monthly? I hear this phrase almost daily from just about every business I consult or have conversations with. The funny thing is, especially with creative businesses, the majority of them do not value their time. Now, before every one starts sending hate mail my way, just let me explain. If I asked what your hourly rate is could you tell me? In other words if you were just sitting at your desk working, how much is your rate per hour? If you can’t calculate a hard number then you can’t value your time.

Time is the most important resource you have. Time is the one thing you can’t ever gain and is the one thing you will always lose. Without a sense of your value related to time, you lose respect for your time. Case in point, I was consulting with a local photographer and was trying to help her with pricing. She was charging only $300 for a family session and giving digitals and everything else in her package. I asked her why she charged so little, based on her educational experiences and years working. She told me because her cost of goods was so low she could charge that much and still make a profit and it made her clients happy. I then asked her how much time it took her to complete a family session and she replied only an hour. I could tell, she was only thinking about the hour to take the pictures, not any time it took to acquire the client, cull pictures, edit the photos, or anything else. After bringing these points up to her, she analyzed her time again and realized it took about five hours of her time per family session. This means she valued her time at about $50 per hour (this does not include cost of goods for he session). Needless to say she was shocked and raised her prices to an adequate amount that would value her time.

Assigning Time to Workflows

In today’s article we are going to assign time to our workflow. Here are the steps:

  1. Take your multi color markers and put the time it takes to complete the step under each sticky note (If the step is automated you can put a zero).
    1. To make it easier, use only one unit of time throughout this whole thing (I would recommend you just use minutes).
    2. Ensure, you assign a marker to each color sticky note (remember, each sticky note coordinates to some who has responsibility in your workflow).
  2. Once you mark down all of those times, then I want you to put time between each step.
    1. You can just use a black marker but this is a general number about how much time goes in between each step.
    2. This may be hard to do based on your business but just remember this is your ideal circumstance with no outside influences, how much time would be in between each step.
  3. Once this is complete add up the time for each color sticky note. This will let you know how your time is being distributed. The goal is this will show where most of your workflow time is being utilized.
  4. Lastly, add up the time between steps to see how long your workflow should take.
  5. Convert all of your times from minutes into a useful measurement such as days or hours (whatever is easiest for you)

So we have accomplished a lot in our workflow journey.  We started off with identifying our mission and vision and then we just laid our current workflow on paper last week (here). If this is your first time joining us please look at the links below and start at the beginning of the series.  Do you see anything that surprised you? If you did, tune in for next week as we start to discuss how to analyze that time and start to construct an action plan.  If you missed last weeks post then check it out here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jason is a Arbinger, Spectrum, and Crucial Conversations Coach as well as a workflow specialist.

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Keeping Your Desk Organized in the New Year

An Organized Desk

An organized desk is usually not the reality in my office.  Things tend to get placed on my desk to be dealt with later and usually, they don’t.  Things like a loose button off my daughters sweater or my headphones from the gym that I plopped down after getting back from a workout.  The problem with this is that I am constantly waisting time looking for something or straightening up before a video call.

My Brain

The reality is that my brain is more creative in beautiful calm environments (whose with me) and so I am doing myself, my husband (who works with me), and my clients a disservice when I don’t keep my desk a little more neat.  This isn’t about having a Pinterest worthy office space but rather a space that allows me to give 100%, cause there is no way to hide the utilitarian look of my GIANT hard drive or card readers . . why don’t they come in pink or teal . . why black!!!

A Goal in 2018

So for 2018 I set a goal for myself to keep my office space not only clean but visually inspiring despite being unable to convince Drobo to offer a teal hard drive.  If this is a goal for yourself then here are a few things to help you organize your space.

  1. Have an inspiration board like this one to remind you of what is important or as a cheerful reminder on tough days.
  2. Have a place for everything to go at night so that in the morning you don’t walk back into the hot mess that I shared with you below
  3. Get rid of the unnecessary things that clutter up a space and add to much noise to what is going on.

Check back to see what we end up doing with this mess.  If you are looking for more information on workflows, organization, and productivity then make sure you sign up for our newsletter below.  We have some great things coming your way soon.

Creating a Workflow Diagram | Part 2

Workflow Diagram

Your current workflow is what you are doing right now at this time. This, for some people, is one of the hardest parts because they have to admit what their process is or lack there of. Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed of your current process. Think of this as your baseline or your starting point. It is not a reflection of your whole business or your values. Before we begin, we will need some supplies for this:

  1. Roll of butcher block paper (can be found in craft store or IKEA)
  2. 3 different color sticky note pads
  3. 3 different color markers

It sounds like we will be taking a trip back to grade school, but it will make sense a little later. The reason we have all of these supplies is to write your whole process down. In the nursing field we have a saying “if it isn’t written down it isn’t done”. The same applies here, you must take the time and effort to write everything down. So let’s dive in:

  1. Lay out your butcher block paper in one long piece. (I usually do about 4 ft long)
  2. Identify the workflow you want to work on (i.e. client acquisition, post production… pick only one) and its start and end point.
  3. Make your key on the paper: Each sticky note color corresponds to whose responsibility it is to complete. By making a key you clearly define who does what. It might be you, the client, or your employee just as examples. (if you need more sticky note colors please make sure you have one color for each person or entity involved)
  4. Take the sticky notes and start marking your process from left to right. This is the meat and potatoes of the whole thing. Write down every step including emails, phone conversations, etc. IMPORTANT: MAKE SURE TO WRITE DOWN EVERYTHING! No I am not screaming, I am over emphasizing. Each sticky note is a step or action. In between each step put a direction arrow to show where the next step in the process is. Once you have this done take a break you’ve earned it.

Key point is to make sure you are only writing down your current process and not what you want your process to be. Workflows, as you can imagine, can get very complicated. If your workflow needs more attention please contact the restart specialist for a personalized coaching session.

If you missed the first part of our workflow series then head here to start your workflow process.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jason is a Arbinger, Spectrum, and Crucial Conversations Coach as well as a workflow specialist.

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Time is Money in Workflow | Part 3 » The Restart SpecialistFebruary 6, 2018 - 8:25 am

[…] So we have accomplished a lot in our workflow journey.  We started off with identifying our mission and vision and then we just laid our current workflow on paper last week (here). If this is your first time joining us please look at the links below and start at the beginning of the series.  Do you see anything that surprised you? If you did, tune in for next week as we start to discuss how to analyze that time and start to construct an action plan.  If you missed last weeks post then check it out here. […]

Creating a Workflow

Creating and Implementing a Workflow

Workflow specialist and guest blogger, Jason Ryncarz is sharing the second part in a series on creating a workflow that saves you time today and for the rest of 2018.  I introduced Jason as my secret weapon here.

Whenever I talk to creatives in any setting and mention the word workflow I either get a deer in the headlights look or I get told “this is so boring”. Well I am here to tell you in the words of Marcus Lemonis from the Profit there are three things that matter in business “people, process, product”. As you guessed, we are really going to be digging into the process part of your business. Specifically this series is focused on improving your workflow or implementing it if you don’t have an established one.  For more on why you should have a workflow go here.

Now, I know that workflow is sometimes the last thing anyone wants to work on. In fact, my wife will make up things just to get out of working on it or she just says I’ll make dinner if you do it for me.  That offer, I will never turn down. But I have to say that workflow is not that bad especially if you make a continuous effort to improve it.

To start this series let’s look at the first step you do to making a good workflow. This step is critical and believe it or not it has nothing to do with workflow itself. We will be looking at making a vision and mission statement. By establishing both of these, you are creating a framework and direction on how your business will move forward. In the strategic planning world, this is the first step in the VMOSA action planning process. Lets first look at a vision statement.

The Vision Statement

The vision statement is the first statement you should tackle. A vision statement in its simplest terms is what you want your company to become. It is your aspirations and hopes which, when formed correctly, provide the purpose of your business. This is also linked to the WHY of your business. A vision statement is very personal but here are some considerations from Business News Daily:

  • Project five to 10 years in the future.
  • Dream big and focus on success.
  • Use the present tense.
  • Use clear, concise language.
  • Infuse your vision statement with passion and emotion

Mission Statement

Now that you have your vision statement lets move on to the next part. The mission statement is a clear concise statement that defines the business’ purpose. This takes the vision statement and answers more or less “what are we doing to get there?”. To write a good mission statement, I prefer a 5 step model written by BPlans:

  1. Start with a market-defining story- it defines how your business is different from most others, or even unique
  2. Define what your business does for its customers
  3. Define what your business does for its employees- if you don’t have employees you might have to imagine if you had them
  4. Add what the business does for its owners
  5. Discuss, digest, cut, polish, review, revise

So this is a good start to starting the workflow process. Please take your time with this and do it right. Below are some great examples:

Company: Amazon

Mission: We strive to offer our customers the lowest possible prices, the best available selection, and the utmost convenience.

Vision: To be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online.

Company: Google

Mission:  To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.

Vision: To provide access to the world’s information in one click.

Company: Uber

Mission: Transportation as reliable as running water, everywhere for everyone.

Vision: Smarter transportation with fewer cars and greater access. Transportation that’s safer, cheaper, and more reliable; transportation that creates more job opportunities and higher incomes for drivers.

Stay tuned for our next article in this series where we start the actual workflow process and if you missed the first part, head here. In the mean time have fun leaning out your business and feel free to reach out if you need help developing your workflow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jason is a Arbinger, Spectrum, and Crucial Conversations Coach as well as a workflow specialist.

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Creating a Workflow Diagram | Part 2 » The Restart SpecialistFebruary 1, 2018 - 9:02 am

[…] you missed the first part of our workflow series then head here to start your workflow […]

Engaged Wedding Workshop

The Engaged Workshop

Hosted by Engaged, 60 people gathered for an intimate workshop in the heart of Birmingham.  It was the perfect kickoff for the year and not only did I learn from the speakers there, I also had the honor of speaking about networking and the creative mindset.  This is one of my favorite things to speak on because not only does it get those attending motivated and moving around the room but it also solidifies a feeling of togetherness once the exercise is complete.  Want to know more about how we use it in our business?  Sign up for the newsletter below.

SEO

Ya’ll know I love what SEO can do for my business so it was great to listen to Greg from GT Marketing share his knowledge regarding all things website and SEO.   It isn’t a one and done solution but if cultivated can help grow your presence in an ever shifting market.  The biggest thing is not to sound like a robot when writing.  Still struggling with SEO, give Greg a call.

Facebook Ads

I have always had a love hate relationship with Facebook ads but I have to say that after listening to Caryn of Social U  I am actually willing to consider revisiting it.  Despite the confusing look of the Ads Manager, Caryn was able to easily explain how to navigate and best use ads for your business.  I look forward to seeing it pay off in my business.  If you weren’t able to attend the workshop, you should definitely check out the classes and services she offers to entrepreneurs.  The topic of Facebook ads flowed well into hearing from Jett Walker Photography next about branding.  Not only should we be using Facebook Ads to get our work out there but it should be branded well and truly reflect who you are and not who the someone else tells you to be.

Southern Wedding Trends

Michelle of Alabama Weddings Magazine shared all about upcoming wedding trends in the new year.  From the types of wedding dresses we should expect to see to changes in floral design, decor, and colors.  This fed perfectly into Meghan from Two Bright Lights sharing the most perfect recipe for vendors submitting to be published.  It was such a joy to speak alongside these awesome creatives in the industry and I look forward to doing it again soon.

 

 

 

Why Have a Workflow . . .

First off, I want to say how excited I am to start this five part series on improving your workflow. Helping businesses to improve their efficiency is something I truly enjoy doing. The most common question I get related to workflow is “why does workflow matter?” Think of workflow as a map that guides you step by step from your start point to your end point. If your map is off or drawn incorrectly you will never get to the end and the same holds true to workflow.

In order to understand how important workflow is, lets look at the results of bad workflow. So for our example I will be very generic to accommodate multiple creative wedding business (photographers, wedding planners, florists, etc..). If your workflow is not sound:

  1. Your client experience will not be standardized.  Every client experience, in general, should be the same. This ensures that you are not short selling your clients or neglecting them during the process. Your clients pay you for your product but they really want a great experience.
  2. You will find yourself missing steps. Workflows, essentially, are a list of steps in a process. Without a standardized workflow you really don’t know what has been completed or is in the process. As a result, many things will be missed causing a lot of frustration.
  3. You will find yourself working to hard. Above all, this problem holds a huge place in my heart. I see fantastic business owners working 60+ hours a week, and giving everything they have. Why? I can understand working like this sometimes to develop a new product or advance your business. But, most businesses I deal with are working this hard just to keep their business afloat. This is insane. Another way to think about it is, if you are spending all your time keeping your business viable what are you not spending your time doing? Marketing, developing new products, building vendor relations…

Workflow can, above all, give you the freedom to grow your business and free your time to focus on the things important to you. I have had multiple business owners tell me that by working with them on their workflow, I have given their lives and families back to them. I truly hope you enjoy this series, and take advantage of our coaching sessions with the Restart Specialist to improve and streamline your workflow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jason is a Arbinger, Spectrum, and Crucial Conversations Coach as well as a workflow specialist.

Creating a Workflow » The Restart SpecialistFebruary 1, 2018 - 9:01 am

[…] Whenever I talk to creatives in any setting and mention the word workflow I either get a deer in the headlights look or I get told “this is so boring”. Well I am here to tell you in the words of Marcus Lemonis from the Profit there are three things that matter in business “people, process, product”. As you guessed, we are really going to be digging into the process part of your business. Specifically this series is focused on improving your workflow or implementing it if you don’t have an established one.  For more on why you should have a workflow go here. […]

My Secret Weapon

A Secret We Have Kept

Yes, you read this right I am going to share with you my most guarded secret today. This one secret has completely changed my outlook on workflow, efficiency, financial planning, investments, and technology development.  I am so excited about this that I just going to say it… My husband Jason.

For many years my husband has been in my corner. He has been the one that has always stood by my side, listened to my BIG ideas (sometimes he calls them insane I prefer BIG), advised me on how to build relationships with my clients and other vendors, impromptu blog ghost writer, and my sounding board.

A Request in the New Year

With the new year upon us, I have had multiple requests from other vendors and clients for my husband to do Facebook lives, blog posts, or other types of social media events. While I was reading one of these requests the other day, I realized I have never introduced my husband as part of both my businesses.

My husband is originally a Florida native. He lived in Boynton Beach for most of his life, which sits about an hour north of Miami. Later he went to North Georgia College where I met him.  In the past few years, he has taken extensive trainings on lean process efficiency (Lean Leader and Lean Six Sigma certified), Arbinger mindset development coach, temperament trainer, and conflict resolution trainer. Many of these trainings I have taken and they have had a huge impact on our business and relationship.

With all of this training, we recently decided to include Jason in the Restart Specialist coaching sessions. He adds a different point of view and knowledge base to all of our coaching sessions to add value for our clients. Please stay tuned because Jason will be a part of our Facebook live sessions, and he will be doing a series on just workflow designed to help you automate your systems and there by helping you move more smoothly.

Creating a Workflow » The Restart SpecialistJanuary 30, 2018 - 7:30 pm

[…] Workflow specialist and guest blogger, Jason Ryncarz is sharing the second part in a series on creating a workflow that saves you time today and for the rest of 2018.  I introduced Jason as my secret weapon here. […]

My 2018 Reading List

2018 Reading ListMy Reading List for 2018

Pre – mommy life I could finish a good book in a day and devour a reading list in less than a month.  These days, I am doing good to complete one book a month.  I never thought I would be one to put down the historical fiction book in favor of business books but for the past 4 years . . that is just what I have been doing and it has had a huge impact on not only my business but my family.  This year . . I made a list of 12 books with a goal of finishing one a month.  Feel free to read along with me or make your own list.

  1. January – The Lifegiving Home
  2. February – The Brand Gap
  3. March – The Circle Maker
  4. April – Building a Story Brand
  5. May – The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership
  6. June – Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average and Do Work That Matters
  7. July – E Myth
  8. August – Selling the Invisible
  9. September – What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast
  10. October – Present over Perfect
  11. November – The Best Yes
  12. December – Crucial Conversations

Each month I will be reading one of these books and then sharing on the blog some of the key bits of information learned and gleaned from their pages.

Why You Need the Restart Specialist

A Personal Concierge in the new yearThe New Year and the Restart Specialist

So the New Year has started and you break out your checklist of goals.  As you examine them, you start to realize “WOW, this is a lot of stuff, how am I going to get this done ?”. The New Year should bring excitement, anticipation, and lots of opportunity for your business. Think of it as a fresh start, renewal of energy, and the ability to change what you did last year. Despite, all of the benefits, some business owners still look at the New Year with dread and fear. Well, if you are one of these business owners, or are unsure of your future you need a champion in your corner; you need a Restart Specialist.

How We Can Help You

The Restart Specialist is that person who will be with you. We take great pride in helping other business owners to maximize their business potential. We are right there with you through the good times and the challenging times. A common question we often receive is “What does a Restart Specialist do?”.

Think of the Restart Specialist as your personal concierge business coach. The easiest way to describe what we do is to describe our process:

  1. First, you will schedule a coaching session that will last about four hours. During this session:
    1. We are going to get to know you and what are your pain points are. Building a relationship is the key to making our process work.
    2. Purpose and vision development for your business
    3. Goal Development
    4. Financial Analysis
    5. Action Plan development
  2. After the initial meeting we offer continued coaching services for a reduced price to keep you accountable and help you succeed. We found that many of our clients needed additional accountability partners and further coaching. This service has proven invaluable to achieving their goals.

Ultimately we are successful if you are successful. During these coaching sessions you get me and my husband (workflow master) as your advocates in your corner and we are complete open books. So to start the new year go to http://therestartspecialist.com/shop/ and schedule your coaching session.

What I Learned from Alan Berg

Learning from Alan Berg Alan Berg at ALWEP

Last week I attended my first ALWEP event here in Birmingham where they had brought in Alan Berg in to speak about selling more and using your reviews to make money.  I have heard him speak before back in Virginia and the man is a brilliant speaker with many years in the wedding industry both at The Knot and Wedding Wire.

Getting Reviews

It was interesting to find out that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation from a friend yet many small business owners neglect getting reviews from past clients on a consistent basis.  When you first meet with your clients, begin setting the stage for getting the review by bringing it up.  When it comes time for actually getting the review, expect to have to remind your clients at least once in order to get the review.

Responding to Reviews

Once you have received a review, make sure that you respond to it by thanking the person who wrote it.  If it is a negative review, online is not the place to respond back to them.  Rather do that via email.  When responding to the actual review . . remember that it is about all the potential clients that will read it down the line and not justifying your actions to the person who wrote the review.

Using the Reviews

Once you have obtained the reviews, don’t leave them to languishing in just one place.  Consider showcasing them on social media or under the images on one of your galleries.  If you don’t share your reviews with potential clients then they won’t know your unique point of difference according to past clients you have worked with.

Hello & Welcome

Exhausted from trying to break into a new market and have no idea what needs to be done to keep your creative business growing?  You are in the right place, friend!

The Restart Specialist was born out of our constant nomadic life and the search for answers on relocating a business without fear. I am so excited your here. Pull up a chair, settle in with a good cup of coffee and lets get started.

  

  

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