Why did you start working in the wedding industry? To sit in an office all day doing Admin and ticking back office jobs off a to-do-list, or to use your creative skills to deliver an exceptional experience to your couples? I don’t need to wait for the answer – I know what it is. I also know that if you don’t have systems in your business – you’re likely spending more time on back office work than you should be and your customer’s may be suffering because of it.
To turn things around, you’re going to need to take a step back and re-organise yourself so you have more time to do the work you love and do it well. And it all starts with documenting your processes and creating Workflows.
What is a workflow?
Simply put, a workflow is a set of steps that you create to carry out the routine, or frequently repeated, operations of your business. They are sometimes referred to as processes or standard operating procedures and if you’ve ever worked for a large company, you have likely come across them before.
Introducing workflows into my own wedding business was one of the best things I ever did; for myself, my clients and my team, because they help me to;
- Get more done in less time
- Train staff & quickly educate them about our culture
- Work on more than one wedding at the same time
- Focus more fully on my customer’s experience
- Be more creative
Why do I need a Workflow in my wedding business – I’m a creative!
To answer that let me tell you how it was for me before I created workflows for my wedding business.
Before workflows I found myself constantly reinventing the wheel. I didn’t have a set process for how I completed anything. Even when I was completing a routine task, my focus was always on; what comes next, what order should I do this in and have I missed anything? And I spent far too much time looking for information. I have popped a stat below that doesn’t surprise me! I used to be this person.
“Professionals take 18 minutes on average to locate a document manually––20% to 40% of their time––and spend 50% of their time searching for information.” – ECM Research Data
Not having Workflows pulled my focus away from my couples and caused me stress.
I also found that not having workflows stopped me from delegating work. How could I delegate a task if I wasn’t sure how I wanted it to be completed?
Life after workflows is very different.
Now all of my energy and focus goes into completing the task, and I can easily delegate work to others and know it will be completed in line with our company expectations – because they have a step by step plan to follow.
What workflows do I need?
The first step in designing workflows for your business is to identify your key responsibilities. Whilst every business is different, most of us with a Wedding Planning business will be responsible for the following areas:
- Client Work
- Team Management
For each one of these areas of responsibility, you will be able to identify tasks that you repeat often.
For example, blogging is a task that falls under marketing. Whilst you will write a different blog post each time, the steps you take to do so will follow a similar pattern every time you do it – brainstorm topic ideas, research the topic, identify keywords to include in the post, find images, write the post, publish the post and promote the post. These steps can be turned into a workflow for you to follow every time you write a blog post. Students of our Blog Lab are taught this Workflow in the first week of their blogging course and it’s a game-changer for many of them – a blogging workflow leads to more consistent blogging about topics of interest to their ideal client.
How do I create a Wedding Business Workflow?
Here’s a quick guide to creating your first Workflow.
- Choose a program to document the workflow within.
- Choose a task to create your Workflow for; for example publishing posts to Instagram.
- Start with the very first thing that happens when you complete this task.
- The last item on your checklist is the end result in the process.
- Now document all the steps you must take to get from the starting point to the end result.
- Don’t over-complicate each step. Write each step as if you were writing it for someone else to follow.
- Take your new workflow for a test drive to review how effective it is.
- Review your workflow regularly – things change all the time in our work and in business!
After years of experimenting and implementing, I now have a robust structure for my business because workflows guide many of the functions within it. And whilst that may sound very dry, what it actually enables me to do is spend more time being creative and getting joy out of the work I do for my clients. And importantly workflows have delivered me the benefits of running my own business that I was looking for when I started – more time to do the work I love and more free time to enjoy my life outside of work.