Shoreline Graphics was a small, progressive design agency made up of four young, creative, go-getting guys when they hired me. I was young, keen and had no idea what I was getting into. (I'm saving my stories about being the only girl in an all boy agency for another day.)
I think the small office was about 800 square feet total and I shared a small portion of that space with Jimm, one of the co-owners. We were the sales department - the suits. We often worked together on proposals...I mean, he was sitting right there and often verbalized his thoughts. (I'm not complaining - I learned a lot from listening to Jimm on the phone and all his out loud thinking.)
Most proposals we wrote included not only graphic design but film and printing costs too (this was before websites and social media, guys). And it never failed...every time Jimm had to choose a few printers to contact for an estimate, he'd lean way back in his chair, look up at the ceiling and mutter, "Hmmm, who should we use to get this printed?". Then the same old banter about this print firm and that print firm would ensue. It started getting a little annoying, getting asked the same question over and over again. It was funny, but annoying.
In the name of efficiency, and saving my sanity, I researched all the printers within a 100 km radius, ranked them by quality, size and pricing and made a comprehensive list. I always end this story by telling people I pinned that list to the ceiling just above Jimm's chair, so the next time he leaned back and said, "so who should we get to print...", voila! He was beholding the list. But I'm pretty sure the truth is, when he leaned back in his chair the next time and asked the question, I reached for list of printers and threw it at him, mumbling something about getting organized under my breath.
That was just one of many processes we streamlined as we grew the company. It's funny, sometimes, to think about the way we used to do things, before a time saving process was established.
Are you creating processes in your business?
If you're doing something over and over again, are you thinking of ways to streamline that process? It happens in my business almost every day. If I'm not creating a checklist for logging my expenses, I'm reviewing the social posting process for a client or fine-tuning my client intake questionnaire.
If you want to grow your business, one way to help get there faster is to get more efficient.
Do you develop simple tools and systems for your small business? You don't have to be big to be organized and efficient! If you need to manage repeatable tasks, get a process so you'll have more time to lean back in your chair...and just daydream.
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The Small Business Guide
Kim Houlahan is a marketing consultant who loves helping small businesses connect with their customers online.