We hear it all the time, but do you really need systems for your business? Is it possible to have a successful business without systemization? The answer is a resounding yes.
Naomi Dzunic is a systems and workflow expert who built her own business after creating her own workflows and realizing how many other businesses are seriously lacking good systems. She is here to show us how you can create workflows, automate your processes, and save your time and sanity.
Noami Dzunic is a mimosa lover, travel junkie, future dog mom, and Workflow Expert! Working as an Office Manager for four years, Naomi wanted more than counting her PTO and pinning bucket list locations on Pinterest. When she found out she could use her skills in the online business world, she was hooked.
After working in multiple positions that offered either outdated workflows or no workflows at all, Naomi created her own workflows as she left corporate positions to streamline processes for the next person. With her love for travel and strong desire to give nothing but the best for her clients, she found that through working specifically with wedding + elopement photographers, she is able to put their minds at ease so they spend less time in admin work, book more events, and scale their business sustainably with a workflow that does 90% of the heavy lifting.
As a photographer myself, I know creatives tend to focus on their craft and let the admin tasks fall to the side. After spending half of a day editing photos, the last thing I want to do is clean out my inbox. It just feels like too much. This can be true for non-creative business owners, as well. We want to focus on the things that are directly impacting our bottom line. Unfortunately, your business will not thrive, possibly even survive, if you don’t have your ducks in a row.
Systemization will save you hours (hours!) every week. With the right system in place, an email that would have taken you 5-10 minutes now takes you 2 minutes. Imagine how much time that saves when you have 20 emails to answer? Another great reason to create systems is because it will allow you to scale. If all of your processes live in your head, how will you be able to communicate them to an assistant down the line? If you are handling everything manually for the three clients you currently have, how are you going to be able to scale to 10 clients? Systems make it possible.
If you haven’t systematized your business yet, you are not alone. We typically have our current processes because that’s the way you learned it or observed someone else do it. Without questioning the method or its efficiency, it became your workflow.
When I started looking into systemization tools, I read about Dubsado, Trello, and HoneyBook and thought they all sounded great, but also pretty convoluted. I was already stretched a little thin and learning a new system is extra work, even if it saves me time later. This can feel overwhelming and many owners will push systemization off even longer until their workflow is unsustainable.
When Naomi starts working with a client, she doesn’t start with a tool and force the client’s workflow to fit into the tool. Instead she works backwards and outlines the current workflow. Where are client inquiries coming from? How do you communicate with them? How are calls being scheduled? How do you send contracts and invoices? What is falling through the cracks?
Once she has the full picture, Naomi outlines it and marks the points that can be automated and recommends the tool to get it done. On top of saving time, some of these tools can provide really powerful insight into your business. Setting up smart links for each of your marketing outlets may sound completely overwhelming. Once you get the report back that shows 50% of your inquiries are coming from Pinterest and only 3% from Facebook, you’ll be able to shift your marketing efforts appropriately.
A lot of people don’t realize how much time admin work consumes. If you just consider your inbox, you spend a lot of time trying to figure out exactly how to respond to each email. You want to make it personal so the recipient feels valued. You need to include a Zoom link and attach a proposal. It can get confusing and time-consuming quickly.
Canned emails are one of the cornerstones of systemization and the answer to inbox chaos. Canned emails are templates you create to respond to your most common inquiries. They allow for a bit of personalization, but otherwise, the content of the email is the same regardless of the recipient. Creating canned emails will save you hours every week cleaning out your inbox. If there’s one thing you should prioritize if you’re just starting to systematize, I suggest starting here. Canned emails ensure that you build trust with your clients and that they have the best client experience.
As a heart-centered business owner, you want to make sure every client and potential lead feels important. Automating your processes may feel out of alignment for you, but you can absolutely systematize your business and still show that you care. Emails are not the only way to show that you value your people, so don’t resist implementing canned emails out of fear that you’ll start sounding like a robot.
If you look at the goals for your business and you want to have growth, the only way you’re going to be able to achieve that is to make time to systematize. If you're unwilling to do that, then you have to sit down and figure out why, because you can't get to that next level unless you do this work first.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all of this, I’ve been there and it will be okay. If you are able to afford it, I encourage you to hire someone that specializes in this and is able to identify the points in your workflow that can be automated. If you can’t afford to hire someone right now, start with creating your library of canned emails. G Suite allows you to store 50 email templates for free, so this is a great place to start and build from there.
Based in Portland, Oregon, I'm a coach, photographer, food stylist, blogger, and podcast host of the Courage Changes Everything Podcast. Also avid adventuress, wine lover, and rescue owner. Xo