4 Things You Need to Stop Doing if You Want Your Business to Grow
Running a business is hard work.
There are tons of moving pieces and sometimes it can feel a little overwhelming.
It’s true that business is chaos. It’s impossible to completely tame the craziness that is being a business owner.
But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t ways to make your life easier so you’re not pulling your hair out every time you sit at your computer.
As a Productivity + Systems Strategist, I make it my business to show service-based business babes how to streamline their business to save time and ditch overwhelm.
That’s why today I’m here to tell you all about the 4 things you need to stop doing if you want to grow your business (and what you should do instead)!
*** In order to help keep the lights on in this little corner of the internet, this post contains affiliate links, meaning I receive compensation for anyone who signs up using my links. However, I only ever affiliate with products I use and love myself and think would benefit my readers***
Sending Emails from Scratch
Let’s be honest, if you’re running a service-based business, you’re probably sending a lot of emails.
Communication with clients is key to making any service-based business work, and email is generally the primary method of getting ahold of you during business hours.
Emails to set up calls on Zoom, emails to clarify something your client said, emails to turn leads into clients, aah! It’s no wonder so many people have a hard time managing their inboxes.
You could spend hours every single day responding to emails. And in the old days of online business, you didn’t really have a choice.
But you absolutely have a choice now, and I’m here to tell you that there is no reason at all whatsoever that you should be writing out every single email from scratch.
Because if you notice, half of those emails have most of the same information.
And if you were using a template and just filling in a few extra details, you would be saving literal hours of your time.
If you run your business email out of GSuite (and I hope you are), you have a totally free resource at your fingertips to save you tons of time sending the same email over and over: canned emails.
Canned emails are email templates that are saved on your Gmail account that takes all of 3 clicks to send, and all of 1 minute so set up.
How to Set up Canned Responses in GSuite
The first thing you’re going to do is enable Canned Responses.
Hit the little settings gear button up in the right hand corner of your business Gmail.
You’re going to be presented with 1 of 2 screens. For the non-updated inboxes, this will be what you see:
For updated inboxes, you’ll see something very similar, with a few important differences:
Before you go through all of those crazy settings, we’re looking for one specific tab, and again, this will be a little different depending on your version of Gmail.
On the non-updated version, it will be called “Labs.”
On the updated version, it will be called “Advanced.”
Whichever version you have, click the corresponding tab, and you will again see slightly different screens:
The old one:
The new one:
Regardless of the version you have, find the phrase “Canned Responses (Template)” and select the enable button. Then click save.
Now go back to your inbox and hit Compose or +. In your new email, in the bottom right, you will see either a button with a down arrow or three vertical dots. Click that and you should see a “Canned Responses” button.
If you hover over it, it will open a new pane that has one option: “New Canned Response.” Don’t click this button until you have written out your canned email as a regular email. Then you will be prompted to enter a name for your new canned response.
And that’s all you have to do! This is a really simple way to start implementing canned emails into your business. It’s so easy and have I mentioned that it’s totally free?!
While I love this feature by Google, there is another program that I use and it stores most of the canned emails I use to run my business.
If you haven’t heard me talk about my love for Dubsado yet, I am a huge, huge, HUGE fan of the program.
It is a Client Relationship Management tool that has literally revolutionized the way my business runs and I have been so grateful to have access to a program that allows me to save time on the busy work and focus more on my clients!
Dubsado has a Canned Email section under their Templates.
And what’s really cool is that they set you up with some templates ready made for you! You don’t even have to tweak them if you don’t want to!
The reason most of my Canned Emails live in Dubsado is because it’s part of a larger framework that streamlines my business (but more on that later!)
How to Set Up Canned Emails in Dubsado
From your Dashboard in Dubsado, hover over the sidebar.
At the bottom, you’ll see a Template drop down menu. When you hover over that, you’ll see Canned Emails listed in the small sub-menu.
Once you’ve clicked that, you’ll see a screen like this:
From here, you can create a new response OR edit one of the templates that they have already.
The canned emails they house in Dubsado help your workflows run smoothly, so you can put certain aspects of your workflow on autopilot!
For the purposes of this tutorial, I opened the Payment Reminder Canned Response.
It looks just like a regular email, and all you have to do is enter what you would like it to tell your clients when you send them a canned response. Then click Save Email and you’re good to go! Dubsado will send that exact email with tailored fields to any client you ask it to!
What’s great about being able to compose a canned email is that it gives it more of a personal touch, so that even when you’re not actively writing to your clients, they still feel that you are taking care of them.
And in some ways, you are! Using canned responses frees up precious time on your plate, which means you’ll have more time for working directly with your clients to create that transformation you promised to deliver!
And speaking of clients...
Onboarding Clients the Old Fashioned Way
Depending on how many clients you take on at a time, you may be spending a lot of your time onboarding clients into your programs.
Time that would be better spent working with those clients and providing them with amazing value!
It is important to note that onboarding is probably the first real time a client is spending with you. And I cannot stress enough how important is to wow them and make them feel confident in their investment.
But that doesn’t mean you have to be sitting at the computer 24/7 to make it happen.
In order to successfully onboard a client on autopilot, you’re going to need to take some steps upfront to make it happen. I use Dubsado, because it allows me to be completely hands off without sacrificing quality.
How to Onboard on Autopilot
The first thing you have to do is take a look at your workflow.
How are you onboarding clients currently?
What steps do you take to ensure their satisfaction in the onboarding process?
Brain dump all of those things on a piece of paper (if you want a little more guidance setting up these workflows, check out my totally free workbook here.)
Don’t skip any details here! Really take some time to think this through or you won’t be able to provide your clients with the same high-touch experience.
Do you send an intro or welcome packet? Do you have certain points you like to touch on? Do you set up discovery calls?
Once you have your workflow, you can begin plugging these things into a Workflow in Dubsado.
In that same Template section of the Dubsado sidebar, there is an option called Workflows. This will open a screen that looks like this:
You can create a new workflow by clicking the Add Workflow button in the top right corner of the screen.
Once you have opened a new workflow and enter a name for your workflow (you can call it Client Onboarding), you will see an option to add a payment schedule to the workflow, and an “Add Action” button.
When you press this button, it will open a box that looks like this:
If you click into the dropdown menu to see the list of actions you can take, these are the options you will see:
If you want to send a welcome email, you can load this here.
If you want to send them a link to book a discovery call with you, you can add that here.
If you want to send an intro packet, you’ll have to load it into a form in the Forms template, but you can add it to the workflow here!
You can even hold the workflow at a certain point for a few days if you wish! All you have to do is load it into Dubsado and it will take care of the rest.
If you’re starting from the moment you capture them as a lead, you can set Dubsado to immediately send them through an intro workflow the moment they hit that submit button on the embedded Dubsado intake form on your site!
The possibilities are practically endless, seriously! And your client literally won’t be able to tell that it’s not you sending those emails individually every time. But they’ll still be getting that high-touch experience while you work on growth-focused actions in your business!
Posting to Social Media Manually
This shouldn’t be new by now, but it’s important so it’s going on the list.
You should NOT be posting to social media manually (except for lives and IG stories).
There are a bazillion social media scheduling programs available to you, and you can absolutely do this for free.
For Instagram, I use Later. It’s free for up to 30 posts a month (and, to be honest, you don’t even need 20 of those with the new IG algorithm).
For Facebook, I use Buffer. You can schedule up to 10 posts at a time for free to one profile, which is all I need.
I don’t use Twitter, but you can use Tweetdeck for free.
The only “social media” scheduler that I invested in is Tailwind for Pinterest.
And trust me, it was worth every penny. Pinning manually all-day, every-day would be exhausting. If you want to try out the magic that is Tailwind (I’m talking Tailwind tribes (which are like group boards on Pinterest), scheduled pins, analytics, and a new Smartloop feature that lets you loop your pins on a timed basis that’s coming out soon), you can try it out with your first 100 pins for free!
With so many possibilities out there, there really is no reason you should be posting to social media manually.
Do yourself a favor and put it on autopilot so you only have to think about it once in a while, instead of freaking out because you forgot to pin 30 times, post to Facebook twice, and post to Instagram in the same day.
And trust me, you’ll be able to implement way more marketing strategy if you’re scheduling it out!
Getting Distracted by Notifications
I’m guilty of this too, but I have definitely taken some serious steps to reduce my distractions during my workday.
It used to be that my phone would go off for every notification that came through Facebook, Instagram, email, games, apps, you name it.
I don’t know how I ever got anything done!
Since then, I’ve realized that notifications, whether on my phone or my computer, are a serious drain on my productivity.
Who has time to check that stuff 24/7? Certainly not me.
So I changed my notification settings. Now I still get the little red circles with the number of notifications for my social media, but I turned off everything else.
My Gmail doesn’t even get that, because I would be compulsively checking it every 5 minutes.
And everything else is completely turned off.
On my computer, I have some pinned tabs, but I make it a point to open fresh windows for things that require my full attention.
Right now, as I write this blog post, I’m typing into a Google Doc in a fresh window without any other tabs. I turn the Do Not Disturb on my computer so notifications from my computer aren’t coming through either.
And I get so much more done without all of these mindless distractions!
Recreating the Wheel for Every Piece of Content
There are two parts to this that I want to point to.
The first is that when you create a piece of content (a blog post, for example), most of the time you stop there, when in fact, that same topic can be turned into many different types of content. This can be anything from live video, regular video, a podcast episode, a content upgrade, an email. There are tons of resources out there that show you how to recycle content so you don’t feel like you have to come up with a new idea for each place you’re showing up consistently.
The second runs on the same principles as Canned Emails and workflows.
You should not be creating brand new graphics every time you write a new blog post.
You should not be creating blog posts from a blank page.
You should not be working without a workflow.
Because all of these things take up extra time! Precious time that could be spent either working on your business instead of in it. Or, even better, outside of your business, because you’ve put in the work to streamline your business.
My point is, you should be working with templates. Templates are huge time-savers that allow you to plug in your new information and go.
When I create graphics for my blog posts, I literally just add a new background to my template in Canva and write in the new title. And then I’m done! It took me all of 2 minutes, instead of 15-30 minutes putting in the fonts, making the boxes perfectly measured so it looks seamless next to my other posts, using the right colors.
When it’s time to write a new blog post, I duplicate a template and plug my blog post into it. Then I don’t have to measure out spacers each time.
And when I write that blog post, I follow a carefully mapped out workflow so that I don’t have to guess what my next step is (example: my next step after I finish writing this thing is to add my graphics).
I understand that most of this stuff takes some time upfront. But you’ve probably already got some of the materials to make this easy.
Take a blog post that’s formatted perfectly, duplicate it and name it “Blog Post Template,” so you can duplicate that one for any new post.
Open up Canva or InDesign and look at some of the graphics you’ve worked on before. Can you make a copy of one of those and use that as a template?
Open up your Project Management tool, whether that be Trello or Asana, and assign a new card to your blog workflow. Start a checklist or subtask list and write out all the steps you follow for blogging.
It doesn’t have to be rocket science. And, in fact, it shouldn’t! Most of the things you can automate are things you are literally doing right now. So take those things and make them templates. Put those processes on autopilot! Grow that sustainable business, so you can take on more clients, build your freedom business, and impact more people.