How to Manage Time for Sales AND Production
Are you a hero to your clients yet repeatedly find yourself on the feast and famine roller coaster when projects are finished? I’ll be talking about how you can efficiently manage your time! I’ll share 5 steps to help ensure you balance sales and production!
What You Will Learn In this Show:
- Why is it so important to be able to balance your sales and production effectively - 2:03
- Challenges as creatives - 4:16
- Five steps to manage time for sales and production - 5:54
Key Take Aways
For those of you who don't know me, my name is Una Doyle. I'm the founder of CreativeFlow.tv and a business coach for creatives and their teams. Now, this question came in from some LinkedIn conversations that I've had and it's also something that comes up a lot with my clients as well, so I thought it would be really good to do a show, and I've broken it down into five steps of things that you can do to make sure that you're balancing your sales and your production in your creatives services business. Okay, so if you're a photographer, a filmmaker, you do graphic or web design, or development, then this is the perfect place for you to be.
One of the things I'm going to touch on later is I've got a great free resource for you as well, and I'm going to pop that into the comments for you so that you can get that afterwards. Anyway, that's 21 Tools to Increase your Sales. I'll talk about that afterwards, but first, what I want to do is actually have a look at well, why is it that it's so important to be able to balance your sales and production effectively.
Why is it so important to be able to balance your sales and production effectively?
- Avoid chaos - as creatives, it's not that we want to have everything absolutely tied down into a really tight routine and there's absolutely no freedom or anything, and that's not what I'm talking about. Not turning, talking about you having to turn yourself into a stuffy suit thing. That's not what this is about, and but, if there is complete chaos then the chances are you are going to be overworked, and we most definitely do not want that. We don't want you overworked. We don't want you overwhelmed. We want you to be doing work that you're proud of and to be able to really deliver great value to your clients.
- Avoid the feast and famine - Have you ever found that you work really, really hard and you have this client and they think you're the hero to them. You have solved their problem. You know you've done a great job for them, and they think it's fantastic and you finish the work and you're like, oh no, where's my next job coming from? How am I going to pay my bills? So, let me know in the comments if you have experienced this yourself, and even when you have a small company and it's not just you the same thing can happen because you've got a few different people involved, and who's doing what and how do you make sure that you're actually managing things between you as well, is perhaps a bit more complex, but you're not yet big enough to have all the systems and structures in place.
- It stunts your growth - If you're a creative you probably have got big plans and big ideas, we're very good at coming up with a bigger picture and really exciting visions, so I know that you're not going to want to feel stuck where it's like you feel you're going on this hamster wheel of work and then trying to get more clients in and then you're trying to do work and you're trying to get more clients in and, if it's just feeling like too much hard work and you're a bit all over the place then you're not going to be able to do your best work really are you?
What is so different in a creative services business?
- As creatives we tend to avoid structure - a lack of structure could be a big reason why, and really as long as you were bringing clients in and you know how to do that then you've got to be starting to put some structure in place. So, and I'll show you how to do that in an easy way. The other thing is that because of this lack of processes and systems, then quite often those creatives can end up reinventing the wheel. I have done this a lot myself in the past. I now know not to do that. Save your creativity for where it really matters. That's one of the things I'm always saying to my clients.
- It's really easy throw mud at the wall - there's so many things that you can do, both in terms of delivering to your clients and in terms of bringing sales in, and so it can be really easy to be doing, this activity, and this activity, and this activity, and this activity, and that activity, and that activity, but maybe you don't know what works, or if it does work, why it works, and what way you can replicate it and things like that. So, these are some of the things that can hold people back in making sure that they have a good balance and they're getting enough work done on the sales and business development, and enough work on the actual- your creative production as well.
5 Steps to Manage Time and Production
- Define the roles and responsibilities in your business - I want you to make a really clear delineation between, okay, so this is some marketing activity and sales activity, and this is admin, and this is customer service, and this is the production, your creative production stuff. And so, get really clear on the different roles and responsibilities. So, imagine, even if you don't have a big team yet, imagine you did have a big team and then what you need to do is to be really able to prioritise and say well, where can you add the most value? If you do have business partners or teammates or freelancers or support staff that are helping you out, make sure you are actually giving that work to them. Delegation is a whole other show.
- You need to ensure that you're choosing strategies that suit you - Because we all have different levels of strengths and challenges and so, some of you might have seen in previous shows these eight different personality profiles and so these are all about when you understand which of these eight profiles you are you understand the best business model, the best marketing strategies for you, and the best ways to add value and leverage your business so that you can really get it to grow. And it also applies to your day-to-day activities. You know one of the tasks and activities that you are going to do best and other ones, you either just leave alone and focus on the few things that are really going to work for you, or, but if you're in the position to delegate or outsource then you know what to let go of and let other people do. So, this is really important.
- Structuring your activities and your time and your environment - The three of these things go in place, all right? So, the first thing is about in structuring your activities you have to make sure that you are planning and prioritising what needs to be done. Check back, you'll see there's a show I did, Your Next 90 Days, that is fantastic for helping you to plan the next quarter, the next three months, to make sure that you get the results that you want. So, do check that show out, and also in the free guide, The 21 Tools to Increase Sales, there are several tools that can help you to get more organised and to be able to manage your activities and know when you're supposed to be doing things.
- Track and tweak - I was talking about how one of the challenges is that quite often people don't know what works and what doesn't, and quite often with service businesses in the creative industries, the first thing you've got to do to be growing your business is to be doing quite manual lead generation and sales funnels and that because you got to make sure this stuff works before you actually, are sharing it. I've got some great quotes here. Yeah, I mean, just that you might have heard the thing measure what you treasure, and I think that's really important. And think of it in terms of- look at the activities that you need to do in order to achieve your objectives both for client production work as well as for you to get your sales in. So, and then look at, well, okay, so how much of those activities need to take place in order for me to get the results and then track that. So, track the activities on a daily and weekly basis and then on a monthly, a weekly and monthly basis track the results you have. So, think about it this way, Imagine if you wanted to, say you were reaching out to people on social media, for instance. Then, and that's actually how this question came up is from a conversation I was having with somebody on LinkedIn. And, so, you want to be looking at, well, how many conversations are you getting to have and what are the results from those, but you're looking at the financial figures on a weekly and monthly basis, but you're looking at, okay, well, how many conversations am I having? How many approaches did I make? How many conversations did I have? How many meetings or proposals did that result in, yeah? So, look at it that way, and get down into nitty gritty with it. Now, I know for some creative people who don't have that leaning towards the more technical detailed side it might be a bit more challenging, but just create a simple template and just use it, week in, week out, set reminders on your phone. Do what you need to do to set the cues to remind you to do this and build it up into a habit. Believe you me, it will pay rewards. Because it keeps your focus on things, and even when you have got loads of creative work in you can still spend a little bit of this every day or an hour or two every week, so that you're continuously looking to grow your business and not just abandoning everything as soon as work comes in, but you've also got to be looking at, well, how do you structure the work that you do for clients as well.
- Systemize and bring processes - to make sure that wherever possible, instead of reinventing the wheel that you get a lovely streamlined process happening. Even if you get somebody else document what you do, maybe somebody who's a bit more grounded and great at admin and get them to do that because when you come to delegate, and you want to really grow your team or team's new business then this is going to be way more valuable for you, that it's very easy to do because it's already documented for you. So, and in fact, even in documenting things because that will go into your subconscious you will come up with more creative ideas as to how to make those systems and processes even better. Particularly, when you have got time every week to spend in each of these areas, so you've got time to look at your systems and processes and to review your figures. You've got time to spend on doing some of the detail and client service and delivery. You've got time to be creative. Now, for you, if you do video production or graphic design you might spend three whole days a week, or even four whole days a week actually doing that client work, and then you look at, well, how you split up the rest of that time. So, these are the decisions you can make depending on what profile you are and how you actually are getting things to work.
Other things you can look at in terms of systemizing and scaling are client on-boarding, your lead generation, and your sales funnels. So, those are quite typical things that I'm often working with for my clients. Okay, so, I think what's important is- when thinking about this, we look at these five steps, the roles and responsibilities.
The thing is, is that having some structures in your business, creating some productive habits and that will actually allow you to be more creative and more spontaneous, and I have seen this with my clients and I've experienced it myself. So, it is definitely something you want to do. So, choose the right strategies to suit your natural strengths according to what profile you are, but then also make sure that you are structuring your tasks and activities and structuring your time and creating the right environment for the different things that you're doing. You'd be amazed at how much more you'll be able to flow through the week and get miles more done and get much, much better results in doing that.
And then, obviously, track and tweak, just get some simple templates and, if you want to talk to me about this is the thing I provide with my clients a lot of the time. And this is the one thing that's really important as well, okay, because I did this the wrong way years ago where when it comes to systemizing and scaling and getting people in to help you with things, Bill Gates said the first rule of any technology used in a business, and it doesn't necessarily have to be an IT system. It simply can be a system or a process, or even a person who is doing things for you, but it's just, when you're looking to scale, so the first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second rule, is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency, and this is why it's really important that you make sure things work before you try to leverage them, and before you try to scale them.
Okay, so, I just wanted to remind you as well to make sure that you go and grab your free guide. So, 21 Tools to Increase Sales in Your Creative Business. So, after going through this and pulling out the ones that are relevant for you. It's going to be a really quick exercise, but it's not just a list of tools. I'm actually giving you guidance as to how and when you would use these tools as well. So, you're going to be able to download this, quickly go through it and implement some things, I mean I would say literally within a half an hour, an hour you're going to be able to implement things that are going to improve your business and improve your sales as well. So, download that and have a look. It's completely free. So, CreativeFlow.tv/21tools, okay.
All right, so, please, have you found today's show valuable? If you have, please share it out. We want to get as many creatives as possible benefiting from the creative success tips that they're getting in this show. I do this every week, by the way. So, Wednesday, 4:30 GMT, 11:30 EST at same place, Facebook.com/CreativeFlow.tv. So, if you've found today's show valuable share it out to your contacts. Please like and comment. I have no idea who sees this unless you actually comment or share it out because Facebook doesn't show me. I've met people outside, networking, and things like that, and they're like, oh yeah, we're watching your show and I'm like, oh, really, I had no idea. So, let me know. So, remember to get your freebee here as well. So, and I'm Una Doyle, founder of CreativeFlow.tv, business coach for creators and their teams. So, remember one final thing, fortune is in the flow. So, everything that you can do to apply what you're learning in this show and the other shows I've done, go back. I was looking today. I've done 13 shows so far. This is my 14th. So, go back. There is a wealth of information there, loads of tips and things that you can apply to your business. So, I'd love to hear from you. Comment, let me know what you think, what are the questions you have and I will be sure to come back and answer them. Okay, have a fantastic rest of your Wednesday and rest of your week. I will see you same time next week. Bye!
I think this is really important because it's not about one person being right. It's about getting it right. It's about working together as a team and leveraging off of each other’s strengths because whether that's your business partners or employees, or perhaps even freelancers that you're bringing into play then the fact is that you're working together to achieve some objectives and the more creative flow you have going around that then the better results you're going to have, not just in terms of managing your time for sales and creative production, but also in terms of being able to have a life, so that you're not in chaos and overwork.
"Meticulous planning will enable everything a man does to appear spontaneous." -Mark Caine
Think about that. It's really interesting, isn't it? Meticulous planning will enable everything a man does to appear, or a woman, to appear spontaneous.
Intimately Know Your Audience
A way of thinking about intimacy I learned from relationship books...
Intimacy = into-me-see
It's not enough to have a niche or ideal client, you need to really know what your ideal is thinking, feeling and doing.
About the Author
Una is a Business Coach & Strategist for Creative Services Providers (Design, Animation, Marketing/Digital Agencies, etc.). She helps them to stand out from the crowd confidently & profitably so they can attract high-level, 'Ready to Invest' clients, doing creative work that fills their hearts with pride - WITHOUT selling their soul or adding extra workload.