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Super simple ways to streamline your studio

Updated: Nov 18, 2022

If you feel like you are constantly drowning in admin tasks and never actually have time to work on the "money-making" tasks in your studio, it might be time for you to streamline your systems.

I’ll admit it, I’m a bit of an efficiency nerd. I love trialing new systems which promise to streamline my work processes, and love finding the best, most effective, and easiest way to do those boring admin tasks, leaving me free to work on the bits of my business that I really love.

Going through your regular tasks, as well as your systems and streamlining the ones that you can, will take a little while but it will save you huge amounts of time in the long-run. I'd suggest spending the holidays getting them set up so you're ready to hit the ground running when Term 3 starts with your shiny new systems!

1. TAKE NOTE OF WHERE YOU ARE SPENDING (OR WASTING!) YOUR TIME

The first step in streamlining your business is to figure out where you are spending most of your time and then focus on how to create systems and processes around those tasks to help free up more of your time.

The best way to do this is to track how long you spend on all of the different tasks you do in your studio. This will add some extra time to your already busy day but you only really need to do it for a week and the time you'll save in the long-run is definitely worth it!

So, for every task, or type of task, you complete in your studio on a day-to-day basis, time how long you spend doing that task and make a note of it.

Pretty soon, you'll have a great idea of what you are spending a lot of time doing. For me, it was creating and sharing new content for my blog and replying to emails so I knew that I needed to set up processes and systems around these tasks to cut back on the time I was spending there.

2. GET RID OF EVERYTHING YOU DON’T NEED

This is a tough one because we often feel like we need to be doing everything - teaching, and holding regular team trainings, and networking, and be posting on ALL of the social media channels - in order to have a successful studio. On top of that we actually need to be finding new opportunities for our students, talking to new teachers, planning events, preparing for exams, planning, onboarding new families and serving them to the best of our abilities PLUS taking care of our own business admin tasks.

Don't worry, I'll be telling you how to streamline all of these things shortly. But, for now, let's just get rid of everything we don't need to be doing.

Hate posting on Twitter? Don't do it!

Know that your ideal clients aren't on Facebook? Get rid of that Facebook Group that you're spending hours a week on.

Anything that you don't need to do in order to run your business, get rid of.

3. CREATE SOPS, WORKFLOWS AND CHECKLISTS

The next step we're going to take to streamline your business is to create SOPs (standard operating procedures), workflows, and checklists for all of the tasks that you regularly do in your studio.

Dig out the list of tasks you made in step 1 and, for each task, create a step-by-step guide or checklist. Don't forget to include all of the tiny details that you usually spend time checking. For example, if you find yourself looking up a particular colour code each time you create a new piece of marketing, add the code to your guide.


Add these SOPs, workflows and checklists to your chosen project management tool so that you can refer to them, or even duplicate them, each time you complete a task.

These documents will help you streamline your business on a couple of different levels.

Firstly, if you're following the same steps each and every time you do something, the work you are doing will be consistent - each social media post will be formatted in the same way, each family will receive the same onboarding experience as the next, and so on.

Secondly, you will be saving yourself a lot of time. You don't need to spend hours rummaging through your sent folder to figure out what you sent to the last family you onboarded, you won't need to sit staring at a blank laptop screen trying desperately to remember all of the steps you take when setting up a new opt-in form and you won't be clicking back and forth between 20 different tabs to have access to all of the information you need to update your website.

Don't worry if you can't remember all of the steps and key details when you first create these documents, you can always add to them the next time you complete that task and remember the additional details. Done is better than perfect!


4. DON’T BE AFRAID OF TEMPLATES

If you find yourself writing similar emails from scratch each time, or perhaps when it comes to creating your newsletter you open up a blank document every single time, why not spend a little time creating some basic templates that you can adapt as needed (or get us to do it!).

Templates were definitely something that I really didn't want to use in my studio when I first started out. I wanted to give my clients a personalised experience and I was worried that, by using templates, I would sound like a robot and not be able to make real, human connections with my clients. That just wasn't true.

Templates are the number one thing that has helped me to streamline my business (and my clients' businesses too!) AND I don't feel like my clients are faced with an automated robot either.

Some templates you might want to create and use in your business include:

  • Forms e.g. enquiry form, registration form

  • Onboarding Documents e.g. welcome pack, email sequences

  • Emails e.g. answering FAQs

  • Graphics e.g. social media images

  • Newsletters

  • Parent Notes


5. INVEST IN TOOLS AND APPS TO MAKE YOUR LIFE EASIER

For most parts of your business, there will be an app or tool that will help you streamline things. Whether they just make your life that little bit easier or they allow you to automate the process completely, they are well worth the investment!

CLIENT MANAGEMENT

I know I've mentioned it before but you need a good studio management software. Gone are the days of keeping track of payments on one spreadsheet, attendance on another and student details in an overflowing ring binder. These days there are a number of platforms available and many also offer a Parent Portal so your families can keep track of their accounts, make payments, keep up-to-date with studio news and even book in make-up lessons - all without you having to lift a finger!


TEAM COMMUNICATION

A couple of years ago I was introduced to an online project management tool called Trello which absolutely changed the way I ran my studio. I started using it to keep track of my own tasks but quickly graduated to using it for everything including planning the concert and keeping my team updated with what was going on each week. Our Team Board (pictured) quickly became invaluable. It was a way I could communicate with the entire team at once, store important shared files and even assign tasks that needed to be done when I wasn't around to remind them.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Scheduling social media, for me, goes hand in hand with batching which is a great way to save time in your business and generally help things run a bit smoother. For most of us, social media is a massive part of our marketing strategy, but finding the time during the day to post live can be difficult (and yet we never seem to struggle to find the time to scroll mindlessly through Instagram, or is that just me?!) Set aside a chunk of time at the beginning of the week, or month, and queue up posts for your various social media channels. There are a few different systems that will help you do this, such as Buffer, or Hootsuite, but personally I use Coschedule because I can queue up posts for my Facebook groups as well as my pages and Instagram accounts. Once the posts are added to the evergreen queue, they get recycled over and over again.

This month we're giving away our "Do, Ditch, Delegate" template for FREE. This spreadsheet is designed to help you look at EVERYTHING you do in your studio and decide which things you're going to DO, DITCH or DELEGATE! Click here to claim yours now.

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