Taking some time to check on how your business is running can be a valuable investment.
If you’re feeling like you’re encountering too many bumps in the road, or you’re feeling overwhelmed by everything on your never-ending to-do list, it may be time for a systems audit.
A systems audit is simply the practice of putting your systems and processes under the microscope and seeing how they’re working. Every business has systems, whether it’s how you onboard your clients, how you get paid, or how you actually perform your service. If you let these systems go for too long without checking in on how effective they’re working, problems can pile up before you know it.
Think of it this way—if you’re a newborn photographer, you probably have clients reach out to you through the contact form on your website. Even if you have the answers somewhere on your website, they still have all kinds of questions, like how much a session costs, what’s included within it, how they can book you, etc. If you’re responding personally to every single one of those e-mails, that’s a major time-suck. It’s even worse if they completely ghost you, and you never hear from them again, but the truth is, a lot of these inquirers are probably reaching out to multiple photographers and shopping.
It’s much easier to implement a system. When someone e-mails you from your website, provide them with a few options to choose from: Are they asking about a session? Checking in on the status of their photos? Wondering how far in advance you book? Then, have automatic e-mails set up to respond to each of those categories. You can even bundle up your most frequently asked questions into a branded PDF to shoot back to them right away with answers to the majority of questions you get. Then, you didn’t spend time on a personalized e-mail to someone who’s invested very little in you, and they get the answers they’re looking for.
Here’s how to perform a quick, easy, and effective systems audit:
- Write out a customer’s entire journey with you, from initial meeting to final buy.
- Within that timeline, write in any systems that you already have in place, like scheduled social media posts or automated invoices.
- Rate each system from 1 to 5 on how well it’s working for you and your business.
- Any systems rated 3 or less should be looked at and modified for better efficiency, whether it means investing in a new tool or updating your automated e-mails.