We often look outside of our known workflow for new opportunities. The fastest and cheapest way to grow, however, is by optimizing your existing processes.
Let me describe it with a case.
I’ve done the following practice with a web design agency. Their business model was subscription-based websites. So basically they sign clients for a low monthly fee and have them commit to a long ass contract.
Their biggest challenge was that the contracts (and thus payment) didn’t start until the websites were up and running.
Not an issue you would say if not that there was a big holdup occurring frequently. It took them 4 months on average to launch, yet only 6 weeks to create the actual website.
The process is as easy as it sounds. Just start from the beginning and let the involved employees tell you what they do.
- Where do you start?
- Then what do you do?
- And then?
- What’s the final step?
- And after that?
While going through this simple process we’ve identified that the moment when the web designers had to receive content from their clients. To actually fill the websites. Was the big bottleneck.
Delivery of pictures and copy often took way too long. Usually, because the business owners they catered to were too busy. Mostly though, because they were not born photographers or copywriters. They simply found it hard to deliver.
These insights gave us the following ideas:
- Create a simple but playful way to subtract the copy from the clients.
- If 1 doesn’t work. Upsell them to a photographer or copywriter.
- If 1 does work, we’ve probably found ourselves a nice lead generation tool.
Create a simple but playful way to subtract the copy from the clients.
This could be an email automation sequence that hits the client’s mailbox during a quiet time in their schedule. (just ask them when they got the time to work on it and program the emails accordingly).
Do not overwhelm them with a massive questionnaire but deliver them natural and easy-to-answer questions. (If you struggle to compose such questions, hire a journalist to help you with a template).
Let your clients answer a few questions every week. If you start the sequence on day 1 you’ll probably have all the copy you need even before you finished the website itself.
Upsell them to a photographer or copywriter.
If for some reason your clients struggle to keep up with the simple task in step 1. Don’t see it as a failure. See it as an opportunity to upsell them. “If you can’t do this, maybe we should hire you a copywriter that does an interview with you and write the copy for you.” It’s not even upselling, it’s helping them out. They’ve experienced the struggle. They will probably be happy to pay someone to do it for them.
If 1 does work, we’ve probably found ourselves a nice lead generation tool.
If your automation tool does work. You could even turn it into a lead magnet. A free tool available for everyone that struggles to come up with copy.
Get back to your Google Ads Keyword tool and run some ads for your content generation tool. You could turn your simple automation into a lead generation tool in the blink of an eye.
Imagine people struggling with content opting in for your mailing sequence. You know they may be in need of a website as well. Or maybe they too need a copywriter or photographer. You could use these leads to hook them up with locals and take your cut.
Now, these are just 3 ideas brainstormed from a single step out of the whole process. You can imagine how much growth is possible if you optimize every step of your process. Even if it’s just 1% every time.
Think of tools to speed things up. Cheaper software. Or after-sales. You don’t know what happens after you deliver. A simple question could provide you with insights into complementary products and services. Maybe you could offer those next time as well.