Let’s say that you’ve got to sit down and be ‘productive’ for the next hour in your online business. What do you then do, intrepid entrepreneur?
- Fire up Photoshop to design your next ad creative.
- Setup your latest WordPress plugin that you bought to automate your tweets (which might lead to researching another plugin to do something similar for Google+).
- Design a new landing page.
- Read your favorite marketing forum for the latest strategies.
Some of these might indirectly help with your business, but directly they do not contribute to the bottom line. The problem is that you don’t have a checklist of what it is that brings in the dough: do this workflow, money flows in.
Having a Workflow = Money
When you use a workflow to guide your steps, you’re working a known algorithm for what makes you money. A workflow/checklist limits errors, and most importantly, reduces the amount of energy needed to complete a task. Take an example: it’s late at night and you still want to get some work done, but you’re feeling a bit tired. You contemplate working on your latest campaign, but without a checklist, it seems overwhelming to you and you don’t know where to start. So you start surfing the web / checking email instead of doing your work. When you have a defined burndown chart of what each ‘next step’ is, it takes much less willpower to get work down. And that might just be the difference between doing work and pretending to do work (tweaking your website, researching keywords, etc.)
What Makes You Money is What’s Important
I’m just going to say it plainly: you need to ruthlessly eliminate stuff that doesn’t make you money when crafting your workflow. Value added activities are what you get paid for: if it doesn’t make you money, cut it out. It’s fun to do stuff like research the latest social networks, keep up on other people’s blogs and thinking up new angles for your business. To keep your workflow profitable:
- Document each step of your value creation process for your business.
- If it doesn’t make you money, it shouldn’t be part of your workflow. Be ruthless!
- Always look out for any fat you can cut from your workflow – always ask if it’s essential or if you can drop it.
- Always look towards making your workflow more efficient.