Tag Archives for " productivity puzzle "
Workflow is about as individual as your small business. It’s a series of processes that begin the first time a potential client contacts you to the point where you delivered your goods or services and are on to the next job. Actually it starts a bit earlier, if you want to including marketing and branding. Or maybe you’re running a couple of jobs concurrent, in which case it’s even more important to understand your workflow. A plan on how all your business processes work together makes your work flow smoothly.
work·flow ˈwərkflō/ noun
the sequence of industrial, administrative, or other processes through which a piece of work passes from initiation to completion.
There are more than one way to skin a cat and the same is true for your workflow. There’s really not only one right way that workflow works. They are as personal to you as many other decisions you make in your small business.
In my mind there are two schools of thought when it comes to working with a workflow solution:
Solutions like Shoot Flow fall under the first. They are solutions specific to one type of photography. In the case of Shoot Flow, it’s for wedding photographers. Zach and Jody Grey took their experience at shooting weddings and built a workflow solution around it. They basically let you duplicate the way they work a wedding.
The upside – especially for the inexperienced wedding shooter – is that you get a step by step roadmap to how to work a bride and grooms day. Zach and Judy do a fantastic job, not just on shooting weddings, but also in how they work with their client before and after that day.
In my mind the downside is that you are going to workflow weddings just like they do. I’ve never used shootflow (I don’t shoot weddings) and I know you can customize some of the way it works, but it’s not like what I use.
[Please don’t misunderstand me here. I am not dissing shootflow or other solutions like it. In fact I believe it’s vital that we all have a well-integrated solution of our own.]
My customized solution follows my business processes. This doesn’t make it necessarily more expensive, but it does make my workflow solution match my workflow. I use a Customer Relationship Management system as the backbone of my workflow solution. It’s called SalesForce and is one of the largest CRMs in the world. SalesForce aggregates all information I have about a clients, accounts, jobs, ect into one place and since it’s this huge service it integrates with pretty much everything. For instance I use Evernote to …
With every passing year, it seems clients are expecting more and more from their photographers, which means we may need a lesson in productivity. Kat Dalager (@3etheLTAgency) goes even further and foresees the change of the very word photographer in her “Predictions for 2016“:
“The word ‘photographer’ will change. Maybe it will be ‘image maker’ or ‘content maker’ or ‘capturer.’ Whatever it is, it will reflect the expanded capabilities of the role.”
I agree with her and believe that in order to embrace the ever-increasing roles we find ourselves pushed into, we must become exceedingly efficient in our productivity. 2016 will be the year, where I take that productivity to the next level, integrating the technology, cloud based services, apps and automation software I use in my business.
Here are 11 tools that help me, solve my productivity puzzle:
The backbone for this virtual productivity is SalesForce – the CRM that’s been running my business for over 7 years now. Every account, contact and job lives in this cloud based service [learn more about SalesForce here: “I got my head in the cloud (along with all my data)“].
This year is the year where this automation will get flushed out. I’m already using the amazing integration between Evernote and SalesForce, which allows me to attach all job related records automatically. Now any creative brief, handwritten note, job estimate, permit, release, receipt, rental agreement, … is tagged with a job number in Evernote and appears in the digital job folder in SalesForce as if by Magic.
Every job, event and task that get entered in SalesForce automatically creates a counterpart in Asana, via Zappier. Asana is my project management software, where I can split up a job in an actionable To Do list. Every contact that’s added on my phone is automatically entered in SalesForce via IFTTT (IfThisThenThat). Zapier and IFTTT are two amazing automation softwares that enable you to use apps and cloud based services to stay productive.
You’re at a _________________________ (trade show, conference, business meeting, fill in the blank) where one of a few prospects hands you their business card.
You know that in order to turn prospects into hot leads you need to follow-up with them. Soon, which means you have to …
… but who has time for all that, especially if you’re meeting a couple of new prospects.
Then you look at the card and notice, that is only has the prospects company name and website, a ‘info@’ email address and a phone number, but nothing else. You’re gonna tell me that you remember the name of all the prospects you met at the event, if you wait to enter their data until that evening?
What if there was a way, where you could have the business card scanned and read by an app? That would be pretty cool. How about an app that could go and find the missing info (name, job title, personal email address, …) automatically? Now we’re talkin’, right? What if all this info is entered into your address book with a simple click? Still not good enough? What else would you like it to do? Make a LinkedIn connection? Schedule the CRM reminder? Put the business card into your Rolodex?
I’d pay good money for the ability to go back to the office and have all that happen automatically – you can’t get much better than that, right?
Hang on to your hats, ladies and gentlemen, it’s even better than that. I’d like to introduce you to Scannable, Evernote‘s smart scanning app. Not only does it do all this (well almost all of it), but it does it in real-time.
Back to that business card you got handed to you by one of the new prospects you were talking to. Just this time you pull out your smart phone, launch Scannable and you’re pretty much done. The app finds the card in front of the phone, scans it, reads the information, goes to LinkedIn, pulls the missing information from the prospects LinkedIn profile, and places all the info into the right fields of your address book, which you can save in your address book and Evernote with a simple click. All this takes about 60 seconds and remember all you did was launch an app and hold the card in front of your phone’s camera.
While Scannable does all of this, I can go on chatting with the prospects, learning more about how I can help them create great visual content for the project they’re working on. I finish the conversation with one simple question “Would you mind, if I’d send you a LinkedIn request?” and thanks to Scannable, I can do that as they say “Sure, why not.”
Oh, I forgot to mention the price of this service, although by now you’d agree that it will save you not only time, but also convert your prospects into hot leads (which is a little hard to put a price on): it’s free. I know, right?