We asked top website and graphic designers we know how they grew their businesses, and their answers surprised us. According to them, it wasn’t talent. Of course, top design skills—knowing exactly how to keep a website visitor engaged on a page and moving throughout a site, for example—are crucial.
But what really changed the game for them was something less subjective. Their secret? Having a singular system in place to streamline processes and manage their business. This is great news if you’re looking to kick your business up a notch, regardless of your current design skills.
Why streamlining your business matters
Streamlining your web/graphic design business is important for growth for two reasons.
1. Do more in less time – If you’re like most Independent business owners, you probably started because you love design. But when you’re running your own business, administrative tasks can start to take over.
Pretty soon you’re spending less time designing and more time sending out invoices or managing your ever-growing inbox. While both are necessary to run your business, it’s possible to increase efficiencies to spend more of your time on design.
2. Grow with intention – Streamlining your everyday work frees up time so you can grow your business intentionally. Whether you want to focus on upping your marketing game, turning more inquiries into business, or taking on more projects with existing clients, an efficient business system can help.
How to choose a system for your business
The key to choosing a system is making sure it offers everything you need. If your processes are spread out between multiple tools, it can only add more stress and disorganization.
Instead, find the system that combines everything from sales, lead capture, client communication, contracts, payments, project proofs, and more. By keeping everything in one place, you’ll always have a bird’s eye view of your business in order to better manage and prioritize your work.
Streamlining each step in your business processes
Once you’ve found the right system for your business, you can use it to set up every step in your business processes. These steps usually include communicating with inquiries, sending sales information, booking clients, and communicating throughout projects. Yet, these specific steps may vary from one website designer to another.
We recommend mapping out your client journey first so you can see exactly what needs to be set up. Here are some of the key steps in a typical web design clientflow and how you can use HoneyBook’s all-in-one software to get everything set up.
Onboard new clients
HoneyBook can automatically send an onboarding email series, from the welcome email to a discovery questionnaire, to help you get started with new clients. Use these materials to let them know what they can expect over the duration of the project and gather input on their objective, the desired deliverables, and project timing.
Their responses can give you a better idea of the project scope so you can ask the right follow-up questions and gain alignment before the project starts. Our email automation tool makes it easy to repeat this step with each new client.
Nail your to-do list
Turn the repeatable steps you take for each project into an actionable to-do list. For example, one step in every design project might be “Decide on font palette and color guide one month after project kick-off.” One month into every project, HoneyBook can create a task and reminder for you to nail-down those fonts and colors with your client. It’s like having an assistant with a really great memory and fantastic note-taking skills.
HoneyBook also compiles all of your tasks from all of your projects into one place so you can see exactly what you need to tackle that day. No matter how many projects you’re balancing, our online and in-app reminders will help keep you accountable.
Say goodbye to random folders across the Internet and back-and-forth email exchanges. HoneyBook is the ultimate collaboration tool, letting you share concept files and mock-ups with your clients.
Clients can also post examples of designs they like to get your input, in addition to providing feedback on your ideas. Everything you discuss with your client, and all their preferences, are captured in one place so you can go back and reference your conversations at any time.
Manage multiple projects
Keep all of your projects and clients organized and get the status of each project at a glance. You can view your to-do list, the latest feedback, and the stage of each contract/invoice by project.