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What Creatives Learned While Evaluating Their Business Processes

The smartest and most successful business owners are those that recognize the value of evaluation. Whether you are wrapping up an ad campaign, completing the launch of a new product, or reviewing your business’s annual growth, evaluation is a key component of a healthy business as it helps you determine the strategies that work and those that do not.

Regular business evaluations can help reveal important lessons about where your business is going and how you can improve your future growth operations. Without them, you risk making the same mistakes time and time again. You also miss out on profitable opportunities for growth, which can hold your business back in the long-run.

Kevin Dennis, owner of Fantasy Sound Event Services, shares his own process: “We find that it’s best to evaluate our processes and internal systems every quarter at the very least. This gives us enough time to figure out any pain points, as well as how we can further streamline or automate any tasks. I really value feedback from both clients and employees, so if they’re not happy with how we’re doing things, then it’s important to me that I take the time to look at where we can make things easier.”

We spoke with creative professionals about their biggest takeaways while evaluating their business, and here is what they had to say.

Pivoting is not the same as failure.

Some business ventures are winning ideas, whereas others are not always a good fit for the time and market. However, that is not to say it was a waste of time or resources. Sometimes, a wrong turn in business ends up taking you down a road to new opportunities that you would have never landed upon otherwise.

Renée Sabo, owner of Urban Soirée®, elaborates: “Some things don’t work! It’s OK to pivot or change if something isn’t working — it doesn’t necessarily mean it is a failure. I believe this mindset helps the business adapt and evolve, as you can never get too comfortable with a process or system. The other thing I have learned is that we do not need to overcomplicate processes. If it works and gets us to our end result, then it doesn’t necessarily need to be changed! ”

Products and services might need updating.

When you lean on client feedback, you can start to see the preferences that exist in the market, and, as they change, it might mean you have to adjust the way you structure your offerings to stay relevant and competitive. Jennifer Borgh, owner and destination wedding planner for Borghinvilla Wedding Venue, recently made this shift in her business.

“Although we kept our overall pricing the same, we moved things around so certain things were included in the base price,” she shared. “Our main goal was to avoid couples trying to cut out certain services to save money. We want our clients to be thrilled with the overall experience so we don’t want them cutting out necessities that are valuable to the total wedding experience. Our ultimate goal is always extreme clarity on everything so couples can trust us with their wedding day and enjoy the process from start to end.”

Collaboration is a necessary part of business.

Every successful business is built on a foundation of collaboration, and great leaders know it is their responsibility to foster an environment that supports teamwork. Even solopreneurs are not in it alone; our internal and external networks are fundamental to our ability to grow and serve clients the top-notch experience they deserve.

Dennis shares: “COVID has actually given us an opportunity to address concerns and, with going fully virtual, we were able to put our tech to the test and see how collaborative our processes really are. This has helped us be much more in-tune with the wants and needs of clients and our team has been able to work seamlessly together — in and out of the office.”

Organization is fundamental for success.

There is no denying the significance of an organized workflow, but it can be easy to lose sight of it when other pressing needs are calling for attention. Business evaluations provide an opportunity to identify gaps in your processes and discover new methods to streamline your operations.

“This year has given us a lot of extra time to work on our businesses as opposed to always being in it,” states Elizabeth Sheils, co-founder of Rock Paper Coin and senior planner for Bridal Bliss. “In that process, the importance of organization has been driven home as the industry has had to navigate constant change. From remote work to crisis communications, we’ve come to value the role technology plays in keeping businesses agile and adaptable — even in the thick of a pandemic.”

There is always room for improvement.

If you ever feel like your company is ‘imperfect,’ rest assured you are not alone. In fact, there really is no such thing as a perfect business — every business has areas in which to enhance. There is no ceiling to growth, so if you think you are ‘done’ improving, it’s a good sign you need to dig deeper into your evaluation.

“The secret to effective business processes is that there’s always work to be done,” assures Jennifer Taylor of Jen Taylor Consulting. “It’s easy to think you have all your boxes checked, but the truth is that—between shifting market demands and new technology—the industry is always evolving. Businesses that rely on stagnant and unchanging processes are left behind in the dust, whereas the industry’s movers and shakers keep up with the times by taking advantage of change.”

While quarterly evaluations are ideal, the end of the year is especially critical for assessing your business’ strengths and weaknesses. This information will help you prepare ahead for the year to come. 2020, in particular, has been a challenging year for all business owners — while you may be thinking about all of the ways you want to grow in 2021, don’t lose sight of the learning lessons you’ve gained this year. A proactive approach is always the answer, particularly when rooted in the experiences and obstacles you’ve overcome thus far.

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Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast.

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