Do you have a difficult time keeping track of what you need to do for all your clients? When you’re dealing with wedding and portrait clients there are often numerous steps that need to be completed in a particular order. Anyone who has fallen behind with their work will know how important it is to stay on track and complete projects as proactively as possible. When you manage your client workflow well your business will be more efficient, you’ll be able to handle more work and you’ll feel less stressed about what you need to do next!
The Surpringly Easy Solution
Create a client workflow board!
In our search for the most efficient way of managing client workflow we’ve experimented with numerous strategies. We’ve tried lists, and spreadsheets and elaborate client management programs. In the end it was one of the simplest, cheapest solutions that won our hearts… A whiteboard.
The Awesome Benefits
- Cheap – The one we picked up up was about $40 from Staples. It already had a spreadsheet type layout on it so we didn’t have to create one. It’s also nice paying one low price instead of monthly recurring subscription fees for client management software.
- Obvious and effective – Because the whiteboard is always in view (you’ll hang it in your office), it’s easy to see at a glance what needs to be done next. It’s also easy to check things off when you’ve completed them. Simple to stay on track!
- Perspective – Similar to being obvious and effective, seeing all your clients and where you are in your workflow can help give you perspective about when deadlines need to be set. Do you have a big wedding coming up, or a packed week of portraits? Then it’s time to get caught up with all your current clients so you can easily handle that new influx of work.
- Customization – A whiteboard is easy to customize to suit your business and client workflow.
- Scalable – Just buy more whiteboards as you need.
- Reusable – At the beginning of your season just wipe it clean and set it up for your new season
How To Make Your Board
- Plan out the order of steps in your client workflow beforehand. Trying to add something in later can be a pain in the butt! Think of every task that needs to be completed from when the client books you to when you deliver the products and let them know about your referral program. Spend some time brainstorming these steps. Leave it for a day and come back to it with a fresh pair of eyes. The better, more complete, the experience you provide for your clients, the stronger your business will be. (This is also an area that you’ll want to customize yourself. No two businesses will be the same, and you should be continually thinking of steps to add or change to create a better client experience)
- Place your list of steps in order along the top.
- List the names of your clients along the left hand side and, if you have room, the type of shoot.
- Record the date the session will take place. Our board has a column on the far right that we used for this.
- Place your whiteboard in a location that will easily be seen. In view from your desk is a great spot. The reason a whiteboard is effective is because you can see what you need to do at a glance, and easily check things off as you complete them. Otherwise you could do all this in a spreadsheet program!
Tips For Rocking It
- Try to get a whiteboard that already has a spreadsheet design on it. That will save you a ton of time trying to draw the lines on yourself.
- If you do both portraits and weddings, you might want to have a whiteboard for each type of shoot. This will make it easier to keep track your different businesses, and you’ll probably find your weddings and portraits have slightly different workflows.
- Get at least a couple different white board markers and some white board cleaner. After a year white board ink doesn’t always erase that easily. (Tip: For really difficult to erase marks use a bit of toothpaste!)
- Remember to check things off as you finish them!
- Headed out of town and need to take your whiteboard with you? Just snap a camera phone photo of it instead!
In the end whether you use a spreadsheet, an online program, lists of paper or this whiteboard it’s all about being able to efficiently manage your client workflow. This method has worked well for us because of how simple it is. While it’s not as sophisticated or as fully featured as some solutions we’ve found, you’re way more likely to use something if it’s easy to do and simple to setup.