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No More Headaches: Streamline Your Business Processes in 7 Simple Steps

Are your internal business processes a source of too many headaches in an already busy schedule? Learn how to streamline your processes right here.

Abby Wood


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Abby Wood

Abby Wood

The Content Lab

Originally from Cambridge, England, Abby now lives in Ireland with her partner Nick and their border collie Bosco. A content strategist and copywriter for over 12 years, she's founder of The Content Lab (a white label content agency) and Content Goodies (providing white label content templates for agencies). She's also co-founder of Ireland Website Design (a full service eCommerce agency) and LearnRight (a white label LMS solution).

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I don’t know about you, but there was a while there where I felt like I needed to start every day with some Aspirin and a good scream.

Nowadays, I usually get to noon before that sets in. Just kidding! (Mostly.)

Thankfully, once I got more of a handle on my internal business processes, everything from managing clients to feeling free to switch off from work got so much easier.

When everything’s a bit of a mess, even the smallest task can send you over the edge.

It absolutely sucks. But it’s important to know that you’re not alone, and that there really are simple adjustments you can make to change how you feel and operate on a daily basis.

Sure, maybe you need to overhaul your business process management as a whole. But trying to tackle how you sell, how you offer your services, and how you work with your clients all at once simply isn’t realistic. Or at least, it’s a one-way ticket to Meltdown Town.


You’ll need to start small so that making these positive changes is actually achievable and less overwhelming.

Getting a hold on your internal processes is always the best place to start. In fact, it’s often the case that when you regain control over how you manage the basics that everything else falls into place. Phew!

So, why is it so important to streamline business processes?

You’re a busy, busy bee. So any time you can save in your day is a massive asset to you.

On average, marketers spend about 16 hours every week on basic tasks, which is a pretty hefty amount of your valuable time!

If you want to reclaim some of that misused time and start focusing on what you’re really good at, then streamlining business processes effectively is a non-negotiable.

Getting your internal processes under control can help you:

  • Save time, money, and resources
  • Keep your employees happier
  • Increase productivity and efficiency
  • Minimize distractions for you and your team
  • Do better, more focused work
  • Feel less stressed and overwhelmed

It’s true, operating a streamlined business process can sometimes feel like a far-off utopia you’re not sure that you’ll ever achieve. (Sighs while staring at vision board of floating office in the pool of a tropical resort.)


But I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be that hard! You can make the kinds of changes you want (and need) with surprisingly little effort.

I’ve put together a list of tips to streamline processes that I’ve found really useful in regaining control over my day.

Now, it’s important to remember that no two journeys are the same. Find what resonates with you, your team, and your unique ways of working, so you can stick with it and get the results you want.

Let’s get right into it!

How to streamline processes the achievable, sustainable way

1. Get to grips with your current business process

Before you can streamline anything, you’ve got to actually understand what you’re dealing with. Just how bad are things?

Ironically, this is often the real root of the problem. Half the time, we blast through our days on autopilot without realizing what we’ve spent the majority of our time doing. (An all-too-familiar tale for digital professionals around the world.)

It’s super important to stop and take stock. Figure out what tasks and operational processes have become a sinkhole for your time so you can avoid losing hours every week and use your time more efficiently.

Create a comprehensive audit of your current workflows: what tasks you do on a daily basis, how important they are, and how long you spend doing each one.

This way, you can identify what’s taking up the most of your time, what tasks yield good results, where you could be better using your time, and how you can improve on your current operations.

If you’re a digital agency owner, it’s a good idea to consult with your employees and see how they feel about their workdays. Do they feel that a lot of their time is getting eaten up by the day-to-day stuff? Are menial tasks interrupting creatives from their flow?

Make sure they feel like they can be 100% honest with you. This is the only way you can grow together as a team, increase productivity, and ultimately make sure everyone is happier at work.

2. Understand your goals clearly

Why are you rethinking your internal processes?

Are things simply not working? Or maybe you’ve set your sights on greater things and need to carve out a sustainable path to help you get there?

Whatever it is you’re hoping to achieve, clearly understanding your goals will make getting organized a whole lot easier. Not only will it help you stay focused and motivated, but it’ll help you figure out the best way to streamline your processes for your unique situation.

Ask yourself if you specifically want to:

  • Save time
  • Increase profits
  • Minimize mistakes
  • Expand your reach
  • Have happier employees
  • Improve client relationships
  • Reevaluate your role
  • Pivot your business

Once you know what you need to work towards, you can make the necessary changes to help you get there.

For example, if you’re simply looking to save time, then you can focus on tightening and speeding up internal operations. If you’re hoping to move in a different direction, understanding where you no longer need to put your energy is going to be super helpful in achieving your goals.

3. Welcome technology into your life

Listen, you’re in the digital agency world, so you’re no stranger to technology.

But sometimes, when you’re so deep into something, the most obvious things can be easy to overlook.

In some ways, technology can be a big part of what’s throwing your day off course. 

Between picking up your phone to scroll for that dopamine hit, getting distracted by the group chat going off and needing to get in there with a joke STAT, and going down a YouTube rabbit hole after you opened it up for research purposes (closes tab after watching eleventh cat video of the day) – there’s no denying it can get in the way.

But when you use technology to your advantage, it can totally transform your workflow and productivity for the better.

For example, if you’re spending too much time doing repetitive tasks that are simply too far below your skill set, using tools like HubSpot, ActiveCampaign, or Klaviyo to automate processes can alleviate the need for all that monkey work on your end.

An automated workflow eliminates potential distraction, avoidable errors, and frees up your time to focus on what’s really important. Not bad, right?

If your issue lies more in keeping track of tasks, process mapping, and communication, then maybe you need a project management software to streamline your business operations.

There are tons of different online software you can try, like Asana, ClickUp, and Trello. Do some research and see which one suits your unique needs so you can make the right decision for your agency. You can also head over to The Admin Bar Facebook group to ask for advice on which tools to use!

Whatever option you choose, make sure it can integrate seamlessly with your existing systems, and that it offers scalability for future growth. Last thing you want is to settle on an option only for it not to work with what you’ve got and where you’re hoping to go!

4. Don’t be afraid to delegate

So, we’ve already talked about delegating basic tasks to technology. That’s easy!

But many of us (and I fully include myself here) can find it pretty difficult to entrust certain aspects of our business to others.

Thankfully, I’ve now gotten myself to a position where I’ve got an awesome, reliable team behind me. Delegating tasks like project management and client discovery calls has been a total game changer for me. Now I can fully focus on growing the business and drawing in higher quality clients that align with our company values.

As digital agency owners and freelancers, we tend to take on a lot. Sure, that’s part of the deal to an extent. But being able to recognize when it’s too much is a skill in itself – a skill it often takes too long for most of us to learn!

I fully understand what it’s like, so you’ve got my total sympathy here. But if you feel like a hamster running in place on one of those spinny wheels (adorable, yet unproductive), it’s likely time you take a little off your plate.

Take a look at your current processes. Do you really need to be taking all that on? I’m going to take a swing and say probably not.

Identify the tasks that are a waste of your time and that you don’t like doing. Then, talk to your team about what kind of work they’d be interested in taking on. You’d be surprised! It might just be the solution to your problems, and odds are, they’ll be excited to branch into new areas of the business, too.

5. Stop putting off creating SOPs

SOPs (standard operating procedures) are an extremely valuable asset to your business. They help things run smoothly, ensure everyone is on the same page, and boost productivity. So why don’t we all have them?

Well, you’re busy doing the things. Why would you want to spend a load of time writing about doing the things?

I get it. But trust me, once you’ve taken the time to make them, the reward is so worth it, and they’ll save you countless headaches in the day-to-day.

Standardizing your work processes company-wide ensures your whole team understands how things need to be done, meaning less mistakes made, less time wasted, and less frustration overall.

Not only will you have a happier, more efficient team, but any new recruits joining the team will have a smoother employee training experience, too.

My best tip for SOPs is to record yourself doing the task at hand. Then you can either write out the steps from the video, hand the video to the team member taking over the task to create the SOP themselves, or hand it off to a VA to write. 

Clearly document the steps involved in each one of your business processes, making them easily accessible to employees. Don’t forget to update your SOPs regularly as your processes change and your business grows!

Sometimes, when you see it all written down, it becomes a little clearer where you might be taking unnecessary steps or creating more work than you need. Making SOPs can also help you simplify processes to ensure they’re as efficient as possible for everyone.

6. Put the heads together and collaborate

It’s like the old saying goes – we’re stronger together.

And while I’m pretty sure I’ve just taken a slogan from a banking advertisement and called it an old saying, it absolutely applies to your digital agency.

Just as you’re there to support your team, they’re there to support you, too.


If you want to create a process workflow that truly works for everyone, you’ve got to ask them for their input and feedback. Working together to find a streamlined process is always going to give you the best results.

Not only will you all be working towards the same desired outcome, but your team will also thank you for considering their thoughts and feelings on the matter.

If you’re feeling a little all over the place in your daily management, odds are your team members feel the same. Creating an environment of open communication where people feel free to express their issues is going to make for a more harmonious, more productive work environment, worthy of your own heartwarming after school-special-style TV show.

7. Try to not get stuck in your ways

The digital world moves fast. One day you feel like a young hot-shot with your finger on the pulse, the next you’re shaking your fist proclaiming “back in my day” as you sway gently back and forth in your rocking chair.

When you’ve just got your head down, busy tending to the ins and outs of running your business, it’s easy to get a little stuck in your ways.

But it’s important to note that not taking a step back to look at the big picture once in a while is probably why your current processes and workflows are in need of a little (or a lot of) attention.

Streamlining your processes isn’t a one-time job. If you truly want to create and maintain an efficient operation, it needs to be an ongoing effort.

Now, I’m not saying that continuous monitoring and process improvement need to be a part of your everyday workflow. I mean, would you really be saving any time with your new streamlined processes if it was?

What you can do, though, is incorporate improvements into your ongoing workflow and create a system that works for you – monthly, quarterly, or whatever makes sense for your schedule and trajectory!

Stay in touch with the inner workings of your business: what’s working and what no longer makes sense. Strike a balance between the numbers and the people who make up your company on this one.

Track and analyze performance metrics to see what’s enhancing your business in terms of productivity, efficiency, and profitability.

Then, check in with your employees for insight into the actual working experience. Ask them for feedback on how they’re feeling, what they enjoy doing, what they don’t enjoy doing, where they feel they’d like to improve, and what changes they’d like to see to their workday in order to feel happier and more productive at work.

Remember, you’ve got to be open and flexible in the digital world if you want to keep up. It’s super important not to get too comfortable where you are and in what you’re doing so you can grow and expand as the industry evolves.

Want to talk to other like-minded professionals to get even more perspective and advice on streamlining processes?

If you’re looking to really improve business processes, it’s always useful to talk to others who are going through the same thing.

The Admin Bar community is made up of thousands of digital agency owners and freelancers just like you who are all there to support each other on the journey.

Join The Admin Bar Facebook group today to join the conversation!

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Abby Wood

Abby Wood

The Content Lab

Originally from Cambridge, England, Abby now lives in Ireland with her partner Nick and their border collie Bosco. A content strategist and copywriter for over 12 years, she's founder of The Content Lab (a white label content agency) and Content Goodies (providing white label content templates for agencies). She's also co-founder of Ireland Website Design (a full service eCommerce agency) and LearnRight (a white label LMS solution).

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