There is a myriad of reasons why entrepreneurs start their own businesses, but the one common purpose they would unanimously agree on is attaining freedom through the work they do. As a business owner, you set up your own rules and your own hours. You are, after all, the boss. Achieving this kind of freedom is, however, tricky to attain, and no one knows this better than Anne Hill.
After 15 years of working as a physical therapist, Anne Hill decided to leave the profession as a result of burnout and start her own business. Learning how to navigate the challenges and trials of entrepreneurship, Anne started Hilltop Virtual Solutions and is now helping other business owners create agencies that allow them to thrive in their zone of genius. Business owners who work with Anne are able to provide the highest level of service to their clients, creating a trickle-down effect. Anne realizes how much of a correlation there is between the health of a business owner and the health of a business. Drawing from her experience as a physical therapist, she is able to help business owners see the end results and build processes to achieve their major goals. After working with Anne, business owners work in the most efficient way to streamline and run their business - saving them time, money and frustration.
In our latest episode of “In Systems We Trust”, Anne shares her wealth of knowledge on better decision making through business process improvement.
Achieving freedom through time management.
According to Anne Hill, the definition of freedom varies from one business owner to another. One might want to be able to pick their children up from school, while another seeks freedom in the reduced amount of meetings. Determining the client’s definition of freedom starts with visualizing what their ideal calendar should look like and what are the things they want to be able to do. After that, Anne is able to establish a plan to set up boundaries and processes that will ultimately provide the client with the freedom they aim to achieve.
Time management is a key component in building up the client’s ideal calendar. One of the biggest issues business owners face is the lack of clarity on what needs to be done, and where they should spend their time and energy. The root cause for this problem is the absence of structure in one’s daily and weekly work routine. Oftentimes, people jump from one task to another, hop on calls and sit in one long meeting after the other. This back and forth shifting between activities that require different brain spaces can be very distracting and time-consuming. This is why Anne suggests dividing activities into buckets and assigning certain days within the week for these activities. For instance, scheduling client and sales calls on Tuesdays and Thursdays, moving team meetings to Monday mornings, while dedicating Wednesdays to deep-work and Fridays to administrative activities. This way, one can focus on one set of activities for a longer stretch of time without interruption.
Anne recommends easing the client into these scheduling alterations gradually and avoiding drastic changes all at once. Start with the endgame in mind, and then apply minor changes to test out what approach is working and what needs improvement. Just like any business process improvement, developing the perfect schedule evolves over time with little rewards along the way that encourages further refinement.
Achieving freedom through business process improvement.
While developing the perfect schedule is a step in the right direction, introducing business process improvement clears the path to achieving freedom. Creating, documenting, and connecting processes to a centralized business hub offers clarity where everyone on the team finds answers to their inquiries without having to go back to the business owner.
“Especially as you're growing a team, you want to try to grow it in a way that you're not bottlenecking constantly at the business owner,” Anne emphasizes.
Business process improvement starts with a brain dump, according to Anne, collecting data pertaining to all areas of the business. After that begins a series of discussions with the client to determine which processes, approaches and tools are working and which are hindering team success. Through further data analysis, more cracks and bottlenecks are detected, allowing Anne to put forth a plan to eliminate them and improve upon existing processes. The goal is to ensure that every business process is moving the work along smoothly and that everyone on the team is aware of these documenting changes.
“So, basically, you start to build out your processes so that questions, quick reference guides and tutorials are in one place in the hub.”
Trends in business process improvement
Reflecting on her experience, Anne recognizes a few trends in which business process improvement brings about the most change:
- Streamlining processes and activities that clients used to perform manually either through automation or by adding resources that can help take on some of these responsibilities, therefore giving business owners the capacity to thrive in their zone of genius.
- Integrating cost-efficient business technology and solutions that make sense in the longer term, particularly in enhancing work efficiency as the team grows.
- Performing business analysis which identifies the most efficient and lucrative revenue streams, and mapping out ways to take them to the next level.
Anne concludes with a few wise words to entrepreneurs and ambitious business owners, “Realize that It’s okay to delegate out to your team and it’s okay to delegate to others. Even if it’s something that might take a few minutes, delegate it out. The more you set up your processes to delegate out instead of you doing it, the easier it’s gonna be as you continue to grow.”
If you can’t get enough of Anne Hill’s valuable advice, make sure to listen to the entire conversation now live wherever you get your podcast.