A state of constant change becomes the new normal when you’re managing a fast-growing business. You onboard new teammates, set goals, create workflows, learn new skills — and sometimes, you rethink it all a month later.
It’s a constant cycle of adaptation. One way to keep your business moving forward, despite constant growth and change? A foundation of workflows you know you can rely on, no matter what the world throws your way.
We sat down with PieSync’s Solutions Engineer Frans Leys and Front’s Head of Solutions Engineering Steve Hackney in a live webinar to learn the workflows they use to lay the groundwork for success in an ever-changing, quickly-growing business. Here are 5 of their favorites.
1. The ideal morning routine: Prioritize
Make your to do list
Frans: In a high growth company, there’s a lot to do, and you simply can’t do it all in one day. Rather than using clunky to-do apps, I use a plain text file in my notepad with a set of 3 priorities that need to be worked on.
Underneath, a large pool of todo’s out of which each morning I select a handful to work on that particular day. There’s only one motive: Which of these to-do’s will have the most impact on moving our company forward?
I open this doc and prioritize goals this way every day.
Don’t treat every email equally
Frans: Getting anything checked off your to-do list is hard when you’re getting bombarded with email. To solve that problem, I actually don’t have my email client open all day. I carve out a block of time to check email. That way, I’m not continually interrupting my actual work.
When I know I have limited time to spend checking email, I give appropriate time to each one, instead of wasting too much time on something that’s not impactful.
Steve: Another area that needs order and prioritization is your customer base. Which customers do you communicate with most? By putting customers into groups and creating a standardized process for communicating with each one, you can spend your time where it’s most impactful.
If you’re using Front, you can tag emails from customers according to these groupings. You can tag anything you want to fit your business. Many teams like to tag by customer name, business size, geolocation, or priority, like VIP.
Then, you can create message templates for each of these customer groupings. That way, you’ve got an email template you can start from when you’re communicating with each type of customer.
2. Put an end to shoulder-tapping
Frans: There’s something I like to call the “Slack paradox”. Slack is considered a productivity tool, but it’s often not productive at all.
The default notification sound of Slack is literally a “takkatakkatap.” It’s a virtual shoulder tap and forces you to switch contexts. You can’t allow software to be active on your desktop that constantly interrupts you. So turn it off, tune down the notifications to only alert you for what is strictly necessary.
In the same way you “carve out time” to handle email… you can simply start carving out time to handle Slack.
Turning off notifications doesn’t make me unavailable on Slack, and it doesn’t make Slack less useful either. It doesn’t prevent me from being considered a helpful colleague. I am! And it helps me to get through my stuff of the day. I get DM’s all the time and do help my colleagues. I choose when to read and reply to those messages on my own time.
3. Tidy up your contacts
Frans: In a high-growth business, you will still need a traditional phone. Either you do that on your physical phone, or maybe you rely on a system like RingCentral or Aircall.
At PieSync, we help many businesses who have confusion with contacts management. There used to be a time where it was so simple. You’d manage your contact list on the SIM card of your phone, remember those days? If you swap to a new phone, you simply put in your old SIM card and presto: there your contacts are again.
Those days are long gone. Your phone doesn’t write to a SIM card anymore, it writes those contacts to a cloud.
Here’s an important setting that a lot of iPhone users don’t touch. But you should really check it out. Go to Settings > Contacts, > Default account.
I bet is still set to iCloud. If your business apps revolve around GSuite, Google Apps, or Outlook, you should consider swapping iCloud for Outlook or GSuite to store your contacts and save some headaches:
It’s easier to sync up to your company CRM, or your customer care app
Google & Outlook give you the tools to manage your contact list as if it were a miniature CRM
When you compose an email and start typing a contact’s name, it will autocomplete if that contact’s on Google or Outlook.
Google or Outlook offer built-in duplicate checks so it’s easy to keep your contact list clean
As a leader at a high growth business, your contact data needs to be clean, because it must be clean when want to take your own contact sphere and share it with your team or plug it into your business apps.
4. Less swivel chair, more standing desk
Steve: Say you have a bunch of emails that you need to power through, but you’re constantly having to toggle between email and your CRM. This forces you to switch contexts, meaning you can get distracted, or at the minimum, waste a great deal of time by having to click into other apps. (Use this worksheet to see how often you’re switching contexts each day and how you measure up against the average worker.)
To solve this at Front, we use Front’s contact manager, which can be used as a lightweight CRM or be synchronized with your CRM using a tool like PieSync. If you need to quickly jump to a CRM you can even create a link in the contact record to their contact details.
If you use one of the CRMs that integrate natively with Front, you can also just display the relevant CRM data right in Front.
In the center you’ll see the customer’s inquiry. The fields on the right are attributes that are real-time synced into Front with PieSync. That’s live info coming over from the CRM to inform us on relevant information: the account executive, the customer success contact, and whether Jonas here is a paying customer. It’s also pulling in the NPS score. The phone number is synced from yet another tool.
5. Perfect the subtle art of the handoff
Steve: You have built a team around you of accomplished and motivated people. Knowing how and when to hand off tasks is a key foundational workflow you need in order to succeed as a fast-growing business.
If you’re clinging to tasks that are in the weeds, you have less time to spend on strategic leadership. To help with letting go, it all starts with your hiring workflows. When you’re hiring, you should genuinely feel that this person is better than you at the job. Then when it comes time to transition tasks over, you’ll feel certain that it’s the right choice.
One of Front CEO Mathilde Collin’s favorite pieces of advice from Stripe Co-founder Patrick Collison applies well here: "Before you make an offer to someone, think about whether you’d like to have 10 times as many people like them in your company."
Lay the foundations for success
When your business is constantly evolving, you need a few constants you can rely on. By establishing foundations you can trust, you can stay ahead of the pack and better handle anything that comes your way.
For the full list of foundational workflows, watch the webinar, 7 foundational workflows of high growth businesses.
Written by Vishal Vibhaker
Originally Published: 17 April 2020