Alyson is a Rock star when it comes to getting agencies to run more efficiently! she Breaks Down Operational Issues to make them clear, easy and Actionable.
In today’s episode I am talking with Alyson Caffrey. She is the founder of Operations Agency and creator of the Operations simplified framework. At the core, Allison comes in and she helps agencies get what's called their standard operating procedures in place. She is best known for helping streamlining behind the scenes of multiple 7-figure businesses. Alyson has shared her expertise with high level agency communities such as Digital Marketer, UGURUS and One Hour Funnel. She is an expert at breaking down operational issues to make them clear, easy and actionable. Hear how she can truly make your business run smoother and make your life easier.
Takeaways From This Episode:
- Operations that help agencies flow more efficiently - taking the stress off
- look at your business model - Fold time in half for your business
- Question #1Why are your ops so important for quarterly planning?
- Question #2 Why are your ops so important for project planning?
- Question #3 What role should my SOP’s play in how I plan projects/execute quarterly planning?
In a nutshell, Alyson helps people be kind to themselves and be kind to their businesses by creating systems that they can leverage and really lean on when times get crazy.
One of the big stressors is oftentimes we feel like something big is coming up and we don't have time to really adjust or pivot and be able to be kind to ourselves. That's where Alyson comes in - she takes your operations and makes them flow better and more efficiently.
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First, they come in and take a look at your business model. What SEO’s do you actually need? What services are you providing? Making sure that everything has a place, right, it's kind of like a puzzle that you need to put together first. The second thing that they do is they take a look at your assets. So your team members, the things that you've currently got in place, like your projects, your tools, those types of things and then the final thing they look at is the integration. What can we make automated? Where can we take out the big lengthy process and save you some money or some time? Then once all of that is wrapped up, they document your recipes for you. Operation Agency has a vast library of tip templates to get you started. Organization is their thing - they love it - they meet you where you are and help you get to where you want to be.
Question #1 Why are your ops so important for quarterly planning?
Alyson explains that ops and quarterly planning really do go hand in hand, they recommend that all of their clients do quarterly planning, meet monthly to kind of check the pace and then obviously track those things week over week. Just knowing with clarity where to move forward into the next step is a game-changer.
Another thing that people underestimate is the value of is what's called a company rhythm. I talk about this all the time in my coaching calls. A company rhythm is critical to your success because just like it sounds, it is the rhythm of your company. That rhythm keeps you in sync with what is truly happening on a daily basis. You have your weekly leadership team meetings, your monthly strategic planning meetings, and your quarterly strategic planning meetings. That's like a leadership team rhythm. Then you'll have another rhythm for your project managers, that'll be your morning, tailgating and your afternoon downloads. Alyson and her team explains why a rhythm is important and you get that rhythm in place.
Question #2 Why are your ops so important for project planning?
I love this question because quarterly planning is different from individual planning and both are so important. Oftentimes, people will take on too many projects in a quarter without project planning, have no idea the bearing that it actually has on their day to day. You have to break down each project. Alyson talks about one of her favorite exercises which is personally writing out her perfect week. Saying, “Okay, leadership team, if I had my perfect week, what would this look like as it relates to my job description?” This exercise is for strategic planning and holding people accountable to projects. Alyson talks about her processes and how to present the workload to the leadership team not coinciding with the other meetings we have talked about but talking over key descriptions of their job description.
What Alyson and her team comes in and shows you where you need to make changed and even helps with things like “We probably need to either hire a new person, we need to create a new system, or we probably need to push the project back a little bit”.
Depending on the size of your agency, a lot of your team members hold multiple roles. For example, if may have someone who is an account manager, project management, client communication manager and then they're physically doing the heavy lifting with SEO. What we need them to understand is that they have two roles. And in that case, Alyson talks about doing two different exercises. This exercise breaks down the different roles and job description, because the agency grows, become more than 30 hours a week apiece, they need to separate that and hire another person. That's why a lot of times when we're doing these project plans, we're not only taking a look at what everyone has on their plate, but we're also taking a look at potential new key hires that we could be making to help us get this project actually off and running and on time.
Having an understanding of the the roles of the core values and respecting these roles makes your agency run more smoothly and effeciently. It helps manage some of the expectations and having another set of eyes come in can put things where they need to be so you can focus more on what you need to do.
Question #3 What role should my SOP’s play in how I plan projects/execute quarterly planning?
Another one of Alyson’s favorite tool is using a scorecard. It boils down to a way to track key performance indicators of your quarterly goals. At times it seems like it takes a lot of hard work to get a clear idea on what numbers you need to be tracking. We typically do this per quarter. We like to track different types of KPIs and obviously, depending on what your quarterly goals are, those would basically present themselves to you and you'd be able to track them. But really, in project and quarterly planning, as it relates to Ops, it's a really great conversation piece for your meeting rhythm. It's just really a great tool to be able to leverage to get the results that you want to get. I cannot stress to you how important knowing your numbers are. There's no way to overstate the value of good KPIs. So put the time into getting some of those KPIs in place.
There are four main buckets they like to attract, sales, metrics, delivery and services. Are you asking questions like, What’s next on the horizon? What do we need to systematize and just if you are struggling with where to start, reach out to Alyson at Operations Agency. She is brilliant and can truly get you where you want to be in your agency.
Go to operationsagency.com. Q4 is coming up and frankly, everyone had a crazy year with all of the pandemic stuff going on. So I think a chance to hit refresh and kind of hang out, and really do some planning is prudent. Operation Agency is doing lots of group quarterly planning with their clients right now. There is obviously a way more information on their website and I highly recommend you checking it out. No matter what Alyson says “Get your Quarterly Planning done for next year. It is crucial to surviving.”
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