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IAM1878 – Business Operations Consultant Specializes in Client Processes

Podcast Interview with Melissa Morris

Why it was selected for “CBNation Architects”:

In this episode of CEO Podcasts titled “Business Operations Consultant Specializes in Client Processes”, the guest is Melissa Morris, a highly skilled Business Operations Consultant.

Melissa’s Background: Blessed with a decade’s worth of experience in client management, she has made herself indispensable to service-based business owners who are looking to streamline and automate their operations. Her area of specialty includes client onboarding, management, and offboarding systems.

Acknowledgments: Her expertise has been acknowledged in reputed platforms such as INC Magazine and Keap Business Success Blog, where she shares insights on efficient client management processes. In addition, she has been featured on renowned podcasts like Boss Mom and The Sassy Strategist.

The Impact of her work: Melissa's work revolves around one key benefit – to free business owners from the constant sense of being overwhelmed. Through her efforts, they can work ON their business, not just IN their business – a key difference that allows for growth and scalability.

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Transcription:

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Melissa Morris 00:00

It's frustrating. Cause I'm like, it's not that your business isn't working. That you aren't good at what you do. It's just this client management piece, is that you need some support around. And that's just really where I've zoned in on. And that's what I love to help service providers with.

Intro 00:14

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview?

If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of. This is the IAMCEO podcast.

Gresham Harkless 00:41

Hello. Hello. Hello. This is Gresh from the IAMCEO podcast, and I appreciate you listening to this episode. If you've been listening this year, that we hit 1600 episodes at the beginning of this year.

And we're doing something a little bit different where we're repurposing our favorite episodes around certain categories, topics, or as I like to call them, the business pillars that we think are going to be extremely impactful for CEOs, entrepreneurs, business owners, and what I like to call the CB Nation architects who are looking to level up their organizations.

This month, we are focusing on operations. The systems will set you free. So think about systems, think about flow, sustainability, potentially working out in your morning routine, waking up early, e-commerce, different business models.

Think of the operations in the models that basically set up the foundation to allow the creativity within organizations, but also to make sure the trains are running on time and things are going as they should.

Now, this is extremely important because we often turn to the sexy parts of business and forget about the operations and how important that is. So I really want to focus this month on this specific topic. So sit back and enjoy this special episode at the IAMCEO podcast.

Hello. Hello. Hello. This is Gresh from the IAMCEO podcast, and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Melissa Morris. Melissa is awesome to have you on the show.

Melissa Morris 01:59

Thanks. I'm excited to be here.

Gresham Harkless 02:00

No problem. Super excited to have you on. And what I wanted to do was just read a little bit more about Melissa so you could hear about all the awesome things that she's doing.

And Melissa Morris is a business operations consultant who specializes in client processes. Think client onboarding management and offboarding. She uses her 10 years of client management experience to help service-based businesses, business owners, streamline and automate their processes.

Melissa has been seen in INC Magazine and Keap Business Success Blog and heard on podcasts such as Boss Mom and The Sassy Strategist.

She frees business owners from overwhelm so they can actually work on their business and not just in their business. Melissa, are you ready to speak to the IAMCEO community?

Melissa Morris 02:39

I am ready.

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Gresham Harkless 02:40

Awesome. Let's do it. So to kick everything off, I wanted to hear a little bit more about what I call your CEO story and what led you to get started with your business.

Melissa Morris 02:47

Yeah. So I spent about 10 years working in ad agencies and my role at those ad agencies was client manager. So I was doing a lot of project management timeline, keeping and a lot of working with clients. I was the liaison between client agency, client media, et cetera. And I loved my job, I was good at my job.

And a few years ago, I decided I'm going to go out on my own and I'm going to have a social media agency because I just love advertising. That's what I'm going go do. Fortunately, I built up a pretty good little face of a tier clients pretty quickly doing the social media and online marketing and stuff.

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And I was like, huh, I hate that. I don't like doing this at all. This is really strange, because I loved working at the agency. I don't understand what's wrong. And so through some exploration and talking to some friends, I realized it wasn't so much the implementing of the advertising, the writing, the Facebook posts, the refining, the Google ads and the et cetera that I love.

It was the managing the clients. It was the project management piece. That was the stuff that I love that I had gotten really good at. And that was really the work that I enjoy doing. So I said, oh, okay I've got to change directions a little bit.

So I started dabbling in this locally with my local client and just going to some people that I knew here and saying, we're working on your advertising, but what if we took a peek at this other stuff, right? And what if we took a look at some of these other pieces of your business?

And they loved it and very quickly they were like, oh, I see. And so I actually connected with a coach to figure out how to translate that into the online space I doing locally and it just seems to make a lot of sense because a lot of people who quit their 9 to 5 and go out, they're often in terms of service providers, i. e. the people I typically work with, they're copywriters, they're bookkeepers, they're designers, they're web developers. And these are all people who are really good at their craft, but in their 9 to 5 never interacted with their client. They had someone like me always playing the middleman, right?

And so now they're starting their own business and they're finding they're very quickly getting troubled. Either clients are getting overwhelmed with client work and constant emails and this and that, and they're getting burnt out very quickly. And I get frustrating because I'm like, it's not that your business isn't working.

You are good at what you do. It's just this client management piece that you need some support around. And that's just really where I've zoned in on and that's what I love to help service providers with.

Gresham Harkless 05:12

Nice. I definitely appreciate that. So it's great to hear that happened for you. But it also happened for the clients you're working with where you found your zone of genius was actually that organizational piece, not necessarily the actual ad management and things like that. And vice versa. Those people love doing that, they don't want to do any of the organizational parts.

Melissa Morris 05:27

Exactly. Exactly. So it's worked out really well and they get to work better in their zone of genius because I can come in and I offer done-for-you implementation. So I come in and get everything set up. So it's very plug-and-play for them and they can stick in their zone of genius. And then I just get to play in mine.

Gresham Harkless 05:45

Exactly. That makes perfect sense. And a lot of times, because you have so many things, whether it be emails or, client messages, whatever it is. You don't necessarily get to show how talented you are, maybe in web design and creating a logo or whatever that may be.

But when you get those things organized, you don't have to worry about it. Then that allows you to be your best self at whatever it is that you do.

Melissa Morris 06:05

Yes. So true. So true.

Gresham Harkless 06:07

Nice. So I know you touched on it a little bit. Can you drill a little bit deeper? Tell us, exactly what you're doing with your clients and how exactly that process works.

Melissa Morris 06:14

Yeah. So when I meet with clients, I really like to get an overview of what their client processes look like. And again, when I say client processes, client onboarding, that piece of the contract, the proposal, the invoice, et cetera, that real kind of kickoff moment, the client management.

The actual doing the work, the building, the website, the writing, the copy, et cetera, and then the offboarding piece, which is a really important piece that so many business owners forget about is that offboarding piece.

And so I take a look at that, and that's really just putting like a nice bow on all the work that you have done with your clients. So I take a look at all of that and I work people through what I call my disco framework, it's my signature process and we're going to start with, D, we're going to define. We're going to define what this process looks like and get really clear about that.

We're going to identify ways to streamline. I'm going to identify the gaps, any redundancies, any kind of holes that we've got going on. Yes, we're going to streamline right, now that we've got it drilled down that these are the pieces we need. How do we streamline these? See, how do we create milestones?

You have to have milestones within a workflow. This makes delegating way, way easier when you've broken your workflow up into chunks and you have very specific milestones. And then, oh, is we're going to outsource and automate, right?

We're going to find those pieces of your workflow, find those pieces of your process that we can ideally automate so that we're not having to pay someone to do them. Or we're going to outsource them. Can a VA do these pieces? Do you need a copywriter to do these pieces? Etc. So I work people through this process and this gives us what I like to call my automation blueprint. Now that I have all of this mapped out and I, again, identify those things, I know what I'm streamlining. I know what I'm automating.

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Then I go in and do the actual tech setup. Tech setup often looks like setting up Dubsado for folks and building out those workflows. That streamlining piece comes into play where we're having templates created in Trello or Asana projects that are created.

So then maybe that's not something we can automate, but if we can streamline it and we can get some templates built and in place. Aha, that's where some real-time saving is going. So it's a two-piece there that building out that blueprint on what your process actually looks like. And then I go in and actually do the tech setup.

Gresham Harkless 08:28

Yeah, I love that. It sounds like not only what a person is doing, but it sounds like maybe even what their strengths and weaknesses might be related to that and why they're doing things better or how they could be doing things better in a certain way.

Melissa Morris 08:41

That's exactly right. That's exactly right. Because we don't just want to go in and That's why people tend to get frustrated a lot of times, too, where they say oh, I tried Trello and I hate it. And I tried Basecamp and I hate it, or I tried whatever, and they just keep trying to dive right into a tool without ever taking a step back and thinking what's the process that I'm really working?

What's that container I'm trying to work within? What are the KPIs? What are the milestones? Again, we're coming back to those milestones, create milestones. What is it that I'm even trying to keep track of? And once you do that work upfront, ha, now we can find the tools, the platforms, et cetera, that we're gonna use to implement that blueprint.

Gresham Harkless 09:18

That makes perfect sense. And so, you might have already touched on this, but I wanted to ask you for what I call your secret sauce. And this could be what sets you apart or your organization, but what do you feel like makes you unique?

Melissa Morris 09:29

Yeah, so we have talked about it a little bit but to, just make that a little more specific. So I like to think of it as there are hard skills and soft skills, right? Like when you're hiring someone for a job interview. Can they type X number of minutes? Do they know whatever programs, right? Those are the hard skills, but there are also these soft skills that, are they a go-getter? Are they motivated? Etcetera.

So, I think I have I don't think I know I have those soft skills that a lot of other people who are setting up automations and workflows don't have. Because I have 10 years client management experience, right? I've actually been in there dealing with clients. So what I bring to the table is I'm not just going to say I'll set up this workflow for you.

I'm going to tell you, you need 5 emails as part of your workflow and an email number one, we need to do your expectations, and we need to lay out these 4 deliverables and then an email two we're going to set out the kickoff call during the kickoff call, right? I'm actually going to tell you what needs to be included in these pieces.

And these are the pieces that make for a much easier client experience just because something's automated. Doesn't mean it's working well, right? It doesn't mean it's efficient. It doesn't mean that it's offering the best possible client experience. So I really try and help the business owner see that automation blueprint that I love to build out.

Let's build that out and see. I was on a call earlier today and she's a brand person and there's always a lot of conversations to bring us on back and forth. My clients keep getting stuck on what question am I supposed to answer? What am I supposed to be going back to? And it's dragging out the process, right?

So I said, okay this is what we're going to do set up by week or, twice a week stand ups with them. Just quick 10-minute phone calls where you're going to hop on the phone and you're going to go through all of this and make it super easy for them. And then we're going to tell them about these stand ups in the onboarding email and get them all set up.

You've now alleviated a big headache in your client's life, right? A big source of really just a time stack, really. And when I was looking at what she had this beautiful layout in monday.com. She had this beautiful process all laid out, right? But it was that soft skill. It was that client management skill that needs to be brought into the automation mix, right?

Gresham Harkless 11:43

Yeah, absolutely. I wanted to switch gears a little bit and ask you for what I call a CEO hack. And this might be an app, a book or a habit that you have, but it's something that makes you more effective and efficient.

Melissa Morris 11:53

So I would say, I guess it's like a habit, but I love to follow the kiss, the keep it simple thing. But just keeping it really thinking it back to basics. Again, I think, sometimes I work with business owners who have these process in place, but they have way overcomplicated it. And it's often why they find their process isn't working is because they've got Trello boards, talking to Trello boards, talking to spreadsheets and, and they start breaking it down.

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And I'm like, oh, my gosh, I'm the systems and automation girl, and I can't even follow like this or that myth, right? And so just bring it way back to basics and that's something else that I always work through again, as part of that framework, we're identifying the redundancies.

Gresham Harkless 12:39

There you go. Keep it simple. And so now I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO nugget, and this is a word of wisdom or a piece of advice, or if you can hop into a time machine, what'd you tell your younger business self?

Melissa Morris 12:50

Bring it back to basics when you're communicating with your client. Know your value, know how far you are down the path.

Gresham Harkless 12:56

Exactly. Love it. And so now I want to ask you my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And we're hoping to have different ‘CEOs' on this show. So Melissa, what does being a CEO means to you?

Melissa Morris 13:08

I think it means sharing your gift, right? Like I love the quote, If you don't build your own dream, someone will hire you to build theirs. I read that quote years ago and I was like, and it just so stuck with me, it just so resonated with me. And I think we all do have a gift to share and something we're really good at.

And so being a CEO means that ability to share my unique gifts and my unique skill set and bring that out there and put that out there for other people.

Gresham Harkless 13:37

Absolutely. I love that. Melissa, I definitely appreciate you appreciate your time and all the awesome things you're doing.

I wanted to pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional you can let our readers and listeners know. And then, of course, how best they can get ahold of you and find out about all the awesome things you're doing.

Melissa Morris 13:51

Yeah, so I guess my best piece of advice is know when it's time to implement a system and process. And that can feel tricky. And that's a question that a lot of people have. And I think a lot of people are going to say oh, it's right away, but that's not true.

Yes, much earlier than when most business owners come to me, you want to do it before you're overwhelmed, before you're burnt out, before you're starting to hire team members, you want it to happen then.

But you need to have a very clear idea on the service offerings that you're providing. What do those packages look like? What specifically are you offering them? What does it cost every time? If you're still in a space where you're very much doing a lot of custom proposals and custom quotes and still navigating what your real signature package looks like, I would recommend you hold off a little bit because here's the thing.

I can't automate it if every single contract is different. I can't automate it if every process and every client who shows up on your door, you're doing things differently with. So you need to have that nailed down, which, I hope most business owners who don't have that yet. That is something that are working on is really knowing what that looks like.

But once you have that figured out, then it's absolutely time to start getting these processes in place because we've all seen how momentum can grow quickly, right? And the more efficient you can get and the better you can get in the beginning, the less headache you have down the road and the less likely that you're going to get stuck in the bad 80 20 where the 20 percent of your clients are taking up 80 percent of your time and they're the 20 percent of your revenue. Cause you're just running crazy, spinning your wheels with just bad clients, right? You don't get stuck in that.

Gresham Harkless 15:32

Absolutely. Understanding that you have to have or you should have, I should say, a franchise kind of mindset to building your business where you're trying to create those repeatable processes.

But if you're doing everything custom, it's a lot harder to do that. Or with maybe the appearance of being custom, but you still have a framework. You can have that. But understanding and putting that in place is huge.

Melissa Morris 15:53

Exactly.

Gresham Harkless 15:54

Exactly. Perfect. So, and people who want to reach out to you, what would be the best way for them to do that?

Melissa Morris 15:59

So you can find me on Facebook. It's at follow Melissa V Morris. And then you can check out my website, which is melissavmorris.com.

Gresham Harkless 16:08

Awesome. Thank you so much, Melissa. And we'll have those links in the show notes as well. But I appreciate you and I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

Melissa Morris 16:14

You too. Thanks so much.

Outro 16:16

Thank you for listening to the IAMCEO podcast powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co. IAMCEO is not just a phrase, it's a community.

Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Google Play and everywhere you listen to podcasts, subscribe and leave us a five-star rating.

Grab CEO gear at www.ceogear.co. This has been the IAMCEO podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.

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Dave Bonachita - CBNation Writer

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(CEOBlogNation.com), podcasts, (CEOPodcasts.com) and videos (CBNation.tv). CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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