Business Consultant Claire E. Jones Discusses How Implementing Systems Improves Productivity & Profitability For Small Business Owners

Claire offers systematized business solutions to arts organizations and small businesses so that they can grow and scale their businesses without burning out. There’s a ton of business advice and information out there, but people are often overwhelmed and overworked so they don’t know where to start. After working with arts organizations and small businesses for 15 years she has the experience to see the trends and themes across the board that can make or break a small business’s ability to grow and scale.  She has created a system of consulting that focuses on three pillars of business success as a way to focus her clients and help them create targeted holistic fixes for their businesses.

I sit down with Claire to learn more about how she helps her clients

What problems do you help businesses solve?

I help them solve the problem of not having adequate systems in place.  It’s a problem because a lot of people build businesses off of their passions without really having a background in what it takes to run a business. One of my core values is freedom of self-expression. I believe that many small business owners and organizations build their businesses out of self-expression and passion so what they want is to work in that zone of genius and have a thriving, profitable business. Being prepared with the knowledge, experience or skill sets required to run a successful business is something they struggle with because they are trying to do everything themselves.

I work with my clients to put systems in place so they can step away from doing everything themselves and have more time for that zone of genius or whatever they want to have more time for, whether it’s family, friends, vacations. Many small business owners don’t feel like they can take time for themselves and, with proper systems in place, they’ll be able to grow and scale sustainably without reinventing the wheel every time. The result is they are happier, more productive, & more strategic overall.

 I also help my clients avoid the temptation to DIY everything because eventually everyone gets to the point where they hit their limit. So either they don’t have sufficient knowledge or experience to do it themselves or they don’t have sufficient time, energy or motivation to learn how to do it. It’s difficult to scale that way.  They might even hire the first person who comes along or buy the first software program that promises to fix their problem without taking the time to research or compare costs. This can lead to being stuck with a patchwork business that you just hope and pray works well together. And so I come in and be like, all right, so these are all the options available to us and this is the recommended strategy that we have to implement to save time, money, and energy down the road.

How do you assess the systems they may need to implement?

I look at the big picture view of their business and make sure that all of the systems and processes they’re using are appropriate and are producing positive R.O.I. This includes schedules and making sure that they’re prioritizing their time correctly, marketing strategies and making sure that their marketing efforts are giving them quality ROI, and making sure that the types of software, applications, and strategies they are using on a day to daily basis to run their business talk to each other and work together. All of these come together to create a well-oiled machine rather than a patchwork of DIY fixes.

 I help them get more done in less time so that their time is streamlined and they don’t continually run into the same obstacles time and time again.

Can you give an example?

One of my current clients is launching her company nationally. She’s been working in the local area for about 10 years at this point but she’s ready for a broader audience. One of the problems she is facing is that all of her marketing strategies and systems are outdated and not ready for a national audience. They’re not cohesive or consistent. They are pretty much patched together because as she went along, she was like, Oh, I need a Facebook page, so I’ll put together a Facebook page. Oh, I need this. I’ll put it together with something… all this without really having that overarching big picture strategy in place.

 As I started working with her, one of her big problems was the website because when it was originally built, it was built entirely via code without a content management system in place for easy updates and postings she could do herself. Now it has all this outdated information on it, outdated pictures and stuff like that. She knew it was time to update but was leaning towards hiring the previous web designer that she hired to implement the last updates for her, but that would have cost thousands of dollars and she wouldn’t have fixed the problem of her being unable to update it in the future without paying loads of money to that particular web designer. I showed her a better route to go and helped her find a developer who would give her an 18-month contract that costs significantly less than the one time upfront payment of the previous designer. Plus any updates that she needed during that 18-month contract would cost no additional money and they would even train her on the new WordPress based website. Now she has all of the proper systems in place to scale and grow without having to reinvent the wheel every single time. If my clients are looking for a social media manager, they need to know what social media specifically does for their business in order to pick the right person to do it. Same with the website development. They need to know fundamentally what a website does, how to access it and how it works so that they can more thoroughly and comprehensively vet the people they’re hiring to do those tasks down the road. I very much emphasize education and empowering my clients to make those decisions in an educated way.

Jeremy Baker

Jeremy Baker has a passion for helping his clients get recognition as experts in their fields. His approach to interviewing helps his clients tell their stories and talk about their unique set of experiences and backgrounds.