Save time in your business with these 7 templates

If you’re like me then this will sound familiar: You leave the house to do groceries and second guess if you locked your door. You send an email to a client and 2nd guess if you attached what you needed to send. You sent a proposal to a new lead and you wonder if you mentioned what the payment structure is for your services. If you added alt text to your images on your new blog post to maximize SEO ranking. Or if you included all the necessary clauses and info in the contract you sent I used to waste sooooo much time and energy being so stressed about this stuff. Who am I kidding, I still am. That’s just how my brain rolls 🙄. But creating templates in my business has helped me reduce by 90%. Here are 7 templates to save time in your business.

I create templates even for the simplest things – it might just be a checklist of things to double-check but oh the sweet feeling of knowing nothing fell through the cracks as my brain runs at a thousand miles an hour is PRICELESSAnd surprise surprise, I have SO MUCH MORE time and energy and capacity for shit that actually matter because it doesn’t get wasted on this useless worrying – I HAVE TEMPLATES NOW 🔥.

Template basics

I consider there are 2 types of templates:

  • the “traditional template” where 90% of the content is ready, you just have to fill in the blanks
  • more customizable templates in the shape of checklists and reminders

The first type is great when things happen the same way over and over again. This would be the case for a proposal, contract, onboarding or offboarding of clients.

The second type is great when things sort of happen the same way. Examples could be the discovery call question template and templates for social media content.

Keep in mind, that depending on how you package your offers and services, the examples above might not apply to you. In addition, these 7 templates to save time will apply to most businesses but I would be ready to bet there are plenty more you can create for your business specifically. This said these 7 are a great place to start.

1. Discovery call + Application form

This is the template you need to save time in your business when you vet new leads. Depending on what your sales funnel looks like, this is going to be slightly different from what I’m about to describe. You can go about this process in a few different ways:

  1. Leads can fill out a form AND book a discovery call at the same time. You have outlined the answers you want prior to the call and the questions you wish to ask during said call. I use Calendly to do this in my business.
  2. Leads fill out an application form which you see and then determine if you wish to book a call. This is great for people who want to be even more selective with their time and capacity. Similar deal as the option above but you get to vet who you get on a call with.

Once the call is scheduled, I then recommend having a template or list of questions you wish to ask your lead to determine if they are a good fit for you. This can be a PDF document you fill out (this is my case), a list of questions in your task manager program or a Google Doc. Add any other questions you might have based on the questionnaire they filled out.

2. Proposal Template

This would theoretically follow the discovery call if this lead is a good fit for the work you do. This template will save time in your business when dealing with your new leads. You’ll want to keep in mind here that your lead hasn’t signed a contract at this stage.

You can create this template in a few different ways. I personally have mine as a Canva document which I can share with the link directly through Canva or download as a PDF. If you don’t want to create a Canva template, you could also have this as a Google Doc template.

No matter the format you choose, here are a few items you should include in this template (this will vary depending on what you do and what you offer):

  • Who this is for – it’s a nice custom touch when you address it to the person or business directly
  • The goals of your work together – what are you looking to accomplish together? This is a great time to focus on the benefits of your service or offer!
  • What you’ll be doing – aka outline the specific tasks or deliverables of this work (bonus points if you link them to the goals and benefits of this service)
  • Different package options – I like to give 2-3 package options at different price points and different tasks and deliverables.
  • Timeline for the project and next steps – assuming you decide to move forward with this project, what can your client expect? This is everything from when to sign the contract, when to pay you, what information they have to provide or what homework they have to do, approximate project duration, etc.
  • Testimonials! Remember this person hasn’t signed with you yet so it’s still time to validate you are the right person for the job

3. Contract Template

Contracts can be daunting to create (and take forever!). There’s a lot to include and you want to make sure the language and structure hold up legally speaking to protect both you and your client. This is not legal advice but a few clauses I recommend you have are the following:

The Deliverables

The deliverables are exactly what you’ll be doing for this client. You probably highlighted this in your proposal but it’s important to add here as well. The more specific the better in case any sort of dispute should happen between you and your client.

Work Boundaries

This is one of my favourite parts of the contract. If you’re familiar with my content, you know I’m big on work boundaries to save time, increase your productivity and create a healthy work environment. Putting your boundaries in your contract means if a client was to ever overstep these bounds you can always remind them they agreed to these terms. I like to include things like

  • How to contact you – is it by email? Do you have a dedicated work communication platform or a client portal?
  • When they can expect to hear back – whether that’s a 24-48h window or that you check your emails twice a day in the morning and at the end of the day. Whatever you choose – just write it down.

From personal experience, I can also tell you your clients are usually happy to follow these rules as long as they are aware of them! Communicate them clearly and everyone will be happy.

Rescheduling or Cancellation Clauses

This is huge!!! It is so important to have to cover both your and your client. If you ever get sick, have a family emergency or if this is not a project you wish to pursue further, this is where this clause comes in. Same thing for your client if something happens on their end and they need to cancel or reschedule. This clause contains everything from what gets paid and when it should get paid, what to expect, etc.

Client Homework and Documentation

What kind of information do you require from your client to do the work? This could be forms filled out, log-in credentials to programs or homework you want them to complete. Regardless, highlight it in your contract as it’s a key part of the work you’ll do.

Additionally, you can specify the timeline in which you expect this to be sent over. For instance, if you expect it within 48h of asking for it or 7 days. Choose whatever is appropriate for what you want your client to send and how long it might take them to complete this. This is a key clause to include if you want to avoid clients not getting back to you and affecting your entire schedule, other clients and projects.

You can also take this one step further and add a late fee. If this timeline you require is not respected, the client will be charged say $150 upfront and $50 for each additional late day.

Additional Tasks or Hours

This is totally optional and might not even apply to your business but is worth including if this comes up often with your clients. If they want add-ons, any additional tasks to be completed or in the case of hourly work, additional hours, include them in your contract! You can also add the extra cost your client will have to pay for this along with how they should proceed to add this on to the current scope of work.

Creating your Contract Template

I don’t recommend going off of Google for this as odds are this contract (even when signed by all parties) will do very little to protect you or your clients.

If you have the money, check out Contract Markets, a Canadian-based business with contract templates and bundles for just about every situation. From virtual assistants to consulting agreements (what I have) to podcast guests, event planners, photographers and more!

Click here to check them out. They are currently having a sale from May 17 to May 23, 2022. You can get 30% off templates and 40% off bundles. *This is an affiliate link, I will get a small kickback if you make a purchase using my link.

4. Communication Templates

There are so many types of communication in your business that occur the same way 90% of the time. Why not create a template for those? These few template ideas will help you save time in your business. As I mentioned in the intro – up to you to decide if a fill-in-the-blank template is the best way to go or if you prefer to customize it more and just use a checklist of key points to remember. Both have their time and place. Here are some of the communications you might consider creating a template for:

Client Communication

Specifically onboarding and offboarding communications. If you offer standardized packages then a fill-in-the-blank template will be great! Save this directly in Gmail, as a Google Doc or in your task manager program. If you offer more personalized services then a list of key points is the way to go. You could also consider creating a welcome package and a thank-you package. This could include resources and links that would be useful to a new or old client.

Bonus points here because this really levels up the level of customer care and customer experience you deliver.

Podcast or Blog Guests

If you have a platform where you like to invite guests then this template is a must! Brainstorm what you would ask all your guests such as

  • the format of the collaboration (is your podcast audio-only or video?)
  • profile pictures to use as part of the promotion material
  • the topics you wish to cover (this one is hard to template as it’ll be different every time but this could be a reminder to include it in your communication)
  • what they can expect on the day of the collaboration if it’s done live
  • when the content will be published
  • how do you expect them to help market this content (if at all)

You’ll be more at ease as you already have enough on your plate organizing this collaboration and your guest will thank you for providing all this information ahead of time.

5. Delivering your Services

This one will be up to you to determine what’s useful. Ask yourself where would a template either A) facilitate your job with your clients or B) improve the client experience.

Just like I mentioned above, templates are great as they take the thinking process out of the equation. You then have more energy and time to dedicate to the work itself as opposed to how it’ll get done. Here are a few examples:

  • Website designer – have some template of ideal web pages you can customize for each client
  • Nutritionist – have a template for your clients to log their food intake
  • Personal trainer – have a template for delivering your training programs to your clients
  • Interior decorator – have a list of the pictures you want your clients to take to send you before starting your project
  • Photographer – have a list of suggested props or outfits
  • Productivity strategist (me!) I have a template to help my clients create and optimize their SOPs (standard operating procedures)

Not only do these make your job easier but your clients will also love them! They feel like they’re getting a ton of value from you and (if you want) these are resources they get to keep and use beyond your work with them, multiplying the value they get from your work together!

6. Invoice Template

This one shouldn’t come as a surprise but I felt it should be part of this list as this template will save you time in your business but also frustration and energy when it comes to your business finances. If you use an accounting program like Quickbooks, you’ll have a standard invoice template already created. Find it and edit it to suit your business and what you sell – this could be like adding the taxes, changing the layout to better suit what you sell, and adding your logo and brand colours.

If you don’t have an accounting program, I recommend getting one. If you don’t want to spend on Quickbooks then Wave Financial is a good option as well.

In the event you really don’t want to set one up, then at least set up a template using Google Docs or Google Sheets so you just fill it in when you create your invoices.

7. Content Creation Templates

When it comes to content creation, there are a lot of different templates to save time in your business. The most popular would probably be graphic templates for Instagram creatives. If you have them already, that’s great! If you don’t then either schedule a few hours to create them in Canva or you can purchase really nice ones from Creative Market.

Screenshot of Canva highlight the Brand Kit feature

This next one isn’t a template per se but it will be a huge time saver! That is using the Brand Kit feature when you sign up for the paid version of Canva (which comes to $17/month in Canada). This will allow you to input your brand colours and fonts. Beyond having them on hand, you can then use the Style feature when working on your graphics. This will automatically apply your brand colours to any template or graphic you’re working on. You can do the same with your fonts! This won’t be perfect but it’s a nice start to transforming a template so it’s more on brand!

Screenshot of Canva highlight the Style function to apply your brand colours and fonts

Beyond the graphics, I also recommend having a list of things to review for every type of content you have (Instagram posts, reels, TikToks, blog posts, podcasts, etc.). You can simply review this list for every piece of content to make sure you aren’t missing anything. This is what my blog checklist looks like:

  • Check for typos (always)
  • Add images
  • Write Alt text to said images (this is good for SEO ranking)
  • Add links where relevant
  • Double-check I linked the right link
  • Review my SEO keywords
  • Double-check my SEO meta description

It doesn’t have to be complicated, it’s just a reminder so I don’t have to stress about forgetting something.

I personally set these checklists in my task manager ClickUp. Whenever I create a task on my blog post lists, this checklist is automatically created. Everything is in one place, I don’t have to dig to find the checklist for every type of content – it just pops up automatically thanks to ClickUp automations.

Resources

If you are looking to improve your productivity and be more intentional about your time and energy, book your 1h call with me. We’ll look at how you’re currently doing things and how we can improve things to align with your goals.

If you liked this content, check out other pieces like it on the SIGnature podcast or on the blog!

If you don’t already follow me on Instagram, come to say hi! My DMs are always open if you have any questions!

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