Benjamin Brandall – Process Street

All posts by Benjamin Brandall


How to Onboard a New Virtual Assistant: 2 Real Processes We Use

For startups and small operations, virtual assistants can be vital.

The general idea is: instead of hiring a full-time specialist or wasting time on data entry, you hire a VA.

It sounds easy. You just hire a VA, right?!

But what happens after that is the hard part. Straight after hiring comes the onboarding and training. That’s the part where you get your new VA up to speed with how your company works, and how the tasks, rules, and responsibilities are going to be different from the other companies they’ve worked for.

You’ll need to explain how to use your stack of tools, and how they can work as efficiently as possible. It’s also a process for you: you need to remember to check in, make sure everything’s set up properly, and review their performance.

In this post, I’m going to go over some of the key things to keep in mind when onboarding a virtual assistant, and share two of our internal processes with you.

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55 Insanely Useful Startup Blogs: VCs, Sales, Marketing & Design (2017)

At Process Street, a lot of startup blogs are required reading for our team.

It makes sense, because your startup will be informed and improved by what it reads, and every team needs to stay on top of what’s being spoken about.

In this post, I’ve compiled the 55 best blogs for startups (plus one recommended article from each) in these categories:

  • Venture capitalist blogs
  • Marketing blogs
  • Sales blogs
  • UX & design blogs
  • Customer success & support blogs

… All focused specifically on advice for startups.

Here they are:

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How to Automatically Generate Tweets with Images and Hashtags for Your Buffer Queue

Want to add every post on your blog to your Buffer queue, complete with images and automatically generated hashtags?

Recently I realized I hadn’t added my old blog posts to Buffer, and needed to go back and queue them all up. While I was doing it, I decided I could grab the images and use a free API to generate the hashtags for me!

So, I thought I’d record how I did it so I can tell you, too.

In this post, you’ll learn to:

  1. Export a CSV of your posts from WordPress
  2. Tidy up the CSV to include only URLs and titles of your posts
  3. Automatically include hashtags in the tweet text using Aylien
  4. Use import.io to scrape images for your tweets
  5. Push the tweets and images to your Buffer queue using Zapier

Oh, and by the way: all the tools used here are used in their free versions. 🙂

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Are Your Useless Tools to Blame for Bad Project Management?

Is bad project management causing you to abandon important projects? Should you blame the tools you use, or does the issue go deeper?

A new report published by software comparison company GetApp reveals the dire state of project management in 2017.

GetApp’s research indicates that companies offering project management software fall short as one-stop solutions, forcing companies to rely on several tools used in conjunction.

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8 CRM Workflows to Destroy Data Entry and Close More Deals

CRM Workflows

As part of a sales team, you don’t get paid to fiddle around with the CRM. You get paid to close deals. But that can make work stressful for everyone, especially when just keeping the CRM up to date can feel like a full-time job.

It’s time to put an end to data entry, concentrate on running your sales operations more efficiency, and win bigger deals.

So, how do you start doing that?

At Process Street, we’re fanatics when it comes to automation, workflows, and systems.

That’s because we know that the foundation of an efficient business — one with lower running costs and higher output — is a solid set of processes. That’s not just for things like finance and HR. It comes down to the nuts and bolts of how you and the rest of the sales team uses your CRMs.

CRM expert David Young explains:

“Customer interactions that rely heavily on manual processes can be hit or miss. A key benefit of automation is providing a consistent customer experience. Workflow automation allows you to develop standardized response protocols and ensure that they’re followed. A good process, that is consistently followed, will almost always translate to more positive customer experiences.” — CRMSwitch

In this article, I’m going to show you how to spend less time searching, updating, and making sense of the disorganized data inside your CRM.

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How to Build a Minimum Viable Process Pack for Your Startup

I know, you want to cut out admin work. You want to cut out time wasted on bullshit that doesn’t directly impact traction.

It’s hard to pull yourself away from product and marketing for any extended period of time to focus on how efficiently your startup runs internally, but it does have to be done.

Srinivas Kulkarni, writing for ZDNet, reports:

“While it’s very easy to say that when startups are founded, there’s a lot of freedom, liberty and access in terms of work and building the product, technology or service that they offer, it is also important to realize that most startups fail because they don’t learn from their and others’ mistakes. It’s imperative that the experience comes from a process.”

A lot of the problems processes solve can seem like they’re easily fixed on the day they crop up, and it can seem like there’s no point in writing down how you do work when you’re too busy to even get it all done…

But any good startup will scale, analyze the ways it gets work done, and will try to improve its efficiency — that’s just what organizations that succeed do.

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The 31 Best Business Podcasts for Entrepreneurs & Startups

Podcasts are an awesome way to passively expand your knowledge, especially while you’re walking, in the car, on the train, or doing work that doesn’t require a ton of mental energy.

At Process Street, we’ve compiled a list of podcasts that we personally listen to and would recommend to anyone interested in business, entrepreneurship, marketing, and startups.

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I Analyzed 12,844 Tweets to Find How Top SaaS Companies Do Twitter Support

I’ve covered our internal support process and analyzed SaaS support and success before, but when it comes to Twitter support, there’s not much data out there.

From what I’ve learned in this study, I’d say that could be because it’s not something the company wants to do.

Is it a necessary evil, brought about by frustrated customers, or is it companies meeting customers on their level?

When you think about users interacting with companies on Twitter, you probably imagine companies trying their best to calm down users so angry they need to vent their frustrations publicly.

I got the idea for this study when I saw the sheer amount of damage control Outlook have to do on Twitter because of their product, and set out to analyze other software giants and how they do Twitter support.


Since Twitter is entirely open to the public and can’t be edited, I thought it was begging for a study on how SaaS companies support their users on Twitter. That’s for a couple of reasons. One, because no one has published data or written a post like this before. And two, because I enjoy writing studies on SaaS companies, like this and this on pricing pages, and this on landing pages.

Here’s my study into the effectiveness and uses of Twitter support at SaaS companies.

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5 Methods to Set up Recurring Tasks (and Stop Your Team Missing Deadlines)

What is a recurring task?

Forgetting about your company’s recurring tasks is dangerous, and can put your business in an awkward position if it happens too often. That’s because recurring tasks make up the most important core set of activities.

They’re the duties in your team that you know you’re going to have to do regularly:

  • Proof a weekly newsletter
  • Turn in taxes
  • Schedule performance reviews

Traditionally, this would be managed with a calendar, Outlook, or the shaky memory of whoever’s turn it is to remind the group.

Managing recurring tasks in those kinds of ways isn’t ideal and it has got the job done for businesses of the past, but there are smarter ways that help you conserve brain energy, organize your team’s work effectively and make sure you’re on top of deadlines.

After all, your team all trying to remember what they’ve got to do on Monday morning is enough to get them crawling back to bed with a headache.

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What is a Workflow? A Simple Guide to Getting Started

what is a workflow

If you look at the Wikipedia definition of a workflow, you’re probably going to get confused as I did:

“A workflow consists of an orchestrated and repeatable pattern of business activity enabled by the systematic organization of resources into processes that transform materials, provide services, or process information It can be depicted as a sequence of operations, declared as work of a person or group, an organization of staff, or one or more simple or complex mechanisms.”

Let’s put this simply…

Workflows are the way people get work done, and can be illustrated as series of steps that need to be completed sequentially in a diagram or checklist.

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