The Prop’s Role

Definition of propagation
: the act or action of propagating: such as
a: increase (as of a kind of organism) in numbers
b: the spreading of something (such as a belief) abroad or into new regions
c: enlargement or extension (as of a crack) in a solid body

Propagators (aka “Props”) oversee the Marketing and development of a client’s digital presence. A prop can specialize in SEO, Social Media, or Content creation, and there may be multiple propagators for a single project.

SEO

An SEO Prop will be focused on aligning a website with Google’s current best-known practices. This is a very straightforward list that is created by third-party software. The software evaluates and scores a client’s website. It generates a report that will list all the issues on the site that need to be corrected. This report can be generated by a Key, Admin, Owner, or Rep.

Once the report is generated it creates the parameters of the project for the SEO prop to change. An SEO prop will need to have a basic understanding of how to make changes to a CMS/Theme and code to allow a site to quickly load and index relevantly.  See attached chart.

Social Media and Content

The SMC Prop is different from the SEO prop.  They are responsible for increasing the likely hood of traffic to a site and opening or increasing current avenues from Social Media platforms. Utilizing information from Marketing 101 the props are responsible to create a content flow that starts with an advertisement, moves to the website, and ends with a Call to Action on the site.

They also will create content that utilizes keywords and relevant articles that will draw readers in. Because of the level of skill required to develop this, it is best to use an outside content creator that can function outside of the structure of the build.  That is to say that research and development utilize a different set of tools than those primarily used at ICHRONstudio.  Hiring a local firm or working with a few 1099 off-site workers might have a better workflow.

Props are also responsible for added content on a site or blog. That is to say that they might need to get topics from a client and research them or work with a content writer.

Daily Expectation/Meetings

The Prop is utilized on a project basis and therefore does not have a set Daily Expectation or Meetings. Instead, the Prop is provided deadlines for tasks and must notify the Key if the task cannot be completed by the deadline.

The Rep’s Role

The way we work with our clients defines our company. It is what separates us from our competitors and makes us stand out in the crowd. To accomplish this, we have created a unique program for our Reps. Part of our brand is that we are approachable, and we want to develop reps with that same quality.

Day one for a rep is walking through our sales process as if they were a client.  Understanding the value of what we offer is essential. Believing the product is essential. We don’t want our reps selling websites or ADA compliance, but rather helping businesses out understanding how those tools are vital to their success.

Reps will be given access to powerful network groups, local Chambers, and access to trade shows. We offer one-to-one online or in-person training for all our products. By providing tools and qualified leads, plus an aggressive commission scale, we create a positive long-term environment for experienced sales and account managers.

Sales Workflow

Once you get a lead the following will be expected:

  • Schedule an initial meeting or Marketing 101
  • Submit any closes “Start” meeting with the Key
  • Introduce the client to the Key
  • Weekly follow with Key and Client
  • Final walkthrough with Key or Client
  • Regular follow-ups with clients.

See Sample Schedule

Tools that are provided for the Reps

  • Weekly meeting to coordinate sales goals
  • Product training on new products
  • Competitive Bonuses
  • BNI membership
  • Access to Chamber Lunches and meetings
  • Additional Online Training camps

Reps can be w-2 employees that will initially work on-site or 1099 contractors that work virtually. They will determine their own schedules however their hours are based on the meetings that they set to the calendar and the groups that they attend. All Reps will be required to attend the Monday Morning Meetings.

Monday Morning Meetings are set up for the entire team to coordinate messaging and progress. Reps are expected to bring their last week’s schedule, their anticipated schedule for this week and next, and an update on their prospects. They will also be expected to have their totals and their sales projections for the month.

Daily Expectation

Reps make money by talking on the phone, in zoom chats, but not social media.  A rep is expected to make at least 5 client calls a day and has a minimum of 1 actual meeting. The meeting can be a consultation, marketing 101; anything that includes a client.

Weekly Expectations

Reps should have made at least 25 client calls throughout the week and do follow up with each client that has a current project. They should also have made at least 3 follow-up calls with completed clients to the network.

BNI groups or other networks groups must be attended weekly as well as chamber mixers or seminars.

End of week

Reps should review all their clients and send an end-of-week update to them that discusses what was completed and what is next. The Rep may need to set up a meeting if there are multiple projects.

Pay Structure

Travel and food are not included.

Commission based on monthly totals from the first day of the month to the last.

$0-$999: No commission start looking for retail positions.

$1,000-$1999: 10%: you need to work on that a little.

$2,000-$3,999: 25%: We’ll keep you around for now.

$4,000- $5999: 30%: I think you’re getting it

$6,000-$8,999: 35%: I like you a lot.

$9,000+: 40%: Everybody wins.

Blueprinting Session

Blueprinting is a follow-up session, after payment, that will help define expectations for the build. The blueprint will outline client expectations, the scope of work, and will set the milestones for the project.  A project can be paid for but cannot be started without a blueprint.

The session can be over the phone, in person, or online. If it’s in person, the Rep can use a physical workbook or the online form.

The Rep will find out the basic information for the website, colors, preferences, examples, themes, and templates. They will also narrow down what exactly the client is purchasing, what we are promising to deliver, and the general timetable for the project.  The blueprint is an essential part of the client relationship and needs to be well thought out and double-checked.

Once the blueprint is completed the Rep will deliver a copy to the client.  An additional supplemental email will be sent with links to upload images, usernames and passwords, and additional content. The supplemental email can be sent by the Key.

The Admin’s Role

Every day the Admin is checking for new clients to bill, SEO reports to generate, Blueprints to process, existing memberships to update, licenses to renew, transactions to record/reconcile, meetings to set up, payroll hours to submit, and any calls/emails that may have been missed by the Key. These are typically “low priority” tasks that don’t always have strict deadlines, but ultimately are important.

Monday Morning meeting

Prior to the Monday morning meeting, the Admin should know the current bank balance to help the Owner make financial decisions, as well as an overview of how much was spent the previous week on projects, especially when working with freelancers or 3rd-party services, as these affect the bottom line on any project. They should also be aware of any unanswered calls/emails from the week prior.

During the meeting, the Admin will take notes on upcoming expenses based on project needs, take on overflow tasks from other team members with impacted schedules, and offer to stay in the Sales meeting to note any meetings that need to be set up or followed up on behalf of the Rep.

Initial Handoff

When the Rep makes a sale, they are expected to fill out a Blueprint and meet with the Key. The Admin should attend the meeting and take notes, especially on larger projects. It’s up to the Admin to ensure that Blueprint makes its way to the project management software appropriately so the Key can do their job and that the client knows what we need from them. This entails setting up deadlines for each Phase of the project and purchasing any 3rd-party software needed to get a project done. The Key can also have the Admin communicate what is needed from the client, such as getting necessary login information.

Daily Expectation

The Admin should always know what’s on the calendar, what the Sales Rep needs, the status of projects from an internal or client standpoint, as well as where the business stands financially on any given day. They should be ready to switch gears at any moment to set up an appointment for a Rep or Key, answer client phone calls, respond to an urgent email/text message, or dial out and work on the backend of the business, like accounting or documentation for a new software being set up. The Owner or a client may even interrupt them to ask for a cup of coffee (assuming they are in the office and not virtual).

The Admin works very closely with the Sales Rep to ensure no potential (or existing) client gets forgotten, sending SEO Reports, Accessibility Reports, scheduling virtual or in-person appointments, and reminding the Sales Rep of those appointments.

Daily Task List

While the Key is at the center of the business, the Admin is equally important behind the scenes. While most of the team focuses on the product, the Admin is focused on getting the paperwork right and making everyone else’s job easy. An admin ensures all the miscellaneous tasks that keep the doors open get done and that the Key doesn’t get overwhelmed with managing projects. They may be an underappreciated role, but not here!

These tasks are specific to an in-office Administrative Assistant and include some “Personal Assistant” tasks for the Owners.

“First Thing” Tasks

Generally, do these when you walk in the door before anything else, unless told otherwise. Rarely is there an emergency when you walk in the door, so always keep priorities/urgency in mind when being tasked daily. Usually, it can wait!

(In-Person only) Manage the office:

  • Throw away any trash, empty trash can, put bags in.
  • Organize your desk, file anything that doesn’t need to be out.
  • Organize break area, restock water for coffee, napkins, cups, etc.
  • Organize fridge, throw out anything expired, refill energy drinks.
  • Note any office items that need to be restocked for ordering.
  • Sweep the floor at least weekly.
  • Ask anyone in-office if they’d like coffee or anything from the store. Do this often, it’s awesome!

Prepare yourself and others for the day ahead:

  • Look at the calendar for any double bookings/conflicts in meetings.
  • Check voicemail, Cytracom texts, and emails for any requests for specific appointments and double-check availability.
  • Keep Cytracom open to answer incoming calls.
  • Send a reminder email/note to ALL meeting attendees:
    • Be specific about the person and purpose of the meeting, as sometimes it’s unclear and should be investigated beforehand. For example, is it a sales meeting or an administrative meeting?
    • If the meeting is in the morning, send the reminder the day prior, as often it’s useless to send a reminder less than an hour beforehand.
    • If the meeting is in the afternoon, you can send it the same day at least an hour beforehand.
  • If any upcoming meetings are sales-related:
    • Make sure the Rep has any necessary notes going into the meeting, such as website URL or any recent updates/communications from a potential client. For example, have they received a DocuSign yet?
    • Be sure to include an SEO Report in the email reminder to the attendees if applicable. Feel free to ask the Rep if this is needed.
    • Follow up with both the Rep and client, if necessary, to confirm the location of the meeting (in-person, virtual, or over the phone). Generally, the preference is to meet in person for sales. The client should know how to log into the video conferencing software if it’s virtual. Obviously, the phone is easiest but only preferred for quick meetings or non-tech-savvy clients.
    • Ask the Rep if they would like you to attend and take notes.
  • If any meetings are Key-related:
    • Ensure the Key has necessary notes going into the meeting, such as a Blueprint from the client to do an initial review and/or the latest updates/communication from the client. If neither of these applies, then the meeting will likely need to be rescheduled until the Key has those items.
    • Follow up with both the Key and client, if necessary, to confirm the location of the meeting (in-person, virtual, or over the phone). Generally, the preference is to meet virtually over Google Meet. The client should know how to log into the video conferencing software if that’s the case. Obviously, the phone is easiest but only preferred for quick meetings or non-tech-savvy clients.
    • Ask the Key if they would like you to attend and take notes.

Get Started

Now that you’ve prepared yourself and others for the day, you can move onto your assigned tasks. The rest of these tasks may not come before one-off tasks and are up to your own prioritization schedule.

  • Check emails for urgent and administrative matters.
  • If it’s an urgent matter, make sure all relevant parties are notified with action steps in place. You may be asked to call or send an email on behalf of someone, especially if it’s a simple “we’re looking into this, we’ll update you ASAP!”
  • Respond to emails that don’t require any input from others.
  • Administrative emails/tasks typically include:
    • Billing:
      • Checking that an invoice was paid in QuickBooks (especially when it comes to hosting/domains)
      • Creating a Sales Receipt and auto-billing clients that have either DocuSigned, called to provide a credit card or existing clients that have agreed to additional services and already have their information saved.
      • Following up with client and Key if invoices aren’t paid in a reasonable amount of time. For example, if hosting bills aren’t paid 30 days after they’re due, their website needs to be Suspended.
      • Notify a client if their site has been auto suspended.
      • Review and correct any failed transactions (it will pop up on the home screen). These are usually due to canceled credit cards, and we need to get a new one on file.
    • Setting up an appointment.
    • Blueprint Submission that needs to be entered into the project management software.
    • Tasks essential to the operation of the business, such as a business license, LLC renewal, setting up new systems, payroll, taxes, utilities, etc.
    • Anything that falls outside of direct responsibility of the other roles, or other roles are too busy to handle (remember, the Key is always right until they are wrong!)
    • Following up on the above administrative matters with all necessary parties as needed. It’s common that bills don’t get paid right away or clients have follow-up questions.
  • Reference your prioritization tree for ongoing tasks.

End of Day

These are things to do approximately 15-30 minutes prior to clocking out. This is where you put an end to daily tasks and make notes to pick up where you left off the next day.

  • Note down phone calls, a general list of clients communicated with, and tasks completed for an End of Day Report.
  • Note what tasks are still open/need to be followed up on, and update priorities if necessary.
  • Email or meet with an Owner or Key on what you did depending on their availability.

Clean up the office (In-Person only):

  • Throw away any trash, empty trash can, put bags in.
  • Organize your desk, file anything that doesn’t need to be out.
  • Organize break area, restock water for coffee, napkins, cups, etc.
  • Organize fridge, throw out anything expired, refill energy drinks.
  • Note any office items that need to be restocked for ordering.
  • Sweep the floor at least weekly.

End of Week

This also lines up with the Key, where tasks can easily be forgotten over the weekend. The Admin should note down tasks that are incomplete and re-prioritize to become urgent for the following week in tandem with the Key.

The Key’s Role

key·stone
/ˈkēˌstōn/noun
noun: keystone; plural noun: keystones
a central stone at the summit of an arch, locking the whole together.

In any good team, there is one indispensable person. While the Reps help get the client’s vision down, web build the website, the Admin ensures we get paid, and the propagator’s research content, the “Key” is the person who manages them all. Once a project is handed over from a blueprint, the Key is the person responsible for the completion of the project.

Every day a Key should start checking for emails, texts, or messages that are relevant to his projects. He should open the project management software and review new messages, and then meet with his team to make sure they are following the blueprint and project template.

Monday Morning Meeting

The Key or the owner will usually coordinate the Monday Morning meeting.  This is a two-hour slot of time that is designed to make sure all teams are on point.  Prior to the meeting, the Key should be up to date on all the issues that occurred during the weekend.  The opening of the meeting might be a state of affairs from the owner, or the group might jump into the emails.

Email Review

This is primarily to update the team on any fires. It is not necessary to review every email, just those that are high priority. Many emails will be discussed in the projects.

Project Review

It is important that the Reps, Key, and Owner are here. The point of the entire meeting is to make sure that ICHRONstudio is communicating its build team with the client.  All projects are reviewed, and the Key is responsible to give the Status of the build, the hours spent, and projected hours remaining. Reps should note the status updates for their weekly calls.

Sales Split

Depending on the size of your team the next step is for the sales team to take over the meeting. The Key is no longer needed and can leave the meeting.

Initial Handoff

The first thing that happens in a project is the Sales Representative needs to fill out the Blueprint to officially “hand-off” the project to the Key (and Admin, especially on larger projects). Once that happens the Rep will still update the client, and continue communications, but will no longer be responsible for the build.

The Reps will walk through the blueprint and meeting notes with the client. Communicate timetables and deadlines and all products sold and discuss the client demeanor and expectations in tandem with the Admin. The Key is responsible to set up the project and either set the calendar or work with the Admin on deadlines.

The Key should also have direct communication with the client from this point forward. A supplemental email will be sent (either by the Key or Admin) with links to upload content or join any project management software.

Daily Expectation

The key should know at any given time the status of a project, and a general expectation of delivery. They should know how many hours have been spent in the week for Webdevs and have an estimate of how many more will need to be spent to complete the projects.

They should be willing to contact a client with updates and to answer any questions about the build. Sometimes a quick phone call is more efficient to get important information or feedback from the client than several emails.

Project Expectations

All projects should meet the template milestones set in the project management software. They should be completed before or by due dates.  Keys are also responsible to troubleshoot. This is a huge responsibility and can often have serious consequences for a project. Keys are empowered via the fifth rule of ICHRON to GSD any problems.

The Fifth Rule is: The Key is always right until they are not.

The person that must answer to the owner when a project fails is the Key.  They are the ones that are putting their job on the line when something goes wrong, and they must troubleshoot it. Because they carry that weight, props, admins, webdevs, and sometimes even owners will need to defer to their decisions.

They may eventually be proven to have made a bad choice, but in the middle of an emergency is not the time to call them out. When you become part of the team you accept this fact.

Troubleshooting an issue in technology can be time-consuming. We use the iterative method: Process of elimination. Websites are complex and intertwining structures that can have many points of failure.  Trying to find a single point of failure amongst them is the needle in a haystack.  Using the process of elimination, we can usually find the issue.

There are no real “rules” to troubleshooting. It’s a combination of experience, understanding, and luck. In a crisis, you will use these attributes to begin your analysis.  A team member might “Know the answer”, but it is the Key’s choice where to start and where to go next. Keys are “right”, so they can find the problem, repair it, and move on. This process could have them being “wrong” many times before a solution is found.

End of day

At the end of the day, the Key is expected to check for new calls/emails that were missed, provide updates to the Owner or Admin, and double-check all webdevs work.

The Key should have a running list of tasks or notes for the following day. It is not necessary to update it with individual projects – it’s usually for CYA and Double checking (did that last update get done on the mockup?). Any urgent tasks or clients that didn’t get responded to at the end of the day automatically become a high priority to address the following day.

End of Week

On the last day of the week, the Key is expected to create continuity from the weekend to the week start. Too many times a weekend clears out all intentions and ambitions so that Monday is a baffling experience. Ideally, he will use the Overnight log to note an overview of the project status for the owners, and individually review each project, and have coordinated with the webdevs.

The Owner’s Role

A good team has well-defined positions and creates pathways for communication. For our tight-knit team, we have defined the jobs and the tasks that they are responsible for. Here we will define what the job is, who would be ideal, the goals, and the special abilities each person has in the structure.

There is no formula to make a great team. There are guidelines at best. You might have to shuffle your people around or swap them out entirely based on their individual skills and background. This attempts to group various tasks in a coherent way, but you may find yourself or the team covering other role responsibilities, or narrowing contract work down to a specific set of tasks (like SEO, for example).

The Owner

Generally speaking; going into business is a bad idea.  Let me clarify, starting a small business with proper funding, experience, and the right personnel is out of reach of most people. Rags to riches stories start with someone being good at what they do and expanding on it, even though the world is against them. GTS some rags to riches stories and you’ll see they always faced daunting odds.

The ninth rule of ICHRONstudio

  1. Ride the Paradox

There is a place just beyond the impossible that we can strive to reach, but we will never get there if we don’t try to shoot past it. You need to be able to, despite the facts and figures, press on. You must be able to brave the impossible and not be overwhelmed by it. Don’t leap into the fire, that’s stupid, but believe that even though there’s a fire, you will find a way to overcome it.

The owner is usually the guy that put the money down to get the whole thing started. There can be many owners and things can get complicated. This is meant to define what the role of the owner is inside a project.

The priority for an owner is always to lead the team. He must learn to fight against the urge to micro-manage and get lost in potential threats. His second goal is to restrict legal liability. For the most part, this is a matter of ensuring that whatever we promised the client we deliver. Not every job is a good fit for the team, and the owner is the one that determines if a project is canceled, refunded, or completed at a loss. Owners are focused on legal situations and not particularly concerned with procedural efficiency. An owner is focused on keeping the team out of lawsuits and litigation while expanding opportunities for the business as a whole.   They have the right to do an Immediate Interrupt on any task at any time. Ideally, if there is any controversy, set it aside until the end of the day.

Why are you here?

This document will help you and your team work together by providing guidelines and reference charts. Every team member knows what they need to do, and how it works together. If you use these, you will be able to successfully operate an ICHRONstudio team.

Guidelines and rules are helpful but ultimately, it’s the individuals that define the team. Everyone has their own reasons as to what got them in the door. Not everyone that’s on the team is here for life. To truly work well everyone needs to have a common goal.

We all want the same thing, our aspirations to be achieved. Even though they might be quite different. Some will be here while they are in school, some to gain some experience. Some people might not even know why they are here, but if you ask them, they usually can tell you where they want to be.

Don’t keep it a secret, let the team know why you’re working.  If you know it, and they know it, it will be easier to get. No matter what your dream is, use these rules and you will achieve it.

The final Rule…

  1. Wake up to make your dreams come true.

We all aspire to better things. We all have dreams but wishing does not make them so. ICHRONstudio might be your dream, or it might be a stepping stone towards it. Whichever it is, get off your butt and get to work. To build a dream you need to get out of bed and start doing something. The more you give to your dream the closer you will get to it. The previous nine rules will help you be more than a dreamer.

Now get the fuck out there and let’s make this thing work!

GSD

The most important thing an owner brings to the table is the ability to GET SHIT DONE. Beyond training or education, the will to get past roadblocks is the most important asset a person has. We all have it; the drive to refuse to accept the first obvious challenge and keep going until all options are explored.

To make your dreams come true you can’t sleep in, you need to wake up and get working.

Skills and Education are tools to help bring that dream to life, but you do not need them to succeed. GSD is the ability to fail, learn, walk past it, and try something different. Rinse and repeat till you get it done.

Ultimately, in business, we are judged on what we get done, how fast we can bring it, and how good it is compared to others. This manifesto is a guide to GSD a web design company.  It is specific to that industry, but the principles apply to many situations.  As with all things, choose your team wisely, your people are what make you strong. Find those gems with the GSD ability and trust them with your dreams.

Team Members at ICHRONstudio

Who’s Who at ICHRONstudio?

ICHRONstudio works in teams. We build tight-knit, high synergy teams that can dominate a region by directly engaging the community and its business networks. Each location will have an Owner, Admin, Key, and Reps.  These are meant to be onsite jobs that are the core of your team. Web Devs and Props are often off-site freelancers or third-party contractors.

Each person is responsible for a different aspect of the business, and each has a list of responsibilities defined in the job templates. Templates and overlays are the lists of items that need to be accomplished for each project that we are hired to do.

Click on each role to learn more about Daily Expectations, Meetings, Reports, & more. Save your role as a bookmark if it’s you!

  • The Owner (the big Kahuna): the person that puts their cash on the line to get everyone working.
  • Key (Project Manager): The person that is responsible to keep Web Devs on schedule, acquire additional information on projects, and manage hours spent on jobs.
  • Rep (Sales Representative): The hunter-gatherer of the group. The person that follows up on leads and utilizes networking to acquire new clients.
  • Admin (Administrator): The person that focuses on accounting, purchases, orders, and payroll.
  • Web Dev (Web Developer): The person that builds, transfers, and modifies websites.
  • Prop (Propagation): The person that creates SEO content, advertisements, and other online marketing for both client and company.

This team structure allows the business to take several projects and keeps clients and coworkers communicating.